Watergate prosecutor said Sondland testimony tipping point – Business Insider
The Watergate prosecutor Nick Akerman in an interview with Newsweek said Ambassador Gordon Sondland’s testimony was a “tipping point” in the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump.
“There’s no defense to any of it now, there’s nothing,” Akerman said. “What’s he going to say, the Devil made me do it? That’s what they’re left with. There’s no good defense. There’s no good reason why he did this. It’s purely for personal campaign purposes.”
Sondland on Wednesday testified for House impeachment investigators that President Donald Trump had sought a “quid pro quo” deal with Ukraine, using a White House meeting with Ukraine’s president and, Sondland presumed, withheld military aid to attempt to pressure Ukraine to announce politically motivated investigations.
Trump has denied that any deal with Ukraine was sought, telling reporters Wednesday that in a call with Sondland he had said he wanted “nothing” from Ukraine.
A prosecutor who worked on the Watergate case told Newsweek that Ambassador Gordon Sondland’s testimony was a “tipping point” in the House impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump’s dealings with Ukraine.
“Yesterday was the tipping point completely,” Nick Akerman, the assistant special prosecutor during Watergate, told the publication of Wednesday’s testimony from Sondland, the US ambassador to the European Union.
Of lines of defense now open to Trump, he remarked: “There’s no defense to any of it now, there’s nothing. What’s he going to say, the Devil made me do it? That’s what they’re left with.
“There’s no good defense. There’s no good reason why he did this. It’s purely for personal campaign purposes.”
For Akerman, Sondland’s testimony was evidence that Trump committed at least one impeachable offense.
“What we’re really talking about here is two things: bribery and extortion,” he said. “That’s what the facts amount to.”
“Bribery is important because bribery is listed in the US Constitution as an impeachable offense in addition to high crimes and misdemeanors,” he told Newsweek.
Sondland, a multimillionaire hotel magnate who donated to Trump before becoming an ambassador, in testimony before the impeachment inquiry dramatically revised his original deposition to the House and contradicted Trump’s claims that he sought no “quid pro quo” deal with Ukraine.
Sondland recounted that Trump had attempted to leverage a White House visit for Ukraine’s newly elected president, Volodymyr Zelensky, and — Sondland presumed — hundreds of millions of dollars in military aid in exchange for Ukraine announcing investigations into the 2020 presidential contender Joe Biden as well as a conspiracy theory involving the 2016 election.
Of the military aid, Sondland remarked that he was “under the impression that, absolutely, it was contingent.” He hedged that characterization more than he did regarding the White House visit, saying Trump never told him directly that aid depended on investigations.
In remarks to reporters Wednesday, Trump recounted a phone call with Sondland in which he said he told the ambassador he wanted “nothing” from Ukraine.