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Sondland testimony seen as critical point in impeachment inquiry

U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland
REUTERS/Loren Elliott
Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland appearing at Wednesday's House Intelligence Committee impeachment hearing.

As I write during the first break after the initial round of impeachment hearing questioning of Trump donor and U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland, the Trump defense has taken a series of major wounds and the talking heads are declaring that the House vote to impeach Donald Trump feels like a growing certainty.

I don’t claim to see the future and don’t know what’s a certainty, but Sondland has confirmed or at least supported in many important ways the basic narrative underlying the Democratic narrative that President Donald Trump was using the hold on aid to Ukraine as leverage to pressure Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to publicly announce that Joe and Hunter Biden were under investigation for alleged corruption.

Sondland now agrees that this pressure can be understood as a quid pro quo, and he laid out plenty of facts from his experience to support that conclusion. “Was there a ‘quid pro quo?'” Sondland said in his opening remarks to the Intelligence Committee. “The answer is yes.”

Sondland was in the middle of various alleged efforts by Trump and others in his administration to pressure Zelenskiy to say and do things that would help Trump politically, in order to get the hold lifted on desperately needed U.S. military aid to help Ukraine defend itself against Russian occupation and attacks.

Ambassador has repositioned himself as truth-teller

Sondland, a wealthy businessman and Trump donor, was until recently viewed as a Trump loyalist, but he has repositioned himself as a truth-teller, caught between his own desire to get the military aid to Ukraine and whatever it was that had caused Trump to put a hold on the aid.

Sondland was in the middle of the effort to get the hold on the aid lifted, which it eventually was (although perhaps because it was becoming publicly obvious that something fishy was going on with the hold on the aid).

In his testimony, Sondland acknowledges that he was active in the efforts to coach Zelenskiy to say the magic words that Trump wanted to hear.

Says he was unclear on one element

In his own defense, Sondland portrays himself as unclear on one fundamental element of the controversy. He testified that he understood that Trump wanted to hear Zelenskiy announce there would be a Ukrainian investigation of the endemic corruption for which Ukraine was infamous, and that the announcement should specifically mention the (discredited) allegation that Ukraine had engaged in some anti-Trump skullduggery during the 2016 campaign, the country’s longstanding reputation for “corruption,” and the Ukrainian company Burisma, which is known for its own corruption.

Burisma is, of course, the company that put Joe Biden’s son Hunter in a highly compensated position on its board. Sondland claims that he was unaware at the time that the importance Trump attached to the mention of Burisma was likely code for Hunter and Joe Biden, meaning (at least to Democrats’ ears) that Trump was seeking dirt on Joe Biden in advance of possibly facing Biden in the 2020 election.

In the famous Trump-Zelenskiy phone call, Trump did mention Biden as one of the issues he wanted investigated. But Sondland testified that he understood that Trump wanted to hear Zelenskiy say that the anti-corruption campaign would target “Burisma,” but he was unaware that Trump also wanted an investigation of the Bidens.

The Sondland testimony is still going. I just wanted to pass along that the testimony of Sondland is being treated by many observers as the biggest news produced in the hearings so far, in terms of its impact on a possible impeachment vote in the House.

Of course, I, and probably most of you, have long thought it likely that the House (controlled by Democrats) would likely approve articles of impeachment. That is quite separate from the likelihood of a two-thirds vote, in the Republican-controlled Senate, to convict and remove Trump. The chances of that, at present, still strike me as remote, pending developments.

Comments (97)

  1. Submitted by Neal Rovick on 11/20/2019 - 02:17 pm.

    The pace of underbussing increases…

    “Guiliani? I never met the guy…isn’t he that guy who’s been making up stuff about me? ” coming soon from our leader’s lips..

  2. Submitted by Neal Rovick on 11/20/2019 - 02:24 pm.

    Who could forget the actual publication of Rudy’s reason for the trip….

    MAY 2019 !!


    … Rudolph W. Giuliani, President Trump’s personal lawyer, is encouraging Ukraine to wade further into sensitive political issues in the United States, seeking to push the incoming government in Kiev to press ahead with investigations that he hopes will benefit Mr. Trump.

    Mr. Giuliani said he plans to travel to Kiev, the Ukrainian capital, in the coming days and wants to meet with the nation’s president-elect to urge him to pursue inquiries that allies of the White House contend could yield new information about two matters of intense interest to Mr. Trump.

    One is the origin of the special counsel’s investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election. The other is the involvement of former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s son in a gas company owned by a Ukrainian oligarch….

    (end quote)

  3. Submitted by Connor OKeefe on 11/20/2019 - 03:26 pm.

    I watched a little bit of this at lunchtime.

    Personally, I think this fellow was toying with the Dems, but admittedly, *that’s my impression*, which oddly enough was his response to why he thought there was QpQ even though he admitted no one ever said that to him either directly or obliquely, and admitted when asked what he wanted in regards to Ukrain, Trump had come right out and said he wanted “Nothing. No QpQ. Zalinski should do what he promised in his campaign”.

