This Wednesday morning, House impeachment investigators held yet another public hearing, this time featuring Trump donor turned E.U. Ambassador Gordon Sondland, who participated in the Trump team’s scheme to get Ukraine to produce dirt on the Bidens in exchange for already approved military aid and a summit in D.C. Sondland bluntly told Congress that the scheme constituted a straightforward “quid pro quo,” or “this for that,” and that it was no secret behind the scenes. During a break in the hearing, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) reiterated to reporters just how condemning that Sondland’s testimony really was.
There’s no way to get around that the facts are not on the president’s side. Standing outside the hearing room, Schiff told reporters:
‘I just want to make a couple of quick observations while we’re on a break here, because I think today’s testimony is the most significant evidence to date, and what we have just heard from Ambassador Sondland is that the knowledge of this scheme, this conditioning of the White House meeting and of the security assistance to get the deliverable the president wanted — these two political investigations that he believed would help his re-election campaign — was a basic quid pro quo… It goes right to the heart of the issue of bribery, as well as other potential high crimes and misdemeanors.’
House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff: “Today’s testimony is among the most significant evidence to date. … We also have heard, for the first time, that knowledge of this scheme was pervasive” https://t.co/YLlWBVLzly pic.twitter.com/D4Go0UPWNM
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) November 20, 2019
Indeed — Sondland used that exact phrase, admitting that yes, the Trump team sought a quid pro quo arrangement. In other words, Trump sought to use the power of the presidency to benefit him personally, and he roped U.S. foreign policy and another country into that scheme. Among other highlights, Sondland insisted that when figures like personal Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani pushed Ukraine to investigate the Bidens, they were working at the direction of the president.
Sondland’s testimony was set to continue following Schiff’s comments to reporters. More public testimony, including from State Department official David Holmes, who heard Trump ask Sondland about “the investigations,” is planned for coming days.