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Politics Sondland Told House Panels Trump's Ukraine Pressure Was Quid Pro Quo

04:00  27 october  2019
04:00  27 october  2019 Source:   online.wsj.com

Sondland Criticizes Trump Over Efforts to Pressure Ukraine

  Sondland Criticizes Trump Over Efforts to Pressure Ukraine Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, criticized President Trump over his efforts to enlist Ukraine in investigating a political rival.Mr. Sondland made the comments in prepared testimony to House committees as part of their impeachment inquiry, which is examining the president, his personal lawyer Mr. Giuliani and top diplomats’ dealings with Ukraine. Democrats have accused the president of abusing the power of his office to pressure a foreign country to pursue investigations that could benefit his re-election campaign. Mr. Trump has dismissed the inquiry as a hoax and denies wrongdoing.

with Ukraine amounted to a quid pro quo . Sondland' s lawyer, Robert Luskin, told the news outlet that Sondland revealed to House committees he thought Earlier this month, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi Nancy Pelosi Pelosi: Court ruling 'another blow' to President Trump Elijah Cummings, native

The press ought to be allowed in that room.” Roughly a quarter of House Republicans are members of the three panels conducting the inquiry, and have The protest came a day after the most damning testimony yet about Mr. Trump ’ s pressure campaign to enlist Ukraine to smear his political rivals

WASHINGTON—A top U.S. diplomat told House committees last week that efforts by President Trump and his allies to press Kyiv to open investigations in exchange for a White House meeting with Ukraine’s president amounted to a quid pro quo, his lawyer said.

a man wearing a suit and tie© francois lenoir/Reuters

Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, told House committees that he believed Ukraine agreeing to open investigations into Burisma Group—a gas company where Democrat Joe Biden’s son once served on the board—and into alleged 2016 election interference was a condition for a White House meeting between Mr. Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Mr. Sondland’s lawyer Robert Luskin said.

Schiff: Mulvaney comments on Ukraine aid have made things 'much, much worse'

  Schiff: Mulvaney comments on Ukraine aid have made things 'much, much worse' House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) said Thursday that acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney's comments linked the withholding of aid to Ukraine to investigations into the 2016 election have made things "much worse" for the president. "I think Mr. Mulvaney's acknowledgment means that things have gone from very, very bad to much, much worse," Schiff, a key Democrat in the impeachment inquiry of President Trump, told reporters Thursday. require(["medianetNativeAdOnArticle"], function (medianetNativeAdOnArticle) { medianetNativeAdOnArticle.

“There was no quid pro quo . Today was just more triple hearsay and selective leaks from the Democrats’ politically motivated, closed-door, secretive hearings.” Mr. Trump went further than Mr. Obama by providing lethal military assistance to Ukraine to defend itself against Russia, but privately

At the time of the call, Trump was withholding nearly 0 million in military aid to Ukraine . Trump , who has called the impeachment probe a "witch-hunt," has denied there was quid pro quo at Taylor told members of the House of Representatives' panels that U. S . Ambassador to the European Union

Asked by a lawmaker whether that arrangement was a quid pro quo, Mr. Sondland cautioned that he wasn’t a lawyer but said he believed the answer was yes, Mr. Luskin said.

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Mr. Trump has repeatedly denied the existence of a quid pro quo related to his push for Ukraine to open investigations.

Mr. Sondland was testifying as part of the impeachment inquiry, which is examining efforts by Mr. Trump and his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, to push Ukraine to undertake investigations related to the Biden family and the 2016 campaign. Democrats believe the president abused the power of his office to press a foreign leader to open investigations that could benefit him politically. Mr. Trump has defended his dealings with Ukraine and decried the investigation as a “hoax.”

'He clarified it': Trump on Mulvaney backtrack after admitting to quid pro quo

  'He clarified it': Trump on Mulvaney backtrack after admitting to quid pro quo President Trump backed acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney after he admitted to a quid pro quo agreement over military aid that was meant for Ukraine and then backtracked on the remark hours later. © Provided by MediaDC: Washington Newspaper Publishing Company, Inc.The chief of staff admitted to reporters Thursday that millions of dollars in U.S. military aid for Ukraine "was held up temporarily" for "completely legitimate" reasons. He also urged those concerned about the "quid pro quo" in exchange for an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter to "get over it.

Trump and other U.S. officials have denied for weeks that they had demanded a “ quid pro quo ” - a Latin phrase meaning a favor for a favor - for But Trump ’ s acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney on Oct. 17 said Trump ’ s withholding the aid was linked to his request that the Ukrainians look into the

Trump and other U.S. officials have denied for weeks that they had demanded a " quid pro quo " - a Latin phrase meaning a favor for a favor - for But Trump ' s acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney on Oct. 17 said Trump ' s withholding the aid was linked to his request that the Ukrainians look into the

Mr. Sondland’s testimony has come under fresh scrutiny since the deposition earlier this week of Bill Taylor, the acting U.S. ambassador to Ukraine. Mr. Taylor’s testimony focused in part on a separate issue, telling House committees that Mr. Trump made nearly $400 million in aid contingent on the Ukrainian president investigating Mr. Biden and alleged Ukrainian interference in the 2016 U.S. election. Mr. Taylor didn’t use the term “quid pro quo” but said he understood the aid to be “conditioned” on the investigations.

