State Dept. Worried about Defending Ambassador

Yolanda Curtis
November 6, 2019

"There was no quid pro quo in that conversation".

He has "written the whole process off", Graham told reporters when asked if he would read newly released transcripts of testimony given by former US envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker and Gordon Sondland, the USA ambassador to the European Union. Sondland also admitted that he assumed-though he didn't know for a fact-that the deal was probably illegal.

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

House Democrats on Tuesday also released transcripts of the full-day hearings of Sondland and Kurt Volker, former US ambassador to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.

He had earlier testified that Mr. Trump was clear that there was no quid pro quo for releasing USA military assistance.

House investigators have released the deposition given behind closed doors by former Ambassador Kurt Volker, who served as a special USA envoy to Ukraine for its peace negotiations.

"This is about more than just one call", Schiff wrote on November 5 in an op-ed in USA Today.

Democrats accuse Trump of misusing taxpayer dollars destined for a vulnerable USA ally for personal political gain.

Separately on Tuesday, House investigators released text messages from Taylor in which he expressed concerns to Volker that he was "struggling" with a decision to take the top Ukraine job because he was anxious whether anyone could "succeed with the Giuliani-Biden issue swirling for the next 18 months".

Sondland testified that he spoke with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo about Giuliani, and Pompeo rolled his eyes.

The ambassador initially testified on October 17 that he did not "recall taking part in any effort to encourage an investigation into the Bidens".

The White House later released a memorandum of the July 25 Trump-Zelensky call, and it showed that while Trump sought an investigation into the Biden family for corruption, he did not explicitly leverage military aid in order to get Ukraine to investigate.

Volker and Sondland both testified they were disappointed after briefing Trump at the White House upon their return from Zelenskiy's inauguration in May.

As Conway went on to rail against the Ukraine whistleblower, she repeatedly slammed Sondland for his presumptions about the message he carried on Trump's behalf. I don't want to give them anything and I don't want anything from them.

Trump told the diplomats to work with Giuliani on Ukraine issues.

US President Donald Trump promised "unwavering" support for Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity in May this year, following Volodymyr Zelensky's victory in Ukraine's presidential election, as a letter published by The Daily Beast showed. At Giuliani's urging, that statement needed to have an "insert at end with 2 key items:" Burisma and the 2016 USA elections.

McKinley said he was later told "it would be better to let this die down" rather than draw "undue attention" to Yovanovitch. "It doesn't sound good".

In one of his many interviews with Kansas media, Pompeo called the New Jersey senator a coastal elitist who "can't understand how someone would want to go to (an) incredible place like Kansas" - a turn of phrase that would not sound out of place in a campaign.

By September, Sondland also told investigators, Trump was in a "bad mood" and almost hung up on him when the ambassador asked what it was he wanted from Ukraine.

"If it were today, I don't think there's any question it would not lead to a removal", Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters on Tuesday, adding that the duration of any trial would depend on how long senators want to take. Intelligence Committee member Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas) tweeted that, "Based on all the testimony so far, I believe that Ambassador Gordon Sondland committed perjury".

As House investigators released more transcripts on November 5, they also announced they want to hear from Trump's acting chief of staff and a top aide to Pence, reaching to the highest levels of the White House.

Sondland said that "until Rudy was satisfied the president wasn't going to change his mind".

At a closed-door lunch on November 5, Pence told Senate Republicans the funds were being withheld over concerns that the Europeans weren't contributing enough aid and issues of corruption in Ukraine, according to a person familiar with the meeting but unauthorized to discuss it and granted anonymity.

Other witnesses who were also requested to appear Wednesday but were not expected to come include Energy Secretary Rick Perry, acting director of the Office of Management and Budget Russell Vought, and State Department counselor T. Ulrich Brechbuhl.

Meanwhile, investigators said they wanted to hear on November 8 from Trump's acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney. Ukraine's success exemplifies the triumph of democracy over resurgent despotism.

McConnell said he believes Trump will stay in the White House.

Pompeo was also not in a photo proudly released by Trump of the raid that killed the Islamic State group's leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, instead attending the wedding of his son's friend in Kansas.

Sondland closed his addendum to the House investigators saying he may have had a second call with Trump, but has been unable to obtain phone records and "cannot specifically recall" if that was the case.

Other reports by iNewsToday