Rep. Sean Maloney, D-N.Y., tangled with Gordon Sondland at Wednesday’s impeachment hearing as he pressed the U.S. ambassador to the European Union over who would benefit from an investigation by Ukrainian officials into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son — drawing applause from the audience when Sondland admitted President Trump would.
In a testy exchange between the lawmaker and ambassador, Maloney asked Sondland about whether Trump asked him to investigate the Bidens and the family’s dealings in Ukraine.
“I have said about 19 times, he did not ask me about the Bidens.” Sondland said. “When he asked about investigations, I assumed he meant the company.”
The company Sondland references is Burisma Holdings, which had the former vice president’s son, Hunter, on its board of directors — Trump sought an investigation from Ukraine related to this, a request that’s now at the heart of the impeachment probe.
Maloney then pressed Sondland over “who would benefit from an investigation into the Bidens?”
“I assume President Trump would benefit,” Sondland said before the audience in the hearing room applauded.
Sondland, who was testifying in the House impeachment inquiry, then shot back that he was displeased with Maloney’s questioning.
“I really resent what you’re trying to do,” Sondland said before adding that he was “trying to be forthright.”
Maloney replied that it had taken multiple efforts by the committee to get information from him regarding Trump’s interactions with Ukraine.
“With all due respect, we got a dandy of a statement this morning,” Maloney said. “And it took a lot to get it out of you.”
The “dandy of a statement” was Sondland’s lengthy comment earlier in the day, when he said Trump and his lawyer Rudy Giuliani sought a “quid pro quo” with Ukraine, leveraging an Oval Office visit for political investigations of Democrats. Sondland said he presumed aid was also tied to this, but said Trump never told him that directly.
Sondland faced harsh questioning from both Democrats and Republicans on the dais – taking hits for his recollection of events leading up to the impeachment inquiry and for revising previous testimony he made behind closed doors.
Sondland conceded that Trump never told him directly the security assistance was blocked over the probes, a gap in his account that Republicans and the White House seized on as evidence that the president did nothing wrong. But Sondland said his dealings with Giuliani, as well as administration officials, left him with the clear understanding of what was at stake.
“Was there a ‘quid pro quo?’” Sondland testified in opening remarks. “With regard to the requested White House call and White House meeting, the answer is yes.”
The rest, he said, was apparent: “Two plus two equals four.”
Sondland, who was also a major donor to Trump’s inauguration, was the most highly anticipated witness in the House’s impeachment inquiry into the 45th president of the United States.
Fox News’ Brooke Singman, Adam Shaw and The Associated Press contributed to this report.