Gordon Sondland, Sondland, Timothy Morrison, Ukraine, U.S. Department Of State, Joe Biden, Corruption, İnauguration

Gordon Sondland, Sondland

Trump impeachment hearings day 4: Sondland confirms quid pro quo, which Trump denies

EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland, Pentagon official Laura Cooper and State Department official David Hale testified publicly.


NEW: Adam Schiff ends hearing by taking up GOP letter demanding subpoenas for the whistleblower and Hunter Biden and various documents. 'I do not concur in these requests for subpoenas,' Schiff says and committee votes along party lines to table request.

EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland , Pentagon official Laura Cooper and State Department official David Hale testified publicly.

Schiff concluded Wednesday's proceedings, nearly 12 hours after opening the day's session.

The committee voted along party lines to table the GOP requests. Rep. Mike Conaway, R-Texas, complained that the matter was not properly noticed.

During his final remarks, Nunes, a Republican, concluded by saying,"I yield to Mr. Schiff for story-time hour."

"During my visits to Kyiv, I was very impressed by what she was doing there to the extent that I asked her if she'd be willing to stay if that was a possibility, because we had a gap coming up," Hale said."I believe that she should have been able to stay at post and continued to do the outstanding work."

"Well, it's not unusual, is it, Miss Cooper for foreign countries to inquire about foreign aid that they're expecting from the United States, is it?" Ratcliffe asked.

Cooper echoed something previous witnesses have emphasized as a key point in the impeachment probe: Withholding aide to Ukraine was a win for the Kremlin.

"Which country ... would stand to benefit the most from such a withdrawal," Carson asked.

Hale testified that a representative from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) said at a July interagency meeting that,"they were objecting to proceeding with the assistance, because the president had so directed through the acting chief of staff," referring to acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, who had previously led OMB.

In what appeared to be significant new information, Laura Cooper, in her opening statement, amended her prior deposition, telling the committee that she has since discovered emails sent to her staff on July 25 - the day of President Trump's phone call with Ukraine's President Zelenskiy - indicating that the Ukrainians were aware of a delay in military aid.

Republicans have argued that Ukraine did not know about the hold on aid at the time of the July 25 call in an effort to undermine allegations of a quid pro quo.

After a lengthy and significant session earlier today with Ambassador to the EU Gordon Sondland, Schiff welcomed two more witnesses for this evening's hearing: State Department official David Hale and Pentagon official Laura Cooper.

Trump reiterated that he did not know Sondland well, and addressed Sondland's $1 million donation to the Trump inaugural committee.

With regard to Cooper, Schiff said,"From her office in the Pentagon, Ms. Cooper oversaw a significant amount of security assistance flowing to Ukraine and was involved in efforts to understand and reverse the suspension of nearly $400 million in U.S. aid. Cooper, along with others, learned about the freeze during a series of interagency meetings in the last two weeks of July," Schiff said, and would testify about when and how Ukrainian government officials found out.

Schiff calls the first part of the hearing adjourned.

"Testimony received today was far from compelling, conclusive and provides zero evidence of any of the crimes that have been alleged," he said, adding"The Democrats have as their custom seized on this presumption as proof they can use it against the president."

Who had the decision to release the aid? It was one person, Donald J. Trump, president of the United States," Schiff said.

In a lighter moment at the hearing, Sondland was asked about former NSC Russia expert Fiona Hill referring to Sondland and his efforts with Ukraine as"The Gordon Problem" in her conversations with NSC official Tim Morrison.

"Mr. Maloney, excuse me, I've been very forthright. And I really resent what you’re trying to do---" Sondland said.

"Who would benefit from an investigation of the Bidens?" Dem. Rep. Maloney asks repeatedly.

Other witnesses in the impeachment prove, including Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, have said the same.

Sondland responded to President Trump’s comment today that he does not “know him well,” telling lawmakers the two have a “professional, cordial working relationship.”

“It really depends on what you mean by ‘know well,’” Sondland replied. “We are not close friends. No. We have a professional, cordial working relationship.”

