Trump’s ambassador to the European Union (EU), Gordon Sondland, plans to tell Congress this week that a text he sent denying understanding of quid pro quo between Trump and Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelensky in a July phone call in July was dictated by Trump himself.
Sondland plans to testify that Trump told him in a phone conversation to tell the acting ambassador to Ukraine that he didn’t “want a quid pro quo … didn’t want anything from Ukraine” in exchange for military aid.
Regarding whether that is actually true, the person said, Sondland will not take an opinion, and instead will tell lawmakers that he worked at the direction of President Trump’s lawyer,Rudy Giuliabi, to secure a statement from Ukraine’s government confirming a criminal investigation into former Vice President.Joe Biden
Trump and his allies have defended their efforts to persuade Ukraine to launch the investigating by insisting that the White House did not order the Pentagon to hold up millions of dollars in military aid to the country on the condition of an investigation being launched.
Democrats have argued that such quid pro quo did exist, and that Trump abused the powers of the presidency by approaching Ukraine’s government about launching such an investigation.
Sondland is expected to testify before three House committees on Thursday, defying an order from the State Department not to comply with Democrats’ impeachment inquiry.
“Ambassador Sondland believes strongly that he acted at all times in the best interests of the United States, and he stands ready to answer the Committee’s questions fully and truthfully,” his attorney said in a statement this week.