Russian spies likely intercepted ambassador's cell phone call with Trump

Vadym Prystaiko

Ukraine Foreign Minister U.S. Aid Investigations Were ‘Never’ Linked 22 Efram Lukatsky Associated Press Joel B. Pollak14 Nov 2019

New on Friday was one that read, "I have never seen a direct relationship between investigations and security assistance" - a quote from Ukrainian Foreign Minister Vadym Prystaiko, who on Thursday said USA ambassador Gordon Sondland didn't explicitly link U.S. military aid to Kiev with Trump's request that President Volodymyr Zelensky open an investigation into the Bidens. "It was not we, the Ukrainian officials (who were told this)", Prystaiko told the journalists in Kyiv on Thursday.

"That phone call was also a mistake the way it was conducted and it had huge implications for our foreign policy", said Michael McFaul, a former US ambassador to Russian Federation who is now at Stanford University. "This just should not happen", he said.

The statement has undermined Sondland's testimony and undercuts the basis of the House's ongoing impeachment inquiry, which prompted the president to say "the fake impeachment inquiry is now dead".

Sondland, however, appeared to change his tune during his recent closed-door testimony at the U.S. Capitol. "You should ask (Sondland)".

Indeed, if these accounts are accurate, Sondland clearly wasn't freelancing in Kyiv; he was coordinating a scheme directly with the president who was directing - and receiving updates on - the scandalous affair. "Yes, the investigations were mentioned, you know, in the conversation of the presidents".

Democratic lawmakers continue to argue that there was in fact a "quid-pro-quo" agreement between President Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky after an anonymous whistleblower came forward with the allegation.

Trump maintains his conversations with Zelensky was "perfect" and denies any wrongdoing. Kent and Taylor were the first to testify publicly.

Taylor said during Wednesday's hearing that someone on his staff overheard a July 26 call between Trump and Sondland in which the president asked his European Union ambassador 'about the investigations'.

Nevermind that second- and third-hand information - which is all the two star witnesses had to offer on Wednesday - is inadmissible as evidence, it seems that some of Taylor's testimony that Trump was soliciting something from Ukraine's president is... in error.

On July 25, Trump had a phone call with Ukraine President Zelenskiy and asked him to look into a Crowdstrike server that was allegedly being held in Ukraine and also asked him to look into Biden and his son, Hunter, who had sat on the board of Ukrainian energy firm Burisma Holdings while his father was the vice president. It was also reported, however, that Sondland spoke to Trump after Taylor texted him about that subject and before he responded.

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