Transcript for Lawmakers release deposition transcripts from impeachment inquiry
home, and the other major headline tonight involving the impeachment showdown. President trump's hand-picked ambassador to the eu, Gordon sondland, now admitting a quid pro quo with Ukraine, saying he actually told a top Ukrainian official hundreds of millions in U.S. Aid would be withheld unless the president's political rivals were investigated. That's not what he said in his original testimony, so, why the change? He said his memory was refreshed. Here's Mary Bruce on the hill. Reporter: In an astounding reversal, the president's hand-picked pointman in Ukraine is now admitting he presented the Ukrainian government with a quid pro quo. Gordon sondland, U.S. Ambassador to the eu, says he told a top Ukrainian official they would likely not receive nearly $400 million in military aid unless they publicly committed to investigate president trump's political rivals. Sondland adding, "The public statement would need to come directly from Ukrainian president zelensky himself." Sondland didn't acknowledge any of this when testified last month. But now he's revised his account after his memory was, quote, refreshed, by the explosive testimony of bill Taylor, the top U.S. Diplomat in Ukraine, and timorryson, the president's top Russia adviser. It's never too late to do the right thing. I don't want to be critical of anyone who comes forward. Reporter: Unlike others who have testified, sondland is not a career public servant. He is a trump mega-donor who's loyalty was rewarded with an ambassadorship. And he has been quick to defend the president. Shortly after sondland laid out that quid pro quo to Ukraine, he revved received a text message from that American diplomat, bill Taylor, who said it was "Crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign." Sondland responded, "The president has been crystal clear. No quid pro quos of any kind." The text message that I saw from ambassador sondland, who's highly respected, was, "There's no quid pro quo." He said that. Reporter: But sondland says he was just repeating what the president told him in a phone call. Sondland also told investigators the president delegated Ukraine policy to his personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani. That the president "Just kept saying, 'talk to Rudy, talk to Rudy.'" he says Giuliani's demands of Ukraine became increasingly, quote, insidious. And that when sondland discussed the role of the president's lawyer with secretary of state Mike Pompeo, Pompeo "Rolled his eyes and said, 'yes, it's something we have to deal with.'" So, let's get to Mary Bruce tonight. And Mary, Mick Mulvaney has now been called to testify. Of course, we know he is not expected to show up. But I want to get back to ambassador sondland and this change in testimony. It was just a week ago his lawyer told "The Washington post" that sondland has nothing to add to his prepared testimony, and then today, these significant changes. What happened? Reporter: Well, David, sondland initially said he could not recall many of these details, but other witnesses did, raising questions here on the hill about whether sondland was telling the truth. Sondland knew this transcript was likely going to be released and so yesterday, he submitted this revised testimony. David? And Mary, while we have you tonight, they took note of this tonight up on the hill today, this joint statement from the department of justice, the department of defense, department of homeland security, FBI, NSA, among others, all warning that, quote, our adversaries want to undermine our democratic institutions and influence public sentiment, and not just Russia. Reporter: David, in the statement, they say Russia, China and Iran will seek to interfere in the voting process or influence voter perception. All in the leadup to 2020. Mary Bruce live on the hill tonight. Our thanks to you again.
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