U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland just explicitly confirmed a quid pro quo with Ukraine and pointed the finger at President Trump during a stunning opening statement in the impeachment inquiry.
Sondland testified in the fourth day of public hearings in the impeachment inquiry into Trump, which is focusing on whether Trump improperly pressured Ukraine to conduct investigations that might benefit him politically, including by withholding military aid and linking a White House meeting Ukraine's president wanted with the resumption of the aid.
"Was there a 'quid pro quo?'" Sondland said in his statement. "As I testified previously, with regard to the requested White House call and White House meeting, the answer is yes."
Sondland placed blame on Trump's personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, for requesting a "quid pro quo for arranging a White House visit for President Zelensky" but also said Trump directed him to work with Giuliani and that Giuliani, in demanding Ukraine's president announce investigations involving former Vice President Joe Biden's son and the 2016 election, "was expressing the desires of the president of the United States."
Sondland additionally says that "everyone was in the loop," citing emails showing that "leadership of State, NSC, and the White House were all informed about the Ukraine efforts" from May through September, when the aid was released.
Amb. Sondland: "Mr. Giuliani's requests were a quid quo pro for arranging a White House visit for Pres. Zelenskiy.
"Mr. Giuliani demanded that Ukraine make a public statement announcing the investigations of the 2016 election, DNC server, and Burisma." https://t.co/jx8GtXmcAv pic.twitter.com/rvg1SHFLxA
— ABC News (@ABC) November 20, 2019