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Amigos Adjacent: Sondland's logic remains fuzzy

Apparently Sondland did more perjury yesterday, aided by Tim Morrison, as this tweet thread by Susan Simpson reveals. Perhaps if supporting materials weren’t being withheld, we could “get to the bottom of it”. Trump’s dramatic reading is simply another audition tape for the Masked Singer. The Gordon problem continues, much like his and Volker’s bogus claim that they didn’t know that Burisma was code for Biden(s).

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  • Sondland’s testimony was that, on Sept. 9, he got a “shocking” text from Bill Taylor in which he linked the hold on military assistance to the Biden investigations. That prompted Sondland to call Trump, who told him “no quid pro quo,” which Sondland then parroted back to Taylor.

  • But Sondland wasn’t telling the truth about why he called Trump. The “no quid pro quo” call was on Sept 7, and he told Tim Morrison about it, not Bill Taylor. It was Morrison who told Taylor about the call.
  • And Sondland wasn’t telling the truth about what Trump said on the call.
  • The call Sondland testified about at his hearing yesterday didn’t happen. But the Republicans and the WH loved his story – Trump even wrote out Sondland’s testimony about what Trump had said on the call and gave a dramatic reenactment of it on the WH lawn.

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“I want nothing, I want no quid pro quo.”
  • But that’s not what Trump told Sondland in that call. What Trump actually said, according to Morrison and Taylor, was that *Trump wanted Zelensky to personally announce on camera that he was opening investigations into Burisma and 2016.*
  • Bill Taylor’s testimony about this is clear and corresponds to recorded dates. On Sept. 7, a Saturday, he had to make a special trip to the embassy to make a secured call to Tim Morrison.
  • And in this call, Morrison updated him on Sondland’s “no quid pro quo” call with Trump.
  • So Bill Taylor had nothing whatsoever to do with the call. Sondland’s testimony that it was Taylor’s text that prompted him to make the call was not truthful.
  • Instead, on Sept 7th, Sondland called Trump, and Trump claimed he “was not asking for a quid pro quo,” but then immediately insisted that Zelensky “go to a microphone” and announce he was opening investigations into “Biden and 2016.”
  • Sondland then told Morrison about the call.
  • Morrison was so disturbed by what Sondland had told him about his call with Trump that he immediately ran to the NSC lawyers to report it.
  • So Eisenberg has detailed reports about this call, and knows that Sondland’s testimony about it yesterday was false.
  • The entire Republican defense of Trump yesterday was based on Sondland’s false testimony about Trump “I want nothing.”

  • But that’s not what Trump said! Morrison documented with NSC lawyers that Trump said *he wanted Zelensky to announce that he was investigating Biden.*

  • Yesterday, Sondland kept playing the victim of his poor memory and the State Dept, claiming that because State had refused to give him access to his records and call logs, he couldn’t verify his recollection of his calls with Trump.
  • But I don’t think that’s what happened at all. What Sondland actually testified is that the White House and State Department told him they “cannot locate” records of his Sept. 9th “no quid pro quo” call with Trump.
  • But of course they couldn’t. That call doesn’t exist!
  • The other lesson from all this is that when you make incriminating phone calls, don’t be a dick about it. Because that helps witnesses remember it better when they testify.
  • Sondland needed to call and update Morrison on Sept. 7th because Trump had changed his request.
  • In the Sept 7 call, Trump told Sondland that it wasn’t enough for the chief prosecutor to announce the investigations – Zelensky himself would need to do it.
  • Sequence is:
  • Sept 1: In Warsaw, Sondland tells Yermak that to get aid released, the Prosecutor General must announce the Burisma investigation.
  • Sept 7: Trump & Sondland speak on phone, and Trump tells Sondland that the PG isn’t good enough, announcement must come from Zelensky.
  • Later on Sept 7: Sondland calls Morrison and says, “Hey, I just talked to Trump, and there’s been a change. Trump says there is no quid pro quo, but in order to get the aid money released, he now wants Pres. Zelensky personally to make the Burisma investigation announcement.”
  • Still later on Sept 7: Morrison goes to NSC lawyers and Bolton to report on the Sondland and Trump call.
  • Which means there’s contemporaneous documentation (or there should be) of Morrison’s report on the “no quid pro quo” call, in which Trump actually describes his quid pro quo.
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