During the House debate on impeachment on Thursday, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) dealt another powerful blow to the Democrats’ narrative against President Donald Trump. Jordan noted that the House Intelligence Committee report about Trump’s interactions with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky mentions U.S. Ambassador to the EU Gordon Sondland no fewer than 611 times, but Sondland’s key testimony supporting the idea of a quid pro quo is extremely weak, and became even flimsier this week.
“Mr. Sondland, the guy who presumed there was a quid pro quo, the guy who had to file an addendum to his deposition testimony, and in that addendum again he has this great sentence where he says, ‘Ambassador Taylor recalls that Mr. Morrison told Ambassador Taylor that I told Mr. Morrison, that I conveyed this message to [top Ukraine advisor] Mr. [Andriy] Yermak on September 1, 2019, in connection with Vice President Pence’s visit to Warsaw and a meeting with [Ukrainian] President Zelensky,'” Jordan said.
“Six people again having four conversations in one sentence,” he noted.
“Yermak talks with Sondland, Sondland talks with Morrison, Morrison talks with Taylor, and somehow through all that we get the Democrats believing that there was this quid pro quo and they need to impeach the president. Guess what? Two days ago, the guy who started it — Yermak — said it didn’t happen,” Jordan added.
Indeed, in an interview with TIME magazine, Yermak, the adviser to Zelensky to whom Sondland referred, disputed Sondland’s version of events. “Gordon and I were never alone together,” he told TIME. “We bumped into each other in the hallway next to the escalator, as I was walking out.” He recalled many members of the American and Ukrainian delegations were nearby, along with bodyguards and hotel staff.
“And I remember – everything is fine with my memory – we talked about how well the meeting went. That’s all we talked about,” Yermak said. He also added that no one from the congressional committees overseeing impeachment have contacted him to seek his testimony.
Now, it may be in Yermak’s interest to say this. Ukraine wants a closer relationship with President Donald Trump. Even so, it seems particularly noteworthy that not only does Yermak deny the conversation happened but no Democrat has asked him to testify about it.
In other words, the Democratic push to impeach President Donald Trump for “abuse of power” based on the claim that he pressured Ukraine to investigate Hunter Biden and possible Ukrainian interference in the 2016 election is based on hearsay recollections of a conversation that may have never happened.
Sondland’s lawyer told TIME that Sondland stood by the testimony, but Yermak’s denial is nothing short of damning.
As Jordan pointed out, “Yermak’s the key here, and it didn’t happen. This is what it comes down to.”
This is what it comes down to. pic.twitter.com/lt9rMHF9dH
— Rep. Jim Jordan (@Jim_Jordan) December 12, 2019
Follow Tyler O’Neil, the author of this article, on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.