in the United States, the hearing of a key witness in the impeachment proceedings

The purpose of this procedure is to establish precisely the direct responsibility of Donald Trump, suspected of abuse of power for personal purposes.

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Gordon Sondland, United States Ambassador to the European Union, during his hearing in the House of Representatives, Capitol Hill, 20 November 2019. LOREN ELLIOTT / REUTERS

He only followed the "Orders" Donald Trump in the Ukrainian file. This was sworn in by US Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland on Wednesday. He testified before the House of Representatives in the impeachment investigation against the US President. The purpose of this investigation is to establish precisely the direct responsibility of Donald Trump, suspected of abuse of power for personal gain.

In his opening remarks, Mr. Sondland – propelled to his post after a $ 1 million donation to Donald Trump's swearing-in committee in January 2017 – also said that the US president had conditioned an invitation to the White House of his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodymyr Zelensky, to open investigations by Kiev on one of his political rivals. The ambassador also "Concluded" that the granting of military aid for Kiev was also linked to the opening of these investigations and had told Ukrainian officials, he said.

Understand : what we know on the eve of public hearings

"We did not want" by Rudy Giuliani

With other diplomats, "I worked with Rudy Giuliani (Donald Trump's personal advocate) on the Ukrainian file at the express request of the President of the United States ", pointed out Mr. Sondland. "We did not want to" include it but "We followed the orders of the president", he assured the House, adding that the White House and the State Department had been kept informed of " efforts " conducted in this context. "The idea that we were engaged in a shady or irregular diplomacy is absolutely false", he insisted, in response to other witnesses who have accused this parallel channel of acting " against " official networks of American diplomacy.

According to him, Giuliani wanted the Ukrainian government to publicly announce the opening of investigations on the American Democrats and in particular on the Ukrainian gas group Burisma, which employed Hunter Biden, the son of former Vice President Joe Biden – potential presidential candidate of 2020.

After a first series of testimonies collected behind closed doors, the hearings conducted during the impeachment procedure are now public and broadcast live on television. The Democrats' House of Representatives Intelligence Committee is holding public hearings this week to quickly move to a vote on an impeachment of the Republican President. He will then come back to the Senate to judge him. Given the Republican majority in this House, Mr. Trump should escape an impeachment.

While part of Donald Trump's entourage refuses to cooperate with the House of Representatives, denouncing a tried procedure "Illegal" a weak link appeared in the person of Gordon Sondland. This businessman was also the only one to rectify his previous testimony, on October 17 in camera.

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