Politics: Sondland emerges as key target after Vindman testimony - - PressFrom - US
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Politics Sondland emerges as key target after Vindman testimony

03:40  30 october  2019
03:40  30 october  2019 Source:   thehill.com

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

  Sondland Told House Panels Trump's Ukraine Pressure Was Quid Pro Quo 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. © francois lenoir/ReutersGordon 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.

The latest development comes after Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman , the director for European affairs on the National Security Council (NSC), on Tuesday testified for roughly 10 hours with Some Democrats said Vindman ’s testimony uncovered a crime: Sondland, they charged, had lied under oath.

Alexander Vindman and his twin brother Yevgeny were born in Ukraine. After the death of their mother, they were brought to New Based on his planned opening statement, obtained in advance by The New York Times, Vindman 's testimony will largely corroborate previous testimony from Fiona Hill, his

House Democrats are weighing whether to take action against European Union (EU) Ambassador Gordon Sondland, who some lawmakers believe misled impeachment investigators during his closed-door deposition earlier this month.

Maroš Šefčovič wearing a suit and tie: Sondland emerges as key target after Vindman testimony© Getty Images Sondland emerges as key target after Vindman testimony

Upon hearing from a series of career foreign service and national security officials, some Democrats say Sondland lied to three House committees investigating President Trump's contacts with Ukraine, particularly in regard to pressure on Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to launch two investigations that would help President Trump politically.

After a Week Off the Grid, Sondland Surfaces on Capitol Hill To Review Testimony

  After a Week Off the Grid, Sondland Surfaces on Capitol Hill To Review Testimony U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland returned to Capitol Hill Monday to review the transcript of his testimony to the House impeachment investigators earlier this month, according to two sources familiar with his schedule. Sondland told lawmakers that President Donald Trump assigned his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani to carry out Ukraine policy for the U.S. Sondland reportedly said he was not aware that Ukraine policy was in part focused on working with Kiev officials to investigate 2020 presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son, Hunter.

Army lieutenant colonel to describe his concerns Trump’s Biden plot was undermining US foreign policy in Ukraine.

Democrats emerged from Tuesday’s caucus meeting with deep concerns about Vindman ’s opening Vindman — who defied White House orders not to testify — could be a key witness for Democrats But some Democrats argued that it was still too soon to say whether Vindman ’s testimony would

Now, some Democrats want Sondland to return to Capitol Hill to testify about the conflicting accounts of his involvement, while others are saying he should be charged for misleading the House committee.

The latest development comes after Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, the director for European affairs on the National Security Council (NSC), on Tuesday testified for roughly 10 hours with House investigators. Vindman said Sondland had direct involvement in pressuring Zelensky for investigations into both the 2016 election and Vice President Joe Biden, one of Trump's top 2020 political opponents.

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After his testimony it emerged that he had apparently told Giuliani that he was being fed false information about the Bidens from Ukrainian officials. A "shouting match" erupted in the House Intelligence Committee as Republicans pressed Lt Col Vindman during his testimony in an attempt

Lt Col Vindman ’s testimony drew expected backlash from Trump defenders, but some Republicans say they’ve gone too far.

Some Democrats said Vindman's testimony uncovered a crime: Sondland, they charged, had lied under oath.

"He clearly lied to the committee. They should pursue charges against him," said one Democratic lawmaker involved on impeachment inquiry.

Other Democrats, while they didn't call for a specific course of action, said they also believed Sondland was not truthful and should return to Capitol Hill to face questions about these conflicting accounts.

"Based on all the testimony so far, I believe that Ambassador Gordon Sondland committed perjury," tweeted Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas), a member of the House Intelligence Committee.

"During the Russia investigation, I said there were four witnesses I would like to have back. Now there are five," said. Rep. Mike Quigley (D-Ill.), a member of the Intelligence Committee. "I don't know that it is going to happen. We are on such a tight schedule and there are so many other things to do. I would like to have him back or I would've liked to have had him after a couple of these witnesses we've had recently."

The 5 public confirmations of a quid pro quo between Trump and Ukraine

  The 5 public confirmations of a quid pro quo between Trump and Ukraine Not all confirmations are created equal.But not all of the confirming statements we’ve seen or heard are created equal. Below, we explain each one, along with how serious it is.

Alexander Vindman testified that the request to investigate a political opponent undermined U.S. national security. Vindman Testimony Fuels Democrats’ Impeachment Case Against Trump.

After his testimony it emerged that he had apparently told Giuliani that he was being fed false Taylor's testimony was explosive, and made him a key witness to the Trump administration's efforts to use Following the release of Lt Col Vindman 's testimony , the president repeated claims that the

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) offered a similar assessment Tuesday, saying she has "more concerns" about Sondland's credibility following Vindman's opening remarks.

"His lapses in memory of specific events, conversations weren't credible, and now I have heard a lot of details about the same meetings that he described in which I have more questions," she told reporters outside the closed-door deposition room. "I'd like to hear more from [Sondland] because what I've subsequently heard from other witnesses causes concern about his veracity and his testimony - causes more concern than I already had."

The Florida Democrat added that she found Vindman's testimony meshed with that given by other witnesses, saying that it "filled in more puzzle pieces."

Sondland, a wealthy Trump donor, has no prior diplomatic experience, and Democrats have been suspicious of his version of events since his appearance before impeachment investigators on Oct. 17. Sondland's legal team declined to comment on points raised in Vindman's opening statement.

