EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland testified on Wednesday that he spoke with Vice President Mike Pence directly about concerns that a delay in aid to Ukraine was tied to a request for the nation to launch an investigation into Joe Biden and the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
Pence’s Chief of Staff Marc Short has now fired back at the claim and says Sondland lied under oath.
“The Vice President never had a conversation with Gordon Sondland about investigating the Bidens, Burisma, or the conditional release of financial aid to Ukraine based upon potential investigations,” Short said in a public statement.
Sondland claimed he was alone with Pence when he brought up his concerns, but Short says this conversation “never happened.”
“Ambassador Sondland was never alone with Vice President Pence on the September 1 trip to Poland. This alleged discussion recalled by Ambassador Sondland never happened,” Short said.
Short went on to say that multiple witnesses have said Pence never brought up investigations into the Bidens or Burisma.
“Multiple witnesses have testified under oath that Vice President Pence never raised Hunter Biden, former Vice President Joe Biden, Crowdstrike, Burisma, or investigations in any conversation with Ukrainians or President Zelensky before, during, or after the September 1 meeting in Poland,” he said.
NEW statement from Pence chief of staff Marc Short:
“The Vice President never had a conversation with Gordon Sondland about investigating the Bidens, Burisma, or the conditional release of financial aid to Ukraine based upon potential investigations. pic.twitter.com/kZTt4RO9q1
— Rebecca Ballhaus (@rebeccaballhaus) November 20, 2019
Sondland misremembering the conversation would not be a surprise since he admitted in his opening testimony that he is not a good notetaker and did not have access to all previous emails, calls, etc. before the hearing.
Check out the part of Sondland’s testimony where he claims to have spoken with Pence below:
Sondland testified that there was quid pro quo between Ukraine and President Donald Trump and that Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal lawyer, acted on the president’s behalf by demanding a public announcement from Ukraine announcing the previously mentioned investigations. He said he had concerns about working with Giuliani, but he did so under the president’s direction.
“Secretary Perry, Ambassador Volker and I worked with Mr. Rudy Giuliani on Ukraine matters at the express direction of the president of the United States,” Sondland said. “We did not want to work with Mr. Giuliani.”
Sondland also flatly stated at one point that he believes quid pro quo took place.
“I know that members of this Committee have frequently framed these complicated issues in the form of a simple question: Was there a ‘quid pro quo?’ As I testified previously, with regard to the requested White House call and White House meeting, the answer is yes,” he said.
Sondland’s testimony is still meaningless because the aid in question was eventually released to Ukraine without any investigations being launched. The transcript of the call is also available, and the president of Ukraine has said multiple times there was no pressure applied by Trump to launch any investigations in exchange for aid.
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