U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland planned to testify at the House Intelligence Committee’s fifth public hearing in the impeachment inquiry on Wednesday morning that there was, in fact, a “quid pro quo” in President Donald Trump’s dealings with Ukraine.
According to prepared remarks released by the Washington Post and others, Sondland planned to say: “I know that members of this committee have frequently framed these complicated issues in the form of a simple question: Was there a ‘quid pro quo?’ … With regard to the requested White House call and White House meeting, the answer is yes.”
He did not confirm Democrats’ central claim — that there was a “quid pro quo” involving U.S. aid to Ukraine — but he planned to testify that he was not certain, and that he believed that the Ukrainians could help the process along by opening investigations into past interference in the 2016 election; and into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, who served on the board of a corrupt Ukrainian company, Burisma, while his father was in office.
Sondland also planned to testify that President Trump wanted Ukraine to open those specific investigations, and that he was told to work with the president’s personal lawyer, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, to make clear to the Ukrainian government that the investigations were a condition for a White House meeting.
The new administration of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky sought that meeting as a statement of U.S. support.
In his earlier deposition behind closed doors, Sondland had said that when he asked President Trump explicitly what he wanted from Ukraine, the president told him, “Nothing,” and reiterated that there was no “quid pro quo.” Sondland also testified that the president told him that he simply wanted Zelensky to do what he ran on, namely fighting corruption.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He earned an A.B. in Social Studies and Environmental Science and Public Policy from Harvard College, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.