Advertisement

  1. ITV Report

'I want nothing from Ukraine' insists Trump nine times amid impeachment hearings

  • Video report by ITV News Washington Correspondent Robert Moore

President Donald Trump has insisted he wanted "nothing" from Ukraine and declared impeachment hearings should be brought to an end.

In a bizarre press conference outside the White House, the president repeated nine times he "wanted nothing" from the Eastern European country.

In doing so, he was addressing the ongoing testimony from Gordon Sondland, ambassador to the European Union, who linked the president to a decision to withhold military aid from Ukraine in exchange for an investigation into a political rival.

But he only highlighted specific, helpful parts from Sondland's remarks, saying "it is the final word" that he did not demand a quid pro quo.

Trump, who claimed that means "it's all over" for the impeachment proceedings, did not take questions from reporters before boarding a helicopter to Texas, albeit an hour late.

Mr Sondland earlier said he "followed the President's orders" to work with Rudy Giuliani on Ukraine.

The Ambassador told Donald Trump's impeachment hearing he kept members of the president's team in the loop regarding pressure being put on the Ukraine for investigations in what was a seen as a "quid pro quo" situation.

Sondland explained to the House intelligence panel that Trump's personal lawyer, Giuliani, discussed how the president wanted the Ukraine to publicly announce investigations into the 2016 US presidential election and Burisma, a Ukraine gas company whose board included Joe Biden's son, Hunter, as a requirement in order for the country's leader to receive a White House invitation.

Whether the investigations ever took place was not important to Trump, who just wanted the Ukraine to announce them.

ITV News Washington Correspondent Robert Moore described Sondland's testimony as "devastating".

Sorry, this content isn't available on your device.

Sondland said: "In response to our persistent efforts to change his views, President Trump directed us to “talk with Rudy.” We understood that “talk with Rudy” meant talk with Mr. Rudy Giuliani, the President’s personal lawyer.

"Let me say again: We weren’t happy with the President’s directive to talk with Rudy. We did not want to involve Mr. Giuliani. I believed then, as I do now, that the men and women of the State Department, not the President’s personal lawyer, should take responsibility for Ukraine matters.

"Nonetheless, based on the President’s direction, we were faced with a choice: We could abandon the efforts to schedule the White House phone call and White House visit between Presidents Trump and Zelensky, which was unquestionably in our foreign policy interest - or we could do as President Trump had directed and “talk with Rudy.” We chose the latter course, not because we liked it, but because it was the only constructive path open to us."

Sondland says he was instructed by President Trump to deal with the Ukrainian president's personal lawyer. Credit: PA

The key witness told the hearing that he and his team did not want to involve the president's personal lawyer in diplomacy efforts with Ukraine, but the president instructed them to do so.

Asked if there was a "quid pro quo" with reference to the relationship with Ukraine and US military aid, Sondland said there was.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff said he is yet to receive a single document from Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Schiff says the duo have made "a conceited and across the board effort" to instruct the investigation.

Sorry, this content isn't available on your device.

In October, Trump described Sondland as a "really good man and a great American".