Connect with us

Politics

Impeachment hearing updates: Sondland, Cooper, Hale testimony

Published

on

  • Wednesday’s impeachment hearings will feature three more officials who will testify about President Donald Trump’s efforts to strongarm Ukraine into delivering political dirt.
  • The officials are: Gordon Sondland, the US’s ambassador to the EU; Laura Cooper, deputy assistant secretary at the State Department; and David Hale, undersecretary of state for political affairs at the State.
  • Sondland’s hearing is the day’s main event and starts at 9 a.m. ET. Cooper and Hale will jointly testify beginning at 2:30 p.m.
  • Both hearings will be broadcast on C-SPAN and the major cable news networks. Insider will also embed a livestream of the hearings here when they kick off.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Congress will hear on Wednesday from three more officials set to publicly testify about their knowledge of President Donald Trump’s efforts to strongarm Ukraine into delivering him political dirt while withholding military aid and a White House meeting.

Gordon Sondland, the US’s ambassador to the EU, will testify beginning at 9 a.m. ET.

Laura Cooper, a deputy assistant secretary at the State Department, and David Hale, the undersecretary of state for political affairs at the State Department, will jointly testify at 2:30 p.m.

The hearings will be broadcast live on C-SPAN and the major cable news networks. They will also be streamed on YouTube, and Insider will embed the livestreams here for both hearings.

Cooper is expected to tell lawmakers about how the Ukrainians were concerned as early as August about Trump’s decision to freeze a $391 million security assistance package.

At the time, Trump and his allies were pressuring Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to publicly commit to investigating former Vice President Joe Biden and his son for purported corruption. The president also wanted Zelensky to pledge to look into a bogus conspiracy theory suggesting it was Ukraine, not Russia, that interfered in the 2016 election and that it did so to benefit the Democrats.

Cooper will testify that she spoke to Kurt Volker, who at the time was the US’s Special Representative to Ukraine, about Ukrainian officials’ concerns, and that Volker told her he was working with them to put out a statement disavowing election interference.

Hale testified behind closed doors on November 6 and told lawmakers about how Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and other senior State Department officials refused to robustly push back on Trump’s smear campaign against Marie Yovanovitch, the US’s former ambassador to Ukraine, for political reasons.

He is also expected to tell Congress on Wednesday that officials were worried about the blowback they’d get from Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal lawyer who engineered Yovanovitch’s removal.

The main attraction on Wednesday will be Sondland’s testimony.

The hotel executive was given an ambassadorship after donating $1 million to Trump’s inaugural committee and has emerged as the primary link between Trump and Ukraine in the saga so far. Sondland already testified to Congress behind closed doors once but went back and amended his testimony after it was contradicted by Bill Taylor, the US’s chief envoy in Ukraine, in a closed session.

Since Sondland corrected his testimony to acknowledge a quid pro quo between Trump and Ukraine, Taylor and one of his top aides, David Holmes, have testified that the president and Sondland had a phone call on July 26 during which they discussed that the “big” topics Trump cared about with respect to Ukraine were the “Biden investigations.”

Sondland apparently had the conversation with Trump while he was out to dinner with Holmes at a restaurant in Kyiv on July 26, and Trump was speaking loudly enough on the phone that Sondland had to hold the device away from his ear. Two officials, in addition to Holmes, are said to have overheard the call.

Because he was in contact with the president throughout the entire Ukraine scandal, Sondland is one of the most significant witnesses against Trump.

The EU ambassador will likely corroborate Holmes’ statements in his public testimony on Wednesday. If he does so, it will establish the most direct link yet between the president and the effort to bully Ukraine into delivering political investigations in exchange for critical military aid and a White House meeting.

Continue Reading
Advertisement Find your dream job

Trending