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Public Impeachment Hearing; Sondland: I Pressured Ukraine at "Express Direction" of Trump. Aired 2-3p ET
Aired November 20, 2019 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
SONDLAND: -- DNC server and Burisma investigation and that was...
SEWELL: When you heard - when you heard Burisma, you did not see that as code for Biden - the Bidens?
SONDLAND: I did not.
SEWELL: When did you even know that? Was it - are you - is your testimony that you only realized that Burisma included the Bidens when the readout came out in September 25th?
SONDLAND: No my testimony wasn't specific as to the date because I really don't recall the date. It was very late in the game though.
SONDLAND: I - I don't recall the date.
SEWELL: So if I told you that the legal definition of bribery was an event of offering, giving, soliciting or receiving of any item of value as a means of influencing an action of an individual holding a public or legal duty. Do you believe that not only was it quid pro quo but it was bribery?
SONDLAND: I'm not a lawyer and I'm not going to characterize what something was or wasn't legally.
SEWELL: You also said in your opening statement that Secretary Perry and yourself as well as Ambassador Volker worked with Giuliani on the Ukraine matter at an express direction of the president. Is that right?
SONDLAND: That's correct.
SEWELL: You also go on to say that we did not want to work with Giuliani simply put, we played the hand that we were dealt. What did you mean by that and more importantly what did you think would happen if you did not play that hand?
SONDLAND: I think what you're asking me is, well you asked it.
SEWELL: I did ask it. SONDLAND: What would happen if we didn't? I - it was very fragile with Ukraine at the time. There was no new ambassador. The old ambassador had left. There was a new president and we thought it was very, very important to shore up the relationship.
SEWELL: In fact you actually said you go on to say, we all understood that if we refuse to work with Mr. Giuliani we would lose an important opportunity to cement relationships with the United States and Ukraine. So quote, we followed the president's orders. Did you see it as a directive?
SONDLAND: I saw it as the only pathway to moving forward on Ukraine.
SEWELL: So you would say that the efforts that Mr. Giuliani was undertaking became a part of the formal Ukraine-U.S. policy.
SONDLAND: I can't opine on that. All I can tell you is the president wanted us to communicate with Mr. Giuliani ...
SEWELL: But you went on to say that you - in your opening testimony that the suggestion that you engage in some quote, irregular or rogue diplomacy is absolutely false. So if - if in fact, what Giuliani was doing was OK and proper which was actually what you said. Initially you all thought that what he was doing was not improper, right?
SONDLAND: We did not think it was improper and when I referred to the fact that I was not engaging in rogue diplomacy. By definition rogue diplomacy would have meant I would not have involved the leadership of the State Department and the White House.
SEWELL: So are you saying that everyone in the chain of command knew about Giuliani's efforts to try to get the investigations into Burisma and to - and - and - I'm just trying to figure out what you thought you were actually opining to.
SONDLAND: Look the president directed us to work with Mr. Giuliani and the leadership of the State Department were - were knowledgeable as was the NSC that we were working with Mr. Giuliani...
SEWELL: What's interesting is that Ambassador Taylor testified that he knew nothing about it and clearly he would be in the chain of information if he was the Ambassador to Ukraine. At the end of the day sir, with all due respect, you're the Ambassador to the European Union. Why would he not know about it?
SONDLAND: I don't know. You should...
SEWELL: He was the one who said that there was both a regular and irregular channel.
SONDLAND: He should have known about it.
SEWELL: So although we don't want - although you said that you did not want to work with Mr. Giuliani, you in fact did work with him.
SONDLAND: That's correct. SEWELL: And do you think that the - the essence of what he was trying to achieve was accomplished?
SONDLAND: I don't know what he was trying to achieve.
SEWELL: You clearly had to have known, sir. If you think that this was actually "going down the center lane," is what you said. It was clearly important that we work with Mr. Giuliani to get what the president asked for because it was a directive and an order. Surely you must know whether or not mission was accomplished?
SONDLAND: Well, I know what Mr. Giuliani communicated to us, which is --
SEWELL: And you thought that that was totally fine? Did you really think that it was OK for --
SONDLAND: Can I answer your question?
SONDLAND: You asked what Mr. Giuliani was trying to achieve --
SEWELL: No, I asked whether you thought that it was right for Mr. Giuliani to want to accomplish the efforts that he was involved in which was to get them to investigate Burisma and the 2016 election, as you said.
SONDLAND: All I can testify to is what I know that Mr. Giuliani either told me directly or told Ambassador Volker and others that was relayed to me.
SEWELL: Thank you, I yield back.
SCHIFF: Mr. Turner.
TURNER: Ambassador Sondland, I want to walk through some of the portions of your testimony because sometimes you seem to make direct connections, and sometimes they seem to be dead ends.
I kind of want to clear up one of the dead ends and one of the direct connections. Yesterday Ambassador Volker, who I consider to be very talented, and a man of integrity. And I believe you think he's a man of integrity, correct?
SONDLAND: I do.
TURNER: He testified that the president of the United States did not tie (ph) either a meeting with the president, a phone call, or any aid to investigations of Burisma, 2016, or the Bidens -- that the president did not do that.
And you've testified that the president did not tell you that he tied them either, correct? SONDLAND: I did testify to that, although when Ambassador Volker and I were working on the statement and negotiating with the Ukrainians it was clear to Ambassador Volker that a meeting would not happen without the Burisma and 2016. That was very clear to Ambassador Volker.
TURNER: And how do you know that? What did he say to you? Because he says that was not clear to him. In fact, he says that's not the case -- he was working on that, he knows that that's what the president wanted. But he didn't have it as a this was a requirement.
SONDLAND: Oh, I strongly disagree with that portion of his testimony. It was absolutely a requirement, or we would have just had the meeting and been done with it.
TURNER: What about the aid? He says that they weren't tied -- that the aid was not tied --
SONDLAND: And I didn't say they were conclusively tied either, I said I was presuming it.
TURNER: OK then, so the president never told you they were tied.
SONDLAND: That's correct.
TURNER: So your testimony and his testimony is consistent in the president did not tie aid to investigations?
SONDLAND: That's correct.
TURNER: OK. He also testified that he spoke to Giuliani, and that Giuliani did not relate that the -- that he was tying on behalf of the president, or on the president's behalf aid. And then in fact Giuliani never said to him that aid was tied to investigations.
