The Speaker
Saturday, 18 May 2024 – 12:04

Impeachment inquiry continues to implicate Trump

As the House of Representatives continues to question witnesses about the phone call between U.S. President Donald Trump and Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky on 25 July, more witnesses are stating that there was some degree of quid pro quo at work.

On Wednesday, the House interviewed many witnesses, from the deputy assistant secretary of defense for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia Laura K. Cooper, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs David Hale and most importantly the United States ambassador to the European Union, Gordon D. Sondland, who all testified about the 25 July phone call and what was required for aid.

Cooper testified that the Ukrainians knew the military aid was being held up, despite being approved by Congress and Ukraine meeting the requirements for the aid, and that the aid was important for the future of Ukraine. Previously it was reported by Politico that Ukraine knew the funding was held up in August, but Cooper testified that Ukrainian officials knew on 25 July that the money was being held up, the same day that Trump and Zelensky had their phone call where Trump asked Zelenskly “for a favor, though.”

Hale, on the other hand, said that aid for Ukraine was not held up because Zelenskly had not yet announced an investigation into the Biden’s. He also clarified that while it may be unusual for aid to withheld to a country like Ukraine, it has been withheld from other countries as well for an unknown reason.

Though in this case, Sondland clarified why he believes that the aid to Ukraine was withheld, and it was because Trump wanted Zelenskly to investigate Biden. Sondland said “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.” 

A quid pro quo is generally defined as a favour or advantage granted in return for something.

It should also be noted that the investigation that Trump wished for Zelenskly to start against Biden would only involve the Ukrainian president announcing that an investigation was being started against Biden, but not that Ukraine actually do an investigation. Sondland made this point in his testimony by saying “I never heard Mr. Goldman, anyone say that the investigations had to start or had to be completed. The only thing I heard from Mr. Giuliani or otherwise was that they had to be announced in some form, and that form kept changing.”

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