Fox News anchor Chris Wallace said that Gordon Sondland, U.S. ambassador to the European Union and million-dollar Trump donor, “took out the bus and ran over” President Trump and some of his top aides while testifying in the House impeachment inquiry.
“I think what Sondland was trying to do here is protect himself more than he is to protect anybody else,” Wallace said on Fox News during the network’s coverage of Wednesday morning’s public impeachment hearing.
“To a certain degree, he took out the bus and ran over President Trump, Vice President Pence, [Secretary of State] Mike Pompeo, [former national security adviser] John Bolton, [Trump’s personal attorney] Rudy Giuliani, [acting White House chief of staff] Mick Mulvaney,” he added. “He implicates all of them.”
In his opening statement before the House Intelligence Committee, Sondland testified that Trump conditioned a White House meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on the leader announcing investigations into 2020 presidential candidate Joe Biden and the 2016 presidential election.
Sondland testified that this connection was well known within the administration.
“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,” Sondland said.
Sondland also mentioned Giuliani, Pence and Pompeo during his opening statement.
The ambassador said that “everyone was in the loop” about the link between Ukraine opening investigations and a White House meeting.
He also noted that he and other officials reluctantly worked with Giuliani, Trump’s lawyer, on matters related to Ukraine.
“Simply put, we played the hand we were dealt. We all understood that if we refused to work with Mr. Giuliani, we would lose an important opportunity to cement relations between the United States and Ukraine,” he said. “So we followed the president’s orders.”
Sondland also testified that he raised concerns about withholding Ukraine aid to Pence.
Wallace noted that the ambassador’s testimony “certainly makes it clear that in the direct conversations he has with the president he saw a conditionality here.”
Trump attempted to distance himself from Sondland, telling reporters on Wednesday that he does not know Sondland “very well.”
“Here is my response that he just gave. Ready? You have the cameras rolling? I want nothing. That’s what I want from Ukraine,” Trump told reporters outside the White House. “I want nothing — I said it twice.”
Fox News host Bret Baier says Sondland’s testimony is “very damaging to some of the arguments the GOP has been making.” pic.twitter.com/M6SE2s8z74
— TPM Livewire (@TPMLiveWire) November 20, 2019