Rep. Mike Turner questions Gordon Sondland during the Nov. 20 impeachment hearings.
Analysis by FPI / November 21, 2019
During public impeachment hearings on Wednesday, Republicans stressed that President Donald Trump never said military aid to Ukraine was contingent on investigations into Burisma and Hunter Biden.
GOP Rep. Mike Turner of Ohio asked witness Gordon Sondland, the U.S. Ambassador to the EU: "No one on this planet told you that this aid was tied to investigations. Yes or no?"
Sondland replied: "Yes."
Sondland disclosed that Trump had told him on Sept. 9: "I want nothing. I want nothing. I want no quid pro quo. Tell Zelensky to do the right thing."
After Sondland’s opening statement on Wednesday, Democrats and their media allies said Sondland confirmed a quid pro quo. Sondland did not mention the Trump-Zelensky phone call in his opening statement.
Republicans, led by Turner, later got Sondland to admit that he merely “presumed” a quid pro quo existed.
Under questioning from Turner, Sondland admitted that he had no evidence "other than my own presumption" that Trump ordered $400 million in military aid withheld from Ukraine until President Volodymyr Zelensky announced that the investigations the U.S. president requested would be opened, as House Democrats have claimed.
Turner, who called Sondland's testimony "somewhat circular," questioned the ambassador's assertion that "everyone was in the loop." "If Giuliani didn't give you any expressed statement, then it can't be that you believed this [about the connection between investigations and aid] from Giuliani," Turner said. "Is that your testimony today, Ambassador Sondland? That you have evidence that Donald Trump tied the investigations to aid because I don't think you're saying that."
Sondland said he was "presuming" that is what Trump meant.
"The way it was expressed to me was that the Ukrainians had a long history of committing to things privately and then never following through, so President Trump presumably, again communicated through Mr. Giuliani, wanted the Ukrainians on record publicly that they were going to do these investigations. That’s the reason that was given to me," Sondland said.
In an appearance on Fox News’s Hannity on Nov. 20, Turner said: “Even with Adam Schiff having no evidence and now it being exposed that there is no road and conversations and no quid pro quo with the President of the United States, he is still going to proceed, as is Nancy Pelosi, to impeach this president.”
During CNN's broadcast of the Nov. 20 hearings, while Turner was getting Sondland to admit no quid pro quo existed, the CNN screen read that Sondland had said "yes" there was quid pro quo.
Free Press International