Key witness Sondland testifies in impeachment inquiry

Credit: Reuters - Politics
Published on October 17, 2019 - Duration: 01:20s

Key witness Sondland testifies in impeachment inquiry

President Donald Trump directed U.S. officials involved in Ukraine policy to work directly with his private lawyer Rudy Giuliani, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union said on Thursday in prepared testimony to an impeachment inquiry against Trump.

Tamara Lindstrom reports.


Key witness Sondland testifies in impeachment inquiry

(SOUNDBITE) (ENGLISH) U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE EU GORDON SONDLAND: REPORTER: "Why was it important for you to show up today?

SONDLAND: "It's always important to show up when Congress calls." After an 11th hour snub last week, U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland showed up to testify in the House impeachment inquiry Thursday.

In written testimony, Sondland broke sharply from the president, telling House impeachment investigators behind closed doors that he was disappointed by Trump's order to involve Rudy Giuliani in diplomatic matters with Ukraine.

The Trump donor-turned-diplomat said he didn't know until much later that Giuliani's agenda may have included a push for Ukraine to investigate former vice president and political rival Joe Biden.

Sondland said asking a foreign government to interfere with a U.S. election would be wrong.

However, he maintains that Trump assured him there was no "quid pro quo" with Ukraine.

Thursday's testimony underscored the pivotal role that Giuliani, Trump's personal lawyer, played in the Ukraine scandal.

The impeachment inquiry centers on Trump's request on a July phone call with Ukraine's president to investigate Joe Biden.

Before that request, Giuliani had already been working to engineer an investigation into the former vice president.

Sondland is the latest witness to speak to Congress about Trump's dealings with Ukraine.

Last month, a whistleblower complaint raised concerns that the president may have withheld nearly $400 million in military aid to Ukraine before asking Ukraine's leader to investigate his political rival.

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