Ambassador Gordon Sondland told House impeachment investigators Wednesday that he worked with Rudy Giuliani on Ukraine at the “express direction” of President Donald Trump and pushed a “quid pro quo” with Kyiv because it was what Trump wanted.
“Mr. Giuliani was expressing the desires of the president of the United States, and we knew that these investigations were important to the president,” Sondland testified of his dealings with Trump’s personal attorney.
Sondland, the most highly anticipated witness in the public impeachment probe, made clear that he believed Trump was pursuing his desire for investigations in return for the Oval Office meeting that the Eastern European nation’s president sought. Sondland said he later came to believe military aid for Ukraine was also being held up until the investigations were launched.
Sondland described how demands became more serious with more conditions on any potential Ukraine meeting at the White House.
“As time went on, more specific items got added to the menu — specially Burisma and 2016 meddling,” he said, referring to the gas company where Joe Biden’s son Hunter served on the board. And, he added, “the server,” the hacked Democratic computer system.
“I know that members of this committee have frequently framed these complicated issues in the form of a simple question: Was there a ‘quid pro quo?’ As I testified previously, with regard to the requested White House call and White House meeting, the answer is yes,” he said.
Sondland said he didn’t know at the time that Burisma was linked to the Bidens, but has since come to understand that.
“We had been hearing about it from Rudy and presumed Rudy was getting it from the president.”