Washington -- a key witness to the impeachment investigation gave congress important new evidence this week. In four pages of new testimony released on Tuesday, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, Gordon sunderland, confirmed that he had told a senior Ukrainian official that the country might not receive U.S. military assistance unless it publicly promised to conduct the investigation President trump wants.
New testimony confirmed that he had been involved in making offers to Ukraine, something he had not previously acknowledged. The issue is at the heart of the trump impeachment investigation, which has sparked allegations that Mr. Trump abused his power to obtain political support from foreign powers.
Mr. Trump has insisted that he did nothing wrong and had no quid pro quo with Ukraine.
Sunderland's testimony provided several important new details. He offered a more robust description of his role in warning ukrainians that they needed to comply with demands for an investigation by giuliani, the President's personal lawyer. By early September, sunderland said, he was confident that military assistance and White House talks would be predated by Ukraine's commitment to those investigations.
Sunderland's additional testimony was significant because it was the first time that a senior person with direct contact with Mr. Trump had acknowledged that military aid to Ukraine had been used as leverage by the President to investigate his political opponents. Sunderland was a wealthy hotelier in Oregon who had donated to the trump campaign. It is hard to see him as a "Never Trumper" -- Mr Trump's charge against many of the officials who gave damaging testimony about the tongumen affair. So sunderland's more complete new testimony could complicate the republicans' task of defending the President from impeachment, unless they support trump's argument that demanding a political exchange from a foreign leader is not an "impeachable event."
On Friday, the house committee also plans to schedule testimony from acting White House chief of staff mike mulvaney.