By Ian Krietzberg
On Nov. 4, Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, sent a three-page testimonial to Congressional Committees admitting to the quid pro quo link between Ukrainian military aid and an investigation into one of President Donald Trump’s political rivals, according to CNN.
“’I now recall speaking individually with Mr. (Andriy) Yermak, where I said resumption of U.S. aid would likely not occur until Ukraine provided the public anti-corruption statement that we had been discussing for many weeks,’” Sondland said, according to CNN.
This decision came just one day after Trump tweeted that he would continue his longtime defense of the July phone call with Ukranian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
“False stories are being reported that a few Republican Senators are saying that President Trump may have done a quid pro quo, but it doesn’t matter, there is nothing wrong with that, it is not an impeachable event. Perhaps so, but read the transcript, there is no quid pro quo!” the president tweeted.
Trump claimed that his freezing of Ukrainian military aid, even after the release of the memorandum of the phone call, cannot be classified as quid pro quo.
The significance of Sondland’s revision relates back to Article II, Section 4 of the Constitution, which says that the president can be impeached for “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.”
According to Cornell Law School, “Proof of bribery requires demonstrating a ‘quid pro quo’ relationship in which the recipient directly alters behavior in exchange for the gift.”
With Sondland’s admission alone, Trump may be facing an impeachable offense, according to The Washington Post.
Representative Adam Schiff, Chair of the House Intelligence Committee, tweeted on Nov. 5 in regards to the latest testimony that “transcripts from Ambassadors Sondland and (Kurt) Volker show the progression of Trump’s efforts to press Ukraine into the service of his own personal political goals, in what Sondland described as a continuum of insidiousness.”
Just a day after Sondland’s revision, House Democrats made the testimony of the top Ukrainian Diplomat, William Taylor, public, according to The New York Times.
In his testimony, Taylor said he “‘wasn’t disturbed’” that Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal lawyer, was getting involved with the U.S. policy with Ukraine, according to CNN.The House Intelligence Committee will begin holding public hearings related to impeachment, where William Taylor, George Kent and Marie Yovanovitch will give testimonies, according to CBS News.