The impeachment probe into Donald Trump continues to shed light on his alleged pressure campaign on Ukraine, in which he is accused of using foreign aid to pressure Ukranian President Volodymyr Zelensky into digging up dirt on Democratic presidential frontrunner Joe Biden.
According to Joyce White Vance, a law professor and former U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama, Trump’s alleged bribery of Ukraine is akin to an organized crime operation, Newsweek reports.
Vance’s made the comments on MSNBC’s Morning Joe program after U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland testified Wednesday that Trump directed him to work with the president’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, to pressure Ukraine into a quid pro quo. Sondland was also questioned by attorney Daniel Goldman during his appearance before the House Intelligence Committee.
“As Sondland continued to testify, and you listened to Goldman, a former mob prosecutor in [the Southern District of New York], an organized crime prosecutor, he began to elicit evidence that will build a narrative that, whether or not Republicans are ultimately or publicly persuaded by it, they will know to be the truth,” Vance said.
“This was a vintage mob operation with Trump at the top not putting his fingers too directly on things but sending out his lieutenant Rudy Giuliani who Sondland told us they all knew that when they took Rudy Giuliani’s orders he was speaking for the president.”
Although Trump denies any quid pro quo and suggests that his request for investigations into Biden and his son, Hunter, was due to concerns of corruption, Sondland’s testimony undercut both of these arguments. According to Sondland, there was a quid pro quo, and Trump simply wanted Zelensky to announce the investigations but not carry them out.
Sondland’s testimony also implicated Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in the alleged bribery scheme and suggested that everybody involved understood the goal of the operation.
This moment will be in the history books. Rep Sean Patrick Maloney rips through the lies and gets Sondland to admit Trump would benefit from Ukrainian investigations. Then calls him out for acting like he’s been honest. Wow. This is how it’s done. pic.twitter.com/mv3W0tKuGZ
— Scott Dworkin (@funder) November 20, 2019
As The Inquisitr reported, Nick Akerman, a former U.S. attorney who prosecuted the Watergate case, believes that Sondland’s testimony doesn’t bode well for Trump. In particular, Akerman claims that the testimony made it clear that Trump was using some form of bribery to pressure Ukraine into doing his bidding.
Akerman claims that there is no valid defense Trump can use to counter Sondland’s testimony. He also said that Republicans are in trouble because he believes Sondland’s revelations prove that bribery and extortion underpin the Ukraine scandal — the former of which is listed in the U.S. Constitution as an impeachable offense.