EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland may have Democrats excited since he flatly stated he believes there was quid pro quo between President Donald Trump and Ukraine, but his credibility was shredded to bits before his Wednesday testimony was even over.
One of Sondland’s alarming comments came during his opening testimony where he claimed he did not have access to all of his files before the hearing and he was not a particularly good notetaker. Republican Counsel Steve Castor seized on this when questioning the ambassador and broke down just how half-baked Sondland’s entire testimony was. Castor even at one point deemed Sondland’s testimony “the trifecta of unreliability.”
“You stated that you haven’t been able to access your records, is that correct?” Castor asked Sondland, who confirmed that he did not have access to all of his records before the hearing.
“But you’ve also stated that you don’t take notes, right?” Castor asked.
“I don’t take notes, but there are a lot of others out there [who do],” Sondland replied.
Castor then said he had put together all the times Sondland replied he did not recall to questions in his deposition.
“It’s like two pages long,” Castor said of the notes, further proving Sondland’s unreliability as a witness.
Castor said Sondland often answered questions with “nuance” and “ambiguity” rather than concrete fact. Add to this that there are “no records” and one begins to wonder why Sondland is testifying at all.
Sondland bumbled through an answer saying “situational things trigger memory,” which isn’t something you want a witness in an impeachment inquiry to say.
Castor brought up how other witnesses thus far have had meticulous notes from meetings and calls, and Sondland has very little by comparison.
“We have all this back and forth, but as we get to the end here, you don’t have records, you don’t have notes because you didn’t take notes, you don’t have a lot of recollections. I mean, this is the trifecta of unreliability,” Castor said.
Admitting he had only “limited knowledge,” Sondland still argued that he “filled in a lot of blanks” with his testimony.
“A lot of it is speculation. A lot of it your guess and we’re talking about the impeachment of the president of the United States, so the evidence here ought to be pretty darn good,” Castor replied.
Further hurting Sondland’s credibility is a Wednesday public statement from Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff. While Sondland claimed under oath to have spoken directly with Pence about his concerns over aid to Ukraine allegedly being held up in order for investigations into the 2016 U.S. presidential election and former Vice President Joe Biden to be launched, Pence’s chief of staff fired back and said the conversation “never happened.”
Sondland may have testified that there was quid pro quo between Trump and Ukraine, with Giuliani working on the president’s behalf, but it’s obvious at this point that he’s about as unreliable as a witness can be.
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