Gordon Sondland, a top diplomat appointed by President Trump, revised his testimony to lawmakers in the House’s impeachment inquiry, saying in the latest version that he now remembers telling a top aide to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy that Ukraine would not receive U.S. military assistance until it committed to investigating the 2016 election and former Vice President Joe Biden, reports NBC News.
Sondland, a Republican mega-donor who gave $1 million to Trump’s inauguration, told Congress this week that his memory has been refreshed after reviewing the opening statements from Bill Taylor, the acting ambassador to Ukraine, and Tim Morrison, a former adviser to Trump on Russian and European affairs.
His latest testimony, which was provided in a four-page declaration to the committees, represents an update to depositions he gave on Oct. 17 to the three House committees leading the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump.
In the revision, Sondland said he recalled a Sept. 1 meeting with Andriy Yermak, a top aide to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, in which the aid was contingent on a public statement from Zelensky regarding launching probes that would benefit Trump politically.
Sondland said that by the beginning of September, he “presumed that the aid suspension had become linked to the proposed anti-corruption statement.”
“After a large meeting, I now recall speaking individually with Mr. Yermak, where I said that resumption of U.S. aid would likely not occur until Ukraine provided the public anti-corruption statement that we had been discussing for many weeks,” Sondland said.
NBC News adds:
He also said that soon after that he “came to understand” the statement would have to come from Zelenskiy himself. He claims he doesn’t remember how he learned that but it may have come from Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani or Kurt Volker, then-U.S. special envoy to Ukraine who resigned after his name appeared in a whistleblower complaint about Trump’s dealings with Ukraine.