President Donald Trump said that testimony E.U. Ambassador Gordon Sondland gave in the House impeachment inquiry on Wednesday exonerated him, calling his appearance "fantastic" and adding, "I think we have to end it now."
"Well, I think it was fantastic. I think we have to end it now," Trump told reporters as he toured an Apple factory in Austin, Texas, with CEO Tim Cook.
"Not only did we win today, it's over," the president.
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Trump repeatedly pointed to a key point that incredulous Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee focused on during Sondland's hearing:
His decision not to include in his lengthy opening statement details of a phone conversation that he had with Trump on Sept. 9, the day that the Inspector General notified the intelligence committees of the existence of the whistleblower report. In that conversation, Sondland testified, Trump allegedly repeatedly stated he did not want anything from Ukraine and didn't want any quid pro quo.
"The question I ask," Trump said, "and it's the same question that a number of congressmen have asked, why didn't he put the statement into his opening remarks? It's the most important statement."
Earlier, as he left for Texas, Trump briefly addressed Sondland's testimony on the South Lawn of the White House, where he also spoke about the phone call.
"'What do you want from Ukraine?' (Sondland) asks me,'" Trump recounted, holding a notebook and papers, appearing to read from a part of the ambassador's testimony. "This is Ambassador Sondland speaking to me.
"And now here's my response that he gave," the president continued. "Ready? Do you have the cameras rolling? 'I want nothing. That's what I want from Ukraine'...I said it twice."
During his testimony earlier Wednesday, Sondland had recalled the phone conversation, which the ambassador characterized as "very short and abrupt" and said Trump appeared to be "not in a good mood."
At the same time, Trump also sought to distance himself from Sondland on Wednesday.
"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," Trump said. "But I don't know him well. He was with other candidates, he actually supported other candidates, not me, came in late."
White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said in a statement later: "Ambassador 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. The U.S. aid to Ukraine flowed, no investigation was launched, and President Trump has met and spoken with President Zelenskiy. Democrats keep chasing ghosts."