Chris Wallace: Sondland testimony 'took out the bus and ran over' Trump, top aides

Fox News anchor Chris WallaceChristopher (Chris) WallaceThe Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by AdvaMed — House panel delays impeachment vote until Friday Fox's Chris Wallace calls out Trump for the 'most sustained assault on freedom of the press' in US history Comey, Schiff to be interviewed by Fox's Chris Wallace MORE said that Gordon SondlandGordon SondlandConservative group hits White House with billboard ads: 'What is Trump hiding?' Democrat suggests Republicans took acting classes based on ability to 'suspend disbelief' Gaetz: We didn't impeach Obama even though 'a lot of constituents' think he abused his power MORE, U.S. ambassador to the European Union, "took out the bus and ran over" President TrumpDonald John TrumpDemocrats ask if they have reason to worry about UK result Trump scramble to rack up accomplishments gives conservatives heartburn Seven years after Sandy Hook, the politics of guns has changed MORE and some of his top aides while testifying in the House impeachment inquiry on Wednesday. 

"I think what Sondland was trying to do here is protect himself more than he is to protect anybody else," Wallace said on Fox News during the network's coverage of the public impeachment hearing.

"To a certain degree, he took out the bus and ran over President Trump, Vice President Pence, [Secretary of State] Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoKobach has lead in Kansas Senate race unless Pompeo enters: report The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by AdvaMed — House panel delays impeachment vote until Friday Senate gears up for battle over witnesses in impeachment trial MORE, [former national security adviser] John BoltonJohn BoltonThe Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by AdvaMed — House panel delays impeachment vote until Friday Senate gears up for battle over witnesses in impeachment trial Conservative group hits White House with billboard ads: 'What is Trump hiding?' MORE, [Trump's personal attorney] Rudy GiulianiRudy GiulianiDOJ releases memos backing Trump immunity claims ahead of impeachment vote Giuliani to Trump after Ukraine trip: I got 'more than you can imagine' Conservative group hits White House with billboard ads: 'What is Trump hiding?' MORE, [acting White House chief of staff] Mick MulvaneyJohn (Mick) Michael MulvaneyThe Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by AdvaMed — House panel delays impeachment vote until Friday Senate gears up for battle over witnesses in impeachment trial Conservative group hits White House with billboard ads: 'What is Trump hiding?' MORE," he added. "He implicates all of them."

ADVERTISEMENT

Sondland has emerged as a central figure in House Democrats' impeachment inquiry into allegations about Trump's efforts to get Ukraine to open political investigations and whether the president conditioned military aid on the announcement of those probes. 

In his opening statement before the House Intelligence Committee, Sondland testified that Trump conditioned a White House meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on the leader announcing investigations into 2020 presidential candidate Joe BidenJoe BidenDemocrats ask if they have reason to worry about UK result Media organization fights Trump administration over Ukraine documents FOIA Buttigieg releases list of campaign bundlers MORE and the 2016 presidential election. 

Sondland, a wealthy hotelier and GOP megadonor, said that this connection was well known within the administration. 

“I know that members of this committee have frequently framed these complicated issues in the form of a simple question: Was there a ‘quid pro quo?’ As I testified previously, with regard to the requested White House call and White House meeting, the answer is yes,” Sondland said. 

Sondland mentioned figures such as Giuliani, Pence and Pompeo during his opening statement. He said that "everyone was in the loop" about the link between Ukraine opening investigations and a White House meeting. He noted that he and other officials reluctantly worked with Giuliani, Trump's lawyer, on matters related to Ukraine. 

ADVERTISEMENT

"Simply put, we played the hand we were dealt. We all understood that if we refused to work with Mr. Giuliani, we would lose an important opportunity to cement relations between the United States and Ukraine," he said. "So we followed the president's orders."

Sondland also claimed that he raised concerns about Ukraine aid to Pence, an allegation that the vice president's office has denied

Speaking on Fox News, Wallace noted that Sondland never said that Trump directly told him that military aid was conditioned on opening investigations. But he said that the ambassador's testimony "certainly makes it clear that in the direct conversations he has with the president he saw a conditionality here.”

Trump dismissed the potential implications of the new testimony, saying that he does not know Sondland "very well."

"Here is my response that he just gave. Ready? You have the cameras rolling? I want nothing. That’s what I want from Ukraine," Trump told reporters outside the White House. "I want nothing — I said it twice."