WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A senior U.S. diplomat told lawmakers on Wednesday that President Donald Trump expressly ordered him and others to help pressure Ukraine into investigating a political rival, providing some of the most significant testimony to date in a Democrat-led impeachment inquiry.
U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland returns from a break to testify at a House Intelligence Committee hearing as part of the impeachment inquiry into U.S. President Donald Trump on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., November 20, 2019. REUTERS/Loren Elliott
The U.S. House of Representatives Intelligence Committee held its third day of public hearings in an impeachment inquiry examining President Donald Trump’s dealings with Ukraine, with three witnesses testifying on two panels.
The proceedings began with U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland. Two other witnesses – Laura Cooper, deputy assistant secretary of defense for Russian, Ukrainian and Eurasian affairs; and David Hale, undersecretary of state for political affairs – were due to testify later in the day.
Below are reactions to Sondland’s testimony and the impeachment inquiry from outside the room:
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP, ON TWITTER:
“White House Confidence Grows As Hearings Wear On.”
@WashTimes This is just an attempted takedown of the Republican Party by the Do Nothing Democrats. It will never work. #2020”
“The three year Hoax continues!”
PAM BONDI, SPECIAL ADVISER TO THE PRESIDENT, IN AN INTERVIEW ON CBS ‘THIS MORNING’:
“The president does not know him (Sondland) very well. He’s a short-term ambassador.”
She also said the president was not likely to testify to lawmakers: “Of course he wants to testify, because he did nothing wrong. But do I think it’s likely he’s going to testify? Probably not, because no one would advise him to testify because this is a sham court.”
GEORGE CONWAY, HUSBAND OF TRUMP SENIOR ADVISER KELLYANNE CONWAY, ON TWITTER:
“This is a John Dean moment. It will live forever in American political history.”
DAVID FRUM, ONE-TIME SPEECHWRITER FOR FORMER REPUBLICAN PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH, ON TWITTER:
“Successful real estate entrepreneur sees no reason to go to prison for unsuccessful real estate entrepreneur.”
REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE CHAIRWOMAN RONNA MCDANIEL, ON TWITTER:
“Sondland has already testified under oath that: There were NO preconditions regarding Ukrainian aid. @realDonaldTrump told him personally: ‘I want no quid pro quo. I want Zelenskiy to do the right thing … to do what he ran on.’ It’s clear: There was #NoQuidProQuo!”
DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL COMMITTEE ‘WAR ROOM,’ ON TWITTER:
“This is the Pence vice presidency in a nutshell. Sondland recalls telling Pence he understood that the Ukraine aid was being tied to Trump’s request for political investigations.
Pence’s reaction? – ‘The vice president nodded’.”
PREET BHARARA, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK, ON TWITTER:
“Sondland is destroying virtually every Trump defense: Trump didn’t care about Ukraine; there was a quid pro quo; Trump & Rudy demanded the announcement of investigations; everyone was in the loop; Ukraine knew about the linkage; all was directed by Trump.”
Reporting by David Morgan, Richard Cowan and Susan Heavey; Editing by Steve Orlofsky