    Everyone will take Sondland’s testimony for what gives them the coziest feelings, but if he is the best they have, Schiff & Co. are in deep trouble.

    For me, this circus will have been worthwhile when Hunter Biden gets called before the Senate impeachment panel.

    • Submitted by Neal Rovick on 11/20/2019 - 09:53 pm.

      And the timing of the “no quid pro quo” statement by trump?

      …Mr. Sondland testified on Wednesday that he had a conversation with the president on Sept. 9, and that an irritated Mr. Trump had told him he had never requested a “quid pro quo” from Mr. Zelensky….

      Oddly enough the 9th is a few days or so after the whistleblower complaint came to light and Trump became familiar with the evils of quid pro quo for private interest.

      • Submitted by Connor OKeefe on 11/21/2019 - 09:22 am.

        Also the 9th is the day the whistleblower went to Schiff & Co. The complaint didn’t “come to light” for anyone else until days after that.

      • Submitted by Connie Sullivan on 11/21/2019 - 06:39 pm.

        Rep Swallwell had a good analogy for the strange Trump answer to Sondland’s frustrated question to him, “What the f— do you want from Ukraine?” late in the game [September 9, when the whistleblower’s complaint had come out and people were using the phrase quid pro quo to discuss TYrump’s scheme to manipulate Ukraine to his own ends:

        Trump responds “I want nothing! I want nothing” No quid pro quo! No quid pro quo!”

        Swallwell said: It’s like the guy who got stopped for speeding; when the officer says “Why were you speeding?” and the guy answers “I did not rob the bank! I did not rob the bank!”

        The weird irrelevance of that answer is Evidence of guilt or something prosecutors pay attention to.

    • Submitted by Edward Blaise on 11/20/2019 - 10:15 pm.

      “For me, this circus will have been worthwhile when Hunter Biden gets called before the Senate impeachment panel.”

      Can you tell us what he did? We know he was on the Burisma board and was paid in a sweet deal thanks to who his Dad is. Beyond that what corrupt act did he commit?

      I’m sure you are equally concerned that Secretary Perry traveled to Zelinski’s inauguration, allegedly met with Zelinski and recommended that he work with some of his Texas campaign contributors and sure enough, one of these fellow was given an energy exploration contract that was far from the low bidder on the project. That could be corruption! And I am sure you want to get to the bottom of it.

      Can you see the crazy irony here? While Trunpians are obsessed with Biden corruption in Ukraine, a member of the administration travels to the Ukraine and immediately tries to cut his own sweet deal. Corruption is so ingrained in Trumpian culture that they simply can’t resist dipping in despite knowing it is a disaster in waiting.

      • Submitted by Edward Blaise on 11/21/2019 - 09:30 am.

        It is important to note the bi-partisan greed seen in Ukraine. The short list of grifters include:

        Hunter Biden, son of Joe Biden
        Rick Perry, Secretary of Energy
        Greg Craig, Obama White House Counsel
        Tad DeVine, Sanders for President campaign manager
        Paul Manafort, Trump for President campaign manager

        “The difference between Paul Manafort and Tad Devine is that Manafort allegedly tried to hide all of the money he was making overseas and Devine filed all the right paperwork and paid all the appropriate taxes.”

        And we should never forget our own Vin Weber. The former CD 2 congressman from Slayton. Began as a humble newsman in Murray County and parleyed that into political aide jobs for Tom Hagedorn and Rudy Boschwitz. Next up, he was a rising star in the GOP Congressional caucus until he was caught up in $48,000 of bad checks in the house banking scandals.

        Not to worry, he landed on his feet as a lobbyist, later including a nice 1.2 million dollar fee from Paul Manafort for work in Ukraine.

        Not that we can believe what we find on line; but, Vin Weber has a reported net worth of 16 million dollars.

        That is all anyone needs to know about what is wrong in Washington DC:
        Hardworking boy from Slayton goes to Washington to serve the public good and ends up as one of the richest folks in and/or from Murray County.

        I am not overflowing with confidence in the Ds to fix this. I have zero confidence that the Rs even care.

        Dean Phillips is to be commended for his initial work on this.

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 11/21/2019 - 09:00 am.

      Since there is no evidence of any interaction between Hunter Biden and any member of the Trump administration, calling him as a witness in an impeachment inquiry would be nothing more than harassment.

      Which, when you think about it, is the whole point of Trump’s presidency.

      • Submitted by Connor OKeefe on 11/21/2019 - 11:33 am.

        lol. How much evidence is there of any interaction between most of the witnesses Schiff has called, and Trump, or any member of the Trump administration?

        • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 11/21/2019 - 05:05 pm.

          Apart from being named ambassador and working in the White House, do you mean?

          I don’ think you have been following along very closely, sir. lol.

        • Submitted by Kevin Schumacher on 11/22/2019 - 08:02 am.

          Actually, there are many who have talked directly with trump. I’m betting the American people could learn a great deal if Pompeo and Mulvaney were unleashed, but our transparent president has put a “hold” on that. Sad.

    • Submitted by Cameron Parkhurst on 11/21/2019 - 10:36 am.

