Politics

Impeachment flops as Ambassador Sondland says he ‘presumed’ Ukrainian military assistance was ‘likely’ being conditioned, but nobody told him it was

U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland issued a new statement on Nov. 4 to the House Intelligence Committee that he “presumed” military assistance to Ukraine was “likely” being conditioned by the administration when he spoke to a Ukrainian presidential aide on Sept. 1, but that he “did not know… when, why, or by whom the aid was suspended…”

In any sane world, this would be the end of the impeachment farce by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.). Per Sondland, there was no communication from the White House, President Donald Trump or his attorney, Rudy Giuliani, to leverage Ukraine using military assistance — the heart of the allegation against the President.

From the testimony, “I now do recall a conversation on September 1, 2019, in Warsaw with [Zelensky presidential aide Andriy] Yermak. This brief pull-aside conversation followed the larger meeting involving Vice President Pence and President Zelensky, in which President Zelensky had raised the issue of the suspension of U.S. aid to Ukraine directly with Vice President Pence. After that large meeting, I now recall speaking individually with Mr. Yermak, where I said that resumption of U.S. aid would likely not occur until Ukraine provided the public anti-corruption statement we had been discussing for many weeks.”

But, he didn’t know. Here, Yermak says he was speculating: “I always believed that suspending aid to Ukraine was ill-advised, although I did not know (and still do not know) when, why, or by whom the aid was suspended. However, by the beginning of September 2019, and in the absence of any credible explanation for the suspension of aid, I presumed that the aid suspension had become linked to the proposed anti-corruption statement.”

On Aug. 28, Politico broke the story that the U.S. had decided to pause U.S. military assistance to Ukraine, days before the planned meeting, which is how Ukrainian officials had learned about it.

Then the meeting in Warsaw happened, and the issue was raised there by both Zelensky and afterward by Yermak. But if Sondland was “presuming” the aid was being leveraged, and told Ukrainian presidential aide Yermak that the military assistance would “likely” not resume until the statement had been issued, then he was guessing.

Meaning, there was no quid pro quo. Nowhere does Sondland say the White House had told him to tie military aid to any statement by Ukraine.

Of course that’s not stopping major media outlets from reporting what they want the testimony to mean. They think Sondland is their star witness.

“Sondland reverses himself on Ukraine, confirming quid pro quo,” reported Politico.

“The guy Trump cited as proof there wasn’t a quid pro quo just said there was a quid pro quo,” blared Rolling Stone.

“With revised statement, Sondland adds to testimony linking aid to Ukraine investigations that Trump sought,” the Washington Post added.

“It was a corrupt quid pro quo,” the Atlantic found.

The anti-corruption statement by Ukraine that had been sought was that they were looking at origins of the Russiagate investigation and potential corruption at Burisma Holdings, but not in exchange for military assistance but a sought-after meeting between President Donald Trump and Ukrainan President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Per Sondland’s updated testimony, in May 2019, “scheduling a White House visit for President Zelensky was conditioned upon President Zelensky’s agreement to make a public anti-corruption statement. This condition had been communicated by Rudy Giuliani, with whom President Trump directed Ambassador Volker, Secretary Perry and me, on May 23, 2019, to discuss issues related to the President’s concerns about Ukraine.”

But those conditions were dropped. Because the Sept. 1 Warsaw meeting was originally supposed to be Trump and Zelensky but an imminent hurricane had Pence traveling there instead, facilitating such a statement had already abandoned by State Department officials.

According to former United States Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations Kurt Volker’s Oct. 3 testimony, “To my knowledge, the news about a hold on security assistance did not get into Ukrainian Government circles, as indicated to me by the current foreign minister, then diplomatic adviser, until the end of August. And by the time that we had that, we had dropped the idea of even looking at a statement” in exchange for a meeting.

Further, Volker was asked about the conditioning the meeting, “Did the President ever withhold a meeting with President Zelensky… until the Ukrainians committed to investigate the allegations… concerning the 2016 election?”

To which, Volker replied, “The answer to the question is no… there was no linkage.” And we now know that because the Sept. 1 meeting in Warsaw — which again, was supposed to be Trump and Zelensky not Pence — had already been scheduled.