Much of Mr. Taylor’s testimony suggested Mr. Sondland was aware of a separate connection between aid and investigations, which Mr. Sondland testified he wasn’t, according to his lawyer. Mr. Sondland told the committees he wasn’t involved in the decision to hold the aid to Ukraine and couldn’t independently corroborate the president’s assertions to him that the money being held up was unrelated to the push for investigations.

4 takeaways from Bill Taylor’s huge opening statement

  4 takeaways from Bill Taylor’s huge opening statement Pretty much everything we thought was a quid pro quo was in fact a quid pro quo, Bill Taylor testified Tuesday.Taylor was last seen in those much-circulated text messages fretting to fellow diplomats Gordon Sondland and Kurt Volker about the idea that U.S. military aid to Ukraine was being held up for political reasons. Of those three diplomats, he seemed to be the most alarmed about the possibility of a quid pro quo to benefit President Trump’s reelection campaign. The question was how much he knew.

There was no quid pro quo ,” White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham said in a statement Tuesday, adding, “Today was just more triple hearsay and Taylor was among the State Department veterans who had raised red flags about the White House campaign, led by Trump ’ s personal lawyer

Says Trump Shouldn’t Be Impeached Because “He Was Too Inept to Execute” Ukraine Quid Pro Quo . President Trump shouts at members of the media outside the White House on October 03 a staff editorial arguing Trump ’ s attempt to engineer a quid pro quo with the Ukrainian president to aid

Some members of the House Intelligence Committee have called for Mr. Sondland to return for more questions. Rep. Will Hurd (R., Texas) in a CNN interview said Mr. Taylor’s testimony raised “a lot of questions” and that Mr. Sondland “needs to come back and answer some of these questions.”

Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D., Ill.) said, “I walk away with the impression that Mr. Sondland is going to have some explaining to do.”

Lawmakers said Mr. Sondland had answered “I don’t recall” to several questions.

Mr. Sondland would likely return for more questioning if asked, Mr. Luskin said.

His testimony about perceiving a separate connection between a White House meeting and investigations runs somewhat counter to a text message he sent Mr. Taylor in September, after Mr. Taylor wrote: “I think it’s crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign.” Mr. Sondland responded, after speaking with the president: “The President has been crystal clear no quid pro quo’s of any kind.”

According to Mr. Taylor’s testimony, Mr. Sondland sought to offer a rationale for the president’s push for investigations. “Ambassador Sondland tried to explain to me that President Trump is a businessman,” Mr. Taylor said in his testimony. “When a businessman is about to sign a check to someone who owes him something, he said, the businessman asks that person to pay up before signing a check.”

William Taylor Delivers the Smoking Gun

  William Taylor Delivers the Smoking Gun It doesn’t matter what President Trump wants to call it—of course it was a quid pro quo. Trump was smart enough to claim that what he was asking for was not a quid pro quo, but asking for something in exchange for something else is … the definition of a quid pro quo. When Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney said Thursday that the U.S. had been involved in a quid pro quo, it was, then, a classic Kinsley gaffe: a politician accidentally telling the truth.

Mr. Trump has denied this, repeating “no quid pro quo ” as though it were a magical incantation. (Even some of Mr. Trump ’ s staunchest defenders are starting to recognize how serious this is . There are two stories to tell about Ukraine , Mr. Taylor said. One story, the bad one, involves whistle-blowers

was a quid pro quo , or any evidence that the Ukrainians were aware that military aid was being withheld on July 25"—the date of Trump ' s infamous "do in August—after the Trump -Zelensky phone call on July 25, but still well within the period when Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani was pressuring the

Mr. Sondland, his lawyer said, doesn’t recall that particular conversation but believed the White House meeting, not the aid, was what the president wanted Ukraine to “pay up.”

Mr. Taylor testified that Mr. Sondland told him on Sept. 8 that he had spoken to Mr. Trump and that the president “was adamant that President Zelensky, himself, had to ’clear things up and do it in public,’” and that Mr. Trump insisted this wasn’t a quid pro quo.

Mr. Sondland told House committees that the president told him: “There’s no quid pro quo, but Zelensky’s got to get out there and do the right thing,” according to his lawyer. Mr. Sondland said the president didn’t specify that Mr. Zelensky needed to announce investigations into Burisma Group and the 2016 election, but that he understood that’s what the president meant given earlier conversations with Mr. Giuliani.

Mr. Taylor also recounted in his testimony that Tim Morrison, a National Security Council official, described to him a conversation Mr. Sondland had in Warsaw with a top aide to Mr. Zelensky. According to Mr. Taylor’s testimony, Mr. Sondland told the aide that the U.S. aid to Ukraine wouldn’t be released until Mr. Zelensky committed to investigating Burisma Group.

Mr. Sondland was asked about his interactions in Warsaw by the House committees and said that he doesn’t recall having that conversation with the aide to Mr. Zelensky, Mr. Luskin said.

Mr. Morrison is expected to be asked about his recollection of that conversation in testimony before the House committees next week.

Write to Rebecca Ballhaus at Rebecca.Ballhaus@wsj.com

4 takeaways from Gordon Sondland’s and Kurt Volker’s testimonies .
Many of the Trump team's chief arguments are undercut in two documents.Below are some key takeaways.

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