United States Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland told the lawmakers during the televised impeachment hearing against President Donald Trump that there was a quid pro quo between investigation in Ukraine and the meeting of President Volodymyr Zelensky with the US leader. On November 20, as Sondland was asked about holding the military assistance for the Ukrainian government until an official announcement was made by President Zelensky about the investigation, the ambassador believes there was some exchange of favour.
“I know that members of this committee frequently framed these complicated issues in the form of a simple question. Was there a quid pro quo? As I testified previously, with regard to the requested White House call and the White House meeting, the answer is yes", Sondland told members of the House Select Committee on Intelligence.
The impeachment probe against Donald Trump, initiated by House Democrats conducted the fourth day of televised impeachment hearings on November 20. Democrats have alleged the US leader that there was a 'betrayal to the constitution' by asking a foreign government to launch an enquiry against former Vice President Joe Biden's son, Hunter in exchange of military assistance. The centre of the entire probe is the call between President Trump and President Zelensky on July 25 which according to Democrats is the prime testimony and a significant example of quid pro quo. White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham stressed that there was no quid pro quo between the two governments.
After further questions, Sondland also testified that he was tired with all the assumptions that were going around the Trump administration. Therefore, one day the US ambassador to EU confronted President Trump and asked what does he want from Ukraine, to which the US leader replied, 'I want nothing'. Sondland admits hearing all 'these things' in the White House and Grisham took this statement to assert that there was no favour which was exchanged between the governments. The US aide to Ukraine was given without any condition and no investigation was launched, Grisham also said that President Trump had met with President Zelensky and all the allegations by the Democrats are false because they 'keep chasing ghosts'. President Trump had also retweeted the statement made by Sondland saying 'witchhunt must end now'.
Impeachment Witch Hunt is now OVER! Ambassador Sondland asks U.S. President (me): “What do you want from Ukraine? I keep hearing all these different ideas & theories. What do you want? It was a very abrupt conversation. He was not in a good mood. He (the President) just said,”...— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 20, 2019
....”I WANT NOTHING! I WANT NOTHING! I WANT NO QUID PRO QUO! TELL PRESIDENT ZELENSKY TO DO THE RIGHT THING!” Later, Ambassador Sondland said that I told him, “Good, go tell the truth!” This Witch Hunt must end NOW. So bad for our Country!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 20, 2019
After his earlier testimony on the lines of what Donald Trump wanted, he said military assistance was being withheld until Zelensky agreed to release the statement about fighting corruption. Furthermore, he had assured that the proposed arrangement was the truth because it was Sondland who had carried the message to the Ukrainian official during the sidelines of a conference in Warsaw along with Vice President Mike Pence. After the recent hearing, the chair issued a statement saying that it shows the 'progression of efforts' by the US President. The testimonies made public were of US ambassadors, Sondland and the former United States Representative for Ukraine Negotiations, Kurt Volker. However, then Sondland said that he made the 'Biden Burisma connection'.