Ukraine Foreign Minister: US Aid Was 'Never' Linked to Biden Investigations
Vadym Prystaiko says Ukrainian probes were 'never' connected to American military aid
Ukraine Foreign Minister Vadym Prystaiko stated Thursday that American military aid has "never" been linked to Ukrainian investigations of either Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden or the 2016 US elections.
Prystaiko confirmed that US Ambassador to the EU Gordon Sondland had “never” made a connection between Ukraine's receipt of US aid and a probe of Joe Biden’s role in stopping an investigation of Hunter's company Burisma, nor had he established a link between the former and whether or not the Ukrainian government investigated American election meddling.
Minster Prystaiko spoke out after the Democrats' "star witnesses" - neither of whom have ever even met Donald Trump - testified during the president's impeachment hearing, with fourth-hand hearsay "information," that Sondland had made such a link.
The two "witnesses" gave "evidence" at the first public hearings in the House Intelligence Committee as part of the “impeachment inquiry,” led by anti-Trump Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA).
During the first hearing, the two witnesses gave testimony that they "heard" Sondland had connected the investigations to US aid.
They claim that the link was only made after Politico reported on August 28 that aid had been held up by the Trump administration.
According to Breitbart, one of the witnesses, Chargé d’affaires Bill Taylor, introduced new evidence that a staffer told him recently that he overheard Sondland speaking to President Donald Trump the day after his July 25 phone call with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky, discussing “investigations.”
The staffer also told Taylor that Sondland said that Trump was more interested in investigations than anything else.
As Breitbart’s Kristina Wong noted, that new evidence — which is fourth-hand hearsay, plus opinion — added little new information.
However, it was cited by Democrats and journalists as "evidence" that aid might have been linked to investigations Trump had asked the new Ukrainian government to pursue.
On Thursday, Prystaiko said that there had been no link in discussions at the time with Sondland, as Reuters reported:
Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Vadym Prystaiko said on Thursday that U.S. ambassador Gordon Sondland did not explicitly link military aid to Kiev with opening an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Interfax Ukraine reported.…
“Ambassador Sondland did not tell us, and certainly did not tell me, about a connection between the assistance and the investigations. You should ask him,” Prystaiko said about Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union.…
“I have never seen a direct relationship between investigations and security assistance,” Prystaiko was quoted as saying by Interfax.
“Yes, the investigations were mentioned, you know, in the conversation of the presidents. But there was no clear connection between these events.”
In his closed-door testimony last month, Sondland told the committee that he had spoken frequently with Prystaiko and other Ukrainian officials during the period in question.
Sondland's previous testimony was released by the House Intelligence Committee several days ago.
Sondland is due to testify at the public hearings next week.