MADRID, Nov. 6 (EUROPE PRESS) –
The United States ambassador to the European Union, Gordon Sondland, has decided to change the statement he made before the House of Representatives behind closed doors in the investigation of the impeachment process against the president of the United States, Donald Trump, to state that there was a 'quid pro quo' (an exchange of favors) with Ukraine, based on the suspension of US military aid until the Ukrainian authorities pledged to investigate Hunter Biden, the son of former US vice president Joe Biden .
As reported by the newspaper 'The New York Times' and the CNN television network, in a surprising change of position, the highest US diplomat in Europe decided on Monday to change the testimony he made in the investigation of the 'impeachment' behind closed doors and sent a three-page written statement to indicate that there was a 'quid pro quo', thus separating itself from the main line of defense that the US president has had, which maintains that there was never an exchange of favors with Ukraine on purpose from his phone call to the president of Ukraine, Volodimir Zelenski.
In the written statement he has sent to the House of Representatives commission responsible for the investigation of the impeachment, Ambassador Sondland has said that he recalled a conversation that took place on September 1 on the margins of the meeting of the vice president of The United States, Mike Pence, with the Ukrainian president, Volodimir Zelenski, and in which he himself told a senior Ukrainian office that US military aid was linked to the investigation into Biden.
“I remember now that I personally spoke with Andri Yermak and told him that the resumption of US aid would probably not take place until Ukraine made the public declaration against corruption that we had been discussing for many weeks,” Sondland said in his written statement incorporated into the 'impeachment'.
This new statement has been included on Tuesday in the transcript of the closed-door appearance he made for hours before the House of Representatives and reinforces the thesis of Democratic congressmen who maintain that the president of the country made the concession of one hundred million dollars military aid to Ukraine to the authorities publicly pledged to investigate Hunter Biden, the son of former US vice president Joe Biden.
The Supervisory, Intelligence and Foreign Affairs Commissions disseminated the transcripts of Sondland's appearances and those of the US special ex-envoy for Ukraine Kurt Volker on Tuesday, for the progress of the impeachment process to the next phase.
In his statement behind closed doors in October, Sondland testified that he did not know if military aid to Ukraine had been paralyzed while waiting for local authorities to publicly commit themselves to investigating Hunter Biden. However, he assured congressmen that the efforts of Trump's personal lawyer, Rudolph Giuliani, were “increasingly insidious” over time and suggested that he could have acted illegally.
Sondland said it would be “indecent” that Trump's personal lawyer had pressured the Ukrainian authorities to investigate Hunter Biden and Joe Biden, but when asked if he thought his action was illegal, he avoided speaking out clearly. “I'm not a lawyer but I guess so.”
Democratic congressmen in the House of Representatives have disseminated the transcripts of the thirteen appearances held behind closed doors in the framework of the impeachment investigation, to give way to the public declarations phase, which could begin next week.
Volker, Sondland and US Secretary of Energy Rick Perry make up the so-called “three friends” group responsible for managing US political relations with Ukraine, according to CNN.
The text messages delivered by Volker to Congress for the 'impeachment' show his contacts with Giuliani and with diplomats from the State Department, despite the fact that the former mayor of New York is not part of the Government and is Trump's personal lawyer.