President Donald Trump told reporters Wednesday that Ambassador Gordon Sondland’s testimony to the House Intelligence Committee earlier that day ― testimony that directly implicated Trump in a corruption scheme ― had in fact vindicated him, and that it was time for the impeachment hearings to end.
“It’s all over,” Trump said of the impeachment proceedings.
A photograph of Trump’s notepad showed phrases in his handwriting such as “I WANT NOTHING,” “I WANT NO QUID PRO QUO” and “THIS IS THE FINAL WORD FROM THE PRES OF THE U.S.”
Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, had described for investigators a conversation in which the president said he didn’t want anything from Ukraine in return for supplying aid to that country. But Sondland said repeatedly that in fact, the primary focus for Trump and his lawyer Rudy Giuliani was leveraging the aid to get Ukraine to announce investigations into former Vice President Joe Biden.
Trump’s midday press appearance was a bizarre spectacle, one that gave little indication of the gravity of Sondland’s testimony implicating the president in a scheme to misuse his office.
“Everyone was in the loop. There were no secrets,” Sondland said of Trump’s desire to pressure Ukraine into investigating his political rival. Sondland added that other Trump officials ― including Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney ― were aware of Trump’s “desires and requirements.”
“This is not a man I know well,” Trump said of Sondland. “He seems like a nice guy, though.”