Trump Says That All People From Ukraine are ‘Terrible People’
The House Intelligence Committee has released two more transcripts of closed-door testimony related to the ongoing impeachment inquiry into Donald Trump.
And boy oh boy, these are BAD for Trump.
Transcripts of the House’s interviews with former European Union Ambassador Gordon Sondland and U.S. Ambassador to NATO, Kurt Volker were released on Tuesday afternoon.
Both have become key figures in the ongoing impeachment inquiry that began after a whistleblower complaint was filed about Trump’s alleged withholding of military aid in exchange for a Ukrainian government investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden.
Here are the 4 biggest takeaways from the transcripts.
1.Trump said that all Ukrainians are “terrible people”
Volker testified that Trump said of the Ukrainians: “They are all corrupt, they are all terrible people.” The President apparently also said, “and they tried to take me down.
Q) In fact, in your conversation with the President in May, the stated reasons why he had a deeply rooted distrust or dislike of the Ukrainians was because of what he perceived to be their role in the 2015 election and/or the PauI Manafort case. Is that right?
A) That was mentioned, but it was a long longer statement that “they are all corrupt, they are all terrible people, and,” you know, “I don’t want to spend any time with that.” That was it was a broader statement. And he also said, “and they tried to take me down.”
2. Mike Pompeo rolled his eyes over Rudy Giuliani
Q: Did you ever discuss Giuliani w/ Sec. Pompeo?
Sondland: Only in general terms.
Q: And what did you discuss?
Sondland: That he’s involved in affairs. And Pompeo rolled his eyes and said: Yes, it’s something we have to deal with
3. Sondland believed Rudy Giuliani’s involvement was potentially illegal
Sondland testified he believed Rudy Giuliani’s push for Ukraine to investigate Bidens was potentially illegal. When asked if it was illegal, Sondland responded, “I’m not a lawyer, but I assume so.” From the transcript:
Q: When you said in your statement, on page 8 of your statement, you did not understand until much later that Mr. Giuliani’s agenda might have also included an effort to prompt the Ukrainians to investigate Vice President Biden or his son or to involve Ukrainians directly or indirectly in the President’s 2020 reelection campaign, why did you—why do you think that either of those activities are problematic?
A: Because I believe I testified that it would be improper to do that.
Q: And illegal, right?
A: I’m not a lawyer, but I assume so.
Q: Sir, one last question, which is: Do you believe that, with regard to Burisma, that the effort by Giuliani to investigate Burisma, now that we know that it was actually intended to go after Mr. Biden’s son Hunter, was ever a proper inquiry?
A: I mean, I think I testified to that at the beginning, that it would not be proper.
Q: And illegal, correct?
A: Again, I’m not a lawyer. I don’t know the law exactly. It doesn’t sound good.
4. Sondland Effectively Admits a Quid Pro Quo
Sonland revealed during an updated testimony in which his memory had been refreshed that “he told a top Ukrainian official that the country likely would not receive American military aid unless it publicly committed to investigations President Trump wanted.”
The New York Times reports:
In his updated testimony, Mr. Sondland recounted how he had discussed the linkage with Andriy Yermak, a top adviser to President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine, on the sidelines of a Sept. 1 meeting between Vice President Mike Pence and Mr. Zelensky in Warsaw. Mr. Zelensky had discussed the suspension of aid with Mr. Pence, Mr. Sondland said.
“I said that resumption of the U.S. aid would likely not occur until Ukraine provided the public anti-corruption statement that we had been discussing for many weeks,” Mr. Sondland said in the document, which was released by the House committees leading the inquiry, along with the transcript of his original testimony from last month.