“Would you say that the delay in military aid to Ukraine and the reluctance to have White House meeting has a benefit to Russia?” Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., asked.

"You left people with the confusing impression you were giving testimony you did not. You do not have any ... evidence that the president was tied to holding aid from Ukraine," Turner concluded.

Turner:"Which is nothing!" https://t.co/xN6p1Nz8iY pic.twitter.com/GaPF1Pus7X

After the break the committee began a round of questions from members, with each member given five minutes.

"I mean you got all three of them wrong. They get the call, they get the meeting, they get the money. It's not two plus two it's 0 for 3," he said, referring to Sondland's earlier testimony that Giuliani a White House meeting was conditioned on commitments to investigate Burisma and the 2016 elections theory. “The aid was my own personal guess based, again, on your analogy two plus two equals four.”

Chairman Schiff ordered a 30-minute break. As he dismissed the witness, Sondland's attorney asked Schiff to expedite proceedings in an effort to allow his client to catch a return flight to Brussels, where, as the Ambassador to the European Union, he is based.

“Ambassador Sondland's testimony today misrepresented both Secretary Perry's interaction with Rudy Giuliani and direction the Secretary received from President Trump," department press secretary Shaylyn Hynes said in a statement.

"Mr. Giuliani conveyed to Secretary Perry, Ambassador Volker, and others that President Trump wanted a public statement from President Zelenskiy committing to investigations of Burisma and the 2016 election. Mr. Giuliani expressed those requests directly to the Ukrainians. Mr. Giuliani also expressed those requests directly to us," Sondland said in his opening statement.

“[President Trump] just said, I want nothing. I want nothing. I want no quid pro quo,” Sondland testified earlier Tuesday. “Tell Zelensky to do the right thing. Something to that effect.”

Shortly after publishing the tweet, Giuliani appeared to delete it.

This record shows definitively no quid pro quo, which is the same as no bribery. END OF CASE!

ABC's Jordyn Phelps at the White House reports a fired-up President Trump just ranted to the press corps in reaction to Gordon Sondland’s testimony on the Hill as he departed the White House for a trip to Texas.

The president then made extended comments -- while shouting -- complete with an aside in which he took issue with a characterization that he was not in a good mood during the call: “I’m always in a good mood, I don’t know what that is.”

“Here’s my answer, I want nothing, I want nothing. I want no quid pro quo, tell Zelenskiy to do the right thing,” Trump said – a point he emphasized multiple times. “This is the final word from the president of the United States, I want nothing,” Trump said.

NEW: Pres. Trump reads excerpts from Amb. Sondland's testimony and claims he wanted"nothing" from Ukraine.

Sondland again asserted that the administration's efforts in Ukraine were not"irregular," insinuating that officials who described it that way may be"aggrieved" at being left out of the loop.

Ambassador Sondland said he was “shocked” to hear other American officials describe his efforts to coerce Ukraine to announce investigations sought by Trump as a “drug deal.”

“I don't recall any abrupt ending of the meeting or people storming out or anything like that,” Sondland said. “That would have been very memorable if someone had stormed out of a meeting based on something I said.”

"Did the president ever tell you personally about any preconditions for anything?" Caster asked at another point.

GOP Counsel:"So the president never told you about any preconditions for the aid to be released?"

Speaking to cameras outside the hearing during a short break, Schiff said Sondland’s testimony goes “right to the heart of bribery and high crimes and misdemeanors,” referencing the Impeachment Clause in the Constitution.

"We now can see the veneer has been torn away," Schiff said.

“I never heard from President Trump that aid was conditioned on an announcement on elections,” Sondland said.

Sondland said, before a meeting between Vice President Mike Pence and Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskiy in Warsaw on Sept. 1, he brought up to Pence that military aid to Ukraine seemed tied to investigations and that Pence responded affirmatively and said he would speak to the president about it.

"Again I don't recall any exchange or he asked me any questions. I think it was sort of a duly noted," Sondland said.