Now, perhaps the reason for that is Trump became satisfied by what Zelensky had told him in the July 25 phone call, where Zelensky pledged to look into both potential Ukrainian origins of the Russiagate investigation by intelligence agencies and the Justice Department falsely accusing the President and his campaign of being Russian agents, which had been debunked by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, and looking at potential corruption in Burisma Holdings.

On the Russiagate investigation, without any preconditions communicated by Trump — the President just asked nicely — Zelensky said, “Yes, it is very important for me and everything that you just mentioned earlier… I also plan to surround myself with great people and in addition to that investigation, I guarantee as the President of Ukraine that all the investigations will be done openly and candidly. That I can assure you.”

And on Burisma, again without any pressure from Trump, Zelensky said, “I understand and I’m knowledgeable about the situation… Since we have won the absolute majority in our Parliament, the next prosecutor general will be 100 percent my person, my candidate, who will be approved by the parliament and will start as new prosecutor in September. He or she will look into the situation, specifically to the company that you mentioned in this issue. The issue of the investigation of the case is actually the issue of making sure to restore the honesty so we will take care of that and work on the investigation of the case.”

As for military assistance, both Trump and Zelensky blasted Europe for not doing more, and Zelensky thanked the U.S. for everything it was doing. Trump said, “I will say that we do a lot for Ukraine. We spend a lot of effort and a lot of time. Much more than the European countries are doing and they should be helping you more than they are. Germany does almost nothing for you… A lot of the European countries are the same way so I think it’s something you want to look at…”

To which Zelensky replied, “Yes you are absolutely right. Not only 100 percent, but actually 1000 percent and I can tell you the following:  I did talk to Angela Merkel and I did meet with her. I also met and talked with Macron and I told them they are not doing quite as much as they need to be doing on the issues with the sanctions. They are not enforcing the sanctions. They are not working as much as they should work for Ukraine. It turns out that even though logically, the European Union should be our biggest partner but technically the United States is a much bigger partner…”

A month later, Trump was set to meet Zelensky on Sept. 1. And then a hurricane hit and so did the Politico story about military aid being paused. That’s when Trump canceled his trip and Pence went in his stead, and then Sondland says he surmised that the military assistance was tied to the statement.

But when he circled back to the White House, he found out he was wrong. In Sondland’s original testimony on Oct. 17, he said he asked Trump directly what he wanted out of Ukraine, and Trump said nothing: “On September 9, 2019, Acting Charge de Affairs/Ambassador William Taylor raised concerns about the possibility that Ukrainians could perceive a linkage between U.S. security assistance and the President’s 2020 reelection campaign. Taking the issue seriously, and given the many versions of speculation that had been circulating about the security aid, I called President Trump directly. I asked the President: ‘What do you want from Ukraine?’ The President responded, ‘Nothing. There is no quid pro quo.’ The President repeated: ‘no quid pro quo’ multiple times. This was a very short call. And I recall the President was in a bad mood.”

Two days later, on Sept. 11, the military assistance was released. On Sept. 25, Zelensky spoke with reporters at his meeting with Trump in New York saying, that “nobody pushed me.”

If there’s no victim, where’s the crime?

Sondland now says he made he “presumed” that military assistance was “likely” being conditioned directly following the Sept. 1 meeting between Vice President Pence and Zelensky where the issue of the lapse in military funding was raised. But he was wrong. Barring any other disclosures, it appears Sondland was the source of the confusion.

That will probably not be enough for Pelosi and Schiff — they are too committed at this point. But if Zelensky says there was no pressure, neither Trump nor Pence conveyed any conditions on the aid, and the only person who communicated that the military assistance was being conditioned by the administration now says he was assuming that it was, then that’s it. This is a dead end.

From Daily Torch – By Robert Romano

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Steve
2 years ago

I had always believed that Nancy Pelosi was too smart to get caught up in this but I guess she isn’t.

Steve
2 years ago

Its clear here that no one really knew what was going on which is perfect for the Dems since they
can create whatever story they want. This is all nonsense and shows the desparation the dems have
as they realize they cannot beat Trump next year. We all know that there at least 5 other get Trump
schemes in place now to replace this Ukraine BS when it eventually blows over.