Now the question I have for you is, did you ever have a conversation with Giuliani did not involve Volker, because your testimony is a lot of "we" and "us." So did you -- do you and Giuliani have a separate conference, a separate phone call where Giuliani told you that the aid was tied?
Because Volker says, and if he was on all your phone calls -- Volker says that never happened.
SONDLAND: No, I did have a few conversations, I don't recall how many because I don't have the records -- with Mr. Giuliani directly, when Mr. Volker wasn't available. And I don't believe --
TURNER: And -- did Giuliani say to you --
SONDLAND: (Inaudible) --
TURNER: Go ahead, what were you going to say?
SONDLAND: I don't believe I testified that Mr. Giuliani told me that aid was tied. TURNER: Well, I think -- see, this is part of the problem, Ambassador Sondland, and I just want to walk you through this is you've said to us every one was in the loop, and everyone knew. Now hold on a second -- hold on a second.
I have listened to you today, as a lot of people -- and not only are your answers somewhat circular, frequently you've contradicted yourself in your own answer. Now the text messages and e-mails that you put up there. Kurt Volker walked us through and he has a completely different understanding of what you were saying than what you're saying you were saying.
So I'm a little confused as to how everyone's in the loop because they're -- if Giuliani didn't give you any express statement then it can't be that you believed this from Giuliani. Now let me tell you right now, because -- is Donald Trump your friend?
SONDLAND: No, we're not friends. I -- we have a --
TURNER: Do you like the president?
TURNER: OK. Well, you know, after you testified Chairman Schiff ran out and gave a press conference and said, he gets to impeach the president of the United States because of your testimony. And if you pull up CNN today right now their banner says "Sondland ties Trump to withholding aid," is that your testimony today, Mr. -- Ambassador Sondland, that you have evidence that Donald Trump tied the investigations to the aid? Because I don't think you're saying that.
SONDLAND: I've said repeatedly, Congressman, I was presuming. I also said that President Trump --
TURNER: So no one told you. Not just the president -- Giuliani didn't tell you, Mulvaney didn't tell you -- nobody -- Pompeo didn't tell you? Nobody else on this planet told you that Donald Trump was tying aid to these investigations, is that correct?
SONDLAND: I think I already testified to that --
TURNER: No, answer the question. Is it correct, no one on this planet told you that Donald Trump was tying this aid to the investigations? Because if your answer is yes, then the Chairman's wrong and the headline on CNN is wrong. No one on this planet told you that President Trump was tying aid to investigations, yes or no?
TURNER: So, you really have no testimony today that ties President Trump to a scheme to withhold aid from Ukraine in exchange for these investigations?
SONDLAND: Other than my own presumption.
[14:10:00] TURNER: Which is nothing. I mean, that's what I don't understand. So you know what hearsay evidence is, Ambassador? Hearsay is when I testify what someone else told me. Do you know what made up testimony is? Made up testimony is when I just presume it.
I mean, you're just assuming all of these things and then you're giving them the evidence that they're running out and doing press conferences and CNN's headline is saying that you're saying the president of the United States should be impeached because he tied to investigations and you don't know that, correct?
SONDLAND: I never said the president of the United States should be impeached.
TURNER: Nope, but you did -- you have left people with the confusing impression that you were giving testimony that you did not. You do not have any evidence that the president of the United States was tied to withholding aid from Ukraine in exchange for investigations. I yield back.
SCHIFF: Mr. Carson.
CARSON: Thank you, Chairman. Ambassador Sondland, I really want to better understand Mr. Giuliani's role in carrying out the president's demand for investigations. So on May 23, sir, during a meeting in the Oval Office to discuss the future of U.S.-Ukraine relations, President Trump told you and others to "talk to Rudy." Do I have that right, sir?
CARSON: Mr. Ambassador, did you listen to the president and talk to Rudy, sir?
SONDLAND: Did I talk to Rudy?
CARSON: Yes, sir.
CARSON: What did you understand to be Mr. Giuliani's relationship with President Trump?
SONDLAND: I understood he was the president's personal lawyer.
CARSON: What did you believe to be Mr. Giuliani -- what did you believe Mr. Giuliani was doing in Ukraine for President Trump, sir?
SONDLAND: I don't know.
CARSON: Ambassador Sondland in August of this year, you and Ambassador Volker spoke with Mr. Giuliani about a draft statement to be issued by President Zelensky. During those discussions it was Mr. Giuliani who suggested, in fact insisted that the statement include specific language about Burisma, correct sir?
CARSON: And he insisted that the statement include the mention of the 2016 elections. And Mr. Volker transmitted this message to a top Ukrainian official, right sir?
CARSON: Mr. Ambassador and this statement was part of the deliverable that President Trump wanted, correct sir?
CARSON: Do you acknowledge sir was pushing the Ukrainian to investigate Burisma 2016 or the Bidens part of some official State Department Policies, sir?
SONDLAND: I never testified that we were pushing anyone to investigate the Bidens, I said Burisma.
CARSON: You were involved in Ukrainian Policy, right sir?
SONDLAND: I told you what my role was, which was quite limited and focused.
CARSON: Was it you understanding Mr. Ambassador that Ukraine Policy should involve investigations into Americans or debunk conspiracy theories about the 2016 Election , sir?
SONDLAND: What I testified was that in order to get President Zelensky a White House visit Mr. Giuliani conveyed the notion that President Trump wanted these announcements to happen.
CARSON; Of course it was not. It was part of the President's political agenda and it done to benefit the President personally and politically. We're you following the President's orders Mr. Ambassador?
SONDLAND: I was following the President's direction to speak with Mr. Giuliani.
CARSON: Thank you, sir. Mr. Chairman, I yield back.
SCHIFF: I thank the gentleman for yielding. Just wanted to point out a couple of things Ambassador in response to my colleagues. My colleagues seem to be under the impression that unless the President spoke the words Ambassador Sondland I am bribing Ukrainian President that there's no evidence of bribery. If he didn't say Ambassador Sondland I'm telling you I'm not going to give the aid unless they do this, that there's no evidence of a quid pro quo on military aid. But nonetheless (ph) Ambassador you've given us a lot of evidence of precisely that conditionality of both The White House meeting and the Military Assistance.
You've told us Ambassador have you not that you emailed the Secretary of State and said that if these investigations were announced the new Justice Person was put in place that the Ukrainians were prepared give The President what he wants. And that would break the log jam. You testified and showed us documents about this, have you not Ambassador?
