Sondland filed and the House Intelligence Committee released a three-page sworn addendum to congressional testimony Tuesday in which he said that reading testimony from other witnesses reminded him of some key details. Here they are:
Sondland is the GOP donor and political appointee who was in direct contact at times with Trump about Ukraine. And now he remembers what amounts to a direct quid pro quo, although he still can’t remember everything.
Tale of the transcripts
Here are some of the new things we’ve learned:
- He worked with Giuliani to press Ukraine to make public statement about investigation, suggested it could air on Fox News
- He said he called Energy Secretary Rick Perry the day before his deposition to refresh his memory of July 10 meeting
- He saw Trump one time after the Ukraine story broke. Trump told him to tell the truth.
- He did not recall details of White House meeting with Ukrainian officials that was described by others as contentious
This White House response
Here, printed in full, is the response from White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham:
“Both transcripts released today show there is even less evidence for this illegitimate impeachment sham than previously thought. Ambassador Sondland squarely states that he ‘did not know, (and still does not know) when, why or by whom the aid was suspended.’ He also said he ‘presumed’ there was a link to the aid—but cannot identify any solid source for that assumption. By contrast, Volker’s testimony confirms there could not have been a quid pro quo because the Ukrainians did not know about the military aid hold at the time. No amount of salacious media-biased headlines, which are clearly designed to influence the narrative, change the fact that the President has done nothing wrong.”
What’s not really an issue in either transcript or the White House response is the whistleblower, whose importance to the impeachment case against Trump is waning even as the President’s focus on the whistleblower grows.
And that’s a real problem since under US law, the person in charge of protecting the whistleblower is … Trump.
What transcripts will be released tomorrow? We don’t yet know.
Who will testify? We don’t entirely know.
Investigators have requested testimony from Energy Secretary Rick Perry, acting Office of Management and Budget Director Russ Vought and David Hale, a State Department official. State Department counselor Ulrich Brechbuhl, whose testimony was also sought, is instead traveling with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to Germany on Wednesday, according to a pool report.
What are we doing here?
The President has invited foreign powers to interfere in the US presidential election.
Democrats want to impeach him for it.
It is a crossroads for the American system of government as the President tries to change what’s acceptable for US politicians. This newsletter will focus on this consequential moment in US history.