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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R shoemaker

It really does not matter. A President of the United States is free to DEMAND that a country receiving aid from us investigate a possible crime that was covered up by a previous administration and the press. That is NOT asking them to interfere in our elections. It is asking them to tell us just what went on the THEIR country at the time. Nothing to see here folks – this is not a high crime‼️‼️ When this gets to the Senate, it will laugh the Dims out of D.C.

Jane Runey

There are no “dead ends” for the Dems. I think much of America is as sick and tired of their ridiculous attempts to remove a President we elected as I am. There just is no justification for their actions. They won’t do the business of the country they were hired to do because they are really deranged by Trump and his success in spite of all their attempts to bring him down. They all need to retire, or be voted out, as they are no longer public servants, if they ever really were.

Shuttle Guy

In the end the Senate needs to have a trial to prove how treasonous the Dem’s really are. THEN, they can start to charge all of the traitors involve in this COUP!

Rick J.

An impeachment in search of a valid reason. The democrats are demonstrating why, they should NEVER again be allowed to hold power.

Veteran

This so clearly illustrates that we need an Article V Convention of States, not just for term limits, but also to clarify that violations of their oath of office and the Bill of Rights by Congressmen will no longer be tolerated. Congress should no longer have special health care, pensions, be allowed to engage in insider trading, or enjoy immunity from prosecution after the examples of Soviet style government KGB/MAFIA behavior we have witnessed in the last few years. Violations of free speech, violations of due process, violations of 2nd amendment rights, the leaking of classified information, the evil clown shows in hearings and kangaroo courts, while they are at the same time leaving our borders wide open, ruining our once thriving cities to resemble third world countries, and cheering on efforts to ruin our economy. The President should not be impeached, he has done more to save our country… Read more »

Merri1

If only we had an honesty media who could report the truth!

J. FARLEY

I DON’T GIVE A FLYING FLIP IF IT WAS A QUID PRO QUE AS LONG AS PRESIDENT TRUMP DOESN’T GAINS PERSONALLY HE CAN DO WHAT EVERY HE WANTS TO FIND OUT WHY THE DUMMYCRATS ARE GETTING RUSSIA INVOLVED IN OUR ELECTIONS, THE LOONY’S ON THE LEFT WILL STOP AT NOTHING TO DESTROY AMERICA , WAKE UP AMERICA YOUR COUNTRY IS GOING TO HELL !!!!!!

Saunders

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.
.

Bob Olden

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.

David Allain

Don’t forget that the Democrats, who say that they are defending the Constitution, previously felt that the Electoral College was wrong. They will say and do anything to hurt Trump, and the country if it hurts Trump. The Democrats are the ones fostering racism and ignoring people’s rights.

Diana

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

Anna Petrocelli

Why so…..much fuss over something that the President said or did not say anyway. This same situation was affirmed by President Clinton a few years ago who believed that a President has the right to put conditions to what we so freely offer to other countries, (I do not recall the quote verbatim). All I am reiterating is that if one president can affirm such a condition why not another. I am so sick of this persecution to this President.

Josephine pooley

OBVIOUSLY to anyone with any understanding this is a farce!

PaulE

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… Read more »

Donna Van Fossen

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!

Dennis

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.

VEE CROWDER

THESE COMMIE DEMS WILL TRY ANYTHING TO RAILROAD PRESIDENT TRUMP… I CANNOT BELIEVE THAT AMERICANS WOULD VOTE FOR ANY COMMIE DEM…THEY COMMIE DEMS HAS SO MUCH CORRUPTION.. i AM POSTING SAUL ALINSKY’S RULE FOR RADICALS..READ THEM AND YOU WILL KNOW EXACTLY WHAT THE COMMIE DEMS ARE DOING… THEY HAVE AN AGENDA FOR AMERICA AND IT IS NOT GOOD.. Saul Alinsky’s 12 Rules for Radicals… Here is the complete list from Alinsky. RULE 1: “Power is not only what you have, but what the enemy thinks you have.” Power is derived from 2 main sources – money and people. “Have-Nots” must build power from flesh and blood. (These are two things of which there is a plentiful supply. Government and corporations always have a difficult time appealing to people, and usually do so almost exclusively with economic arguments.) RULE 2: “Never go outside the expertise of your people.” It results in… Read more »

Burton Paully

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.

Robert M

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!

Karen Dodd Pillsbury

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… Read more »