U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland testified before the House Intelligence Committee’s impeachment inquiry this morning, and what he had to say defeats chairman Adam Schiff’s narrative in a big way.
Sondland was slated to be the Democrats’ newest star witness after their last three star witness also collapsed in spectacular fashion.
However, instead of proving the “quid pro quo” narrative that Democrats so desperately have pushed for months, he told the committee that “President Trump never told me directly that the aid was conditioned on meetings.” He went on to say that aid conditions were his own “personal guess.”
That’s not exactly the smoking gun that Schiff was looking for. Sondland later confirmed again, “I never heard from President Trump that aid was conditioned on an announcement of elections” but “but I was under the impression that absolutely it was contingent.”
Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) summed up the PR disaster Sondland’s testimony is for Schiff’s impeachment, tweeting, “Sondland never knew why there had been a hold on foreign aid to Ukraine. For him, it was all about a call and meeting between President Trump and President Zelensky. It’s important to point out that Sondland is drawing his own conclusions without direct evidence.”
Democrats have now shifted the impeachment goalposts from “quid pro quo” to “bribery” and Sondland further shifted the focus from withholding aid until Ukraine investigated Joe Biden to “the requested White House call and White House meeting.”
Read live updates of the testimony here.