‘It’s not two plus two; it’s 0 for three!’
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) heavily scrutinized Ambassador Gordon Sondland’s impeachment inquiry testimony Wednesday in a fiery three-minute exchange that is making the rounds on social media.
Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, testified in his opening statement before Congress that there was a quid pro quo for Ukraine to announce investigations into Burisma and 2016 election interference that came from Rudy Giuliani at the guidance of President Trump.
Sondland said in sworn testimony that Giuliani, acting at the behest of President Trump, communicated to Ukrainian officials that a White House call and a White House meeting between Trump and Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky was conditioned on a public statement announcing the launch of investigations by the Ukrainian government.
As for the allegation that the release of $400 million in frozen military aid was also a pre-condition of the quid pro quo, Sondland said that he “later came to believe” that it was, repeatedly claiming this belief as his “presumption.”
He became personally convinced of his presumption, however, admitting to the Democratic majority counsel that “two plus two equals four.”
In summary, Sondland claimed that three items — a White House call from Trump to Zelensky, a meeting between Trump and Zelensky, and the release of military aid to Ukraine — were conditioned on Ukraine making a public statement announcing investigations.
Jordan was not convinced
Rep. Jordan sought to expose Sondland’s presumptive errors and was shot out of a cannon when it came time for his questioning.
“Ambassador, when did it happen?” Jordan asked.
“When did what happen?” Sondland retorted.
“The announcement,” Jordan snapped back. “When did President Zelensky announce that the investigation was going to happen?” he said, citing Sondland’s opening remarks where he outlined that the call, meeting, and aid were conditioned on the public announcement from Ukraine.
“Never did,” Sondland acknowledged.
“Never did!” Jordan repeated emphatically. “They got the call July 25. They got the meeting — not in the White House but in New York — on September 25. They got the money on September 11.”
“I mean, you got all three of them wrong,” Jordan argued. “They get the call, they get the meeting, they get the money. It’s not two plus two, it’s 0 for three.”
Watch the full segment below:
Republican lawmakers have been arguing since the start of the impeachment inquiry’s public hearings that the substantive evidence is on the side of the president. Democrats’ claims of wrongdoing, they say, amount to nothing past hearsay and assumption.
Nonetheless, Ambassador Sondland’s testimony has been the most dramatic to date, and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) is heralding it as “a very important moment in the history of this inquiry.”
“It goes right to the heart of the issue of bribery as well as other potential high crimes and misdemeanors,” Schiff told reporters following Sondland’s testimony.
Author: Phil Shiver