      Whether Hunter Biden did anything wrong is not the point. The point is Trump demanded an investigation in exchange for aid. Trump defenders also need to understand that the fact Ukraine eventually received the aid does not exonerate the president from wrong doing.

      • Submitted by Connor OKeefe on 11/21/2019 - 11:39 am.

        “The point is Trump demanded an investigation in exchange for aid.”

        Well, that’s what the Democrats are all upset about, all right. Question is, has any President *not* attached strings to aid? And if not, why not? Foreign relations is kind of a big part of what Presidents do.

        • Submitted by Erik Granse on 11/21/2019 - 04:26 pm.

          Foreign policy involves attaching policy strings related to the national interest.

          Attaching personal political strings is totally different, and is not OK.

          As if you didn’t know that.

          • Submitted by Connor OKeefe on 11/21/2019 - 06:43 pm.

            If the VP of the US is using US foreign aid to benefit a corrupt foreign company in return for a sweet, no show job, I’m among the majority of Americans that agree it’s in our national interest to know that. Especially if that former VP is now running for POTUS.

            It’s simple, common sense.

            • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 11/22/2019 - 09:38 am.

              “If the VP of the US is using US foreign aid to benefit a corrupt foreign company in return for a sweet, no show job, I’m among the majority of Americans that agree it’s in our national interest to know that.”

              I don’t think anyone who has not been eating the wrong kind of mushrooms is saying that happened.

      • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 11/21/2019 - 02:28 pm.

        To repeat an analogy:
        If you try to break into my house and are caught before you get in, you have still committed a crime.
        As is the case in attempted manslaughter.

  4. Submitted by John Evans on 11/20/2019 - 05:07 pm.

    Well, you know, there’s plenty of impeachable behavior to choose from, so I hope the focus of the hearings broadens out. This defiance of House subpoenas seems like a serious problem So do the president’s (secret) personal financial interests.

    We know the Republican senate will never convict, but that’s on them. It’s good to see the House performing its constitutional duty to investigate corrupt behavior of the chief executive, while continuing to legislate, (which is getting no attention right now).

    • Submitted by Tom Christensen on 11/21/2019 - 08:35 am.

      The republican party no longer exists, it has been turned into a cult where facts don’t matter, lawless behavior is acceptable, and their very ill leader lives in an alternative universe. The sad part is that this is all being supported at the highest levels of the government with the aid of Fox. I can only imagine the joy Putin and the rest of the world’s dictators are feeling when Trump, dictator want a be, daily fuels the destruction of pieces of America. Whenever Trump’s time of chaos is over, he will not be easy to recover from, as he has turned on the racists, bigots, xenophobes, misogynists, criminals and bad actors around the world. The republicans are getting what they have worked for ever since Reagan was president. Wakeup America!

  5. Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 11/20/2019 - 05:33 pm.

    I think the issue as Schiff put it is spot on. The “R’s” are pissed because Trump got caught, and now they are like a bunch of mobsters protecting the “Don” Trump. We all know from the Godfather what a “favor is”. It is very sad and very disgusting situation, but, Putin is happy!

  6. Submitted by Edward Blaise on 11/20/2019 - 10:25 pm.

    Schiff should begin every new witness with the question:

    “EU Ambassador Sondlan in his testimony under oath said unequivocally that President Trump along with Pence, Pompeo, Mulvaney and Giuliani were part of a Quid Pro Quo to Ukkraine. Something for Something: Ukraine aid for a Biden investigation.

    First off, do you have any fact testimony that would dispute Sondlan’s testimony”

    And when every witness says no, Schiff should ask:

    “Again I ask Ranking Member Nunes to bring forward any witness who, under oath, will dispute Ambassador Sondlan’s testimony. Specifically, those implicated by Sondlan: President Trump along with Pence, Pompeo, Mulvaney and Giuliani “.

    • Submitted by Connor OKeefe on 11/21/2019 - 09:11 am.

      Well, since most of the witnesses will have seen the actual testimony, Schiff would have to say “EU Ambassador Sondlan in his testimony under oath said unequivocally that it was his perception President Trump along with Pence, Pompeo, Mulvaney and Giuliani were part of a Quid Pro Quo to Ukraine, although no one ever said that to him, and in fact Trump told him he wanted nothing from Ukraine, and specifically said No quid pro quo.”

      • Submitted by Edward Blaise on 11/21/2019 - 09:43 am.

        “was his perception”

        No, was his testimony under oath:

        “However, Sondland said, “Everyone was in the loop. It was no secret.”

        The ambassador said that he and Trump spoke directly about desired investigations, including a colorful cellphone call this summer overheard by others at a restaurant in Kyiv.”

      • Submitted by Harris Goldstein on 11/21/2019 - 12:01 pm.

        Actually, Mulvaney admitted to the quid pro quo. Then he realized he let the cat out of the bag and changed his story.

        But, based on your comment, I assume you support having Trump, Pence, Pompeo, Mulvaney and Giuliani testify under oath.

        • Submitted by Connor OKeefe on 11/21/2019 - 02:07 pm.