NSC official's testimony appears to contradict Rick Perry Ukraine claims

  NSC official's testimony appears to contradict Rick Perry Ukraine claims Testimony from a senior White House official on Tuesday appeared to contradict Energy Secretary Rick Perry's ardent denials that he ever heard former Vice President Joe Biden or his son Hunter discussed in relation to U.S. requests that Ukraine investigate corruption. © Alex Wong/Getty Images Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman. In his opening statement, Lt. Col.

After the call, Colonel Vindman was given a hard copy of the rough transcript to make updates and corrections, according to a person familiar with the matter. Colonel Vindman went through the transcript, made changes and gave his written edits to his boss, Mr. Morrison, according to the person.

Vindman ’s Ukraine Testimony Is a Disaster for Trump. A decorated Army officer says the U.S. president That testimony resulted in immediate attacks on Vindman , but his background makes him a Kupperman represents a key witness who remains to be heard from, and whether he does testify

Since then, Democrats have raised more alarms about Sondland's testimony, particularly after Bill Taylor, the top U.S. diplomat to Ukraine, testified last week that he believed the Trump administration had withheld nearly $400 million in aid to Ukraine in an effort to get Zelensky to open the Biden and 2016 probes. Sondland, echoing Trump, had asserted there was no such quid pro quo.

"I walk away with the impression Mr. Sondland will have some explaining to do," Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.), a member of the Intelligence Committee, said at the time.

Vindman is the 10th witness to appear before the three committees leading the Democrats' impeachment inquiry, which was launched five weeks ago following a whistleblower allegation that Trump had leveraged U.S. aid to pressure foreign leaders for political favors.

While Vindman told lawmakers he is not the whistleblower, according to his opening remarks, his statement does support central parts of the whistleblower's narrative surrounding Sondland's role in the administration's pressure campaign.

Text messages released to Congress by another witness earlier in the month revealed that Sondland had sought to secure a commitment from Zelensky to launch anti-corruption investigations before Trump would meet with the Ukrainian president.

Army Veteran Says Attacks by Trump Allies on 'Wounded Warrior,' Purple Heart Recipient Vindman are 'Disgusting'

  Army Veteran Says Attacks by Trump Allies on 'Wounded Warrior,' Purple Heart Recipient Vindman are 'Disgusting' Will Goodwin called Trump's comments about the veteran "disgusting" and "disgraceful." Many have been quick to criticize Trump for his statements to discredit the Purple Heart recipient's testimony.

Alexander Vindman , the top Ukraine expert on the National Security Council, said his testimony was “extremely disturbing” and praised him for appearing Vindman served multiple overseas tours as an infantry officer and received the Purple Heart after being wounded by an improvised explosive device

Vindman describes two key episodes that he reported concerns about internally. The newest witness for the House impeachment inquiry is Alexander Vindman , a National Security Council staffer and a US Army lieutenant colonel who arrived for closed-door testimony Tuesday morning — and he says he

Sondland testified that he was unaware of any efforts to have Zelensky open a Biden probe, but he also said Trump insisted during a short phone call with him that there was no quid pro quo for aid, according to his prepared remarks for testimony.

Vindman's opening statement also directly contradicts Sondland's opening statement claim that no NSC officials came to him and raised "misgivings about the propriety" of their Ukraine policy.

"I stated to Amb. Sondland that his statements were inappropriate, that the request to investigate Biden and his son had nothing to do with national security, and that such investigations were not something the NSC was going to get involved in or push," Vindman's opening statement reads. "Dr. Hill then entered the room and asserted to Amb. Sondland that his statements were inappropriate."

A chief complaint from Democrats following Sondland's Oct. 17 deposition was what they characterized as a lack of specificity - one lawmaker called it "selective amnesia" - as he relayed events related to the administration's pressure campaign on the Ukrainians.

Indeed, Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-N.J.), a former State Department official, said Sondland's testimony was not so much in conflict with other witness accounts as it was just more imprecise.

"Some witnesses may have conveniently forgotten certain details, but that doesn't mean that there's a contradiction," Malinowski, a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, said. "I think what we heard from [Sondland] fully corroborates what we heard from others, just in less detail in some key places."

Trump's Republican allies, meanwhile, have defended Sondland, pointing to his testimony as more evidence that there was no quid pro quo underlying Trump's Ukraine dealings.

The GOP lawmakers are also pressing hard to disclose the whistleblower's identity, arguing that impeachment is too grave a matter to hinge on anonymous allegations.

"There are 350 million Americans," said Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.), "and somehow one guy, anonymously, is able to start the impeachment proceedings on a president of the United States, and nobody knows who he is or where he came up with the information."

Democrats strongly disagree. And Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), chairman of the Intelligence Committee, pledged after Vindman's lengthy deposition that they would make every effort to ensure Trump and his allies don't use their House depositions to "exact political revenge" against the whistleblower.

"The president's comments and actions have jeopardized the whistleblower's safety. The president's allies would like nothing better than to help the president out this whistleblower. Our committee will not be a part of that," Schiff said. "They have the right to remain anonymous."

Rebecca Klar contributed.

Current White House official willing to testify publicly in impeachment probe: Source .
Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, the first current White House official to cooperate with impeachment investigators, is willing to testify publicly, according to a source. A National Security Council official Ukraine specialist, Vindman told investigators earlier this week that he was so "concerned" by the president’s comments on a July phone call with the Ukrainian president, he notified a White House lawyer.

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