WASHINGTON, Nov. 20 (EUROPE PRESS) –
The former US ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland said Wednesday that there was an exchange of favors ('quid pro quo') to force Ukraine to launch an investigation into Hunter Biden, the son of former US vice president Joe Biden , while noting that all diplomatic efforts in this regard were made following “orders of the president” of the United States, Donald Trump.
In the written statement that he has sent to the House of Representatives in the context of the investigation of the impeachment process against Trump, Sondland has reaffirmed in his previous statement and said there was a “quid pro quo” because the US government paralyzed military aid to Ukraine while waiting for the Ukrainian executive to publicly announce that he would investigate Hunter and Joe Biden.
In addition, he assured that both the State Department and the National Security Council and the White House were fully aware of the “efforts” that were being made with Ukraine, to force the authorities of this country to promote the investigation into the Biden .
In this regard, Sondland has said that the Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, the former National Security Advisor John Bolton and senior White House officials knew that Trump's personal lawyer, Rudolph Giuliani, was taking steps in that direction with the Ukrainian authorities
“They knew what we were doing and why,” Sondland said, in the statement sent to the Intelligence Commission of the House of Representatives, according to the US television network CBS. “Everyone was aware. It was no secret,” he said.
Sondland has denied that there was a “parallel diplomacy” for these efforts with Ukraine and has said that he did not want to work with the then special envoy for Ukraine, Kurt Volker, and with the current US Secretary of Energy, Rick Perry, but that he saw forced to do it.
“We follow the president's orders,” he said to justify the fact that he worked together with Volker and Perry in direct contact with Rudolph Giuliani, who has no charge in the Government and is solely Trump's personal lawyer.
Sondland is a key witness in the impeachment investigation and his testimony has become more important since he decided to change his version to confirm that there was a “quid pro quo” for Trump to get Ukraine to launch an investigation into the that could be his main political rival in the presidential elections of 2020, Joe Biden.
Trump has repeatedly denounced that the 'impeachment' is a witch hunt and has stressed that the investigation should be suspended because there was no “quid pro quo,” a statement rejected by Sondland in parliamentary headquarters.