Weekly Recap: Democrats fight to stay on track after Sondland testimony

  • On Wednesday, Gordon Sondland delivered a testimony stating Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Energy Secretary Rick Perry and acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney were all aware of, and possibly participating in, Trump’s efforts to force Ukrainian President to investigate Joe Biden. A video of Mick Mulvaney describing Trump’s limiting of Ukraine aid as “absolutely appropriate” was played and provided evidence to Sondland’s testimony. The officials named in Sondland’s testimony rejected Democratic subpoenas and any request for documents and testimony. 

  • Why it mattersSondland’s testimony provides a stack of new evidence in the impeachment inquiry; however, pursuing those allegations fully would set back the investigation, and Democrats are not willing to slow down their timeline. Exploring his testimony could cause long legal battles over president confidentiality and raise questions on executive privilege, according to Politico.  Most Democrats are viewing February as the unofficial deadline, as it is the beginning of the primary season. While, Nancy Pelosi has said the probe could spill further into early 2020.  
  • Democrat Point of View: Fox News judicial analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano said that Democrats have a case for impeachment following Gordan Sondland’s testimony, The Hill reports. With Sondland admitting to clear quid pro quo, Napolitano believes the case is in the Democrat’s favor. As the initial inquiry comes to a close, Nancy Pelosi is suggesting that Democrats are focusing on more specific charges, mainly her accusation that Trump committed bribery by withholding aid from Ukraine.  
  • Conservative Point of View: Two officials from Trump’s campaign say Sondland’s testimony “blindsided” aides in the White House and members of his re-election campaign. A Trump campaign advisor says Sondland appeared to be “throwing top administration officials under the bus”. Some members of Trump’s team are confident that the questions raised about the “inconsistencies” of his testimony combined with Sondland frequently describing his troubles with deciphering the administration’s Ukraine policy will not foster enough evidence against Trump. You can read more on CNN

What we want to know on Quibbl

  • Will Nancy Pelosi continue to claim that Donald Trump committed bribery by withholding aid from Ukraine?  link

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