House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff called Ambassador Gordon Sondland’s testimony in a public impeachment hearing “a very important moment” in the investigation.
Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, on Wednesday affirmed a “quid pro quo” was established for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to meet personally with President Trump as well as talk to him in a phone call.
Sondland said he assumed security aid was also tied to the quid pro quo, which he believed to include investigations into Democrats and former Vice President Joe Biden.
“It goes right to the heart of bribery and other high crimes and misdemeanors,” Schiff said.
The line of questioning put forward by Democrats and the answers Sondland provided showed “an official act was conditioned on political favors the president wanted for his election,” Schiff said.
Schiff said the testimony showed that knowledge of the quid pro quo was “pervasive” in the Trump administration, saying Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and other officials were aware of it.
The information supports a case for an obstruction of Congress charge that Democrats are building against Trump, Schiff said.
“This only goes to underscore just how significant the president’s obstruction of this investigation has been,” Schiff said. “The veneer has been torn away. That is why Secretary Pompeo and Trump don’t want any of these documents provided to Congress.”