More damning evidence came from the House impeachment inquiry on Tuesday, when House legislators released the ambassador's transcript in the European Union's closed-door testimony, Gordon Sondland. Sondland, a Trump nominee who earned his ambassador after donating $ 1 million to President Donald Trump's inauguration, initially protected his boss by saying that he "did not remember" knowing of a pound deal in Ukraine that was supposed to condition him. military aid. in Ukraine publicly stating an investigation into Trump's political rivals. However, subsequent evidence suggesting that Sondland knew a lot about the administration's scheme in Ukraine – and the threat of perjury accusations against him – seemed to spark the ambassador's memory. "I said the resumption of US aid would probably not happen until Ukraine provided the public anti-corruption statement we had been discussing for several weeks," Sondland suddenly "recalled (ed)" about a conversation he had with Andriy Yermak, an advisor to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Elsewhere in Sondland's testimony, the transcription revealed, he said he "assumes (d)" that Trump pushing Ukraine to investigate its political rivals would be illegal.
While several witnesses have already testified about the link between military aid and Ukraine investigating Trump's political rivals, Sondland's new testimony, an obvious Trump ally that cannot be fired as a "Never Trumper", looks particularly harmful. Republicans, however, remain undisturbed by the new allegations – if they are bothering to pay attention to them.
Per Political, the reaction to Sondland's testimony of Republican senators who can decide Trump's fate was ultimately "who cares?" as Republican lawmakers openly stated on Tuesday that they do not know, or particularly care about, what the ambassador's statement implied. "What difference does it make? All of this is publicly disclosed, with the (president's) summary two or three months ago. It makes no difference what anyone else said," Senator Chuck Grassley told Politico. No Republican interviewed by Politico said he had thoroughly read the transcripts of previous statements released Monday – although some said they could catch up later – and “none said on Tuesday that Sondland's testimony was bad news for Trump ”. "There were a number of people who testified that they thought this was not only inappropriate but that there was a counterpoint," said Senator Mike Braun. "And I'll base it, not on anyone's opinion, but on what I really see. So far, this is the transcript for me.
Senator Lindsey Graham, who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, sharply rejected Sondland's transcript on Tuesday, telling reporters that he had no intention of reading nor the transcript of former special envoy for Ukrainian testimony Kurt Volker. "I wrote the whole process … I think this is a lot of B.S." Graham said Reporters Tuesday. The South Carolina legislature had already had a more open view, saying in October, at Axios, HBO, that he could be convinced of impeachment in the event of a quid pro quo. "Show me something that is a crime," Graham said when asked what would be needed to support impeachment. "If you could show me that Trump was actually involved in an off-call exchange, that would be very disturbing."
The Republican Party's new "ignorance is happiness" strategy comes as Republicans continue to struggle in their response to the increasingly damaging impeachment inquiry. Democrats thwarted Republicans' initial attempts to discredit the impeachment process by attacking House proceedings when the House leadership called an official House vote on impeachment and moved to make the process more transparent. (That the newly released transcripts are in part a response to the GOP's calls for greater transparency, of course, make lawmakers completely dismiss even more shocking.) More recently, the Washington Post reported Friday, some Republican lawmakers came up with the idea of giving in and acknowledging that there was definitely a counterpoint – but arguing that basing Congress-approved foreign aid on an investigation into the president's political rivals is really all legal and legal. "Look, if I believed everything the Democrats are saying, I would still say this is not an unthinkable offense," Rep. Tom Cole said on Sunday at Meet the Press. This tactic, however, has already provoked the president's anger, as Trump continues to insist that there was no counterpart. Trump responded to the Post's story on Sunday on Twitter, writing"False stories are being reported that some Republican senators are saying that President Trump may have done a quid pro quo, but it doesn't matter, there's nothing wrong with that, it's not an impatient event." But read the transcript, there is no counterpart! ”Added Trump.
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