Caffeine, it's what's running through my veins!
May 13 - POTUS orders Pence not to attend Zel. inaug. instead, dispatches Energy Secy Perry, Sondland and Amb. Kurt Volker
That's when Trump said "Talk with Rudy."
We'll be hearing a lot about Rudy today.
Ambassador Sondland spoke to President Trump a few minutes before the call was placed, but was not on the call.
On September 7, Sondland spoke to the President and told Tim Morrison and Bill Taylor about the call shortly thereafter.
Giuliani’s dealings or of his associations with individuals now under criminal indictment" he would not have "acquiesced to his participation."
"Mr. Giuliani’s requests were a quid pro quo for
arranging a White House visit for President Zelensky. Mr. Giuliani demanded that Ukraine make a public statement announcing investigations of the 2016 election/DNC server and Burisma."
suspended, but I never received a clear answer," Sondland testifies.
In the absence of a "credible explanation" for the delay, he came to believe that aid would ersume once Zel issued annoucnement for POTUS.
"I shared concerns of the potential quid pro
quo regarding the security aid with Senator Ron Johnson. And I also shared my concerns with the Ukrainians."
assistance should have proceeded without pre-conditions of any kind." - Sondland
That included: Secy Pompeo, counselor Ulrich
Brechbuehl, and Executive Secretary Lisa Kenna at State Department; comms w/Amb. Bolton, Fiona Hill, Timothy Morrison, and their staff at the NSC.
White House call or meeting."
pictures together on the White House lawn."
of our interactions with the NSC in the days and weeks that followed, he adds.
Vadym Pristaiko. Taylor said the Ukrainians were, quote: “Very concerned about what Lutsenko told them -- that, according to RG - the ZEPOTUS meeting will not happen.”
with me at the time, when it would have been very helpful to know," Sondland says.
meet w/Zelensky. The timing was entirely coincidental. The Kiev meetings had been scheduled well before the
date of the White House call was eventually fixed.
President Zelensky discussing the substance of his July 25 call with President Trump. Nor did
he discuss any request to investigate Vice President Biden (which we all later learned was discussed on the July 25 call).
The answer is yes, Sondland says.
Trump wanted Zelensky committing to investigation into Burisma and 2016 election. Giuliani expressed that wish directly to Ukrainians and to Sondland and others.
Here is my exact quote from that email:
“I Talked to Zelensky just now… He is prepared to receive Potus’ call. Will assure him
that he intends to run a fully transparent investigation and will ‘turn over every stone’.
Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney responded: “I asked NSC to set it up for tomorrow.”
In depo, Sondland said he was on a continuum that became more insiduous over time. What does that mean exactly?
The Bidens hadn't come up yet at that point, but today he says, he knows exactly what shorthand "Burisma" meant
Today, Sondland does not dispute that account.
"I was in a briefing w/several ppl. I spoke up and said it appears everything is stalled until this statement gets made."
Pence nodded as if he heard what Sondland said.
Sondland said he did.
"It was short, abrupt, he was in a foul mood and said I want nothing, I want nothing, I want no quid pro quo, Tell Zel. to do the right thing."
Sondland affirms, that is correct.
Sondland: That was my presumption at the time, because nothing was moving.
Sondland says, "That sounds like something I would say. POTUS and I communicate in a lot of four letter words. In this case, a three letter word."
Sondland agrees that is the posture from Ukr.
Sondland does not dispute Holmes account; does not necessarily recall his exact words about Trump "not giving a shit." But he adds:
"That's what I would have said, because that's the fact," Sondland says.
"You testified this was a quid pro quo?"
"I did," Sondland said.
Goldman: You never heard those specific words?
Sondland: Correct, I never heard those words.
Sondland says he thought the stmt ade by the new Ukr. prosecutor suggesting investigations would be started up, would be "sufficient to satisfy Giuliani/Pres. Trump.
Did POTUS ever tell him about any preconditions for aid being released or a WH meeting?
Sondland: Personally? No.
Castor: But if you did, you wouldn't have any docs/records?
Sondland: I don't recall anything like that
Sondland: When POTUS says talk to my personal attorney and Giuliani is his personal atty, you assume it's coming from the pres.
Castor: What did POTUS say to you?
"A lot of people did not make the connection," Sondland says.
It's true. People weren't making connection that Burisma was shorthand for Biden. We heard this yesterday from Volker/Morrison.
Sondland says he doesnt have a lot of records of conversations; beyond call logs, essentially.
Yesterday, Volker said he cringed at its use. "I never used that term."
Sondland: Not all of them. There are notes, records, readouts of calls.
Castor: but you don't take notes?
Sondland: I don't take notes but there are a lot out there.
Sondland says he's not saying it in a way that is braggadocious
“I don’t know him very well. I haven’t spoken to him much. This is not a man I know well. He seems like a nice guy though."
Pence also contends he was “never alone” with Sondland during the September trip.
