Democrats are now claiming that in Gordon Sondland has now confirmed there was a quid pro quo deal between President Trump and President Zelensky of Ukraine. But, in fact, he did not. What he did say was that the money was being held up and because he did not know why he assumed it was because of the anti-corruption investigation once the first part of September rolled around. No investigation was started but President Trump released the money in September when it became apparent that no other country was going to aid Ukraine.
Sondland did not say there was a quid pro quo deal. What he said was that he assumed there was and that he notified Ukrainian officials of what he thought. President Trump had said he was holding up the money to try to force other countries to contribute, too. When they didn’t, he released the money. Ukrainian officials said there was no deal and that they didn’t know the money was being withheld until 5 weeks after the phone call.
CLAIM: Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland confirmed, contrary to earlier testimony, that there had been a “quid pro quo” between President Donald Trump and the Ukrainian government: military aid for “dirt.”
VERDICT: FALSE. Sondland said that he “presumed” there was a “quid pro quo.” But he did not have any first-hand knowledge of one, and other witnesses have testified that there was no such “quid pro quo” at all.
The House Intelligence Committee began releasing transcripts this week of its behind-closed-doors interviews with witnesses in the “impeachment inquiry.” On Tuesday, it released the transcripts of the appearances of Sondland and former Special Representative for Ukraine Kurt Volker.
Volker testified that there had never been a “quid pro quo” — that he had never heard one discussed, and that Ukrainian officials seemed unaware of any such arrangement at all.