US diplomat Sondland says he followed orders of the president of Ukraine


US Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland comes to give evidence before a House Information Committee hearing as part of a progressive inquiry into President U. Donald Trump on Capitol Hill in Washington, U., November 20, 1019. REUTERS / Loren Elliott

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – a US diplomat who is the main witness in President Donald Trump's inquiry, said on Wednesday that he worked with Trump's personal solicitor Rudy Giuliani on Ukrainian issues concerning the "presidential orders."

Gordon Sondland, US ambassador to the European Union, said in statements prepared for the investigation that Giuliani's efforts to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy had pushed for investigations into Trump's political rivals “a quid pro quo to visit White House” to the leader of Ukraine. Quid pro quo is a Latin term, meaning that favor is exchanged for favor.

Sondland, a wealthy hotel entrepreneur and donor Trump, said Mike Pompeo, US Secretary of State and knew he was full of support for their efforts on Ukraine.

Sondland was appearing before the House of Representatives Information Committee, which is in charge of the collision inquiry posed by the Trump presidency.

The inquiry focuses on a phone call in July 25 in which Trump asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to conduct two investigations that would benefit him politically, including one focusing on the Democratic political contest Joe Biden. The other related to conspiracy theory which some of the Trump colleagues accepted that Ukraine, other than Russia, had entered the U. 2016 election.

Before asking Zelenskiy to investigate the two, $ 391 million was frozen in US security aid at Trump which was approved by the Conference to help Ukraine tackle separators in Russia in the east of the country.

The Democrats challenged Trump to use the frozen aid and Zelenskiy wished to leverage the Oval Office meeting to put pressure on a vulnerable colleague. Trump is looking for re-election next year.

Reporting by Andy Sullivan; additional reporting by Doina Chiacu; Edited by Sonya Hepinstall and Steve Orlofsky

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