Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland testified Wednesday in the fifth public hearing of Democrats’ impeachment inquiry that President Trump never talked to him personally about preconditions on “anything” having to do with Ukraine.
Democrats have accused Trump of withholding a White House meeting and $400 million military aid for Ukraine in exchange for Ukraine trying to dig up dirt on political rivals. However, Sondland — a key witness in their case — testified that he never heard the president personally talk about any preconditions.
The Republican counsel Steve Castor asked Sondland: “Did the president ever tell you personally about pre-conditions for anything?”
Sondland responded, “No.”
Castor asked: “OK, so the president never told you about any preconditions for the aid to be released?”
Again Sondland responded, “No.”
Finally, Castor asked: “The president never told you about any preconditions for a White House meeting?”
Sondland responded, “Personally, no.”
Sondland said Giuliani had asked for a statement from Ukraine that would commit them to help with an ongoing U.S. investigation into the origins of the Russia collusion hoax and Burisma, a Ukrainian natural gas company whose CEO was under investigation at the time they hired Hunter Biden to sit on its board for $50,000 a month and then-Vice President Joe Biden called for the firing of Ukraine’s then-prosecutor general.
When asked by Castor if Giuliani’s request was expressing the desires of Trump himself, Sondland said he only assumed that.
He said he assumed it because Trump had said “talk to Rudy,” during a May 23 meeting when Sondland and several others tried to get Trump to engage with the newly-elected Ukrainian president.
“I’m not testifying that I heard the president tell Guiliani to tell us,” Sondland said.
Sondland also testified earlier in his testimony that he called Trump on September 9 to ask what he wanted from Ukraine.
He said Trump told him that he wanted “nothing” from Ukraine. “No quid pro quo,” he said Trump told him.
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