Sondland Carried Out Secret Ukraine Dealings On Trump’s Orders, WH Official Testified

White House Russia expert Timothy Morrison arrives for a deposition for the House impeachment inquiries at the US Capitol on October 31, 2019. (Photo by SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)
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November 17, 2019 1:40 p.m.

Outgoing National Security Council aide Tim Morrison testified that Ambassador Gordon Sondland had told him he was carrying out the shadow negotiations with Ukraine over the delayed military aid on President Donald Trump’s orders, according to a newly released transcript of Morrison’s testimony.

During Morrison’s closed-door hearing earlier this month, the official confirmed to House impeachment investigators that Sondland had told Ukrainian officials that military aid to Ukraine was incumbent on Ukraine announcing an investigation into Burisma, a gas company with ties to Joe Biden’s son, Hunter.

Morrison testified that Sondland had briefed him on a conversation he had had with Andriy Yermak, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, in which Sondland told Yermak that “what could help them move the aid was if the prosecutor general would go to the mike [sic] and announce that he was opening the Burisma investigation.”

Later on in the hearing, House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff (D-CA) asked Morrison if, over the course of Sondland’s secret discussions with Ukraine on potential investigations into Burisma, “anyone in a position to tell Ambassador Sondland you can do this or you can’t do that?”

“Sir, in the context of what I understood to be the parallel process, Ambassador Sondland believed and at least related to me that the President was giving him instruction,” Morrison replied.

Morrison told investigators that Sondland had told him he had discussed his conversations with Ukraine with Trump

“He related to me he was acting–he was discussing these matters with the President,” the official said.

“And, in fact, every time you went to check to see whether he had, in fact, talked to the President you found that he had talked to the President?” asked Schiff.

“Yes, Mr. Chairman,” Morrison replied.

Both Morrison and Sondland are scheduled to testify publicly next week: Morrison’s hearing will be held on Tuesday, and Sondland will testify the next day on Wednesday.

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