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Sondland refuses to say whether he believed Trump denial of Ukraine aid quid pro quo

EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland refused to say during his impeachment testimony Wednesday whether he believed President Trump's assertion in a Sept. 9 phone call that there was no quid pro quo linking frozen military aid for Ukraine and a Ukrainian investigation into the Biden family's business dealings there.

The big picture: Sondland's conversation with Trump came just before he texted Bill Taylor, the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, that the president "has been crystal clear no quid pro quo's of any kind." Sondland testified that he was "just trying to convey what [the president] said on the phone."

  • Sondland testified earlier that he never heard directly from Trump that the military aid was conditioned on an announcement of investigations, saying that assumption was his "own personal guess."
  • However, he later added, "By the 8th of September, it was abundantly clear to everyone that there was a link."

Worth noting: The intelligence community's inspector general first notified the House Intelligence Committee of the whistleblower complaint that kicked off the impeachment inquiry on Sept. 9.

  • The aid to Ukraine was eventually released on Sept. 11.

Go deeper: Live updates on Sondland's impeachment testimony