Dove
2 years ago

The new President of Ukraine won based on getting rid of the mass corruption in the previous administration. Like our deep state, their corruption reached into everything and many other countries. The Ukraine is investigating Bidens and many others in different countries and their corruption with the previous Ukraine administration. Do the dems/libs/Soros lackeies/socialist-communist and their friends who want to cut off our heads or worse or enslave us think they are going to dictate to the new Ukraine President and his staff, who will NOT be hold-overs from the previous administration (our current mistake), what they can and cannot investigate? The Ukraine will investigate and the world will know the results. The Ukraine president will not get reelected again if he cannot get rid of the corruption in his country and make those guilty of extreme corruption in the past accountable. We also have a US law that has been ignored by previous Presidents that we are not to give aid money to a foreign country that is corrupt.

‘Nonymus
2 years ago

Impeachment has been a diversion ever since its inception. All about keeping Trump busy to avoid him draining the swamp. Best thing he could have done was to fire every obama appointee on his first day in office. Day two, shadow every Democrat with investigations of their treason. Day three, start investigating all the rinos in office for their double treason.

Barb
2 years ago

It would be a good thing if the USA folks stop buying these false and lying reports in the newspapers….the newspapers are a force within themselves which keep these lies going.

HAL HOFFMAN
2 years ago

IF RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT STOPS YOU FROM BEING INVESTIGATED, HALF THE DEMORATS IN THE COUNTRY ARE RUNNING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
SO LET’S SEE! IF YOU ARE A DEMORAT, AND ARE RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT, YOU CANNOT BE INVESTIGATED, AND IF YOU ARE A REPUBLICAN RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT, YOU MUST BE INVESTIGATED?????? OHHHH! NOW I GET IT!

Karen Dodd Pillsbury
2 years ago

I do not understand why America continues to take this Bulling from the Democrat Party. They have committed an abuse of power with their lies and wasting money and valuable time, while they constantly trying to discredit the President. Our taxpayer money has been funding this sham too long. As a taxpayer, I am tired of the Democratic Party not doing their job to help strengthen and support America, and our President, but out to destroy one person – the US President. Clean HOUSE- get rid of all of the congressman and women that refuse to stand and recite the Pledge of Allegiance, refuse to support our President and continue their excuses on why they are not doing their job because they are too busy do nothing but looking for fault with the United States President. They are making the U.S. look weak and like fools. I for one am tired of the Democratic Party’s constant whining and childish tantrums.

El Ey
2 years ago

It is so disturbing and frightening that the current generation who are totally oblivious of history and truth have the loudest mouth who spew ignorance, I-don’t-care attitude, and gimme-gimme what I want right now. I pray that they will come to their senses that they are the ones who will endure the consequences when they are subjected to high taxes and the big government dictating how they should live their lives. Let’s all pray that these young people will open their eyes to the truth and the light. God help us all.

Jack
2 years ago

Just attended a Trump Rally in my hometown. It was refreshing and delightful to hear him (President Trump) talk with such enthusiasm even with all the BS he has had to put up with. President Trump has accomplished more in 3 years even being bombarded by the insane Democrats. Stiff and Pignosi ,along with Killary should be banned from the USA never to return. The people who back those crazies wanting everything for free should want President Trump keeping the economy going to finance their handouts. All those handouts can and will be canceled when they can not be afforded. God Bless President Trump and the United States of America. FOUR MORE YEARS!!!!!

El Ey
2 years ago
Reply to  Jack

And let’s all hope and pray that no DemonRats/Liberals/Progressives will EVER get any government power back.

Diane
2 years ago

So he knew nothing about nothing. Not how the media will play it though.

dino
2 years ago

When will this idiotic impeachment farce end and the democ rats get back to doing what they are elected and paid to do,HELP RUN THE COUNTRY,DAMMIT,get off of your lazy bottoms and help make the country recover from NONObamba.

Robert M
2 years ago

They need to charge the Democratic Party with planning a COUP TO TAKE DOWN OUR GREAT PRESIDENT! Put them on Trail and if found Guilty kick them our of Congress or the Death penalty!

Pete from St Pete
2 years ago

I support the right of Democrats to criticize the President in any way they want to. I do NOT support their right to side step the 6th Amendment and not let him face his accuser. I revile the media that does not print all the facts and passes on lies and innuendos. The moral health of our great country relies on adherence to the Constitution by all sides in all disputes.

Dennis
2 years ago

There is no smoking gun with which to charge Trump with anything. The whole impeachment thing is a farce, a scam, a continuation of the failed witch hunt called the Mueller Investigation.

