Impeachment update: Major player changes testimony as Texas’ Pete Sessions makes cameo
U.S. Ambassador Gordon Sondland, a major figure in the Ukraine scandal, reversed his prior testimony claiming there was no quid pro quo by the Trump Administration, according to documents released by the House committees leading the impeachment inquiry on Tuesday.
“I now recall,” Sondland admitted in a letter to House investigators, that “I said resumption of U.S. aid would likely not occur until Ukraine provided the public anti-corruption statement that we had been discussing for many weeks.”
This is a major revelation as the White House has repeatedly denied that there was a quid pro quo. It turns out, through several officials in the Trump Administration, the president did withhold Ukraine’s congressionally-appropriated military aid on the condition that Ukraine investigate an American citizen (Joe Biden).
Sondland’s bombshell letter was released as part of the first wave of transcripts of closed-door impeachment hearings released by Congress. Last week the House passed a resolution allowing for the release of redacted transcripts, as well as public hearings that will likely start this month.
On Monday the House released the deposition of former ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, where she detailed efforts by the Trump administration to strong arm her into going along with Rudy Giuliani’s shadow foreign policy to dig up dirt on Joe Biden. When that failed, she was fired. One of the figures caught up in the scheme is a former Dallas congressman, Pete Sessions.
Sessions, who is running for a Waco congressional seat in 2020, was previously subpoenaed over ties with Giuliani and two Ukrainianian-born businessmen.
“You were an obstacle, it seems, to President Trump’s political interests and the financial interests of Mr. Giuliani’s now-indicted associates.” said Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney during Yovanovitch’s deposition. “They got a Republican congressman, Pete Sessions, to write a letter criticizing you. They made a bunch of apparently illegal campaign contributions … all related to … the desire to get you fired.”
“That appears to be the case,” replied Yovanovitch.
Photo: Bill Clark/CQ Roll Cal