United States Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland walked back his previous claim that there was no quid pro quo agreement between the United States and Ukraine.
Sondland acknowledged in his revised testimony that President Trump withheld U.S. military aid to Ukraine in order to force the Ukrainians into launching an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter. He also requested that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky look into a CrowdStrike conspiracy theory and any Ukrainian involvement in the 2016 presidential election.
Sondland referenced a Sept. 1 meeting with Andriy Yermak, a top aid to Zelensky, during which it was made clear that the aid was contingent upon a public statement form the government that the investigations would begin.
“After a large meeting, I now recall speaking individually with Mr. Yermak, where I said that resumption of U.S. aid would likely not occur until Ukraine provided the public anti-corruption statement that we had been discussing for many weeks,” he acknowledged.
Sondland, an Oregon-based hotel magnate with a history of contributing to Republicans and Trump’s inauguration in particular, testified that he was unaware that Trump’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, had attempted to force the Ukrainian leaders to launch those investigations.
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