During his testimony, US ambassador to the European Union George Sondland basically threw President Donald Trump — and just about everyone else — under the bus.
United States President Donald Trump may not have much time left in the White House after the most damning testimony in the impeachment hearings yet. US ambassador to the European Union and close ally to Trump Gordon Sondland delivered his testimony to confirm the quid pro quo transaction that took place between the President and Ukraine. Stating that he was acting on behalf of Trump, Sondland stated, "We followed the President's orders." He also confirmed he was part of the "three amigos," an informal channel that President Trump established and used in order to conduct an investigation into Democratic rival Joe Biden's son Hunter, The Guardian reports. Time's ticking, Trump.
The other "amigos" are Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani and US diplomat Kurt Volker. Acting together, the troublesome trio followed Trump's instructions to investigate a debunked conspiracy theory that Ukraine had planted evidence on the Democratic National Committee server to imply that Russia had interfered in the US elections. For some reason, Trump had been rather keen on proving Russia had not meddled in the United States' 2016 Presidential election; we wonder why. Despite numerous intelligence agencies proving otherwise, the President was not ready to take no for answer. Sondland revealed, "Mr. Giuliani demanded that Ukraine make a public statement announcing investigations of the 2016 election/DNC server and Burisma. Mr. Giuliani was expressing the desires of the President of the United States, and we knew that these investigations were important to the President."
He also plainly stated, "Mr. Giuliani’s requests were a quid pro quo for arranging a White House visit for President Zelenskiy." If Sondland must go down, it appears he's taking the whole motley crew down with him. Because Giuliani has no official role or position in the federal government, this testimony could prove to be quite detrimental for the now-disgraced lawyer. He went on, "I know that members of this committee have frequently framed these complicated issues in the form of a simple question: Was there a ‘quid pro quo?’ As I testified previously, with regard to the requested White House call and White House meeting, the answer is yes."
In addition to throwing Trump under the bus, Sondland did attempt to exonerate himself. He claimed, "Let me say again: We weren’t happy with the President’s directive to talk with Rudy. We did not want to involve Mr. Giuliani. I believed then, as I do now, that the men and women of the state department, not the President’s personal lawyer, should take responsibility for Ukraine matters... [I] was adamantly opposed to any suspension of aid. I wasn’t into investigating the Bidens. It was very surprising to me." Following Sondland's testimony, President Trump addressed reporters with the help of a note that clearly read, "I want nothing. I want nothing. I want no quid pro quo." Refusing to take any questions, he simply did a dramatic reading of his call with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky, the very thing that ignited the case for his impeachment.
As American democracy gains another fighting chance, it must be noted that the whistleblower was the only one to fly a red flag. According to Sondland, everyone else at the White House was in the loop: Acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and Energy Secretary Rick Perry, were all aware of Trump's plans but remained mum. "Everyone was in the loop," he affirmed. "It was no secret." It seems that Trump didn't drain the swamp after all — he simply brought it to the White House with him.