U.S. Rep. Mike Turner (R-OH-10) grilled U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland on Wednesday during the House Intelligence Committee’s impeachment inquiry hearing and ended with a strong case that the ambassador’s statements about a quid pro quo were hearsay.
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TURNER: Chairman Schiff went out and said he gets to impeach the president of the United States because of your testimony. And if you pull up CNN right now, their banner says, “Sondland ties Trump to Withholding Aid.” Is that your testimony this … today, Ambassador Sondland, that you have evidence that Donald Trump tied the investigation to the aid? Because I don’t think you’re saying that.
SONDLAND: I said repeatedly, congressman, I was presuming … I was presuming … I also said President Trump …
TURNER: So no one told you. Mr. Giuliani didn’t tell you. Mulvaney didn’t tell you. Nobody … Pompeo didn’t tell you. Nobody else on this planet told you that Donald Trump was tying aid to these investigations. Is that correct?
SONDLAND: I think I already testified . . .
TURNER: No, answer the question. Is it correct? No one on this planet told you that Donald Trump was tying this aid to the investigation, because if your answer is yes, then the chairman’s wrong, and the headline on CNN is wrong. No one on this planet told you President Trump was tying aid to the investigations, yes or no?
TURNER: So. You really have no testimony today that ties President Trump to a scheme to withhold aid from Ukraine in exchange for these investigations.
SONDLAND: Other than my own presumptions.
TURNER: Which is nothing … which I don’t understand. Do you understand what hearsay evidence is, ambassador? Hearsay is when I testify what someone else told me. Do you know what made-up testimony is? Made-up testimony is when I just presume it. And you’re just assuming all these things and giving them the evidence that they’re running out doing press conferences and CNN’s headline is saying that you’re saying the president of the United States should be impeached because he tied aid to an investigation, and you don’t know that, correct?
SONDLAND: I never said the president of the United States should be impeached.
TURNER: No, but you have left people with the confusing impression that you were giving testimony that you did not. You do not have any evidence that the president of the United States was tied to withholding aid from Ukraine in exchange for investigations. I yield back.
On the Wednesday edition of the War Room: Impeachment podcast, host Stephen K. Bannon and co-host Jason Miller analyzed the exchange. Miller said, “Gordon Sondland pretty much is exactly who we thought he was. He’s an exaggerator. Puffery extraordinaire. He’s a Grey Poupon commercial waiting to happen.”
“At first, it looked like it was going to be horrific, and it got turned around as people started asking him questions,” Bannon noted.
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