Gordon Sondland amended his testimony to say that Trump explicitly demanded Ukraine investigate his rivals in order to get U.S. military aid.
Donald Trump explicitly demanded that Ukraine announce investigations into his political rivals if the country wanted to receive hundreds of millions of dollars in military aid critical to the country's fight against Russian aggression, according to new transcripts from the House impeachment inquiry released on Tuesday.
Gordon Sondland, a Trump donor turned U.S. ambassador to the European Union, testified that he told an adviser to the Ukrainian president that "resumption of U.S. aid would likely not occur until Ukraine provided the public anti-corruption statement that we had been discussing for many weeks."
Sondland's admission that there was not only a quid pro quo, but that he was a key figure in demanding it, came in amended testimony to House investigators.
Sondland had initially sat for questioning for 10 hours, in which he downplayed his involvement in the scheme to get Ukraine to involve itself in the 2020 presidential election by announcing an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden, a Democratic presidential hopeful. However, he returned to investigators to say that he was more involved than he initially let on.
Sondland has been a key figure in the impeachment probe since its early days.
Text messages between Sondland, former Ukrainian envoy Kurt Volker, and top U.S. Ukrainian ambassador Bill Taylor were released in the early days of the investigation. They showed that Sondland knew the demand for investigations in exchange for military aid to Ukraine was troubling.
Of course, even acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney confirmed there was a quid pro quo with Ukraine, before ultimately trying to walk back that comment.
House investigators have called Mulvaney to testify on Friday — something he's unlikely to do given that Trump has issued a gag order on his staff from cooperating with investigators. Some officials have ignored that order, while other Trump appointees, such as Energy Secretary Rick Perry and Office of Management and Budget Director Russell Vought, have ignored legally congressional subpoenas.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.