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Sondland testified that Trump’s Ukraine arrangement was quid pro quo

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  • The US ambassador to the European Union, Gordon Sondland, told Congress that President Donald Trump’s Ukraine efforts were a quid pro quo, Sondland’s lawyer told The Wall Street Journal.
  • Sondland testified that he believed the Trump administration swapped a White House meeting for a promise to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, his son, and 2016 election interference.
  • Sondland also told lawmakers that he believed Trump’s decision to withhold $400 million in aid to Ukraine in exchange for the investigations was a quid pro quo arrangement, though he added that he was not a lawyer.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The US ambassador to the European Union told House impeachment investigators that President Donald Trump’s efforts to have Ukraine investigate the Bidens were a quid pro quo, the ambassador’s lawyer told The Wall Street Journal.

Gordon Sondland testified last week that he believed the Trump administration had exchanged a White House meeting with Ukraine’s president for investigations into former Vice President Joe Biden’s son and 2016 election interference, Sondland’s lawyer, Robert Luskin, told The Journal.

Lawmakers also asked Sondland whether Trump’s decision to withhold $400 million in aid was part of a quid pro quo arrangement for Ukrainian officials to investigate Biden, Sondland responded that he wasn’t a lawyer but believed it was a quid pro quo, Luskin said.

Sondland testified as part of a House impeachment inquiry, which has been investigating whether Trump used the office of the president for his own personal gain.

A major facet of the investigation is Trump’s withholding of the military aid package Congress had allocated for Ukraine, and whether Trump sought to exchange it for the investigation into Biden.

Volodymyr Zelenskiy zelensky trump whistleblower

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy meets US President Donald Trump at the United Nations General Assembly in New York City on September 25, 2019.
REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst


Trump and his personal attorney, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, had been pressuring Ukraine to investigate corruption allegations against the Bidens, as well as the US intelligence community’s assessment that Russia meddled in the 2016 election.

Sondland, along with several other diplomats, were called to testify over their now-infamous text conversations regarding the White House’s efforts to mount pressure on Ukraine.

One September 9 text exchange in particular — between Sondland and the acting ambassador to Ukraine, William Taylor — has become a key focus of the House impeachment inquiry.

“I think it’s crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign,” Taylor texted Sondland.

Roughly five hours later, after reportedly phoning Trump, Sondland responded to Taylor.

“The President has been crystal clear: no quid pro quo’s of any kind,” Sondland wrote. “The President is trying to evaluate whether Ukraine is truly going to adopt the transparency and reforms that President Zelenskiy promised during his campaign.”

Trump himself has denied a quid pro quo arrangement.

Sondland’s lawyer told The Journal that Sondland testified that he wasn’t involved in Trump’s decision to withhold the Ukraine aid, and could not prove that the decision wasn’t related to the demand for investigations.



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Tesla makes big leap in Consumer Reports car brand survey ranking

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  • Tesla placed 11 out of 33 in Consumer Reports’ 2020 automotive-brand ranking, rising eight spots from 2019.
  • Consumer Reports said the jump resulted from the improved reliability of the Model S and Model 3 sedans.
  • The consumer-advocacy organization named the Model 3 one of its 10 “top picks” for 2020.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Tesla placed 11th out of the 33 brands in Consumer Reports’ 2020 ranking of automotive brands, rising eight spots from 2019.v

Each brand’s score is based on crash-test results, surveys about reliability and owner satisfaction, and Consumer Reports’ vehicle tests. Tesla placed first in the most recent owner-satisfaction survey, 23rd out of 30 in the most recent reliability survey, and received an average road-test score of 85 out of 100 points. The three Tesla vehicles Consumer Reports has evaluated — the Model 3 sedan, Model S sedan, and Model X SUV — have received the highest possible safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Tesla’s performance on Consumer Reports’ brand ranking improved more than any other automaker’s and was the best of any American brand. Consumer Reports attributed the jump to the increasing reliability of the Model S and Model 3, the latter of which was named one of the organization’s 10 “top picks” for this year. Both vehicles have received recommendations from Consumer Reports, though Tesla’s Model X SUV, which was named one of the 10 least-reliable vehicles last year, has not.

Tesla’s improving performance on Consumer Reports’ list suggests the electric-car maker is beginning to pair its innovative technology and highly-regarded engineering with a more stable manufacturing system. Reports of quality issues have dogged Tesla for years, but a recent Bloomberg survey of Model 3 owners indicated that production quality has improved. 

Porsche placed first in Consumer Reports’ 2020 auto-brand ranking, followed by Genesis and Subaru. Fiat finished last, preceded by Mitsubishi and Jeep.

Are you a current or former Tesla employee? Do you have an opinion about what it’s like to work there? Contact this reporter at mmatousek@businessinsider.com. You can also reach out on Signal at 646-768-4712 or email this reporter’s encrypted address at mmatousek@protonmail.com.



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CEO of Outdoor Voices reportedly steps down as losses rack up

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  • Tyler Haney is reportedly stepping down as CEO of Outdoor Voices, according to a new report from Business of Fashion. 
  • 31-year Haney, who founded the brand in 2013, will reportedly stay on at the company but in a different role.
  • According to Business of Fashion, the company struggled to raise more funding at the end of last year and was losing around $2 million a month in 2019.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Tyler Haney is reportedly stepping down as CEO of athletics brand Outdoor Voices. 

31-year Haney, who founded the brand in 2013, will stay on at the company but in a different role, Business of Fashion reported early Friday morning. 

A spokesperson for the company was not immediately available to comment when contacted by Business Insider. 

Outdoor Voices has become a popular choice in recent years for trendy millennials with its brightly colored activewear that’s targeted toward everyday exercise – jogging or walking the dog, for example.

As of 2018, the company had raised $64 million in funding and counted Mickey Drexler, the former longtime J.Crew CEO, among its investors. Drexler became chairman of its board in 2017 but stepped from this role in mid-2019, according to Business of Fashion. 

Sources told Business of Fashion that the company struggled to raise more funding at the end of last year and was losing around $2 million a month in 2019 with annual sales of around $40 million. 

In conversation with Business Insider in 2018, Haney said that her goal was to create the world’s number one athletics brand that would eventually overtake more established players such as Nike, Lululemon, and Under Armour.

She said she wanted to create sportswear that was comfortable enough to sweat in but could be worn for a range of recreational activities.

“I remember going for a 1.5-mile jog and noticed that there is real dissonance in wearing a brightly colored outfit with muscle mapping all over it, something that you would see on an Olympic athlete, when I was going for a 10-minute-a-mile jog,” she said in a phone conversation with Business Insider in 2018.

She added: “We are really building the rules for our own game here… I have no interest in building the next Nike — we are building Outdoor Voices.”

The brand’s clothing line includes leggings, sports bras, t-shirts, and exercise dresses for women. A cotton t-shirt costs from $35, while leggings cost between $75 and $115. The scaled-down selection for men includes $55 shorts and $35-to-$55 t-shirts.



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The Dem debate in Las Vegas got more viewers than these programs

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The ‘Game of Thrones’ finale

game of thrones

“Game of Thrones”

HBO


Complaints from longtime fans aside, “Game of Thrones” was a consistent bread winner for HBO, bringing in high ratings for the premium cable network. 

However, diminishing enthusiasm over the final season of the series left the finale episode not only outpaced by the Las Vegas debate, but also not even the most viewed episode of the season, falling to a 15,845 rating.



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