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Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Sondland Doesn't BITE On Schiff's Effort To Put BOW On Impeachment

U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland testifies before the House Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2019, during a public impeachment hearing of President Donald Trump's efforts to tie U.S. aid for Ukraine to investigations of his political opponents. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland testifies before the House Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2019, during a 
public impeachment hearing of President Donald Trump's efforts to tie U.S. aid for Ukraine to investigations of his political opponents. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)


 S.A. Miller

Rep. Adam B. Schiff labored Wednesday to put a fine point on testimony that President Trump pushed a quid pro quo deal with Ukraine, insisting that the effort was aimed at helping the president’s re-election campaign.
But Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland, who confirmed the quid pro quo, refused to connect the dots.
Mr. Schiff pressed him about the deal in which Mr. Trump offered a White House visit to Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky in exchange for investigations into 2016 election meddling and Burisma Holdings, the Ukraine energy company linked to former Vice President Joseph R. Biden.
“The meeting was a quid pro quo for what the president wanted, these two investigations, and everyone knew it,” asked Mr. Schiff, the chairman of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence conducting the impeachment probe.
“Correct,” replied Mr. Sondland. 

Mr. Schiff attempting to seal the impeachment case by describing the exchange as an “official act” of an Oval Office meeting provided for the president’s personal benefit.
“In order to perform that official act, Donald Trump wanted these two investigations that would help his re-election campaign,” he asked.
“I can’t characterize why he wanted them. All I can tell you is this is what we heard from Mr. Giuliani,” he said, referring to Mr. Trump’s private lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani.
Mr. Sondland stopped short of neatly tying a bow on Democrats’ impeachment case. But he also suggested more intrigue was taking place by saying the investigations did not have to be conducted, only announced by Mr. Zelensky.
“He had to announce the investigations, he didn’t have to actually do it, as I understood it,” said Mr. Sondland.

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