New York Times Editorial Board: Sondland Has Implicated the President and His Top Men

Wanted to be sure you saw this damning editorial from the New York Times about the testimony heard by the American people today, which confirmed: the President directed a scheme to bribe Ukraine to investigate a political rival; there was a quid pro quo; and everyone knew. And of course, it would be helpful if key players like Bolton, Pompeo, and Mulvaney would testify, but they’ve refused to cooperate. Key excerpts:

“‘Everyone was in the loop. It was no secret.’ Those are the damning words of President Trump’s handpicked ambassador to the European Union, Gordon Sondland, who on Wednesday morning directly implicated not only Mr. Trump, but also several top members of his administration, in the Ukraine shakedown scheme at the heart of the House of Representatives’ impeachment inquiry.”

“The Democrats are steadily building a case that Mr. Trump sought a bribe from Ukraine’s new president, Volodymyr Zelensky, by agreeing to two things Mr. Zelensky desperately wanted — an official White House visit and nearly $400 million in military aid — if he agreed to announce two investigations that would personally benefit Mr. Trump.”

“For months, Mr. Trump and his allies have been road-testing a remarkable variety of defenses of this behavior. In the first minutes of his opening statement, Mr. Sondland blew them all apart.”

“Mr. Trump has insisted that there was ‘no quid pro quo.’ Mr. Sondland testified: ‘Was there a quid pro quo? As I testified previously, with regard to the requested White House call and White House meeting, the answer is yes.’”

“Mr. Trump’s defenders in Congress have claimed that Rudy Giuliani, who has been bragging publicly since last spring that he was trying to get Ukraine to investigate the Bidens, was off on his own escapade that had nothing to do with the president. Mr. Sondland testified that he, Rick Perry and other top officials responsible for American relations with Ukraine were forced to deal with Mr. Giuliani, even though they did not want to. ‘We worked with Mr. Giuliani because the president directed us to do so,’ he said.”

“In case the dots weren’t completely connected, Mr. Sondland testified that ‘Mr. Giuliani’s requests were a quid pro quo for arranging a White House visit for President Zelensky’ and that ‘Mr. Giuliani was expressing the desires of the president of the United States, and we knew that these investigations were important to the president.’”

“After everything else he remembered, it sounds like Mr. Trump’s allies are going to need some new defenses.”