          So it’s your opinion Sondlan was lying under oath, ma’am? Wow.

          • Submitted by Neal Rovick on 11/21/2019 - 04:59 pm.

            He “recovered” his recollections, based on the testimony of others that showed he had less than great recollection of the facts.

            Try to stay up with the facts.

            • Submitted by Connor OKeefe on 11/21/2019 - 06:49 pm.

              Sondlan said no one on the planet told him there was a quid pro quo. It’s in his testimony from yesterday. Not Mulvaney, not Pence, not Trump.

              My original post referred to Sondlan, not Mulvaney. Try and keep up, sir.

  7. Submitted by german alvarado on 11/21/2019 - 08:22 am.

    I am not political. This whole process was handled very poorly politically prior to going public, and we are seeing the why. Media goes off on their hunt for new headlines relishing the impeachment opportunities with each testimony, and both parties positioning for their speaking points through questions and media interviews.

    Yesterday’s testimony is an example of the “wishing & the hoping” along with desperation! It all centers on the statement, “The quid pro quo was do the investigation to get a meeting with the White House. Everyone was in the loop. My supposition was that the military aid was part of it.” What was wanted as the “wow” smoking gun but, NOT given was, “They are to do the investigation to get the military aid; this is what I was told by the President himself and everyone knew!”

    I felt, I believe, I overheard, I know in my heart, I construed, I inferred, and their impressions leaves all of it up in the air to pick and choose what is to be concluded based on your political orientation!

    Do you know who is the winner? Yes, Putin because the intelligence community here did not pick up on his strategy being developed until it was implemented under the Obama admin. Now he can sit back and enjoy the show that all parties are putting on to deepen the divide. We still do not get it!

  8. Submitted by Jackson Cage on 11/21/2019 - 08:26 am.

    As someone has said, this is much bigger than the impeachment of Trump. The outcome of this process sets the bar for all future presidencies. Do we really want to anoint this type of conduct as acceptable?

    • Submitted by joe smith on 11/21/2019 - 11:29 am.

      Jackson, I hope it becomes common practice fro not only Presidents to question foreign aid but congress actually looking into countries before we dole out Billions of our tax payer money to them. It took a business man to ask the one simple question, what is the USA getting from this transaction? The USA gives 100’s of Billions of dollars in aid worldwide, we need something in return!
      I have to laugh at folks that say “it helps unfortunate people in other countries “, news for you, it never gets to the people. Look at Iranian payout from Obama, nothing got to the regular folk, corruption at the top eats it up!

      • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 11/21/2019 - 11:52 am.

        Between USAID and the State Department, the US spends a little over $50 billion on foreign aid. That’s a lot of money, but it is about 1% of the federal budget (as well as being far from “100’s of Billions of dollars”).

        • Submitted by joe smith on 11/21/2019 - 12:37 pm.

          I was adding NATO spending, UN spending and individual foreign aid to countries. Any American tax payer money spent abroad is foreign aid, that is our money!! We spend way too much and thank goodness it’s coming to the light of day with Trump demanding more money from countries and questioning what exactly are we receiving for the HUNDREDS OF BILLIONS of our money leaving the USA.

          • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 11/21/2019 - 02:17 pm.

            NATO is a mutual defense pact, so it is best thought of as part of our own defense spending, not foreign aid (can you name the one country that has been able to invoke the “attack on one is an attack on all” provision of the NATO Treaty?). The UN is made up of a lot of specialized agencies that do more for Americans than just piss off right-wingers.

            • Submitted by joe smith on 11/21/2019 - 04:40 pm.

              NATO was set up to protect Europe from Soviet Union. It has turned into another giant boondoggle, just like UN. If United States tax money, collected by eventual threat of prison, is not being spent here in the USA, it is foreign aid. That is taxpayer dollars and thank goodness you have a President that wants some results for the USA for sending our hard earned money all over the globe.

              • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 11/21/2019 - 05:07 pm.

                Sorry, but the correct answer to the question “What is the name of the one country that has been able to invoke the ‘attack on one is an attack on all’ provision of the NATO Treaty?” is “the United States.”

                Thanks for playing.

                • Submitted by joe smith on 11/22/2019 - 09:50 am.

                  So your saying the slogan line of “attack on one is an attack on all” justifies hundreds of billions of our tax dollars to be wasted? Really, that is it? Wow, a catchy saying sure goes a long way. Is that money being spent here in America? If the answer is no (which it is) , then it is foreign aid. Wasted foreign aid in my book.

                  • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 11/22/2019 - 10:07 am.

                    Am I really discussing this with someone who doesn’t know the difference between a treaty commitment and a catchy slogan?

                    • Submitted by joe smith on 11/22/2019 - 06:00 pm.

                      Treaty commitment to a foreign country is still foreign aid…. How is that so hard to understand.? Once you commit money to a country it is no longer considered foreign aid in your play book….. Now that is hard to understand!

              • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 11/21/2019 - 08:38 pm.

                So you are good with financing a WWIII, vs preventing one?

