Trump, Pence dispute Sondland’s claims

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Trump claims "it's all over" for the impeachment proceedings

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump is insisting Wednesday that he wanted “nothing” from Ukraine and declared that impeachment hearings should be brought to an end.

The president read from handwritten notes when speaking to reporters on the White House lawn nearly an hour later than his scheduled departure for Texas.

Trump addressed 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.

Donald Trump, Gordon Sondland
FILE – In this July 10, 2018, file photo, President Donald Trump is joined by Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, second from right, as he arrives at Melsbroek Air Base, in Brussels, Belgium. Sondland originally planned to meet Tuesday, Nov 19, with EU Commission Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis to discuss better cooperation between the two trading juggernauts. That meeting was postponed indefinitely because Sondland was to testify Wednesday before Congress about his involvement in Ukraine. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)

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.

A top aide to Vice President Mike Pence says a conversation with Sondland about a link between military aid to Ukraine and investigations “never happened.”

Marc Short, Pence’s chief of staff, says Pence never spoke with Sondland “about investigating the Bidens, Burisma, or the conditional release of financial aid to Ukraine based upon potential investigations.”

He adds that Sondland was “never alone” with Pence during the Sept. 1 trip to Poland. Short says: “This alleged discussion recalled by Ambassador Sondland never happened.”

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