Source: Breitbart News
Ambassador Gordon Sondland never had any firsthand knowledge of any “quid pro quo” involving U.S. military aid for Ukraine in exchange for Ukraine conducting investigations, according to his recently released closed-door testimony as part of the impeachment inquiry.
When he was asked by the Republican counsel, “To the best of your knowledge, do you know about any preconditions on the aid?” he responded, “No.”
“There were a lot of rumors swirling around as to why the aid had been held up, including they wanted a review, they wanted Europe to do more. There were all kinds of rumors,” he added.
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He said he called the president on September 9, 2019, to find out what he wanted from Ukraine.
“He said: ‘I want nothing. I want no quid pro quo. I want Zelensky to do the right thing.’ And I said: ‘What does that mean?’ And he said: ‘I want him to do what he ran on.’ And that was the end of the conversation.”
Two days later, on September 11, 2019, the aid — which had been temporarily frozen — was released to Ukraine, without the Ukrainians having to do anything.
Sondland also testified: “I recall hearing multiple reasons why the aid was being held from various people. I never heard that it was being held specifically to investigate the Bidens. I never heard the word ‘Biden’ mentioned with aid.”
He also acknowledged that the aid was released, and Trump had a phone call and a face-to-face meeting with Zelensky at the United Nations General Assembly in September 2019 — without anything in exchange from Ukraine.
Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY) asked Sondland during the testimony: “If I understand correctly, President Trump did in fact meet with President Zelensky at the U.N. General Assembly, correct?”
Sondland responded, “That’s correct.”
However, after Sondland’s testimony was released last week, Democrats seized on a portion in which Sondland said he told an aide to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on September 1, 2019, that the resumption of U.S. aid “would likely not occur until Ukraine provided the public anti-corruption statement that we had been discussing for many weeks.”
However — Sondland had also testified that he had only “presumed” the aid suspension had become linked to the proposed anti-corruption statement. His conversation with Zelensky’s aide also came before his direct call with the president.
Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC), who attended Sondland’s testimony, also highlighted that in a recent tweet.
“Folks, if someone tells you Gordon Sondland affirmed quid pro quo, you’re being lied to. He didn’t say this. He said he *did not know* what happened, but he began to *assume* aid was tied to an anti-corruption statement. President Trump corrected Sondland on this, shortly after,” Meadows tweeted.