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Trump Claims to Barely Know Gordon Sondland While Responding to His Damaging Testimony


A clearly frustrated President Donald Trump attempted to rebut the bombshell impeachment testimony from the Gordon Sondland, saying his handpicked ambassador to the European Union was not someone he “knew well.” During the morning session of the public impeachment inquiries, Sondland confirmed the existence of a quid pro quo deal, saying that Trump, through Rudy Giuliani, explicitly directed him and other administration officials to get Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky to publicly announce investigations into Burisma and the CrowdStrike conspiracy theory.

Speaking to reporters from the South Lawn of the White House and reading from notes handwritten in black Sharpie marker, Trump continued to claim that he did not condition congressionally appropriated military aid to Ukraine on any act from the Ukrainian government.

“I’m gonna go very quickly, just a quick comment on what’s going on in terms of testimony with Ambassador Sondland. And I just noticed one thing and I would say that means it’s all over,” Trump said.

The president, reading directly from his notes, then began to respond to portions of Sondland’s testimony.

“What do you want from Ukraine? I keep hearing all these different ideas and theories,” Trump said, quoting from a conversation he had with Sondland that was read aloud during the hearing. “He just said – now [Sondland is] talking about what’s my response – so he’s going ‘what do you want, what do you want, I hear all these theories, what do you want?,’ Right? And now, here’s my response.”

Trump then turned the page on his notes and began repeating the words on the page multiple times.

“I want nothing. That’s what I want from Ukraine. That’s what I said. I want nothing. I said it twice,” Trump shouted, holding up two fingers for emphasis.

“So [Sondland] goes, he asks me the question, ‘what do you want, I keep hearing all these things, what do you want?,’” Trump said.

The president then strayed from his notes to state that he didn’t really know Sondland very well, likely laying the groundwork to declare him a “Never Trumper” in the future.

“He finally gets me – I don’t know him very well – I have not spoken to him much. This is not a man I know well. Seems like a nice guy though. But I don’t know him well,” Trump said. “He was with other candidates – he actually supported other candidates, not me. He came in late.”

Trump later repeated “I WANT NOTHING!”

As Law&Crime previously reported, Trump in October claimed that Sondland was a “really good man and great American” who he didn’t want to testify before a “compromised kangaroo court.”

Sondland, who had no previous diplomatic or foreign service experience prior to being named ambassador to the EU, donated $1 million to President Trump’s inauguration fund to secure tickets to the ceremony.

Sondland testified on Wednesday afternoon that he spoke to the president approximately 20 times, though he couldn’t be sure because the State Department would not give him access to his records. When the president’s comments about him came up, Sondland responded by saying, “Hey, easy come, easy go.”

[image via C-SPAN screengrab]

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Jerry Lambe is a journalist at Law&Crime. He is a graduate of Georgetown University and New York Law School and previously worked in financial securities compliance and Civil Rights employment law.