Maybe the most important sentence did not take place until almost two hours later. Gordon Sondland, US Ambassador to the European Union, had come to the House Representatives' Committee on Intelligence on Wednesday morning to testify against Donald Trump as part of the impeachment investigation. "I've never heard President Trump personally tell you that the aid is linked to the announcement of investigations," said Sondland. He meant the disbursement of military aid to Ukraine. And probably disappointed the hopes of many Democrats to finally connect the president directly with the Ukraine affair. Sondland should be her most important witness.
But Sondland's statements do not weigh on the president as clearly as would have been expected from the accounts of other previously heard witnesses. The 62-year-old apparently played an important role as a transmitter of Trump's demands on the Ukrainian government and should have closely coordinated with the US president. And indeed, the diplomat said in his inaugural statement that there was a quid pro quo with Ukraine. Trump had made an invitation from Ukrainian President Volodimir Selenskyj to the White House to begin the investigation into the Bidens. But as a source for this information he calls only Trump's lawyer Rudy Giuliani.
Giuliani has told Sondland "that Trump wants a public confession from President Selenskyj, in which he confesses to investigations against Burisma and in relation to the 2016 election." The reference to the election concerns the question of whether Ukraine intervened in favor of the Democrats in the US presidential election of 2016. According to Sondland, Giuliani has carried out the will of the President. But this information comes, as so often in previous hearings, only second-hand. So if Sondland tells the truth, it is still possible that Giuliani was logging on his own and orchestrating the attempted barter with Ukraine.
word agains word
It was the fourth day of public hearings before Parliament. Donald Trump is accused of abuse of office. He is said to have urged the Kiev government to investigate his political rival Joe Biden and his son Hunter, who sat for five years on the board of the Ukrainian energy company Burisma. The US President, so the allegation, the The payment of $ 391 million in military assistance was linked to the commencement of the investigation. On the basis of this offense, the Democrats are considering whether they would formally initiate a suspension of proceedings against the President in the House of Representatives.
As for military aid, Trump never told him that their payout was dependent on the investigation, Sondland said. He had only come to the conclusion that it had to be that way. The name Biden also Trump never mentioned to Sondland in this context. He also does not want to remember mentioning the name Biden in a conversation with David Holmes. Holmes is a staff member of the US embassy in Kiev, he testified last Friday that he had overheard a conversation between Trump and Sondland in July. Afterwards Sondland said that the US president is not interested in Ukraine, but for the Bidens.
Sondland confirms the statement Holmes only partially. Although Trump and he had talked about investigations, he had "no memories of mentioning the vice president or his son," said Sondland. Neither during the call nor after. So now is statement against statement.