  9. Submitted by Connor OKeefe on 11/21/2019 - 08:30 am.

    Here’s the problem for the Democrats, as I see it.

    They’re trying to paint Trump as a corrupt politician for asking for an investigation into corruption. Worse, they’re angry because the corruption involves their leading candidate for POTUS in 2020.

    The nexus of this issue is, why and how did the son of the VP of the US get a sweet, no show job he was in no way qualified for, at a foreign company that was being investigated for corruption? And why then, did that same VP personally intervene in getting the investigation quashed?

    That those events happened is not in dispute; VP Biden bragged about it on camera. The Democrats have been able to cover for the Biden’s while this process remains in the House, but they have to know that the Senate will blow the lid off of it the minute the issue is handed off to it…what the heck are they thinking?

    • Submitted by William Hunter Duncan on 11/21/2019 - 02:49 pm.

      They aren’t thinking. All of this, from the very first accusation that Russia/Putin stole the election from Sen Clinton, to these proceedings, have been emotionally reactionary. The evidence need not add up to the accusation, because the accusation is the point. That is how dems can go from accusation to accusation without acknowledging the lack of evidence of previous accusations.

      By contrast, I expect the Barr report and the Senate hearing to be, if still about solidifying a generalized fear about evil Russia, to be a good deal more based on fact. Which does not bode well for dem elections….

      • Submitted by Connor OKeefe on 11/21/2019 - 03:52 pm.

        These hearings have been a colossal failure for the Dems at best. I was of the opinion it was a rock solid certainty that they were going to send articles of of impeachment to the Senate, but given how badly these hearings have gone, I’m starting to think Pelosi may cut their losses and squash it.

        Either way, impeach or not, this is going to hurt the DNC next year, IMO.

        If they don’t impeach, the far left wing will lose their minds completely; no telling what could happen with them but none of it will be good for the Democrat candidates. If they do impeach, the Senate will shred this case into confetti, maybe tangle the Biden’s into a criminal investigation and the vast majority of people that are not even paying attention will see it as a shameless attack on Trump.

        This administration will be studied for years. Not only for all of the annoying quirks and rejection of the status quo by Trump, but for how a deranged hatred of him led the Democrats down the path to catastrophe.

        • Submitted by William Hunter Duncan on 11/22/2019 - 08:32 am.

          The dems don’t seem to think it has gone badly. They seem assured that those interviewed are for the most part “impeccable” and exemplary examples of patriotism and public service. The are confirming for dems everything they already believed. It will look very strange indeed if they vote not to impeach. Either way I don’t think it looks good: if they vote not to impeach, these proceedings look like a collosal failure and waste of time. If they vote to impeach, after the senate hearings impeachment will look like a cynical partisan exercise. Not so good either way.

          I will be paying close attention to the Senate hearings. If it becomes mostly an exercise in demonizing Russia, like these hearings have been, I will cry foul. If it is about getting at the origin of the Russia collusion accusations, that is long overdue. If it becomes mostly about dragging down Biden while demonizing Russia I will call it more bs smoke and mirrors.

          • Submitted by Connor OKeefe on 11/22/2019 - 10:48 am.

            We need to be realistic in our expectations. Most of the House witnesses had no direct contact with Trump or his administration, and the one that did (Sondlan) was not only thoroughly discredited, he stated Trump told him there was to be no quid pro quo. I doubt much time will be spent rehashing anything we’ve seen so far; there’s nothing there.

            What I believe we will see are the witnesses Schiff refused to call. And to discredit the claim that Trump wanted an investigation to benefit himself, the Biden’s will be pulled in to illustrate why it was in the country’s best interests their little no-show job deal went down.

            • Submitted by Connor OKeefe on 11/22/2019 - 10:50 am.

              the Biden’s will be pulled in to illustrate why it was in the country’s best interests to [investigate how] their little no-show job deal went down.

        • Submitted by BK Anderson on 11/22/2019 - 09:06 am.

          Methinks thou dost protest too much. But wonderful wishful thinking on your part and you are certainly to be congratulated on your indefatigable efforts in defense of the indefensible!

          If you actually believed anything you wrote here, you’d be overjoyed at the prospect of a Dem electoral “catastrophe” and keep the revelation to yourself, since—as the Emperor Napoleon said–one should never interrupt one’s enemy when he is making a mistake.

          As for the prospect of a Biden “defense”, there’s no doubt that Team Trump will raise it in the upcoming senate trial, but since there’s no there there, and no actual evidence of “corruption”, it won’t hold much water to an objective juror. In reality, it’s just another conspiracy theory manufactured by rightwing “journalists”, so it’s not a surprise that you have swallowed it hook, line and sinker.

          • Submitted by Connor OKeefe on 11/22/2019 - 10:43 am.

            “If you actually believed anything you wrote here, you’d be overjoyed at the prospect of a Dem electoral “catastrophe” and keep the revelation to yourself, since—as the Emperor Napoleon said–one should never interrupt one’s enemy when he is making a mistake.”

