Impeachment Hearing Day 4 With Sondland, Cooper & Hale

In the grand scheme of the fourth day of public hearings, a few remarkable things occurred during testimony. 

No witnesses testified to any orders for bribery, extortion or quid pro quo, which includes Ambassador Sondland who opened with a statement that suggested there was a quid pro quo. He later testified that statement, broadly reported as fact without hesitation in news media, was his presumption, not based on any fact or directive. Even Ambassador Sondland’s presumption only applied to a statement, not aid. Incidentally, that statement never took place. The exact exchange states, "Mr. Sondland, let's be clear: no one on this planet—not Donald Trump, Rudy Guiliani, Mick Mulvaney, Mike Pompeo—no one told you aid was tied to political investigations, is that correct." Gordon Sondland: "That's correct."

In the only direct communication with President Trump that Sondland testified to, he clearly stated that President Trump didn’t want anything from Ukraine other than them to do the right thing. What President Zelenski ran on in his campaign. Sondland was the least versed/legally credible witness to date in that he stated he didn’t take notes, wasn’t a note taker and often didn’t have recollection of events unless he read from other’s notes/transcripts. To that end, Sondland testified that he lacked access to his records from the State Department which would have helped him in his testimony. The State Department released a statement saying that’s completely false and that he currently retains full access to all work and records as an active employee. 

As for Laura Cooper, she lacked any firsthand information and quite literally testified that her staff overheard conversations that they couldn’t document about things they think involved aid for Ukraine earlier than any documented timelines from any other witnesses. I’m not kidding. She really did. Under Secretary David Hale produced information consistent with previous testimony and also lacked any firsthand information.  

Photo by: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

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