"Well, he didn't say, 'Gordon, what are you talking about?'" Goldman asked.

“Ambassador Gordon Sondland was never alone with Vice President Pence on the September 1 trip to Poland. This alleged discussion recalled by Ambassador Sondland never happened.

ABC's Katherine Faulders in the hearing room notes that the moment Sondland characterized his conversations with President Trump stood out.

He's speaking of the July 26 phone call that he had with President Trump.

"That undermines the Republican -- and Trump's -- argument that this was all about rooting out corruption," ABC News Senior Congressional Correspondent Mary Bruce says in analysis.

They report senior White House officials, including members of the counsel’s office and communications team, are glued to their televisions watching Sondland's testimony very closely.

Sources tell ABC News White House aides believe this all raises more questions specifically relating to Giuliani, Mulvaney and Pompeo as well as about the operations of the National Security Council.

"As time went on, more specific items got added to the menu, including the Burisma and 2016 election meddling, specifically the DNC server, specifically, and over this, over this continuum, it became more and more difficult to secure the white house meeting, because more conditions were being placed on the White House meeting," he said.

Sondland said today he does not recall saying that.

In describing his efforts to “break the logjam” of withholding aid to Ukraine, Sondland said he tried on multiple occasions to persuade the Ukrainians to publicly announce support for the investigations Trump sought.

“I really regret that the Ukrainians were placed in that predicament, but I do not regret doing what I could to try to break the logjam and to solve the problem,” Sondland testified.

“The call lasted five minutes. I remember I was at a restaurant in Kyiv, and I have no reason to doubt that this conversation included the subject of investigations. Again, given Mr. Giuliani’s demand that President Zelensky make a public statement about investigations, I knew that the topic of investigations was important to President Trump. We did not discuss any classified information,” he said.

Amb. Gordon Sondland says"it's true" Trump"speaks loudly at times" and he has"no reason to doubt" testimony that Trump was overheard on call asking about investigations:"I would have been more surprised if Pres. Trump had not mentioned investigations" https://t.co/76PEI9Q3ut pic.twitter.com/TQtJ6PCaTX

Sondland said of Pompeo, Perry and Mulvaney: “Everyone was in the loop" and"It was no secret."

“Their recollections of those events simply don’t square with my own,” Sondland said. “I do not recall any yelling or screaming as others have said.”

Sondland’s assertion appears to be the most explicit and credible testimony to date that the president personally ordered a quid pro quo. Sondland’s credibility has been described by other witnesses, who have described him as having a direct line to President Trump.

Sondland says it is"absolutely false" he and other pursued a kind of shadow foreign policy led by the president's personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani. He said leaders in the National Security Council, State Department, and White House were fully aware of what he and others were doing.

Amb. Gordon Sondland:"Sec. Perry, Amb. Volker and I worked with Mr. Rudy Giuliani on Ukraine matters at the express direction of the President of the United States. We did not want to work with Mr. Giuliani. Simply put, we played the hand we were dealt." https://t.co/76PEI9Q3ut pic.twitter.com/YdADyuGZUA

The trio worked with “Giuliani on Ukraine matters at the express direction of the President of the United States … we followed the President’s orders,” Sondland said, but added that “given what we knew at the time, what we were asked to do did not appear to be wrong.”

He is joined at the witness table by his counsel, Robert Luskin, a white-collar defense lawyer based in Washington, D.C.

Ranking Member Devin Nunes continued to blame Democrats for their focus on the impeachment inquiry in his opening statement, echoing similar comments from previous hearings that the entire process is politically motivated.

Schiff said the documents show"the knowledge of this scheme was far and wide," including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Vice President Mike Pence. Schiff said they obstruct the investigation"at their own peril."