            Oh, sir, you astonish me. I am overjoyed with the proceedings thus far, and am very anxious for round II to begin in the Senate; sooner the better. As to keeping my glee to myself, no need, sir. As I pointed out, the Democrats have put themselves in a no-win situation which is proof against any outside influence at this point.

    • Submitted by Matt Haas on 11/21/2019 - 06:38 pm.

      I for one am greatly entertained by your whistling past the graveyard. It’s always a good measure of how dire the situation is to see how strenuously you need to strive to maintain smugness in the face of disaster. Please make sure to stop by on the 9th, when YOUR hopes and dreams come crashing down, it wouldn’t be fair (or in keeping up the act) to skip out on us…

      • Submitted by Connor OKeefe on 11/22/2019 - 10:56 am.

        Oh, sir, if you’re referring to the imminent release of the DOJ’s investigation into FISA abuse, no one is more anxious to discuss it than I. You can be assured I’ll be on hand.

        • Submitted by Matt Haas on 11/23/2019 - 12:34 am.

          One mght want to think on that, if one were to read the latest reports on the matter. Then again, there’s never a shortage of new conspiracy upon which to latch one’s hopes, perhaps the NEXT one will give the satisfaction conservatives crave.

  10. Submitted by joe smith on 11/21/2019 - 08:46 am.

    When Mike Turner asked Sondland if Adam Schiff and CNN bottom scroll were wrong for stating President Trump tied financial aid to an investigation, Sondland simply answer yes, they were wrong. No one told him aid was tied to investigation….. CNN in real time took the scroll down… Only in this inquiry could that happen. The head of the inquiry, Schiff and CNN get taken out by one easy question.

  11. Submitted by Bill Schletzer on 11/21/2019 - 09:03 am.

    The Republicans want subpoenas now. How about helping execute the subpoenas on all the administration people central to this drama. Trump screams the whistle blower should testify. What about his lawyer and the rest of them?

    Biden’s kid got a sweet deal he didn’t deserve. But it pales next to Ivanka and the rest of Trump’s kids who appear to be cashing in big time on his presidency.

    • Submitted by Connor OKeefe on 11/21/2019 - 09:51 am.

      “But it pales next to Ivanka and the rest of Trump’s kids who appear to be cashing in big time on his presidency.”

      If there is evidence that Trump used his position to threaten anyone, as Biden publicly admitted he did, to benefit any of his kids, well then we have something worth investigating. There is no crime in cashing in on celebrity.

      • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 11/21/2019 - 10:42 am.

        The Trump administration starts a trade war with China. Ivanka Trump is awarded trademarks for her brands by the Chinese government.

        But there were no explicit “threats,” so you’re okay with it (Just kidding. I know you’re really okay with it only because it’s a Trump thing. Never mind the no threats).

        • Submitted by Connor OKeefe on 11/21/2019 - 03:21 pm.

          Was Ivanka the only person awarded a Chinese trademark?

          • Submitted by Matt Haas on 11/21/2019 - 06:40 pm.

            Forget Ivanka, care to list Jared’s qualifications as lead foreign policy advisor? Besides surgical attachments to MBS of course.

            • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 11/22/2019 - 10:48 am.

              How about Andrew Giuliani’s qualifications for earning $90K per year to be the White House Sports Liaison?

              We’ll assume, for the sake of discussion, that White House Sports Liaison is a legitimate government post.

      • Submitted by William Hunter Duncan on 11/21/2019 - 02:55 pm.

        Then like the Obama’s, cash in after public service. Otherwise it just looks like graft.

  12. Submitted by RB Holbrook on 11/21/2019 - 11:54 am.

    A point that a lot of us missed in Ambassador Sondland’s testimony is that Trump never really demanded an investigation. He just wanted the announcement of an investigation. All the Ukrainians had to do was say they were going after Biden and Trump would be happy. That’s all. No follow-through required.

    The idea that Trump cares at all about corruption has always been laughable, at best. This confirms it.

    • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 11/21/2019 - 02:34 pm.

      The last thing that Trump wanted was a real investigation that would come up empty.
      This way there’s the implication that the Bidens somehow broke the law without any actual proof.
      The usual blowhard bloviation.

  13. Submitted by Joel Stegner on 11/21/2019 - 12:19 pm.

    Trump is guilty as charged. Senate Republicans will never vote to impeach him, despite the evidence, but in 2020 Trump, Pence and many of their stooges can be retired by voters saying enough already!

    • Submitted by Connor OKeefe on 11/21/2019 - 03:18 pm.

      “Trump is guilty as charged.”

      Huh…well that is kind of hard to believe since he hasn’t been charged with anything. You sure you’re looking at the situation objectively, sir?

  14. Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 11/21/2019 - 01:58 pm.

    The easy answer: Release the audio recordings of the July call and the list of the folks that were in the know. Why aren’t the Trumpies asking for the release of that audio? Why aren’t they demanding that Pence, Mulvaney, Perry, Bolton, etc. etc. come and testify to clear Trumps good name on all this conspiracy? It would prove the deep state and how all these deep stater actors, Trump traitors etc. are perjuring themselves under oath, and crush the democrats in one fell swoop, proves this entire thing is a hoax. That audio recording would prove all the conspiracies are right, it was Ukraine not Russia , and the Dems, CIA, FBI, NSA etc. etc are just trying to hide that fact.

