7 Officials Have Confirmed Trump’s Attempted Quid Pro Quo With Ukraine
At the center of Democrats’ impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump is his attempt to pressure Ukraine’s government into launching politically-motivated investigations by withholding a desperately desired White House meeting and freezing U.S. military aid as the country battles Russian aggression.
Trump and his allies have adamantly insisted there was no quid pro quo, but at least seven officials — including five witnesses who testified under oath — have made clear that the president did in fact try to strike such an agreement with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Business Insider put together a list of each official who has corroborated the initial whistleblower account that sparked the impeachment inquiry.
U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland
Sondland offered the most explicit testimony regarding Trump’s activity with Ukraine during his opening statement before the House Intelligence Committee on Wednesday.
"Was there a quid pro quo?" Sondland asked. "The answer is yes."
The ambassador further stated that “everyone was in the loop” regarding the matter and “it was no secret.”
Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, an army officer and Ukraine expert detailed to the White House
Vindman testified last week that Sondland said during a July meeting that Zelensky had to deliver "a special investigation” if he wanted a meeting with Trump, Business Insider reported.
Asked during the hearing if it was an accurate summary to say that “President Trump demanded a favor of Zelensky to conduct investigations ... for Trump's political interest, not the national interest,” Vindman responded, “Yes.”
Former Ukraine Ambassador William Taylor
Last week, Taylor “testified that he was told Sondland had told Ukrainian presidential aid Andriy Yermak that military aid for Ukraine was preconditioned on the launching of an investigation into the Biden.”
Tim Morrison, former top Russia staffer on the National Security Council
Morrison testified during a closed-door hearing that he was the one who informed Taylor of Sondland’s conversation with Yermak regarding U.S. military aid being withheld.
"I can confirm that the substance of [Taylor's] statement, as it relates to conversations he and I had, is accurate,” he told impeachment investigators.
Business Insider noted that Morrison is a Trump loyalist.
Laura Cooper, deputy assistant secretary of defense for Russia, Ukraine, and Eurasia
Also in a closed-door hearing, Cooper testified “that the State Department special envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker had indicated to her in August that the hold on military aid for Ukraine would be released if Ukrainian president Zelensky offered a public commitment to support an investigation into the Biden family.”
Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI)
Johnson is not an impeachment witness but “said he was told by Sondland of a potential quid pro quo between Trump and the Ukrainian president,” according to a Wall Street Journal report.
The senator reportedly became aware of the quid pro quo in August and subsequently tried to convince Trump to release the military aid to Ukraine. Johnson was unsuccessful in his efforts.
Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney
Mulvaney appeared to admit during a White House press briefing that Trump did engaged in a quid pro quo with Ukraine in hopes of winning an investigation into the 2016 hacking of the Democratic National Committee server.
"[Did Trump] also mention to me, in the past, that the corruption related to the DNC server? Absolutely, no question about that," Mulvaney told reporters. "But that's it.
After the press briefing, Mulvaney attempted to retract his admission of the arrangement and insisted that he had been misunderstood.