"I remind the president that Article 3 of the impeachment articles drafted against President Nixon was his refusal to obey the subpoenas of Congress." https://t.co/fU9nj4vOQY pic.twitter.com/I6MxPO3e7N

Rep. Adam Schiff delivers opening statement:"Trump’s scheme undermined military and diplomatic support for a key ally and undercut U.S. anticorruption efforts in Ukraine. Trump put his personal and political interests above those of the United States." https://t.co/hR5mfTia3M pic.twitter.com/3N0LBfnQDH

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff gavels the hearing into session.

ABC News' White House reporter Katherine Faulders, reviewing Sondland's opening statement, notes this key passage:"We all understood that if we refused to work with Mr. Giuliani, we would lose an important opportunity to cement relations between the United States and Ukraine. So we followed the President's orders."

“Either way, any indication that Sondland is preparing to go before Congress to protect the president seems to be thrown away entirely with this, unless I’m reading it entirely wrong.”

- Sondland repeatedly says he was acting at the explicit direction of the president in his interactions with Rudy and says Rudy was “was expressing the desires of the President of the United States.”

ABC News' White House reporter Katherine Faulders reports White House sources are worried Sondland is the"wild card" witness.

On May 14, Sondland got a shout-out from the president at an event in Louisiana when Trump said he was doing a “great job.” In October, the president called Sondland “highly respected” and “a really good man and great American.”

Sondland hasn't said why exactly he delivered that message and whether if it was what Trump wanted.

Other witnesses though have described him as having a direct line to the president, bragging about being able to call him anytime, and who -- from an outdoor restaurant terrace in Kyiv as his colleagues listened -- assured Trump that Ukraine would do what he wants because its president"loves your ass."

Timothy Morrison, the outgoing senior official at the National Security Council focused on Russia and Europe policy, said in closed-door testimony that Sondland represented himself as acting on a"mandate" from the president"to go and make deals." Morrison said he was aware of roughly a half dozen times that Sondland and Trump spoke by phone between mid-July and mid-September when the military aid was frozen.

But one of those calls came on a key date -- July 25 -- just before Trump called Ukraine's president. According to a rough transcript of the call released by the White House, Ukraine's president mentions military aid and Trump appears to respond by asking the newly elected leader for a"favor" that includes the probe into the Bidens.

Read more: ABC News

teachon612 damning

Trump impeachment hearing live updates: Sondland blames Giuliani, Trump for 'quid pro quo'EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland will tell lawmakers this morning that Rudy Giuliani, President Trump’s personal attorney, requested a “quid pro quo for arranging a White House visit for Ukrainian President Zelensky,” and was expressing the desires of Trump. Follow along for Trump impeachment hearing live updates:

Impeachment live updates: Gordon Sondland to testify on Trump, Ukraine

Trump Impeachment Hearings: Sondland Testimony Highlights Gordon Sondland 's explosive testimony implicated both President Trump and top officials in the Ukraine pressure campaign. 'We followed the president's orders,' he said. Watch the key moments from his testimony:

Trump impeachment hearings live updates Day 4: Gordon Sondland testifies'The White House is very wary of this testimony,' jonkarl tells TomLlamasABC ahead of EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland 's testimony. 'All along, officials have been telling me he is the wild card.'

Impeachment Hearing Live Updates: Gordon Sondland Ties Trump to Ukraine Pressure CampaignGordon D. Sondland will testify that he pressured Ukraine for investigations at President Trump’s “express direction,” and with signoff from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. The ambassador also says he raised concerns with Mike Pence about an apparent linkage between Ukraine ’s military aid and the investigations.

Trump impeachment hearings live updates: Gordon Sondland testifies.GStephanopoulos as Gordon Sondland prepares to testify: 'Republicans feared he was a wild card. Now he may be turning into their worst nightmare.' MORE: Amb. Sondland: 'Mr. Giuliani was expressing the desires of the president of the United States, and we knew these investigations were important to the president.' ImpeachmentHearings Sondland: 'The way it was expressed to me was that the Ukrainians had a long history of committing to things privately and never following through. Pres. Trump presumably... wanted the Ukrainians on record, publicly, that they were going to do these investigations.'

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