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Trump Envoy on Why He Wrote 'No Quid Pro Quo'

Gordon Sondland is slated to testify on Thursday
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 13, 2019 12:20 PM CDT
President Donald Trump, right, walks on the tarmac with the U.S. ambassador to European Union Gordon Sondland, left, during his arrival on Air Force One at Melsbroek Air Base, Tuesday, July 10, 2018,...   (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

(Newser) – Looks like Congress will be served a fresh platter of denial and innocence when Gordon Sondland is deposed on Thursday, the Washington Post reports. The US ambassador to the European Union, now a key player in the Ukraine drama, appears poised to say he sent a text message denying a quid pro quo with Ukraine because that's what President Trump told him. "It's only true that the president said it, not that it was the truth," says someone familiar with his upcoming testimony. Sondland "believed Trump at the time and on that basis passed along assurances" Trump wasn't holding back $400 million in aid for political reasons. Sondland sent the text in response to William Taylor, acting ambassador to Ukraine.

Taylor had texted him, saying, "I think it's crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign." So Sondland apparently called Trump and was told there's no quid pro quo—that is, no attempt to pressure Ukraine into investigating Joe Biden and Hunter Biden in return for the aid money. Sondland will, however, likely say he worked for Rudy Giuliani to pressure Ukraine into investigating corruption in exchange for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky visiting the White House. All this while Giuliani was telling the media that Hunter Biden's activities in Ukraine could hurt his dad's presidential campaign—an effort Trump is still apparently pursuing, per Vanity Fair. "Where's Hunter?" Trump tweeted Sunday. "He has totally disappeared!" (Read more Trump impeachment stories.)

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