He’s just one guy, but U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland’s testimony today before the House Intelligence Committee should be enough to sink the impeachment inquiry. It contradicts other testimony from witnesses, which may seem like a wash, but there’s a big difference between what he said today and what others have said before that makes his testimony much more solid.
His testimony actually makes sense and doesn’t require mental backflips in order to jibe with everything else we know about the relationship between the United States and Ukraine. Members of the Freedom Caucus gave us the highlights on Twitter for those of us in the cheap seats:
➡️ The president never told you about any preconditions for aid?
➡️ The president never told you about any preconditions for a White House meeting?
— Rep Andy Biggs (@RepAndyBiggsAZ) November 20, 2019
The most important quote out of this hearing so far:
Sondland: "I've never heard from President Trump that the aid was conditioned on the investigations." He reached this conclusion on his own.
So, in short, yet another witness who can't testify to the Democrats' accusations.
— Mark Meadows (@RepMarkMeadows) November 20, 2019
Before sending that text, Ambassador Sondland had a phone call with the President.
Sondland asked President Trump “what do you want from Ukraine?”
— Rep. Jim Jordan (@Jim_Jordan) November 5, 2019
In a sane world, the matter would be near completion. All we need is a couple more pieces of testimony confirming Sondland’s opinion and it should be done. Unlike witnesses who said they believe the President was pressuring, or as the Democrats are now saying, “bribing” Ukraine, Sondland has offered the only insights into the President’s actual words. He asked the President directly and the President was unambiguous with his response.
Democrats are under a lot of pressure to prove their premise and it’s not getting any easier as witnesses continue to fail to demonstrate bribery or, as in Sondland’s case, directly refute it. The American people are divided mostly along party lines, but Independents are increasingly opposed to the impeachment process. All the Democrats have is innuendo and speculation while the concrete record of events clearly works against their premise.
There were problems for the White House within Sondland’s testimony, which actually plays well for the President. He’s clearly not advocating on the President’s behalf as he seems willing to “throw everyone under the bus,” which makes his direct answer to the important questions even more credible.
Democrats will try to use Sondland to support impeachment based on quid pro quo, but Ambassador Gordon Sondland admitted in his opening statement he didn’t know if military aid was tied to Ukraine investigations. A White House phone call was tied to probes, he believes.
Sondland again confirms that he asked the President why military aid was suspended and never got an answer. He decided on his own that it was tied to the statement on investigations. President Trump never told him that or ordered it.
However, Sondland is throwing everyone under the bus in a huge cover his butt move. He can’t remember meetings, doesn’t take notes, and hasn’t seen State Department documents to refresh his memory.
Sondland sounded angry that he wasn’t included in every conversation.
If the President really attempted to bribe Ukraine, he did it so poorly that they received everything they asked for while giving noting in return. That alone should be a nail in the Democrats coffin, but Sondland’s testimony makes it even worse for them.