US top diplomat has directly implicated President Donald Trump in a bid to force Ukraine leader to investigate his 2020 political rival, Joe Biden, in an explosive televised impeachment testimony.
Gordon Sondland, who is the ambassador to the European Union, testified before the lawmakers that he followed the president’s orders in seeking a “quid pro quo” deal for Ukraine to probe Democrat Joe Biden son’s Ukraine activities in exchange for a White House summit.
Sondland told the house that president Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani ensured that all directives by Trump to pressure Ukraine leader Volodymr Zelensky to probe the Bidens was carried out and that all senior officials in the White House and State Department knew about it.
The bombshell testimony hit on Trump and he fired back on Twitter saying, “This Witch Hunt must end NOW. So bad for our Country!”.
President Trump claimed he barely knew Sondland and had not spoken to him much, not minding that the top diplomat donated $1 million to his inauguration and testifying that he had spoken to the president like 20 times as an ambassador.
According to Democrats, Sondland’s seven hours testimony right before the House Intelligence Committee had bolstered their fight for Trump’s impeachment for what they described as “extortion”.
Committee chairman Adam Schiff said, “Today’s testimony is among the most significant evidence to date. It goes right to the heart of the issue of bribery as well as other potential high crimes or misdemeanors.”
A succession of Democrats that looks to victory over nomination to take on Trump in next year’s presidential election also said the testimony had strengthened the fight for impeachment.
Sources: AFP, SurgeZirc UK