Donald Trump's chief of staff summoned to testify in impeachment probe


Gordon Sondland, U.S. ambassador to the European Union, told House investigators in a revised supplemental statement on Monday that he had told Ukrainian officials that they likely wouldn't receive almost $400 million in aid unless they publicly committed to conducting investigations that President Trump wanted, according to documents released Tuesday by the House impeachment committees.

In the updated testimony, Gordon Sondland, the United States ambassador to the European Union - and one of the "three amigos" running Trump's Ukraine policy - said he had discussed the request with Andriy Yermak, a top adviser to President Volodymyr Zelensky at a September 1 meeting between Vice President Pence and Zelensky in Warsaw.

Specifically, Sondland says he now recalls a conversation in Warsaw with a top aide to the Ukrainian president in which Sondland said that resumption of military aid likely would not happen until the country had issued a public statement vowing to fight corruption.

Read Kurt Volker's text messages.

This week, Sondland said his memory was refreshed after having had an opportunity to review statements from Bill Taylor, the acting USA ambassador to Ukraine, and Tim Morrison, up until last week the White House National Security Council on policy related to Russian Federation and Europe. The White House's position has consistently been that there was no evidence of a quid pro quo with regard to the aid.

Trump has denied wrongdoing and accused Democrats of unfairly targeting him in hope of reversing his surprise victory in the 2016 presidential election.

"If you mean that those conditions would have to be complied with prior to getting a meeting, that was my understanding", Sondland said.

But in a revised statement Mr Sondland said: "In the absence of any credible explanation for the suspension of aid, I presumed that the aid suspension had become linked to the proposed anti-corruption statement".

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The impeachment inquiry is trying to establish whether Mr Trump was prodding Ukraine's president into launching an inquiry into Democratic White House contender Joe Biden, whose son, Hunter Biden, was on the board of a Ukrainian energy company.

On Tuesday, House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Eliot Engel and acting House Oversight Committee Chair Carolyn Maloney penned a letter to Mulvaney telling him to appear on Capitol Hill for a deposition on November 8. In that call, Trump, asked for "a favor", the spark for the impeachment inquiry.

During a press conference on October 17, Mulvaney was asked why Trump ordered the hold on military aid.

Four US officials called to testify by Democrats did not show up as requested today, lawmakers said, and the president pressed his demand for a whistleblower to appear. Military aid wasn't part of it. Trump wanted investigations of Burisma and CrowdStrike and, if Ukraine played ball, the president would grant them the privilege of visiting Washington to meet with him and lobby him directly on supporting the country's effort to resist Russian Federation.

Ueland said Trump wants "the spending process to continue to unfold and the government to continue to be funded".

The depositions of Volker and Sondland - who, along with Energy Secretary Rick Perry, referred to themselves as the "three amigos" placed in charge of Ukraine policy - are anticipated on Capitol Hill for different reasons.

On Tuesday, Republicans said they were considering installing Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, a boisterous Trump supporter, on the House Intelligence Committee as it prepares to hold public hearings.

So far, he has maintained strong support from fellow Republicans in Congress.