Nov 5, 2019 - Politics & Policy

"I now recall": Why Sondland's revised testimony matters

Gordon Sondland

Gordon Sondland. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

A $1 million donor to Trump’s inauguration committee who later became the EU ambassador is now on record saying he told a Ukrainian official that the country wouldn't get military aid unless they caved to President Trump's demands.

Why it matters: President Trump keeps denying the existence of a quid pro quo.

The big picture: Gordon Sondland's additions to his House testimony are the "first admission by a senior figure who had direct contact with Mr. Trump that the military aid for Ukraine was being held hostage to the president’s demands for investigations into his political rivals," the NY Times reports.

  • "A wealthy Oregon hotelier who donated to the president’s campaign and was rewarded with the plum diplomatic post, Mr. Sondland can hardly be dismissed as a 'Never Trumper.'"
  • Sondland was a critic of the president during the campaign, publicly denouncing him in August 2016 over differences in values and Trump's attacks on Gold Star father Khizr Khan.

Sondland's testimony is the fourth transcript to be released this week:

The bottom line: The question isn't whether Senate Republicans believe there to have been a quid pro quo. It's whether they believe it's worthy of conviction.

  • “If it were today I don’t think there’s any question — it would not lead to a removal," Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said today.

Go deeper: Lindsey Graham says he won't read House deposition transcripts

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