Thursday, July 2, 2020

US diplomat says he has conditioned military aid to Ukraine on the announcement of investigations into Joe Biden

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A key witness in Donald Trump's impeachment proceedings, Gordon Sondland, revised his first testimony to the parliamentary inquiry.

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US Ambassador to the European Union, Gordon Sondland, arrives at his hearing in the House of Representatives in Washington on October 17. OLIVIER DOULIERY / AFP

The US ambassador to the European Union, Gordon Sondland, admitted, in a testimony to parliamentarians conducting the investigation to dismiss the US president, conditioned military aid to Ukraine to open a investigating one of Donald Trump's Democratic rivals, Joe Biden. The diplomat's written statements accompany the transcript of a previous hearing before members of the House of Representatives, made public on Tuesday, 5 November.

Rich hotel professional, Gordon Sondland helped finance the campaign and the inauguration ceremony of Donald Trump, which he became close. He first appeared on October 17 before the House of Representatives' inquiry committee. Democrats, who are in the majority, are convinced that they have proof of a " abuse of power " from the president with the pressures exerted on Kiev.

Article reserved for our subscribers Read also Donald Trump's impeachment procedure: parallel diplomacy uncovered

According to his testimony, released on Tuesday in the form of a written revision to his first statement, Gordon Sondland explains that he told a close adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky during a discussion in Poland on 1st September, that this military aid package – about € 353 million – would not be " without a doubt " not unblocked by the United States as long as Ukraine does not publicly announce that it is going to investigate the Biden cases in the country:

"I now remember having a face-to-face discussion with (Andrei) Yermak (Zelensky's counselor) during which I told him that the payment of US aid would probably not be released until Ukraine would not (publish) the anti-corruption declaration we have been discussing for several weeks. "

The company of Joe Biden's son mentioned

In this written statement, Gordon Sondland also claims to have "Always believed" that the suspension of US aid was not desirable, while explaining: "I did not know (and still do not know) when, why, or by whom this help was suspended. " Admitting that he can not rely on certainties, the ambassador explains having " presumed that the suspension of the aid had been linked to a suggested statement (by relatives of Mr. Trump) against corruption » and who would mention the company employing Hunter Biden, the son of Joe Biden. It's on this "Presumption" that he would have made this statement to the adviser of the Ukrainian President.

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To parliamentarians who asked him, on October 17, whether the request made to Ukraine to investigate the Biden, and thus to involve Kiev in the US presidential campaign of 2020, could be "Illegal"Mr. Sondland replied: "I am not a lawyer, but I suppose so. "

Donald Trump's chief of staff convened

Donald Trump's chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, was also summoned to testify Friday in the investigation led by the Democrats. Mr. Mulvaney is the highest official in the White House to receive such a summons. Denouncing a "Masquerade" the executive refuses to cooperate with the investigation and the chief of staff should probably ignore this request.

The"Investigation revealed that you may have been directly involved in the attempt, orchestrated by President Trump, his personal agent Rudolph Giuliani, and others," to pressure Ukraine to investigate its Democratic rival Joe Biden, Tuesday wrote the Democratic leaders in charge of the investigation in the House of Representatives.

On Tuesday, a White House advisor, Wells Griffith, did not show up for his summons. The day before, four witnesses had ignored the appointment set by the Democrats. Despite the refusal to cooperate from the White House, the commission has already heard about ten witnesses in camera. They plan to hold public hearings soon, which could lead to the impeachment of Donald Trump. It will then have to be confirmed in the Senate, mainly by the Republicans, from the same party of Donald Trump. Given the Speaker's support in the Upper House, this outcome seems unlikely.

Article reserved for our subscribers Read also Donald Trump's dismissal: the Democrats face the Republican bloc

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