Gordon Sondland, the US ambassador to the European Union, testified to Congress that he believes President Trump’s actions on Ukraine amounted to a quid pro quo, his lawyer told The Wall Street Journal.
Sondland’s attorney, Robert Luskin, told the outlet that Sondland testified that a long-sought meeting between Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Trump was contingent on the Ukrainian leader publicly announcing an investigation into Burisma, the Ukrainian gas company whose board included Hunter Biden.
Asked if he thought that amounted to a “quid pro quo,” Sondland said he was not an attorney but believed it was a quid pro quo, Luskin told the Journal.
Sondland’s testimony contradicts his text messages:
Congress obtained text messages earlier this month showing that Sondland disputed that it was a “quid pro quo” in exchanges with colleagues after speaking with Trump.
"It's crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign,” Ukraine envoy Bill Taylor told Sondland earlier this year.
"The president has been crystal clear no quid pro quo's of any kind," Sondland responded.
Taylor later testified that the meeting with Zelensky and hundreds of millions in military aid allocated by congress were contingent on Zelensky announcing the probe.
Some Democrats have suggested that Sondland should return to clarify some of his statements.
Taylor gave “damning” testimony:
Taylor’s testimony was called the “most damning yet” but Democrats.
Taylor testified that the meeting with Zelensky was ‘conditioned” on the investigations.
“It was also clear that this condition was driven by the irregular policy channel I had come to understand was guided by Mr. Giuliani,” Taylor said, adding that Sondland told him “that President Trump wanted President Zelensky ‘in a public box’ by making a public statement about ordering such investigations.”
“When a businessman is about to sign a check to someone who owes him something, he said, the businessman asks that person to pay up before signing the check,” Taylor said. “Ambassador Volker used the same terms several days later . . . I argued to both that the explanation made no sense: the Ukrainians did not ‘owe’ President Trump anything, and holding up security assistance for domestic political gain was ‘crazy.’”