- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 20, 2019

President Trump said Wednesday that Ambassador to the EU Gordon Sondland’s testimony should end the impeachment effort because Mr. Sondland testified that Mr. Trump told him he didn’t want anything from Ukraine.

“This is the final word from the president of the United States: I want nothing,” Mr. Trump told reporters, reciting Mr. Sondland’s testimony from handwritten notes. “That means it’s all over.”

Referring to their brief phone conversation on Sept. 9, Mr. Trump confirmed that he told Mr. Sondland “I want nothing” from Ukraine in exchange for U.S. military aid.

“That’s what I said — ‘I want nothing.’ I said it twice,” Mr. Trump said.

Their conversation took place on the same day the House Intelligence Committee learned that a whistleblower had filed a complaint alleging Mr. Trump was essentially trying to pressure Ukraine to announce an investigation into Democrat Joseph R. Biden. Ukraine learned on Aug. 29 through a news report that the White House was withholding the military aid.

Aboard Air Force One on his way to Texas later Wednesday, the president tweeted, “Impeachment Witch Hunt is now OVER! This Witch Hunt must end NOW. So bad for our Country!”

“I WANT NOTHING!” Mr. Trump tweeted of allegations that he demanded investigations from Ukraine that would benefit him politically as a condition of U.S. military aid.

White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said Mr. Sondland’s testimony “made clear that in one of the few brief phone calls he had with President Trump, the president clearly stated that he ‘wanted nothing’ from Ukraine and repeated ‘no quid pro quo over and over again.’”

“In fact, no quid pro quo ever occurred,” she said. “The U.S. aid to Ukraine flowed, no investigation was launched, and President Trump has met and spoken with [Ukraine] President Zelensky.”

She said Democrats “keep chasing ghosts.”

Mr. Trump, who did not answer reporters’ questions, said of Mr. Sondland, “I don’t know him very well.”

“I have not spoken to him much,” the president said. “This is not a man I know well. He seems like a nice guy, though. He was with other candidates [in 2016]. He actually supported other candidates — not me. Came in late.”

He spoke to reporters after watching Mr. Sondland’s testimony on TV, and briefly delayed his trip to Texas to visit an Apple high-tech facility.

Mr. Trump’s helicopter, Marine One, arrived on the South Lawn near the appointed departure time of 10:45 a.m. and sat for nearly an hour, as Mr. Sondland testified on Capitol Hill.

Finally emerging, the president spoke from handwritten notes clipped to a stack of papers and punctuated his statements with a rising voice and hand gestures.

He offered a blow-by-blow of his conversations with Mr. Sondland before walking to the helicopter.

A reminder of the impeachment inquiry was apparent at a busy intersection near the White House, where a man held up a sign reading, “Honk if you think he’s guilty.”

Tom Howell Jr. contributed to this story.

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