[ti:Impeachment Witness Says Trump Ordered Pressure on Ukraine]
[00:00.04]A United States diplomat has told lawmakers that he and others
[00:05.72]followed President Donald Trump's orders
[00:08.80]to pressure Ukraine into investigating his political opponent.
[00:15.04]American Ambassador Gordon Sondland said that Trump wanted the investigations
[00:21.28]in return for a White House meeting sought by Ukraine's new president.
[00:27.84]The ambassador testified Wednesday before the House Intelligence Committee.
[00:34.32]The committee is holding hearings as part of an investigation
[00:39.07]into whether Trump's actions could lead to an impeachment vote
[00:43.49]by the U.S. House of Representatives.
[00:47.84]Sondland said he and others worked with President Trump's personal lawyer
[00:53.33]Rudy Giuliani on the issue of Ukraine.
[00:58.00]He said they did so "at the express direction of the President of the United States."
[01:06.04]He said "Mr. Giuliani demanded that Ukraine make a public statement
[01:11.72]announcing investigations of the 2016 election/DNC server and Burisma."
[01:20.44]And he believed Giuliani "was expressing the desires of the President of the United States,
[01:27.36]and we knew that these investigations were important to the President."
[01:33.56]The House impeachment investigation started after a government worker
[01:38.51]reported concerns of wrongdoing to a government lawyer.
[01:43.52]The whistleblower reported that Trump had pressed Ukraine to investigate
[01:48.68]former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter in a phone call in late July.
[01:56.76]The president also asked for an investigation into a discredited accusation
[02:02.97]that Ukraine played a part in the 2016
[02:06.12]U.S. presidential election interference, the whistleblower said.
[02:11.56]In 2014, Hunter Biden accepted a position
[02:15.91]on the board of directors of the Ukrainian gas company Burisma Holdings.
[02:21.68]Joe Biden was vice president at the time.
[02:26.56]As vice president, he was involved in efforts to help
[02:30.52]the new pro-western Ukrainian government and its promise to fight corruption.
[02:37.68]There has been no reported evidence of wrongdoing by the former vice president or his son.
[02:45.48]Biden is a leading candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination.
[02:51.64]He also is a possible opponent to Trump in the 2020 election.
[02:57.88]In his opening statement, Sondland said,
[03:01.27]"I know that members of this committee have frequently framed these complicated issues
[03:07.00]in the form of a simple question: Was there a ‘quid pro quo?'"
[03:13.28]Quid pro quo is a Latin language term
[03:16.42]used in legal documents that means "something for something."
[03:22.48]Sondland said: "With regard to the requested White House call
[03:27.36]and White House meeting, the answer is yes."
[03:32.88]The ambassador added he later came to believe military aid for Ukraine
[03:38.04]was also being held up until investigations were launched.
[03:44.52]However, Sondland said Trump never told him directly
[03:49.02]that military aid to Ukraine was tied to the investigations.
[03:55.44]The ambassador also said in one discussion that the president said, "I want nothing.
[04:02.20]I want nothing. I want no quid pro quo. Tell Zelensky to do the right thing."
[04:10.36]As the hearing was ongoing, President Trump declared
[04:14.77]that Sondland's testimony meant "it's all over."
[04:19.60]Reading from his notes, Trump said, "This is the final word
[04:24.64]from the president of the United States: ‘I want nothing.' "
[04:29.96]Sondland also confirmed that he informed top administration officials
[04:35.43]including Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo,
[04:41.09]and the president's Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney.
[04:46.28]A spokesman for Pence said in a statement,
[04:49.64]"The Vice President never had a conversation with Gordon Sondland
[04:54.08]about investigating the Bidens, Burisma, or the conditional release of financial aid
[05:00.81]to Ukraine based upon potential investigations."
[05:06.20]At a meeting in Moscow on Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin
[05:11.55]said he was pleased that talk of interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election
[05:18.33]has shifted away from Russia during these impeachment hearings.
[05:24.16]"Thank God," he said, "no one is accusing us of
[05:28.07]interfering in the U.S. elections anymore. Now they're accusing Ukraine."
[05:35.92]I'm Jonathan Evans. 更多聽力請訪問51VOA.COM