    • Submitted by Connor OKeefe on 11/21/2019 - 04:02 pm.

      There is very likely no audio recording of the call, unless the Ukrainians recorded it, which is moot since they would never release it.

      • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 11/22/2019 - 10:59 am.

        Yeah sure, no conspiracy there, right? Release the full transcript then?
        Still need to answer the question, why aren’t you right wingers blowing back at the dictator Trump on putting those transcripts out? Why aren’t you blowing back to get Pence, and Pompeo etc. etc to testify under oath? You know you got to congratulate the deep state conspiracy as the right wingers like to call it, and the dems, they sure do have a lot of folks delivering the same story and from every different corner of the governemnt including the white house, and Trumps inauguration donors.

  15. Submitted by joe smith on 11/21/2019 - 04:51 pm.

    That is it for the impeachment inquiry? You had no one say the President of the United States asked for a quid pro quo. As a matter of fact Sondlan said specifically President Trump did not ask for one. Schiff brought in multiple people with no first hand knowledge, a disgruntled fired employee or two and folks who disagreed with Ukraine policy. Wow, I thought the Dems actually had evidence, not just emotion.

    • Submitted by Tom Christensen on 11/21/2019 - 06:16 pm.

      Sometimes criminal cases must be pieced together. Wouldn’t you just love to hear from a firsthand witness or five like Rudy Giuliani, Mike Pompeo, Mick Mulvaney, Rick Perry or even Trump? Why is it they haven’t been heard from? Why are they so quiet, except for Trump who can’t shut up? They all know they committed a crime and are guilty, and Trump has claimed executive privilege! So, for those who feel a need to whine about the facts and can’t figure out who’s guilty you need look no farther than the five guilty individuals listed above.

    • Submitted by Ray Schoch on 11/21/2019 - 08:50 pm.

      Sad to say, based on your latest comment, you neither watch nor listen very carefully. Well, that or you’re simply in denial, and I wouldn’t blame you for that. Trump is easily the most unethical President we’ve had in quite some time – at least during my political lifetime of more than half a century – and if I were overseas, I’d certainly wan to disassociate myself from him even more quickly than I do on U.S. soil.

      As Republicans often like to say when it suits them in other contexts: “If he has nothing to hide, why not…” In this case, why not allow them to testify under oath if there’s no quid pro quo, no bribe, no extortion, no self-serving (as opposed to nation-serving) foreign policy? If the call was “perfect,” and, as Mr. Trump says, he “did nothing wrong,” why give orders to people not to cooperate with the investigation? How to account for people he appointed himself, who are working for him and / or his administration, who testified under oath that there WAS a quid pro quo, and that Trump asked specifically for an announcement of an investigation to aid his campaign against a political rival – which is specifically against the law? If your answer is that Mr. Trump is concerned about corruption, I thank you for providing the best joke of the day, but have to say you’re either more naive than my 3rd-grade grandson, or don’t mind the disintegration of the rule of law.

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 11/22/2019 - 09:36 am.

      “As a matter of fact Sondlan said specifically President Trump did not ask for one.”

      So that wasn’t Ambassador Sondland whose opening statement included the words “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”? Who also testified that the quid pro quo “was no secret”? It was someone else who said that, using his name?

      Wow. That is one heck of a case of identity theft.

      • Submitted by Connor OKeefe on 11/22/2019 - 10:33 am.

        Ambassador Sondland’s opening statement included the words “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”.

        Then, under questioning he admitted that “no one on the planet” told him there was to be a quid pro quo, that the President told him specifically there was to be no quid pro quo, and that his opening statement represented “my perception”, which was acknowledged as being supported by “nothing”.

        The only theft that occurred, sir, was the witness’ credibility; actually, he voluntarily gave it up.

      • Submitted by joe smith on 11/22/2019 - 06:29 pm.

        When Sondlan was asked specifically if President Trump asked for a quid pro quo, his answer was “no he did not”. As I stated the story seemed to change to “that was my presumption “, when asked directly by Republicans. His opening statement didn’t hold up to scrutiny, just like the entire Impeachment inquiry.

    • Submitted by BK Anderson on 11/22/2019 - 09:44 am.

      There are none so blind as those who will not see…

  16. Submitted by Tom Christensen on 11/21/2019 - 08:03 pm.

    It is really hard for the GOP to defend indefensible Trump when they don’t have any defense. TV is not a good format for the GOP because it makes it so easy to see they have NOTHNG.

  17. Submitted by Jon Kingstad on 11/21/2019 - 11:06 pm.

    But then there is the verbatim transcript of the July 25 call which Trump has concealed in a classified server and which he won’t declassify and release because it would prove exactly what he said and doesn’t want to prove that he said what he denies saying. But you knew that.