So many Qs on how this functioned at State.
Did Pompeo give tacit approval of unofficial foreign policy ops?
Castor reviewed an email from Aug 22 where Sondland writes to Pompeo about time for mtg betwen Trump and Zel in Warsaw (Before Pence went in Trump's place).
Castor quotes Sondland email, asks what "important issues to POTUS" were?
Sondland:"The 2 investigations"
But then he says, let's make a far more significant point: Sandy is *not* the top official at OMB responsible for processing mil. aid.
He suggests media representation of Sondland testimony today is false.
On part that relates to military assistance, Ratcliffe says Sondland has no direct evidence, just his connective 2+2 presumption.
Sondland tells Rep Himes "yes" when Himes asks if it was Kurt Volker who told him the conditioning and investigations were at the request of the president.
Sondland doesn't dispute Holmes characterization of the call but without a transcript of that call, all we have is Sondland recollection.
Himes wants to know about Sondland state of mind
Sondland: I think that's too strong. Based on their meeting, the president was down on Ukraine for the reasons mentioned and would need convincing
Sondland: POTUS said that to me on the phone call. He mentioned investigations.
He did not understand it as "code" for the Bidens at that time. He made the connection later, but he does not recall the date.
Sondland says he is not a lawyer, so he won't speculate.
Sewell: You said suggestions you were engaging in rogue diplomacy was false
Sondland: By rogue diplomacy, I mean I would not involve State or WH.
Son.: POTUS told us to work w/Giuliani. Leadership at State, NSC knew about it.
Sew.: But Amb. Taylor said he knew nothing about it. He's the amb. to Ukr. You're amb. to EU. Wouldn't Taylor know
Son: He should have.
Volker said Tues it wasn't a req. Sondland strongly disagrees.
"If it wasn't a req., we wouldn't have worked so hard to get it.
Because if answer is yes, then Schiff wrong, every headline wrong, Turner says. Sondland emphasizes it was his presumption on aid, again, the 2+2 rationale used earlier
Sondland: I did.
Sondland: I only had 1 formal mtg w/Mulvaney, unrelated to this.
Was it his sense that Mulvaney had a direct line to Trump as acting chief of staff?
Sondland says there's a difference between political influence and asking for investigations, but when it comes to investigations, it would be wrong.
Rep Welch laments, that's why its "unfortunate" conditions imposed
Sond: The person who asked for the investigation.
Maloney: And who is that? Who would benefit from an investigation of POTUS political opponent? Sond at first wouldn't say Trump by name.
Sondland, his voice slightly softer, says it would be Trump.
Public bursts into applause in chamber
Observation from inside the gallery - I spied at least three spectators shaking their head when Nunes said this.
Who stood in way of meeting?
Only one answer to that question: It is Donald J. Trump, 45th president of the United States.
But let's look at his intent. On the whole. On the aid. Let's look at what is disputed about what POTUS has to say."
"Rudy very much knows what is happening he's a very capable guy... if you could speak to him that would be great."
Schiff: "The question is not what he meant or if he responsible for holding up aid. He was."
Then, the chairman commends Sondland for not opining on whether Trump should be impeached or if bribery committed.
"That's for us to decide," he says.
"But there was silence and there still is," Schiff said
The *ongoing* human toll of the hot war between Russia and Ukraine has claimed at least 14,000 lives since Russia's invasion there 5 years ago.
- During an interagency mtg on July 31, she "made clear" to leadership once DoD reaches funding deadline for fiscal year, there are only 2 legal options to discontinue aid: POTUS-directed withdrawal or DoD-directed reprogramming
She rec'd several updates and in Sept. 5, she was informed $100M+ could not be fulfiled by 9/30.
"Although I heard attempts to discuss the issue with POTUS, I never received details about any conversations other than the status update that the hold hadn't been lifted."
Cooper then says that State Dept was contacted by Ukrainians w/same Q.
Ratcliffe, w/a softball, is the intent based in Trump's wish to save taxpayers $? Hale affirms.
Ratcliffe notes how US aid has been withheld from Pakistan, Lebanon etc.
Hale asserts that aid is occasionally withheld, sometimes with explanation, sometimes not.
"The first part of that is pretty easy to dispose of," Rep Himes says.
There are anti-corruption benchmarks that must be met, per the legally-specified process.
Cooper says yes.
Is that Cooper's understanding?
She isn't a lawyer, she admits, but that is her "approximate understanding."
Carson: And who stands to benefit the most if U.S. cuts aid to Ukraine?
During Sondland testimony, Jim Jordan said:
Schiff, totally unmmoved, "Thank you as always for your comments."
Laughter rang out in the chamber.
"That isn't anticorruption. That is corruption."
Schiff says what strikes him about this is the hypocrisy.
Though she said she is “not a lawyer,” Cooper affirmed her understanding that the bill was put in place to place a check on the president’s powers.