SONDLAND: I have.
SCHIFF: And in your written statement you say that the log jam you're referring to includes the log jam on security assistance, correct?
SONDLAND: Correct, as my presumption.
SCHIFF: Yes. And we also have seen and you testified that you have also seen Ambassador or rather Acting Chief of Staff Mulvaney, himself acknowledge that the military aid was withheld in part over the investigation into 2016 that you talked about. Do you reference that as well, correct?
SCHIFF: Now they also seem to say that well they got the money, the money may have been conditioned but they got the money. Yes, they got caught. They got caught. Now they still don't have The White House meeting, they made no statement, they got no meeting. The statement on the investigations was the condition to get the meeting. They didn't make the statement they got no meeting. But they got caught. You're aware aren't you Ambassador that two days before the aid was lifted, this inexplicable (ph) was lifted, Congress announced it was investigating this scheme. You're aware of that aren't you Ambassador?
SONDLAND: I am now, yes.
SCHIFF: Dr. Wenstrup.
BRAD WENSTRUP: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Chairman I'd like to address something. A claim that you made this morning. Claiming that Republicans deny Russian attempts to influence our elections. That is false and you know it. And this committee the Intel Committee not the Impeachment Committee but in this committee time and time again we all agree that Russia has tried to influence American elections as far back as the Soviet Union. So I wish you would quit, stop, would quit making that comment.
Yesterday we established with Mr. Volker something quite obvious. More than on country can try to influence our elections. See, Mr. Schiff, we didn't agree with you Russian collusion narrative, your DNC Clinton Campaign coup attempt. That incurred in conjunction with members of the FBI and DOJ and foreign sources. Something that you have conveniently ignored as Chairman of the Intelligence Committee. As you became the Chairman of the Impeachment Committee. But in this process today I'm interested in facts, I'm not a prosecutor or a defense attorney. I'm not an attorney like Mr. Turner.
Ambassador Sondland you honestly have used the words presumed, presumption, presuming some form of the verb to presume repeatedly today. And today you said that was the problem Mr. Goldman no one every told me the aid was tied to anything. I was presuming it was. You see a mathematic fact two plus two does equal four. But in reality two presumptions plus two presumptions does not equal even one fact. And the fact is The President did tell you Ambassador Sondland no quid pro quo. That's a fact. And another fact no quid pro quo occurred. At this time I'd like to yield to Mr. Conway.
MICHAEL CONWAY: Thank you, gentleman. Mr. Chairman I'd like to unanimously consent to enter into the record Washington Post article from today that's headlined "Schiff's claim that the whistleblower has a statutory right to anonymity" received three pinocchios. Pinocchios meaning that well we all know what pinocchios mean. The interpretation of that would that two interpretations, one that my colleagues on the other side would (ph) argue as they were trying to protect the whistleblower. And equally valid and creditable interpretation is that there's something to hide. And that this unlevel playing field that been created by the Chairman insistence that there is a statutory right to anonymity maintains that unlevel playing field and the advantages that give them.
Now, Mr. Chairman, also announces at every hearing that he will not tolerate and I agree with him, any witness intimidation, any threats or any issues of trying to bully a witness. Ambassador Sondland have you, your family or your businesses received any threats or reprisals or attempts to harm you in any way.
CONWAY: Could you give us an example or two.
SONDLAND: We have countless emails apparently to my wife our properties are being picketed and boycotted.
CONWAY: Let's explore that one. Our own colleague, Congressman Earl Blumenauer from Oregon has in fact called for a boycott of your hotel chains or your hotels in Oregon. I assuming he believes that that will harm you to the point that you will then be bullied into doing whatever he wants done. No my colleagues and I know that using the bullying, Earl Blumenauer in the same sentence is a bit over the top. But nevertheless he intended to harm you and your businesses. Is that what you would surmise?
SONDLAND: That's my understanding.
CONWAY: And that the boycotts, his call for boycott gave rise to demonstrations in front of your hotels, it made your customers have to weave in and out of the demonstrators to try to actually get into the hotels.
SONDLAND: As I understand, they're going on as we speak.
CONWAY: Well the words are better put by a couple other Oregonians. It says Congressman Blumenauer you're responsible (ph) attempt to hurt a homegrown business that supports hundreds of jobs in our local economy is just shameful and ought to be an outrage to all Oregonians. Some fellow named McDermott (ph). And then a lady named Ellen Carmichael (ph) who I believe works for you. Said, we are saddened to have our Congressman Earl Blumenauer call for a boycott that would put the livelihoods of thousands of his constituents in peril, the attack on our employees is unwarranted. And I couldn't agree more, Mr. - Mr. Ambassador.
Mr. Blumenauer should not be using the vast influences that we, as members of Congress, has to bully you and your businesses and to harm the hundreds or thousands of employees that - that - that operate in your business by trying to take business away from you to force you into doing something that - that - that they wanted you to do, which you actually testified and you've actually done that.
But that's a shame for that and I'm hopeful that my colleagues on the other side of the aisle will join me in saying Mr. Blumenauer, you really shouldn't be using your congressional influence to try to bully and threaten a witness before these proceedings and that it's just wrong, and will look forward to my colleagues response and I yield back.
SONDLAND: Yeah, thank you, Congressman.
SCHIFF: Ms. Speier?
SPEIER: I - I was somewhat humored by your request that Mr. Blumenauer not bully to get something done when all we're talking about is the President bullying to get something he wants done. But having said that, I'd like to clarify one point about the whistleblower protection from the article that Mr. Conaway just provided.
The law reads expressly restricts the Inspector General's Office from disclosing whistleblowers identities. It says, quote, "the Inspector General shall not disclose the identity of the employee without the consent of the employee, unless the Inspector General determines that such disclosure is unavoidable during the course of the investigation or the disclosure is made to an official of the Department of Justice responsible for determining whether a prosecution should be undertaken," unquote.
That appears to be the lone statutory restriction on disclosing a whistleblower's identity, applicable only to the Inspector General's Office. We found no court rulings on whether whistleblowers have a right to anonymity under the ICWPA or related statutes.
(Inaudible) said it is nonetheless a best practice to avoid disclosure of the Ukraine whistleblower's identity, given the concerns about retaliation. McCullough said we've stepped into bizarro-land when senior policymakers are trying to yank a CIA employee into the public spotlight in retaliation for making a whistleblowering (sic) - blowing complaint, especially when they are credible threats to that employee's personal safety.
