Independent Rep. Justin Amash said on Wednesday that U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland's testimony to House Intelligence Committee hearing on impeachment was the latest evidence against President Donald Trump that—if Trump was a regular person facing a grand jury—would result in certain indictment.
Amash, who left the Republican party in July 2019 over Trump's behavior and the refusal of GOP leaders to hold him accountable, pointed out on Twitter that "impeachment in the House is an indictment."
"If this were an ordinary prosecution, there's no grand jury in America that would not return an indictment on the facts and evidence presented in these hearings," said Amash.
Impeachment in the House is an indictment. If this were an ordinary prosecution, there’s no grand jury in America that would not return an indictment on the facts and evidence presented in these hearings.
— Justin Amash (@justinamash) November 20, 2019
As Common Dreams reported, Sondland testified Wednesday that Trump's pressuring of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to publicly announce an investigation into Hunter Biden, son of Democratic 2020 presidential primary candidate former Vice President Joe Biden, was absolutely meant as a quid pro quo to release aid to the eastern European nation.
Sondland also said that Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo were "in the loop" on the scheme.
Impeachment investigators are still trying to smoke out what, exactly, Mike Pompeo knew about Trump’s unorthodox Ukraine diplomacy, and when he knew it.
— POLITICO (@politico) November 20, 2019
Talking with reporters on the South Lawn, the president repeatedly referred to a notepad in his hand with the following words written in large black marker: "I want nothing. I want nothing. I want no quid pro quo. Tell Zellinsky to do the right thing. This is the final word from the Pres of the U.S."
Telling the journalists he hoped the cameras were rolling, Trump glanced at the notes as he offered his rendition of what Sondland testified earlier during sworn testimony.
NEW: Pres. Trump reads excerpts from Amb. Sondland's testimony and claims he wanted "nothing" from Ukraine.
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) November 20, 2019
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Journalist Ryan Cooper commented on the notepad and opined that the large letters were further proof of Slate's Ashley Feinberg's theory that the president can't see without glasses—which he won't wear out of vanity.
"Trump definitely cannot see for shit," tweeted Cooper. "Look at these enormous letters."
Trump definitely cannot see for shit. look at these enormous letters https://t.co/NjUEzD4iAN
— ryan cooper (@ryanlcooper) November 20, 2019
As Matt Ford wrote at The New Republic, Trump's comments don't change the reality that Sondland's testimony was incredibly damaging to the White House.
What did President Donald Trump know, and when did he know it? According to Gordon Sondland, he knew everything about the Ukraine scheme, and he knew it all along. The U.S. ambassador to the European Union confirmed the core allegations that ignited the impeachment inquiry: that Trump and his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani tried to coerce the Ukrainian government into smearing Joe Biden earlier this year when it looked likely that Biden would be Trump's 2020 opponent.
The Washington Post's Aaron Blake pushed back on that idea, however, claiming that Trump's guilt and knowledge were a little more difficult to ascertain, even with Sondland's testimony—though that shouldn't be taken as evidence of the president's innocence:
It's tempting to say Sondland is implicating Trump. That's not completely the case; he seems to still be walking a fine line about what he knew and could prove and what was plainly apparent to him and others. But he seems to be saying this was something that Trump blessed, which is significant.
In a statement, Lisa Gilbert, vice president of Legislative Affairs at Public Citizen, said the group believes the new testimony is clear evidence of the president's crimes.
"The immensity of Ambassador Sondland's bombshell testimony cannot be overstated," said Gilbert. "Sondland has confirmed the bribery scheme, in other words, flatly admitted a quid pro quo, and detailed how widespread the knowledge of the conditioned meeting and aid were within the Trump administration."
"The president's defenses are crumbling," Gilbert added, "and the likelihood of impeachment has moved significantly forward with Sondland's clear statements this morning."
Testimony continues Wednesday evening with State Department officials Laura Cooper and David Hale.
Watch the evening hearing: