Top Ukrainian official: Sondland did not link aid to investigation of Bidens

Ukraine's foreign minister told reporters on Thursday that U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon SondlandGordon SondlandThe Hill's 12:30 Report - Biden to mark Tuesday anniversary of George Floyd's death Trump impeachment witness suing Pompeo, State over legal fees America's practice of 'pay-to-play' ambassadors is no joke MORE did not link investigations into Democratic presidential candidate Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden and Harris host 'family' Hanukkah celebration with more than 150 guests Symone Sanders to leave the White House at the end of the year Overnight Defense & National Security — Senate looks to break defense bill stalemate MORE and his son with military assistance.

"Ambassador Sondland did not tell us, and did not tell me exactly, about the relation between the [military] assistance and the investigations," Foreign Minister Vadym Prystaiko told reporters, according to Interfax-Ukraine.


"I have never seen a direct link between investigations and security assistance. Yes, investigations were mentioned, you know, in a presidential conversation. But there was no clear connection between these events," Prystaiko added.

The House launched an impeachment inquiry into President TrumpDonald TrumpMedia giants side with Bannon on request to release Jan. 6 documents Cheney warns of consequences for Trump in dealings with Jan. 6 committee Jan. 6 panel recommends contempt charges for Trump DOJ official MORE in September after revelations that the asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to look into the Bidens on a July 25 phone call. 

Democrats are looking into whether aid to Ukraine was dependent on whether Kyiv investigated the president's political rival. 

On Wednesday, the House held its first public impeachment hearing, during which William Taylor, chargé d'affaires to Ukraine, appeared. 

Taylor said during the hearing that someone on his staff overheard a July 26 call between Trump and Sondland during which Trump asked Sondland “about the investigations.” 

Sondland, according to Taylor, replied “the Ukrainians were ready to move forward.”

“Following the call with President Trump, the member of my staff asked Ambassador Sondland what President Trump thought about Ukraine,” Taylor said. “Ambassador Sondland responded that President Trump cares more about the investigations of Biden which Giuliani was pressing for.”

Taylor has previously testified in a closed-door session that it was his “clear understanding” that the aid to Ukraine was conditioned on Kyiv's investigation of the former vice president. 

Sondland last week amended his testimony to say that Trump's actions in Ukraine likely amounted to a quid pro quo. Sondland is scheduled to testify publicly next week.

Trump has denied these accusations and has decried the impeachment inquiry as a "witch hunt."