And I don't know why our colleagues on the other side of the aisle ...
(UNKNOWN): Will the gentlelady yield - will the gentlelady yield?
SPEIER: No, I'm afraid I only have three minutes and I have some other issues, but thank you ...
(UNKNOWN): Well the end of the article does go through that and it also says three Pinocchios in spite of that conversation.
SPEIER: Well Mr. - the President of the United States has five Pinocchios on a daily basis, so let's not go there.
Ambassador Sondland, in your deposition, you lamented, quote "I was truly disappointed that the State Department prevented me at the last minute from testifying earlier on October 8th, 2019, but your issuance of a subpoena has supported my appearance here today and I'm pleased to provide the following testimony."
So it is clear that the White House, the State Department did not want you to testify at that deposition. Is that correct?
SONDLAND: That's correct.
SPEIER: And since then, you have on numerous occasions during your opening statement today, indicated that you have not been able to access documents in the State Department. Is that correct?
SPEIER: So you have been hampered in your ability to provide testimony to this committee. Is that correct?
SONDLAND: I've been hampered to provide completely accurate testimony without the benefit of those documents.
SPEIER: In terms of your conversations with the President of the United States, what percentage of your conversations were about Ukraine as compared to your other duties?
SONDLAND: I don't recall.
SPEIER: Well in - you've only had six conversations or seven conversations with the President, you said. So ...
SONDLAND: About Ukraine, I think.
SPEIER: So you've had many other conversations?
SONDLAND: Oh yeah, about unrelated - completely unrelated matters.
SPEIER: So how many conversations with the President of the United States have you had?
SONDLAND: Again, I don't want to give you a number because it's going to be wrong if I don't have the records.
SPEIER: Is it less than 20?
SONDLAND: It's probably in that range.
SPEIER: All right. Would you say that delay in military aid and the lack of a meeting in the White House works to the benefit of Russia?
SONDLAND: Repeat the question, please?
SPEIER: Would you say that the delayed - delay in - in military aid to Ukraine and the reluctance to have a White House meeting has a benefit to Russia?
SONDLAND: I think it could be looked that way, yes - looked at that way.
SPEIER: All right. I want to just speak very briefly about code. When the - when Michael Cohen was before the Oversight Committee, he was asked - he suggests the President's sometimes communicates his wishes indirectly. For example, you say quote "Mr. Trump did not directly tell me to lie to Congress, that's not how he operates." It would be different, he said - the nice - he doesn't give you questions, he doesn't give you orders, he speaks in code and I understand the code because I've been around him for a decade.
So do you think that the President was speaking in code when he would talk about wanting investigations?
SONDLAND: I don't - I can't characterize how the President was speaking. Every conversation I've had with the President has been fairly direct and straightforward.
SPEIER: All right. With that, I yield back.
SCHIFF: Mr. Stewart?
STEWART: Mr. Chairman, I have a unanimous consent request.
SCHIFF: You may state your request.
STEWART: The DOE response to Ambassador Sondland's comments before the House Intelligence Committee, attributable to the DOE Secretary of - of - the Press Secretary, "Ambassador Sondland's testimony today misrepresented both Secretary Perry's interaction and with Rudy Giuliani and direction the Secretary received from President Trump. As previously stated, Secretary Perry spoke to Rudy Giuliani only once at the President's request. No one else was on that call. At no point before, during or after the phone call did the words 'Biden' or 'Burisma' ever come up in the presence of the - of Secretary Perry."
Again, I ask that that be entered into the record.
SCHIFF: I - without objection, although I would note that they've also refused to come and testify under oath.
STEWART: The American people expect a lot of things out of politics. Arguments, protests, we certainly see that, clash of principles and ideas, I think sometimes eventually they would actually like to see some compromise but I think something they expect above everything else, fundamental, they expect there is a sense of fairness about it. And I want to read part of a text I received from someone that I have tremendous respect for. Just a few hours ago, she wrote "crafting a story to hurt another human being can never be right. The means of destroying and hurting another individual just does not justify the end and politics does not give anyone a free pass to destroy other people."
Now you can say a lot about the treatment of President Trump over the last few years but I think one thing you cannot argue is that it has been fair. There were those calling for his impeachment literally before he was inaugurated.
For two and a half years, we were told every single day he has betrayed our country, he is a Russian asset, he has committed treason, accusations that we know now are not true and for which we never had any evidence to support that.
He was accused of obstruction and now here we are actually impeaching the President over -- well first, quid pro quo, until we found out that didn't poll very well with focus groups. And then it was bribery, until virtually every witness before us who was asked a question said they had no evidence of bribery, and now it's extortion.
And again, the American people expect some sense of fairness. And when Nancy Pelosi goes before she has seen a shred of evidence, that she announces the president has betrayed his oath of office, he has betrayed the American people, he (inaudible) national security without seeing any evidence.
Again, the American people say, well what is fair about that. So, the question before us now is again extortion, that's the -- that's the latest version of the charges against the president. And I'm not an attorney, extortion sounds pretty scary, it's kind of serious, I had to look it up what it means. It means obtaining money or property by threat to a victim's property or loved ones. Mr. Ambassador, I'm going to read you a couple quotes from President Zelensky and then ask you a question.
First, from a Ukrainian press release, Donald Trump is convinced that the new Ukrainian government will be able to quickly improve the image of Ukraine, complete investigation of corruption, which inhibited the interaction with Ukraine and the USA. Does that sound like President Zelensky is being bribed or extorted in that comment?
SONDLAND: As I testified previously, I'm not a lawyer either, and I don't want to characterize any --
STEWART: Well, OK --
SONDLAND: -- legal terms. I really don't.
STEWART: -- that's fine, I think most people would read that and say, that doesn't sound like he's under severe pressure. He makes it very clear in his own words then, Ukrainian President Zelensky told reporters during a joint press conference with Donald Trump that he was not pressured by the U.S. president. Again, I was not pressured. He used another time. There was no blackmail. I would ask you, do you think he felt like he was being extorted by the president based on these comments?
SONDLAND: I really think that's for the Committee and the Congress to --
STEWART: Well, you know what, Mr. Ambassador, it's really for the American people.
SONDLAND: I agree.
STEWART: And the American people aren't stupid. And the American people can hear that, and they can say, I don't think he was under duress, I don't think he was being extorted, I don't think there was an exchange of a bribe.
And I would conclude with this last observation, it is common for our national policy to withhold aide for various reasons. You know that's true as an Ambassador. Is that not true?
SONDLAND: That's true.
STEWART: It's frequent, isn't it? That we will withhold aide for various reasons.
SONDLAND: That's correct.
STEWART: It is a policy. I mean, for example, President Bush did it. He suspended military aide to 35 countries over their lack of support for the international criminal court. I bet that helped his political standing back home, but I don't remember anyone suggesting we should impeach him for it.
President Trump did it last year with Afghanistan over corruption. We did it with Pakistan over much the same thing, and no one suggested that we impeach them for it. This is a common occurrence in international relations. It is hardly an impeachable offense.
SCHIFF: The time of the gentleman has expired. Mr. Quigley.
QUIGLEY: Thank you Mr. Chairman. Thank you, sir, for being here today. There are things we can agree with our colleagues on, things we can disagree. I can agree that with my colleague that we should turn over all the -- the documents should be turned over.
Mr. Ambassador, I think you agree that it would have helped your testimony, helped you understood that the State Department, the White House hasn't turned over a single document. The White House want (ph) this -- the president's April phone conversation, but millions more out there. So on that we can agree.
On others we can disagree as to particularly as it relates to the whistleblower. It distresses me because I begin to wonder about the motivations. In the final analysis, the way I look at this is, if we were investigating an arson, you all would indict the person who pulled the fire alarm. That person's job is done, and we've seen the smoke and we've seen the fire.
Whatever the whistleblower did doesn't change the president's actions, doesn't change the president's own words, which are in our testimony or in our body of evidence. It doesn't change Mr. Mulvaney's own words. It doesn't change the body of evidence here. All it does is put this person at risk.
Back to the documents and what you know, and clearly Mr. Ambassador, you seem to have your memory jogged by documents. Let's talk about May 23, and see if this one helps you.
Senator Johnson, in referencing the May 23 meeting in his letter, sir, says, I have no recollection the press -- and -- president saying that during the meeting. It is entirely possible he did. Because I do not work for the president, if made the comment, it simply did not register with me.
He also says, I also remember Sondland staying behind to talk to the president as the rest of the delegation left the Oval Office. Sir, do you recall this later conversation and what you and the president discussed?
SONDLAND: I do.
QUIGLEY: And what was that?
SONDLAND: Just, again, recapping what -- it was sort of a free-for-all conversation and I wanted to tie down exactly what -- what we agreed to do and what we didn't.
QUIGLEY: And in -- in that subsequent he reinforced, talk to Rudy and --
SONDLAND: Talk to Rudy. You guys should work on this.
QUIGLEY: Did he -- did he go into any more detail about what that meant?
QUIGLEY: Just said, talk to Rudy?
SONDLAND: It was a very short conversation.
QUIGLEY: And the second part, you said there was something besides just, talk to Rudy?
SONDLAND: Yes, that -- to reconfirm that the three of us would be working on the Ukraine file and so on.
QUIGLEY: And back to Rudy in this seemingly contradictory passage -- messages here, you now recall the prerequisite mentioned in the July 10 meeting, right? That when you were having this discussion, the first meeting in John Bolton's office, sir -- SONDLAND: Yes.
QUIGLEY: -- that you referenced that there was a condition? Correct?
SONDLAND: I believe someone else testified that I raised that, and I didn't dispute that testimony, that I said, it's my understanding that in order to get this visit done there needs to be an announcement about -- I don't know if I said investigations or said specifically Burisma and 2016.
QUIGLEY: Sure. But in your opening you mentioned, at the very same time that apparently there was a meeting with Rudy Giuliani and the message you got was underscored, very concerned about what Lutsenko told them, that according to R.G., Rudy Giuliani, the Z-POTUS meeting will not happen, which is not a condition. It's just not going to happen. Your understanding of the difference here?
SONDLAND: I think what you're -- what you're saying is, this meeting I was talking about in my opening statement was apparently a meeting that Rudy Giuliani was having --
QUIGLEY: At the same time?
SONDLAND: -- at the same time in Ukraine.
SONDLAND: Unbeknownst to us.
QUIGLEY: Right. But, he's saying something different. He's saying, it's not going to happen, there's notice in here that it's conditioned in any way.
SONDLAND: Well, that was Ambassador Volker's point. This was really an exchange with Ambassador Taylor and Ambassador Volker.
SONDLAND: Ambassador Volker is saying, don't let other people speak for the U.S. government, that was his point.
QUIGLEY: But if Rudy is following the directions and it's -- and he's saying what he's saying here, and you're also following directions, right, and you're saying it's a condition, who's giving you the instructions to say what you're saying?
SONDLAND: That's why we thought it was problematic to work with Mr. Giuliani.
QUIGLEY: Exactly. But who did you work with to say the things that you said? Did you have conversations with the chief of staff, with Secretary Pompeo to say what you were saying? You didn't just say this on your own.
SONDLAND: Are you -- are you -- are you talking about in the July 10th meeting?
QUIGLEY: That's correct.
SONDLAND: Yes, with -- and with Ambassador Volker because at that point Ambassador Volker was the one in touch with Mr. Giuliani, not me.
QUIGLEY: But you had no direct conversations with Mr. Mulvaney about this or Secretary Pompeo to make this condition statement?
SONDLAND: Only the text and emails that I've already reviewed.
QUIGLEY: Thank you. My time is up.
SCHIFF: Ms. Stefanik.
STEFANIK: Thank you, Ambassador Sondland, for your service and I also want to thank you for your recognition in your opening statement of your hardworking staff at the U.S. mission to the E.U.
Mr. Sondland, you testified that you never received any direct confirmation or specific information as to why there was a hold on aid.
SONDLAND: That's correct.
STEFANIK: And in fact, you testified, quote, President Trump never told me directly that the aid was conditioned on the investigations, end quote.
SONDLAND: That's correct.
STEFANIK: You said quote, never heard those words from the president, correct?
STEFANIK: Instead you testified that in your September 9th call with President Trump, the president said quote, no quid pro quo. I want nothing. I want nothing. I want President Zelensky to do the right thing. Do what he ran on. End quote. Is that correct?
SONDLAND: That's correct.
STEFANIK: And the fact is the aid was given to you Ukraine without any announcement of new investigations.
SONDLAND: That's correct.
STEFANIK: And President Trump did in fact meet with President Zelensky in September at the United Nations, correct?
SONDLAND: He did.
STEFANIK: And there was no announcement investigations before this meeting? SONDLAND: Correct.
STEFANIK: And there was no announcement of investigations after this meeting.
SONDLAND: That's right.
STEFANIK: And you've been very clear when Chairman Schiff has asked you broadly about investigations, you've corrected that to say specifically your understanding of investigations are investigation into the 2016 elections and investigations into Burisma, is that correct?
SONDLAND: That's correct.
STEFANIK: And are you aware that during the Obama administration, the U.S. partnered with the U.K. and Ukraine on an investigation into the owner of Burisma as part of Ukraine's anti-corruption efforts?
SONDLAND: I became aware of it today during the hearing.
STEFANIK: Other witnesses have testified but yes. And in fact, the Obama administration State Department was concerned about the potential appearance of conflict of interest with Hunter Biden serving on the board of Burisma because they raised this as they were preparing Ambassador Yovanovitch for her Senate confirmation. Are you aware of that?
SONDLAND: I'm not aware of it.
STEFANIK: She testified and I -- when I asked her that question both in the open hearing and the closed deposition, and I've asked most of our witnesses this and every witness I've asked has said yes. And I want to ask you this today. Do you believe that Hunter Biden having a position on the board of Burisma has the potential appearance of a conflict of interest?
SONDLAND: I don't want to characterize Hunter Biden's service on the board one way or another. I just don't know enough.
STEFANIK: So you disagree with every other witness that has answered yes, there is a potential appearance of a conflict of interest.
SONDLAND: Well, you asked if there was a conflict or an appearance ...
STEFANIK: A potential -- my quote was the potential appearance of a conflict of interest.
SONDLAND: I didn't hear the word appearance. Well, clearly it's an appearance of a conflict.
STEFANIK: Correct. Clearly it is an appearance of conflict of interest. Again, this is something that every witness has answered yes to or agreed with it could have a potential appearance and yet we are not allowed to call Hunter Biden to answer questions in front of this committee. Thank you again for your truthful testimony today. And I yield back.
SONDLAND: Thank you.
SCHIFF: Mr. Swalwell.
SWALWELL: Ambassador Sondland, you were told by the president and others to not show up. You showed up, I think that says a lot about you and I think history will look kindly on you doing that. But there are consequences to that.
And just a couple hours ago President Trump was asked about you. And he said I don't know him well. I have not spoken to him much. This is not a man I know well. Is that true?
SONDLAND: It really depends on what you mean by know well. We are not close friends, no. We have a professional, cordial working relationship.
SWALWELL: And in that working relationship he knows who you are?
SWALWELL: And he has spoken to you often.
SONDLAND: What's often?
SWALWELL: Well, you said at least 20 times.
SONDLAND: OK. If that's often, then it's often.
SWALWELL: And you donated a million dollars to his inaugural committee, is that right?
SONDLAND: I bought a VVIP ticket to the inauguration.
SWALWELL: That's a lot of money, isn't it.
SONDLAND: It's a lot of money.
SWALWELL: And after that, the president makes you ambassador to the European Union. Eventually the ambassador to Ukraine is removed. And as you told us in your deposition, you become a central figure as it relates to Ukraine. That's a pretty big responsibility, right.
SONDLAND: Well, I don't know that I said I was a central figure. I was one of several people who were tasked to work on the Ukraine file.
SWALWELL: And would you ever, in that big responsibility, take any actions that were not authorized by President Trump?
SONDLAND: Well, by President Trump or the leadership of the State Department.
SWALWELL: Were you ever hauled into the leadership of the State Department for any actions you were taken -- you had taken around your work on Ukraine?
SWALWELL: As to Rudy Giuliani, on May 23rd the president told you, talk to Rudy. You talked to him a couple times. You -- as you told us in September, talk to the president a couple times. Did the president ever say to you stop talking to Rudy?
SWALWELL: Did he (ph) ever say don't any longer talk to Rudy?
SWALWELL: On Ukraine you said that you were playing the hand you were dealt. President Trump was the dealer, wasn't he?
SONDLAND: President Trump was what?
SWALWELL: The dealer. In your metaphor you were playing the hand you were dealt, the dealer is President Trump. Is that right?
SONDLAND: I'll -- I'll recharacterize you question by saying we followed the direction of the president because that was the only pathway to working with Ukraine.
SWALWELL: On page four of your testimony you said given what we know -- given what we knew at the time, what we were asked to do did not appear to be wrong. And you would agree now, Ambassador; knowing what you know now, what you did not know at the time, there are some things around Ukraine that were wrong.
SONDLAND: I agree.
SWALWELL: So let's take out any leveraging of security assistance of the Ukrainians and a White House visit; would you agree that it is wrong for the president of the United States to ask the leader of a foreign government to investigate that president of the United States' political opponent.
SWALWELL: Would you agree that in addition to making that request for an investigation, leveraging a visit at the White House that a foreign government leader desperately needs, is also wrong?
SONDLAND: Leveraging in what respect?
SWALWELL: A meeting at the White House. If someone really needs a meeting at the White House to show their legitimacy to their people that leveraging that meeting and asking for an investigation would be wrong?
SONDLAND: Well, to be candid, Congressman; every meeting at the White House has conditions placed on it. I've never worked on a meeting at the White House that doesn't have a host of conditions placed. SWALWELL: But if one of those conditions is to investigate a political opponent, you would agree that would be wrong?
SONDLAND: The political opponent, yes. But making announcements or investigations, per se, no.
SWALWELL: And if you asked a foreign government leader to investigate your political opponent and leveraged a White House meeting and leveraged security assistance. Im this hypothetical, you would agree all three of those are wrong?
SONDLAND: In the hypothetical, yes, I would agree.
SWALWELL: Now, you before becoming and ambassador worked as a businessman, and I presume you worked on a lot of deals. Is that right?
SWALWELL: Involving millions of dollars?
SWALWELL: You work for a guy now who wrote a book called "Art of the Deal". Is that right?
SONDLAND: I do.
SWALWELL: And State Department employees have told us that they don't want to make legal definitions around what occurred with the White House meeting being leveraged against the investigations, but you plainly call it a quid pro quo. Is that right?
SONDLAND: I did.
SWALWELL: And finally, one final hypothetical. If someone walks through those two doors wearing rain boots, a rain coat, and holding an umbrella with raindrops falling off of them, do you have to see outside that it's raining to presume to conclude that it might be raining outside?
SONDLAND: I understand your hypothetical.
SWALWELL: I yield back.
SONDLAND: Thank you.
SCHIFF: Mr. Hurd.
HURD: Thank you. Mr. Ambassador, good to see you.
SONDLAND: Good to see you.
HURD: My colleague from California basically implied that you've been supportive of President Trump's campaign. Is that correct?
SONDLAND: I'm having a very hard time hearing you, sir.
HURD: My colleague from California indicated that you were supportive of the President's campaign. Is that correct?
SONDLAND: I actually donated to the inaugural committee in order to secure tickets.
HURD: So let me ask this question. Did you participate in or overhear any conversations about the potential information collected by Ukraine on the Bidens - collected by Ukrainians on the Bidens would be used for political gain?
SONDLAND: Did I personally hear that? No.
HURD: Did you participate in any conversations when this was being discussed?
SONDLAND: Not that I recall.
HURD: In your statement on page 5, you said Mr. Giuliani's requests were a quid pro quo for arranging a White House visit for President Zelensky, and you also recounted your conversation with President Trump where he says, I want nothing, no quid pro quo. How do you reconcile these two statements?
SONDLAND: They're hard to reconcile. I - we were working along Mr. Giuliani's direction for a period of time. We still didn't have a White House meeting. Aid was now held up. There were lots of reasons being given by various people as to why those weren't moving forward, and I finally got exasperated by receiving Ambassador Taylor's latest text, and I just picked up the phone. I got through to the president and I said, what do you want?
HURD: Sure. Are you aware of any specific conversations Mayor Giuliani had with the president between your May 23 conversation and September 11, 2019?
SONDLAND: I don't recall if Mayor Giuliani when I was directly talking to him either through a conference call or on a direct call whether he quoted from the president or said I just talked to the president. Most of the communications, as I said, went through Ambassador Volker initially. So I don't want to opine on what may or may not have been said.
HURD: On page 11 of your testimony, you said Mr. Giuliani had been communicating with Ukrainians without our knowledge. I'm assuming you're believing you, Mr. Volker, and Ambassador Taylor. Which Ukrainians was Rudy Giuliani communicating with?
SONDLAND: Well, I was specifically referring to this text that I received from Ambassador Volker where Mr. Giuliani was apparently telling the Ukrainians something that frustrated Ambassador Volker.
HURD: Sure. So who specifically? All right, we know that... SONDLAND: Mr. Lutsenko, the old prosecutor.
HURD: And do you think Mr. Lutsenko has any gravitas within the Zelensky regime?
SONDLAND: I don't know. He was the old attorney general and...
HURD: And ultimately got fired in August when the new - when the new...
SONDLAND: I think so, yes.
HURD: ... group came in. OK. So we know Rudy Giuliani has met with Mr. Yermak on the fringes of (ph) meetings, and I think it was Spain. Do you know any other Ukrainian official within the Zelensky regime that Mayor Giuliani was meeting with?
SONDLAND: I don't know what - who Mr. Giuliani was meeting.
HURD: Had you had an conversations with Ukrainian officials within the Zelensky regime that came to you and said, hey, I just got the phone with Giuliani. What the hell is he talking about?
SONDLAND: I don't recall.
HURD: Would that be normal? In all your interactions with ambassadors and heads of states and governments, if there is some element of the U.S. government that they have spoken to, isn't it usually a step that they come in, talk to the ambassador, try to clarify what that statement was. Is that - is that a true characterization of how elements of diplomacy work?
SONDLAND: I think that's a reasonable possibility. Things - things work all kinds of different ways these days.
HURD: When you met with President Zelensky after the July 25 phone call - so you met him on July 26 - did the investigations where Joe Biden come up in that meeting?
SONDLAND: I don't recall Joe Biden coming up.
HURD: There was any frustration expressed to you by the phone call that happened the day before?
SONDLAND: No. As I testified, everyone said it was a good call.
HURD: Is, in your opinion, your interactions with President Zelensky, is he a straight shooter? Is he a liar - or is he a liar?
SONDLAND: He impressed me greatly, and that's why I wanted to get he and President Trump together as soon as possible.
HURD: And so, when he makes expressed statements, you tend to believe them?
SONDLAND: Yes. With my limited interaction with him, he seems very honorable.
HURD: Thank you, Mr. Ambassador. I hope you make it to your plane (ph).
SONDLAND: Thank you, Mr. Hurd.
HURD: I yield back.
SCHIFF: Mr. Castro.
CASTRO: Thank you, Chairman. Good afternoon, Ambassador. Welcome.
CASTRO: Others close to President Trump have made it clear that investigations were, in fact, part of the conditions for U.S. assistance to Ukraine, including Rudy Giuliani and Mick Mulvaney, the Acting Chief of Staff.
So Ambassador Sondland, at a press conference on October 17, Acting White House Chief of Staff, Mick Mulvaney, discussed his belief that it's entirely appropriate to politicize U.S. foreign policy. Ambassador, how often did you speak or meet with Mr. Mulvaney?
SONDLAND: Again, based on my lack of records, I'm going by a bad memory.
CASTRO: Just based on your memory.
SONDLAND: I only think I had one formal meeting with Mr. Mulvaney, and it had nothing to do with Ukraine. It had to do with a completely unrelated matter.
CASTRO: So did you have a chance to talk with Mr. Mulvaney about your efforts in the Ukraine?
SONDLAND: I think most of our communication were through the stream of emails which others were on generally, and I may have seen him at the White House casually and said hello and, you know, kept in touch, but we didn't have a back and forth.
CASTRO: Sure. Well let me ask you this. Was it your sense that Mr. Mulvaney had a direct line to President Trump? He must have as Acting Chief of Staff, is that right?
SONDLAND: Of course.
CASTRO: Let us look at what Mr. Mulvaney said, during his October 17 press conference.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MULVANEY: That was - those were the driving factors. Did he also mention to me in past the corruption related to the DNC server? Absolutely. No question about that, but that's it. That's why we held up the money. Now, there was a report...
UNKNOWN: So -- so the demand for an investigation in to the Democrats was part of the reason that he -- to withhold funding to Ukraine?
MULVANEY: The look back to what happened in 2016 certainly was part of the thing that was worried about in corruption with that nation -- and that is absolutely appropriate.
CASTRO: He said -- he said that President Trump, in that clip had an interest in the investigations, did he not?
SONDLAND: Apparently, yes.
CASTRO: He's the Chief of Staff, he's somebody that sees the president, has conversations with the president every single day -- wouldn't you expect that?
UNKNOWN: It is described as a quid pro quo --
SONDLAND: I would expect he has a direct line to the president.
CASTRO: Ambassador Sondland, when did you first learn from Mr. Mulvaney that the investigations were holding up the security assistance, if at any time?
SONDLAND: I don't know that I heard it from Mr. Mulvaney.
CASTRO: OK, and -- Ambassador Sondland, I know that you're not a career foreign service officer, is it your understanding that the U.S. government conditions security assistance on an investigation in to a political rival all the time?
SONDLAND: I've already testified, I didn't think that would be proper.
CASTRO: All right. Well let us also see what Mr. Mulvaney had to say about that at the same press conference.
MULVANEY: That was -- those were the driving factors. That he also mentioned to me in past (ph) that the corruption related to the DNC server, absolutely -- no question about that. But that's it, and that's why we held up the money.
Now there was a report --
UNKNOWN: So -- so --
CASTRO: I'll just go ahead and read it for you, because this thing -- I'll read it. He says, "And I have news for everybody, get over it. There's going to be political influence in foreign policy."
Knowing what you know now about what was intended with Ukraine, do you agree with Mr. Mulvaney that there's just going to be political influence in foreign policy, or that we should all just get over it and allow a president now or later to investigate a political rival and ask a foreign government to do that? Do you agree with Mr. Mulvaney? SONDLAND: I think there's a big difference between political influence and investigating a rival. Because politics enters in to everything relating to foreign policy.
CASTRO: So -- but you disagree that the president -- you agree that the president should not be allowed to ask for the investigation of a political rival?
SONDLAND: In the context of what was going on in Ukraine, I believe that the president should not investigate a political rival in return for a quid pro quo.
CASTRO: And part of the way that you figured out that all of the stuff that was going on -- that you were part of something that was basically wrong, is because in the July 25 phone call the president himself -- he didn't tell you, we don't know if he told Rudy Giuliani or not, because Rudy Giuliani won't come in here.
He said directly to the president of Ukraine that he wanted the Bidens investigated, wasn't that your reading of the call?
SONDLAND: First of all, I don't believe that I was a part of something that was wrong. Because based on what I knew, I thought we were operating well within the center lane of proper U.S. diplomacy.
SCHIFF: Mr. Ratcliffe.
RATCLIFFE: Chairman, thank you. I ask unanimous consent to enter in to the record a statement issued this morning from the Office of the Vice President by Chief of Staff Mark Short?
SCHIFF: Without objection.
RATCLIFFE: Ambassador Sondland, I'll be brief. In the anticipation of Mr. Holmes' testimony tomorrow, about this July 26 phone call that he overheard at a cafe in Kiev that you had with President Trump -- he overheard that even though the call was not on speakerphone, correct?
SONDLAND: I don't believe so.
RATCLIFFE: All right. Was it an open air cafe?
SONDLAND: It was outdoors.
RATCLIFFE: One of the points that my Democratic colleagues keep making is that David Holmes' prior testimony which he'll (ph) apparently confirm tomorrow, is that President Trump said that he doesn't give a blank about Ukraine, you heard that earlier?
SONDLAND: That was not on the phone call, I don't think he testified that was on the phone call. I think he was testifying that I summarized the phone call, and I don't recall saying that.
RATCLIFFE: You have no recollection of that? SONDLAND: I don't.
RATCLIFFE: Even if it was true, there's nothing wrong with that -- to have an opinion about --
SONDLAND: He can have whatever opinion he wants about Ukraine.
RATCLIFFE: It's all part of the narrative that President Trump is a bad guy, that he doesn't care about the Ukrainians. But it seems to me, Ambassador Sondland, that nothing says you care more about the Ukrainians than sending Javelin anti-tank missiles, do you agree with me?
SONDLAND: I agree that sending Javelin anti-tank missiles is something the Ukraine wanted and needed.
RATCLIFFE: Certainly those work a lot better in stopping Russian tanks than the blankets that were sent by the Obama administration?
SONDLAND: Your point is taken.
RATCLIFFE: I yield back.
SONDLAND: Thank you.
SCHIFF: Mr. Heck.
HECK: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And Ambassador, thank you for your stamina, sir. I have a few quick, fairly easy questions. You would agree, would you not, sir that foreign interference in our elections is or can be a threat to our democracy?
SONDLAND: Under certain conditions, yes.
HECK: Do you -- there are conditions under which their interference is not a threat?
SONDLAND: I'm sorry, did you say foreign interference?
SONDLAND: Always -- sorry.
HECK: And do you also agree that identifying and preventing that interference should be a priority of the federal government?
SONDLAND: It should be one of its priorities.
HECK: And when you were assisting President Trump in his effort to obtain those investigations, did you at all realize that those investigations could in fact impact the 2020 election?
HECK: Do you believe, sir, that it is appropriate -- ever appropriate to invite, press, bribe, or coerce for an interference in our elections?
HECK: Thank you. I want to refer to something that you said in your opening statement. "As I previously testified, had I known of all of Mr. Giuliani's dealings or of his associations with individuals now under criminal indictment I would not have acquiesced to his participation."
It's hard to read that without believing that you thought that what he was doing was either wrong, or that he was not reputable. Fair?
SONDLAND: Well with 20/20 hindsight, that's fair.
HECK: Yes. You've testified here today that you also came to believe that the request for investigations under Burisma was in fact a request to investigate the Bidens, both former Vice President and Hunter. And indeed, the transcript of the July 25 call makes specific reference to that, including Hunter Biden.
And today even the Ranking Member said we could clear all this up if we could have Hunter Biden, and I have a simple question -- what Ukrainian law did Hunter Biden violate?
SONDLAND: I'm not aware.
HECK: What evidence is there that he may have violated any Ukrainian law?
SONDLAND: I'm not aware.
HECK: That's because there is none, sir. Finally, also from your opening statement you said, "as you know I have already provided 10 hours of deposition testimony. I did so despite directives from the White House and the State Department, that I refuse to appear as many others have done. I agreed to testify because I respect the gravity of the moment, and I believe I have an obligation to account fully for my role in these events. Did by obligation you mean simply your legal obligation or did you mean something bigger?
SONDLAND: Well both my legal obligation and my moral obligation.