U.S. Ambassador to EU admits that conditions are set for Kiev to help
US Permanent Representative to the EU Gordon Sondland admitted to Congress the existence of a so-called “service for service” in providing assistance to Kiev in exchange for an investigation against Hunter Biden, the son of former vice president Joseph Biden. He said this on Wednesday, speaking at a public hearing in the special intelligence committee of the House of Representatives to investigate the impeachment case against the head of the White House Donald Trump, reports TASS.
"Representatives of the committee often addressed these complex issues in the form … But was there a" service for service "… As I said earlier, my answer is yes," the diplomat said.
According to Gordon Sondland, Rudolph Giuliani (Trump's lawyer) informed Minister of Energy Rick Perry, Ambassador Kurt Volker and others that the president wants the head of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky to publicly announce the decision to launch an investigation on Burisma (a Ukrainian company, which included Hunter Biden) and the 2016 election. "Giuliani directly transmitted these requests to the Ukrainian side, he also transmitted them directly to us," the diplomat explained. “We all understood that these preconditions for (organizing) a telephone conversation (Trump with Zelensky) and the White House meeting reflect the wishes and demands of President Trump.”
Gordon Sondland also confirmed on Wednesday that on July 26, while in one of Kiev's restaurants, he spoke with President Donald Trump on his cell phone. According to the diplomat, the American leader knew that the conversation was conducted on an unsecured communication line.
Sondland was asked again if he was bothered by the fact that the telephone conversation could be tapped by the "foreign government." “I keep talking insecurely over unprotected lines and mobile phones, unless the topic is secret. It is up to the president to decide what is secret and what is not secret. <...> He also knew that it was an open line, "replied Sondland.
Earlier, an employee of the American embassy in Kiev, David Holmes, in closed hearings, stated that this conversation between Sondland and Trump seemed unusual to him from the point of view of ensuring communication security. Holmes said that the Russians could listen to this conversation. In addition, according to Holmes, at the very beginning of the conversation, Trump's voice was too loud, so Sondland removed the phone from his ear, and the conversation was heard by the people around him in the restaurant.
Holmes also claimed that during the conversation, the American leader was interested in the willingness of the Ukrainian authorities to initiate an investigation against the son of former US Vice President Joseph Biden. At the same time, Sondland emphasized at the hearing on Wednesday that he “has no reason to doubt that the conversation included the topic of investigations,” but, as it seems to him, the main reason for the call was the case of rapper Eisap Rocky, who was arrested in Sweden in early July.
The story of the participation of the son of former US Vice President Joseph Biden in the work of the Ukrainian company Burisma caused a high-profile political scandal in the United States. According to the American press, representatives of the administration of the incumbent president Donald Trump tried to find incriminating evidence on Biden in Ukraine and thus interfere with his election campaign for the presidency in 2020.
Democrats accused Trump of trying to put pressure on the new president of Ukraine, Vladimir Zelensky, to resume business with Burisma. Only in this case could Ukraine count on military and financial assistance from the United States. These accusations formed the basis of the impeachment proceedings begun.
Meanwhile, Ukrainian authorities said Wednesday that they would continue to investigate the case of the founder of the Ukrainian gas production company Burisma, Mykola Zlochevsky, who had previously served as Minister of Ecology and Natural Resources of Ukraine. Zlochevsky was put on the wanted list, the Prosecutor General of Ukraine Ruslan Ryaboshapka said at a press conference.
"The investigation against Zlochevsky was stopped, and then resumed to expand the charge, and again stopped," he said.
Ryaboshapka explained that the investigation was suspended, as Zlochevsky was put on the wanted list. According to the Prosecutor General, the founder of Burisma appears in 13 criminal cases that will be referred to the Security Service of Ukraine or the National Anti-Corruption Bureau.
Ryaboshapka said earlier that there are no criminal cases against “Burisma” in Ukraine, however there may be investigations where the name of the company appears. Also, the head of the Special Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office, Nazar Kholodnitsky, reported that the names of its founder Zlochevsky and the son of former US vice president Hunter Biden did not appear in the criminal case against the Burisma company.
Earlier, the former Prosecutor General of Ukraine Yuriy Lutsenko said that Biden’s son received about $ 1 million from Burisma.