  18. Submitted by Tom Anderson on 11/22/2019 - 05:40 pm.

    Governor Walz says no special session without a deal first. Quid pro quo? Impeach? President Trump secured a deal with Mexico and Canada (languishing in the House) where he likely asked for certain things in exchange for others. Quid pro quo? Impeach? President Trump is trying to make a deal with China, if he asks that they buy more soybeans while we purchase more TVs, is that quid pro quo? Impeach? When our elected officials accept large donations (for ?) is their quid pro quo? Should they resign or be expelled? This impeachment sets the bar fairly low for the future, are you ready, because you haven’t seen anything yet once this goes forward, and it will.

    • Submitted by Brian Nelson on 11/22/2019 - 09:46 pm.

      “…if he asks that they buy more soybeans…”

      Tom, how is this the same as requiring a vulnerable foreign leader to dig up dirt on a political rival in exchange for foreign aid?

      • Submitted by Tom Anderson on 11/24/2019 - 01:37 pm.

        Asking for one thing in exchange for another thing seems to be extortion or bribery or at least unseemly. If the “items” involved create a difference then the whole principle is dependent on–what? Is extortion of smaller things not extortion? Is bribery not bribery if it only involves millions instead of billions?

        • Submitted by Brian Nelson on 11/24/2019 - 07:04 pm.

          It is dependent on the law. As FEC chair Ellen Weintraub point out last month: “It is absolutely illegal for anyone to solicit, accept, or receive anything of value from a foreign national in connection with any election in the United States.”

  19. Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 11/23/2019 - 08:27 pm.

    Oh, my my, the swamp gets deeper and darker, seems our buddy Mike P, may be in the deep end of the swamp and getting deeper, this sure does s look like a Russian conspiracy, and Ms. Hill told you so!

  20. Submitted by Tom Wilson on 11/23/2019 - 09:52 pm.

    I believe censure is going to be the final result of this debacle. The senate does not want to go through a “trial”.

  21. Submitted by William Hunter Duncan on 11/24/2019 - 09:58 am.

    Here is a more astute assessment coming from an alternative media voice, Aaron Mate, in The Nation (and the prime takeaway, that these hearings, because they produced no bombshell info, with Sondlunds testimony over-hyped in the extreme, are a real threat to Dems in 2020:

    Impeachment Non-Bombshells Endanger Democrats in 2020:

    The impeachment hearings leave us with a gap between the evidence presented and the maximalist, “bombshell” interpretations drawn from it. That’s nothing new. The same dynamic drove Russiagate for nearly three years until it collapsed. And just like Russiagate, a major driver of Ukrainegate is an underlying hawkish posture toward Russia. It is abundantly clear that witness after witness disagreed with Trump’s decision to briefly freeze the military funding, and firmly believes that the United States should arm Ukraine in its conflict with Russian-backed forces in the Donbass region.

    What is not at all clear is why anyone beyond Beltway war hawks should be enrolled in their Cold War designs. Schiff, the impeachment leader, declared that Ukrainians fighting Russian-backed forces are “fighting our fight too, to defend our country against Russian aggression.” In reality, Ukrainians are fighting a war that the United States helped start by backing the overthrow of a democratically elected Ukrainian government in 2014. President Barack Obama, who bears some responsibility for that war, tried to scale it back by rejecting intense Beltway pressure to send the military funding now at the heart of the impeachment inquiry. Among those national security state voices whose pleas Obama rebuffed was Bill Taylor, the Democrats’ opening witness.

  22. Submitted by jill roe on 11/25/2019 - 05:45 am.

    His ONLY contribution is his OPINION. President Trump….” I want nothing.” You want to see evidence of a quid pro quo? ” ya got 6 hours until my plane leaves to fire the prosecutor or NO MONEY.”

    Democrat-Socialist 2020 Platform & Goals:

    -Massive tax increases.

    -End all deportations of illegal aliens (if you get here, you stay.)

    -Drivers licenses for illegal aliens.

    -Voting rights for non citizens.

    -Welfare & Food Stamps for illegal aliens. (Warren)

    -Increase refugee’s from the third world.

    -Non citizens allowed to hold public office.


    -Open Borders.

    -Sanctuary Cities.

    -Decriminalize illegal entry into our country.

    -De-fund & terminate Border Patrol & ICE.

    -Disarming Americans.

    -Green new deal.

    -End of Electoral College

    -Free medicare care for all including non citizens (taxpayer funded)

    -!00% free college for all, including non citizens. (tax payer funded)


    -Susie & Bobby using the same restrooms.

    -Late term abortions up to 9 months.


    -Pay check for every person in the US even if they choose not to work.

    *Sources: Straight from the Democrat’s themselves. View their

    speeches / debates on you tube.The choice is yours.-

    • Submitted by Steve Rose on 11/27/2019 - 09:48 am.

      As platforms go, that one is long on span, short on supports and fasteners; built to collapse.

      That free college deal is retroactive; settlement of all student debt is a knot-hole in this platform too.

      The thing that underpins all this is a quid pro quo; you vote for us because we promise you all of this stuff. We don’t necessarily deliver on all promises, but the more you vote the more we can deliver.

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