Sen. Elizabeth Warren slammed the “corruption” in Washington by pointing out President Trump’s nomination of Gordon Sondland as the U.S. ambassador to the European Union.
The Massachusetts senator called out Sondland in response to a question about impeachment during the fifth Democratic debate on Wednesday, pointing a finger at her 2020 presidential rivals as well for not taking a stand against the role of large donors in politics.
The Democratic 2020 hopeful essentially accused the EU ambassador of buying his way into his position as she responded to a question from MSNBC moderator Rachel Maddow about how she would convince her Republican colleagues to vote to impeach the president.
“The obvious answer is to say first, read the Mueller report – all 442 pages of it that showed how the president tried to obstruct justice. And when Congress failed to act at that moment, and that the president felt free to break the law again and again and again. And that’s what’s happened with Ukraine. We have to establish the principle no one is above the law,” Warren replied.
“But I want to add one more part based on today’s testimony and that is ‘how did Ambassador Sondland get there?’ You know, this is not a man who had any qualifications except one. He wrote a check for a million dollars,” she said.
“And that tells us about what’s happening in Washington, the corruption,” the 2020 contender added, calling out her rivals.
“I’ve taken a pledge. Anyone who wants to give me a big donation, don’t ask to be an ambassador because I’m not going to have that happen. I asked everyone who’s running for president to join me in that. And not a single person has so far,” Warren said.
“I hope what we saw today during the testimony means lots of people will sign-on,” she said, referring to Sondland’s appearance earlier Wednesday before the House Intelligence Committee in the ongoing impeachment inquiry of the president.
Sondland, who was called out by GOP lawmakers in the hearing for ambiguous statements and changing testimony, told the panel that there was a clear quid pro quo in Trump’s dealings with Ukraine, and implicated the president’s attorney, Rudy Giuliani, in the process.
Sondland testifies there was definitely a quid pro quo on behalf of Trump, Giuliani was key https://t.co/XcWqQI5LXj
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) November 20, 2019
“Mr. Giuliani’s requests were a quid pro quo for arranging a White House visit for President Zelensky,” Sondland said of an alleged effort to have Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky launch an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden in exchange for a one-on-one meeting with Trump.
“Mr. Giuliani demanded that Ukraine make a public statement announcing investigations of the 2016 election/DNC server and Burisma. Mr. Giuliani was expressing the desires of the President of the United States, and we knew that these investigations were important to the President,” the founder and former chairman of Provenance Hotels said.
Giuliani fired back at allegations during an interview with Glenn Beck Wednesday, revealing that he was still in contact with members of Ukraine’s parliament who are “ready, willing, and able to testify” on the Bidens’ alleged corruption.
Warren’s jab at Sondland and her 2020 Democratic opponents was an extension of her pledge back in June to not award ambassador posts to wealthy donors as she rolled out her plans to improve the State Department.
“I’m pledging to put America’s national interests ahead of campaign donations and end the corrupt practice of selling cushy diplomatic posts to wealthy donors — and I call on everyone running for President to do the same,” Warren wrote in a Medium post. “I won’t give ambassadorial posts to wealthy donors or bundlers — period.”
“Through a toxic combination of malice and neglect, Donald Trump has declared war on the State Department,” she wrote, accusing Trump of opting to replace skilled diplomats with “unqualified campaign donors.”
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