Ed J
2 years ago

What is a conspiratron? A conspiratron is the lens and self-serving filter through which an unprincipled (being nice here) politician inputs information about innocuous events to create outputs of [email protected] indictments against one’s political adversaries. Sound familiar? Of course, this is exactly the mechanism Pelosi, Schiff, their toadies, et al., are using to perpetrate the sham impeachment circus against President Trump. The unfortunate consequence of all this nonsense is that it is so destructive to our national fabric. It is accomplishing nothing less than the widening and intensifying of divisions between various groups of Americans, when we should be expending our energy on unifying Americans. As President Trump would say, “So sad.”

PaulE
2 years ago

All these so called “witnesses”, many of which were neither on the call nor have any first hand knowledge of the call itself, are stating their personal opinions and biases, NOT facts. The transcript, which has already been released and stated as accurate by the Presidents of both the United States and Ukraine, is freely available to everyone to read. Read it if you haven’t already done so, because it clearly shows there was nothing illegal or unethical done on the call. Case closed!!!

There was no quid pro quo. There was no “implied threat” as so many Democrats and their complicit media partners continue to state endlessly. Parading a series of Obama era hold-overs and deep state useful idiots before Schiff’s Stalinesque style closed door “inquiry” doesn’t make any of their testimony true or nullify the factual truth laid out in the actual call’s transcript. So bottom line, there is no there there. Nothing with which to legitimately impeach a President over. Of course, that’s not to say the Democrat controlled House isn’t going to move full steam ahead with impeachment anyway. That has been their plan since the day Trump was sworn in.

Their 2020 Presidential candidates have nothing to run on that would benefit this nation (actually they would all destroy it if they gained controlled of both houses of Congress and the White House), so their only hope of a Democrat Presidential win is try and persuade enough ignorant people out there that Trump must have somehow been guilty of something and thus the House had to impeach him. The same idiots out there that keep voting for the likes of Pelosi, Schiff, waters, AOC, etc. are certainly dumb enough to buy whatever the media and Democrat leadership spoon feeds them every night. So we will continue to waste millions in taxpayer dollars on these so-called Congressional hearings (the show) that have no value.

What surprises me somewhat, but less and less every day, is that so many Americans are willing to continue to put up with this nonsense. Especially after just having gone through over two years of a equally unfounded, worthless and ridiculously expensive taxpayer funded Mueller investigation against Trump on so-called Russian collusion.

Donna Van Fossen
2 years ago

This impeachment nonsense needs to stop and the house needs to get back to the business of taking care of the real problems facing the country. Stop this persecution of the best president we have had in many years. Lets start impeachment against Pelosi and Schiff!

Karen Dodd Pillsbury
2 years ago

Totally agree. Enough of this nonsense. Let’s get back to the real problems facing our country.

Burton Paully
2 years ago

This whole debacle is just a slew of democRATS trying to oust the best President I can remember from office. Everyone knows that nearly every nation receiving aid from the U’SA is basically crooked. The GOP had better back our POTUS , or there’ll be repercussions beyond what the dumboCRATS ever imagined. Sic -em POTUS.

Bob Olden
2 years ago

The Democrats have taught me the clear meaning of two of the practices in which they have amazing skills: “Grasping at straws” and “Constructing a narrative”. I should add that they are also shrewd at “changing the rules”, “dragging their feet”, and “applying a double standard”. They surely have all studied at Alinski’s School for Radical Undemocratic Change of Presidents We Don’t Like.

Jimm
2 years ago
Reply to  Bob Olden

They can’t be “grasping at straws” because they outlawed straws – or is this another double standard from two-faced people?

Mary A Morris
2 years ago
Reply to  Bob Olden

That’s the truth!

Diana
2 years ago

You missed a critical point. Someone was asking for an anti-corruption statement, not a an investigation of Joe Biden.

Jimm
2 years ago
Reply to  Diana

And more’s the pity that.

Saunders
2 years ago

We have to take democrats seriously and defend accordingly: after all, people keep voting for democrats (they elected obama twice)
The truth doesn’t matter anymore so let’s take off the gloves and start attacking them the same way they are attacking our president.
.

Vikki Crosley
2 years ago
Reply to  Saunders

I’m not sure they could withstand the scrutiny that the President has gone under…it would be nice to see them squirm. The dossier investigation will be out soon and it will be interesting to see how they handle that.

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