The media is misleading the American people following the public release of the transcript of U.S. ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland on Tuesday. Further, many reporters were quick to report that Amb. Sondland’s testimony confirmed President Donald Trump’s alleged quid-pro-quo deal with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky however, later questioning revealed that Amb. Sondland clarified those earlier statements.
Here’s where Sondland confirmed quid pro quo
“Q: There were demands… that an investigation take place of 2016 or Burisma?
A: Ultimately, yes
Q: …you had to navigate those demands… if you were going to set up this meeting you thought very important?
A: I think that’s fair
— Rachael Bade (@rachaelmbade) November 5, 2019
Washington Post reporter Rachel Bade shared on Twitter Tuesday that “Sondland confirmed quid pro quo.” Bade however, failed to include key words in Chairman Schiff’s questioning that appeared to push for a desired partisan outcome. She also failed to share a later part of the testimony, where Amb. Sondland’s clarified his answers to the Chairman.
“Rachel Bade’s dishonest mischaracterization of Gordon Sondland’s testimony shows that the mainstream media will stop at nothing to take down the President. Frankly, it’s so bad, that it makes me wonder if I missed the announcement adding Bade to Schiff’s impeachment staff,”
-Republican official close to impeachment proceedings told SaraACarter.com
Here’s what Chairman Schiff actually said in his questioning:
(Page 280 – 281 of Sondland’s transcript)
Chairman Schiff: “There were demands, weren’t there, that an investigation take place of 2016 or Burisma? Ultimately those were demands, were they not?”
Amb. Sondland: “Ultimately, yes.”
Chairman Schiff: “And it’s fair to say that you had to navigate those demands, you had to accommodate what the President and his lawyer wanted, if you were going to set up this meeting you thought very important?”
Amb. Sondland: “I think that’s fair.”
Where Amb. Sondland clarifies his earlier statement on ‘quid-pro-quo’…
Mr. Castor: “I just want to clarify that the last sentence of the first paragraph under Roman III — this is the sentence we reviewed before with “navigate” and “demands.” “Based on multiple readouts of these meetings” — and “these meetings” refer to the meetings on July 26th?”
Amb. Sondland: “Yes.”
Mr. Castor: ““Ambassadors Volker and Sondland reportedly provided advice to the Ukrainian leadership about how to ‘navigate’ the demands that the President has made.” But on July 26th, you were not aware the President had any demands. Is that correct?”
Amb. Sondland: “Well, I think we were aware at that point that the President wanted — I think this was still in the vanilla corruption part of the continuum. Because, again, we didn’t get a transcript of the actual call until, I think, September. ”
Mr. Castor: “Right.”
Amb. Sondland: “So this whole notion of investigating the Bidens I don’t believe would’ve come up in that meeting because we weren’t aware of it.”
Mr. Castor: “Okay. So, during that meeting, I mean, if I understand your testimony, the statement didn’t come up and –”
Amb. Sondland: “I don’t remember it coming up.”
Mr. Castor: “Okay.”
Mr. Sondland: “Didn’t flag it for me.
Amb. Sondland didn’t confirm quid-pro-quo in his addendum, which Bade and other members of the media failed to report. According to the transcript, Amb. Sondland ‘didn’t know and still doesn’t know’ why the aid to Ukraine was suspended. Moreover, Amb. Sondland “presumed” it was because of corruption.
Seeing many overblown (and outright false) reports about Ambassador Sondland's testimony. Here's what he actually said.
1. I did not (and still don't) know why aid was held up
2. I "PRESUMED" it was because of corruption
3. I told Yermak my assumption
See paragraph 4 here: pic.twitter.com/STZ2vtrVsv
— Mark Meadows (@RepMarkMeadows) November 5, 2019
“I always believed that suspending aid to Ukraine was ill-advised, although I did not know (and still do not know) when, why, or by whom the aid was suspended. However, by the beginning of September 2019, and in the absence of any credible explanation for the suspension of aid, I presumed that the aid suspension had become linked to the proposed anti-corruption statement,” Amb. Sondland said.
“As I said in my prepared testimony, security aid to Ukraine was in our vital national interest and should not have been delayed for any reason. And it would have been natural for me to have voiced what I had presumed to Ambassador Taylor, Senator Johnson, the Ukrainians, and Mr. Morrison.”