With the weight the impeachment inquiry bearing down on him, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union revised his previous testimony to the House about President Trump’s Ukraine pressure campaign.
In three new pages of sworn testimony released Tuesday, along with his entire deposition earlier in October, EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland wrote that the depositions of top Ukraine diplomat Bill Taylor and outgoing National Security Council official Tim Morrison “have refreshed my recollection” of the conversations at the center of the pressure campaign.
The dramatic new testimony confirms that Sondland told an aide to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that congressionally approved military aid would be contingent upon the government of Ukraine publicly announcing it would investigate the origins of the Russia probe and a gas company on which former Vice President Joe Biden’s son sat.
In the update, Sondland recalls a conversation he had Sept. 1 with top Ukrainian aide Andriy Yermak. Sondland noted that the conversation came after a meeting involving Vice President Mike Pence and Zelensky where the military aid was raised.
Sondland said that he spoke individually with Yermak and told him that “the resumption of U.S. aid would likely not occur until Ukraine provided the anti-corruption statement that we had been discussing for many weeks.” Sondland added that he recalled “some question as to whether the public statement could come from the newly appointed Ukrainian Prosecutor General” rather than directly from Zelensky.
Sondland’s updates to his testimony appeared to be an attempt at saving face as he has been further implicated in the Ukraine scheme.
Sondland insisted that he “always believed” that the suspension of Ukraine military aid was “ill-advised.” He claimed that he “did not know (and still do not know) when, why, or by whom the aid was suspended,” but that by the beginning of September, he’d “presumed that the aid suspension had become linked to the proposed anti-corruption statement.”
The New York Times first reported the development Tuesday.
In a Tuesday statement, White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said that Sondland’s updated testimony shows how “there is even less evidence for this illegitimate impeachment sham than previously thought.” Grisham particularly took aim at Sondland stating that he “did not know, (and still does not know) when, why or by whom the aid was suspended.”
“No amount of salacious media-biased headlines, which are clearly designed to influence the narrative, change the fact that the President has done nothing wrong,” Grisham said in the statement.
Read the additional testimony below: