Hearings paint a vivid portrait of an American president willing to leverage his powerful office to push a foreign government for personal political help.
“I think this is all going to blow up. And here we are. This is exactly what the Russian government was hoping for.”
“When we are consumed by partisan rancor, we cannot combat these external forces as they seek to divide us against each another, degrade our institutions, and destroy the faith of the American people in our democracy.”
Sondland declared that Trump and his lawyer Rudy Giuliani explicitly sought a “quid pro quo” with Ukraine, leveraging an Oval Office visit for political investigations of Democrats. But he also came to believe the trade involved much more.
Polling has shown that while public opinion has shifted recently toward slightly backing Trump’s impeachment, Democrats strongly support the effort while Republicans vehemently oppose it. Independents have been divided.
In a blockbuster morning of testimony, Sondland’s opening remarks included several key details: He confirmed that he spoke with Trump on a cellphone from a busy Kyiv restaurant the day after the president prodded Ukraine’s leader to investigate political rival Joe Biden. He implicated others in Trump’s actions.
Sondland told him the president did not “give a shit about Ukraine.”