Live Trump Impeachment Hearings & Analysis: Gordon Sondland most anticipated witness testifies



WASHINGTON (WFLA) — Another day, another impeachment hearing on Capitol Hill. On Wednesday, one of the most anticipated witnesses in the public hearings will face tough questions from lawmakers.

Here’s the latest from the hearings:

Committee members are taking 5-minute turns questioning Ambassador Sondland.

Rep. Mike Quigley, during his turn, compared the whistleblower to someone who pulls a fire alarm.

“If we were investigating an arson, you all would indict the person who pulled the fire alarm,” he said. “That person’s job is done. We’ve seen the smoke. We’ve seen the fire.”

During his turn, Rep. Chris Stewart argued that withholding aid is a common occurrence in foreign policy.

“President Bush did it,” he said. “President Trump did it last year with Afghanistan over corruption. And no one suggest they impeach them for it.”

Rep. Schiff made a point during his questioning that while a statement was not made and no meeting was arranged, “they got caught.”

“You’re aware that two days before aid was lifted, Congress announced it was investigating this scheme. You’re aware of that, ambassador?” Schiff said. Sondland responded, “I am now.”

Rep. Turner pressed Sondland about his testimony, asking if anyone actually told him directly Trump was tying aid to the investigations.

“So you have no testimony tying Trump to a scheme to withhold aid?” he asked. Sondland replied, “other than my own presumption.”

Rep. Jim Jordan asked Sondland about the “meeting that never happened.”

11:40 a.m. – Rep. Nunes and the GOP lawyer are questioning Sondland once again.

11:10 a.m. – The GOP side has wrapped up its questioning and Rep. Schiff, along with the Democratic lawyer, are questioning Sondland again.

11 a.m. – President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence have both responded to Ambassador Sondland’s testimony.

The president told reporters outside the White House, “I don’t know (Sondland) very well. I have not spoken to him much. This is not a man I know well. Seems like a nice guy, thought, but I don’t know him well. He was with other candidates. He actually supported other candidates, not me, came in late.”

During Sondland’s testimony, the ambassador said he told the vice president about concerns he had that aid to Ukraine had been frozen due to investigations of the Bidens and the 2016 election. The vice president denied that testimony in a statement released to NBC News.

“The Vice President never had a conversation with Gordon Sondland about investigating the Bidens, Burisma or the conditional release of financial aid to Ukraine based upon potential investigations,” the statement said.

10:20 a.m. – Rep. Devin Nunes and the GOP lawyer have started questioning Sondland after a brief break.

Original story:

WASHINGTON (WFLA) – Another day, another impeachment hearing on Capitol Hill. On Wednesday, one of the most anticipated witnesses in the public hearings will face tough questions from lawmakers.

Join host J.B. Biunno and political reporter Evan Donovan, with our sister station WFLA, beginning at 7:30 a.m. for step-by-step analysis and expertise during the impeachment inquiry today and Thursday.

Gordon Sondland is the U.S. ambassador to the European Union and Democrats are hoping to grill Sondland on new details that emerged from the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine William Taylor last week about a critical phone call between Sondland and President Donald Trump about Ukraine.

Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call via AP Images

Sondland told House investigators that he delivered a key message to a Ukrainian official this year: Trump would not unfreeze more than $390 million in assistance for Ukraine unless Ukraine made a public statement committing to investigations Trump believed might help him in the 2020 election, NPR reported. That was revealed after he gave closed-door testimony in October and then submitted a three-page amendment in November after reviewing statements from Ambassador William Taylor and Tim Morrison.

Sondland is expected to testify beginning at 8 a.m.

Lawmakers will also hear from Laura Cooper, the deputy assistant secretary of defense for Russian, Ukrainian, and Eurasian Affairs, and David Hale, the undersecretary of state for political affairs. Afternoon testimony is expect at 2:30 ET.

Our experts will break down the latest developments and what it all means throughout the day’s testimony.

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