U.S. ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland offered up a juicy piece of unexpected testimony for Democrats on Wednesday in front of the House Intelligence Committee, claiming that “quid pro quo” did, in fact, take place on a phone call between President Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
But what most of the viewing public didn’t realize is that Sondland’s testimony, which most of the mainstream media immediately labeled as a “bombshell,” was not even as explosive as the fuse of a wet firecracker, as his spiel was entirely based on presumptions and may have been a method to distract from the possibility that he previously lied to Congress.
According to The Washington Examiner, while House Democrats originally believed that Sondland would be erring on the side of loyalty to Trump, they and the mainstream media were pleasantly surprised at Sondland’s opening statement, in which he made the big claim everyone on the left was waiting for.
“I know that members of this committee have frequently framed these complicated issues in the form of a simple question: Was there a “quid pro quo?” As I testified previously, with regard to the requested White House call and White House meeting, the answer is yes,” Sondland said in his opening statement Wednesday.
But the problem is that a previous witness, diplomat William Taylor, said during his live testimony that he had new information from a staffer about a phone call that took place the day after the Trump-Zelenksky call occurred between Sondland and Trump.
The staffer claimed that Trump asked Sondland about “the investigations” in the July 26 phone call, which Sondland allegedly said in reply to the president that Ukraine was “ready to move forward.”
After Taylor relayed that new information in his live testimony, House Intel Committee members instantly recalled that Sondland failed to provide that tidbit of info in his closed-door, October 17 deposition. During his first deposition, Sondland claimed he “never” thought Trump attached any preconditions to a massive U.S. military aide package to Ukraine.
After several other witnesses reportedly claimed the contrary that Sondland did, in fact, tell Ukrainian officials that there was a precondition to receiving the aide package, Sondland later submitted a revised version of his testimony, calling into question his credibility right off the bat.
Even Democratic Rep. Raja Krishnamoorth said afterward that Sondland would have quite a bit of explaining to do when he took the stand on Wednesday, echoing accusations from other Democrats that he may have lied under oath in his original deposition. Mainstream media outlets also seized, questioning his credibility as a witness.
But what did Sondland do instead of explaining himself? He instantly erased all of that doubt and hate from the left and dropped that big, shiny quid pro quo “bombshell” minutes after he sat down for his live testimony and even tossed several other Trump administration members under the bus as being “in the loop” on the entire ordeal.
But the high from Sondland’s opening salvo was quickly diminished, as Republican members on the committee tore his credibility apart in thorough fashion, calling him out for the dozens upon dozens of times he “presumed” that quid pro quo actually took place, when in fact there was no solid evidence to prove such an occurrence.
“So, you really have no testimony today that ties President Trump to a scheme to withhold aid from Ukraine in exchange for these investigations?” Republican Rep. Mike Turner asked of Sondland.
“Other than my own presumption,” Sondland replied.
It’s not surprising that the mainstream media and Democratic members of the committee decided to let go of the fact that Sondland’s testimony and credibility fell apart faster than a wet paper bag and it’s not out the realm of possibility that Sondland played them like a fiddle to save his own behind.