Gordon Sondland is reportedly planning to tell Congress that his 'no quid pro quo' denial on Ukraine came directly from Trump

Business Insider Politics 1 month ago

The US ambassador to the European Union is reportedly planning to tell Congress that his infamous text message denying a quid pro quo with Ukraine was dictated by President Donald Trump himself — and possibly not truthful.

Gordon Sondland is set to testify Thursday as part of the House impeachment inquiry. He plans to tell lawmakers he doesn't know whether Trump was being truthful when he denied a quid pro quo, The Washington Post reported Saturday, citing a person familiar with his prepared testimony.

The House is looking into whether Trump inappropriately pressed Ukraine to investigate one of his top political rivals, former Vice President Joe Biden.

One facet of the investigation is Trump's withholding of $400 million in aid to Ukraine, and whether he sought to exchange it for the investigation into Biden.

A September 9 text exchange between Sondland and the acting ambassador to Ukraine, William Taylor, has become a key focus of the House impeachment inquiry.

"I think it's crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign," Taylor texted Sondland.

Roughly five hours later, after reportedly phoning Trump, Sondland responded to Taylor.

"The President has been crystal clear: no quid pro quo's of any kind," Sondland wrote. "The President is trying to evaluate whether Ukraine is truly going to adopt the transparency and reforms that President Zelenskiy promised during his campaign."

Trump and his allies have used Sondland's text as evidence that Trump wasn't trying to withhold the aid for his own personal gain.

But Sondland plans to tell Congress that he does not know whether Trump was being truthful when he denied the quid pro quo.

"It's only true that the president said it, not that it was the truth," the person familiar with Sondland's testimony told The Post.


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