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Sondland testimony may be a highlight of impeachment



The ambassador will testify Wednesday at the most recent moment still in the House impeachment investigation with his own and the future of President Donald Trump at considerable risk.

If he intends to run for president, Republicans should dispel the confidence of Sondland, the son of refugee parents who escaped the Nazis, in order to dismantle Trump trying to bribe the new government in Kiev and be ousted .

An outrageous and – according to some colleagues – ambassador seizing power by the end of two weeks of public testimony, which has often been detrimental to Trump, will appear.

However, senior Republicans argue that so far there is no sign of unbundling of GOP support that could lead to a two-thirds majority for President Senate impeachment. Democrats hope that Sondland's emergence can begin to shape public opinion ̵

1; this has become more adaptable to impeachment, irrevocably against the president.

Sondland's appearance comes after Tuesday's hearings, in which Lt. Col. Alexander Windman and Vice President Jennifer Williams dropped several key Republican talking points. Both agreed that the president asked Ukraine for a service in his political interest, not in the national interest.
Two witnesses summoned by the GOP, former Ukraine envoy Kurt Volker and former NSC Russia expert Tim Morrison, not only failed to secure the complete rejection of the democratic narratives the White House hoped for, but instead undermined GOP attack line.
The difficult sleigh on Capitol Hill led to an unusual spectacle in the last days of Trump and the White House openly attacking witnesses serving in his own government. He also saw that Republican lawmakers recognize the patriotism of Ukrainian-born Windman, a refugee from the Soviet Union who wears a purple heart after being wounded in a battle with the US Army.

Trump said Wednesday against available evidence that the impeachment hearings were a disaster for Democrats.

"Republicans are absolutely killing him. They are doing so well because it is fraud," he said during a cabinet meeting.

"They use this imprisonment tip for their own political gain to try to hurt the Republican Party and harm the president, but it has the opposite effect."

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, Californian The impeachment hearing Democrat, however, claims that the process has broken the core of Trump's defense – that he is primarily concerned with fighting corruption in Ukraine.

"Evidence is pointing in the other direction," Schiff said Wednesday, suggesting that the president "The whole time was to hurt former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter, who had business deals in Ukraine. "Evidence suggests the president is urging Ukraine to engage in a corruption probe into a US political opponent."

There are no reports of violations by Bidens in Ukraine.

Key questions about Sondland

Sondland, already the US ambassador to the European Union, has significant explanations for three key episodes.

They include talks at the White House between top US and Ukrainian officials on July 10 when witnesses say he concluded an agreement with Kiev to open investigations in exchange for a presidential visit.

Officials at the meeting testify that then-national security adviser John Bolton quickly closed the meeting after Sondland intervened.

Windman testified on Tuesday that in a subsequent clash with White House officials, Sundland told him that probes should be included in "Bidens, Burisma and 2016", citing a Ukrainian energy firm that owns Son of the former vice president on his board.

The comment is important because it appears that no later than July 10, Ukrainians have come to understand that the visit of the Oval Office to President Vladimir Zelensky is conditioned by the opening of the investigations Trump wanted

Another major twist in the scandal occurred when Sondland told a senior colleague, Andrew Yermak, on Sept. 1 that the release of US security assistance was likely conditioned by Ukraine publicly announcing an investigation that would be of use to Trump.

Sondland made no mention of the conversation – in Warsaw during a trip to Pence – when it first closed. But he changed his testimony after saying he remembered the call.

The meeting is one of the strongest evidence to support the case that Trump needed a clean pro-quo from Ukraine in exchange for nearly $ 400 million in military assistance. [19659002] Sondland may be asked whether his decision to change his testimony implies a cover-up if he motivates that Yermak's conversation will appear in other witness statements.

On Tuesday, Democratic Defender Daniel Goldman asked Morrison what he knew about the content of the Warsaw conversation.

He replied, "For the Ukrainians it will be necessary for the Attorney General to make a statement regarding the investigations as a condition of withdrawal of assistance."

This is more obvious evidence of a quid pro quo. If this is confirmed by Sondland's personal testimony in a televised hearing, it could seriously harm Trump's defense.

The events surrounding the Warsaw meeting are a further example of the Sondland-bound political box and show how his interests and that of the president can diverge on Wednesday

A stunning call from Kiev

The third episode , which is sure to be pierced by Democrats, is Zondland's call to Trump from the terrace of a Kiev restaurant on July 26 this year. [19659005] According to US diplomat in Ukraine, David Holmes, who has overheard much of the talk, Sondland told Trump that Zelensky was ready to launch investigations that he had requested the previous day in the now infamous presidential telephone conversation. "He loves your ass," said Sundland, according to Holmes' deposition.

  A source says Republican lawmakers are shaken & # 39; from an American employee in Kiev & # 39; testimony

When he got off the phone after a conversation in which the president's strong talk made him "mutter", Sondeland Holmes said Trump did not "give as "t for Ukraine, but only for" big things "like the Biden investigation.

Complicating Sondland's position, Democrats are calling on Holmes to testify in public on Thursday – in the form of being compared to the accuracy of the EU envoy's statements.

One tactic for Republicans will be to suggest that Sondland may not have acted at the direct request of the president, but was at liberty to pursue goals that he supposed Trump wanted. [19659002] The question will be whether his desire to be a great diplomatic player has led him to exercise authority he has not been given, or to give the impression that he is a Trump man.

GOP questionnaires may be disadvantaged in this effort because Sondland & # 39; s ominous testimony was riddled with controversy and omissions – including a July 26 call from Trump.

Power grabbing in Ukraine

Democrats will want to know why Sondland – whose area of ​​geographic authority does not even include Ukraine outside the EU – has become such an influential force in policy toward Kiev.

The Wall Street Journal reported last week that Sondland regularly detains Trump administration officials such as Energy Secretary Rick Perry and White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney is keeping pace with his efforts in Ukraine.

Fiona Hill, a former Russia leader and European expert on the National Security Council, said in a private deposition that Sondland suddenly asked the presidential authorities to guide Ukraine's policy in May or June this year. She testified that his free balance equals driving with "no railings and no GPS in unfamiliar territory".

Hill has to testify publicly Thursday with Holmes – the last scheduled day of television hearings – and could get more details about the backdoor effort led by Sundland, Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani and Perry, on the official channels of US policy in Ukraine.

Hill also testifies that Sundland is sometimes "unfamiliar" with the nature of intelligence threats and has opened up to wiretaps from Russia using texts and cell phones.

Another witness, Ambassador David Hale, testified in a closed statement that Sondland, as a politically appointed man, often wished to demonstrate his influence.

He said: "He definitely wanted to know that he had direct access to the president and would often refer to him as the president's name for some of the things he wanted and pursued. "

Manu Raju, Jeremy Herb, Lauren Fox and Nicky Carvajal of CNN contributed to this report.


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