Key Trump ally loses poll, witness affirms Ukraine quid pro quo

Yolanda Curtis
November 6, 2019

A key witness in the ongoing inquiry changed his stand on Tuesday and told Congressional investigators that he had asked Ukrainian officials that they had to give President Trump what he wanted, a public announcement of investigation of corruption, to unblock nearly $400 million in military aid it was supposed to get.

On Tuesday, the impeachment inquiry released the "full production of text messages" provided by Kurt Volker, the former US special envoy to Ukraine and a key player in Trump's effort to pressure Ukraine into providing political dirt.

"I said that resumption of USA aid would likely not occur until Ukraine provided the public anti-corruption statement that we had been discussing for many weeks", Mr. Sondland wrote.

Sondland says his memory was refreshed by the opening statements of two other key witnesses who have testified in the impeachment inquiry.

Sondland said he now remembers a conversation he had where he told a top Ukrainian official "that the resumption of USA aid would likely not occur until Ukraine provided the public anti-corruption statement that had been discussing for weeks". In a call over the summer, Trump had linked that request to investigating Joe Biden and the Democrats.

She added: "By contrast, Volker's testimony confirms there could not have been a quid pro quo because the Ukrainians did not know about the military aid hold at the time".

"I let the others work on it and I went back and worked on other things, because Volker and Perry were the ones who reached out to Giuliani", he said as Goldman persisted.

"If you mean that those conditions would have to be complied with prior to getting a meeting, that was my understanding", Sondland said.

"They never shared those misgivings with me, then or later".

Transcripts were also released Monday as Democrats move toward the public phase of their impeachment inquiry, with public hearings conducted by the House Intelligence and Judiciary Committees likely in the coming weeks.

Mr. Sondland, an OR hotelier appointed to the European Union post after donating $1-million to Mr. Trump's inaugural committee, had previously claimed he could not remember key conversations about the bartering of military aid for the investigations. In his updated testimony, Sondland recounted how he had discussed the linkage with Andriy Yermak, a top adviser to President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine, on the sidelines of a September 1 meeting between Vice-President Mike Pence and Zelensky in Warsaw.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., sought to draw attention to an op-ed by House Intelligence Committee chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., that argues that Trump's call to Zelensky was "just one piece" of broader wrongdoing.

Mulvaney is not expected to honor the request.

US Republicans lost a key gubernatorial race and conceded a set of state legislatures in state elections that were also seen as the first test of President Donald Trump's mounting troubles stemming from the impeachment inquiry, which has not been going too well for him. The inquiry is investigating whether Mr. Trump abused his power by soliciting foreign interference in the 2020 vote. The new information surfaced as the House committees also released a transcript of their interview last month with Kurt Volker, the former special envoy to Ukraine. On Monday, the committee made public the testimony of Marie Yovanovitch, the former USA ambassador to Ukraine, and Michael McKinley, an ex-adviser to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Other reports by iNewsToday