“NO QUID PRO QUO”
by Sharon Rondeau
(Nov. 20, 2019) — At approximately 12:30 p.m. EST, former New York City Mayor and President Trump’s current attorney Rudy Giuliani responded to ongoing testimony from Ambassador to the European Union (EU) Gordon Sondland on the fourth day of “impeachment inquiry” hearings held by the House Intelligence Committee.
Sondland is the sole witness in the hearing, which began at 9:00 a.m.
From his opening statement and responses to questioning from both the majority and minority on the committee, Sondland made it clear that Trump’s directive for him and other ambassadorial staff to “talk to Rudy” as to Ukraine policy beginning in May was distasteful to him.
Sondland claimed not to recall certain conversations and disputed a number of alleged situations to which others testified last week and on Tuesday, stating that he does not normally take notes of events and that he has not been given access to documents the White House and State Department hold which would be germane to the committee’s investigation of the president.
Early on, Sondland admitted to “presuming” that a reported delay in U.S. security assistance funds to Ukraine over the summer was “tied to” Trump’s desire that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy initiate or relaunch an investigation into Ukrainian energy company Burisma Holdings and any possible Ukrainian meddling in the 2016 U.S. elections.
Giuliani reacted to Sondland’s testimony by tweeting, “Sondland is speculating based on VERY little contact. I never met him and had very few calls with him, mostly with Volker,” referring to former Special Envoy to Ukraine Kirk Volker.
Giuliani’s claim agrees with Sondland’s testimony in that Sondland said he and Giuliani interacted only very minimally after Trump recommended that they confer over Ukraine policy.
As with Sondland, Giuliani maintained there was no “quid quo pro” made by Trump to Zelenskiy on their July 25, 2019 phone call which became the subject of a whistleblower complaint.
The nine-page complaint, which came from a member of the U.S. “intelligence community,” triggered the impeachment inquiry. Chairman Adam Schiff has denied Republicans’ request that the whistleblower and other individuals testify.
“No one told me that the aid was tied to anything; I was presuming it was,” Sondland told majority counsel Daniel Goldman at 12:32.
During questioning following Giuliani’s tweet, ranking member Devin Nunes appeared to fault Sondland for failing to go to the “source” of decision-making over whether or not U.S. aid is provided to foreign countries, which Nunes said would have been President Trump.
Under questioning from Democrats, who pitted Volker’s testimony on Tuesday against Sondland’s recollections, Sondland repeated that Trump never expressed a requirement that Zelenskiy make a public statement about an investigation into Burisma and the 2016 elections before Trump would participate in a phone call with Zelenskiy or host him at the White House, a visit the diplomats said Zelenskiy very much desired.
Sondland said that at one point, he spoke with Trump on the phone in frustration over the delayed aid and the unknown reason for it to ask, “What do you want from Ukraine?” to which he said Trump’s reply was, “Nothing. I want nothing. No quid pro quo.”
Update, 1:24 p.m. EST: Martha McCallum and Sandra Smith reported that Giuliani deleted the tweet featured in this story. A tweet which appears to have replaced it reads:
At 1:26 p.m., The Post & Email noted that the original tweet reappeared:
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Sharon Rondeau has operated The Post & Email since April 2010, focusing on the Obama birth certificate investigation and other government corruption news. She has reported prolifically on constitutional violations within Tennessee’s prison and judicial systems.