- Gordon Sondland, the US ambassador to the European Union, testified before the House Intelligence Committee on Wednesday for the House impeachment hearings into President Donald Trump.
- Sondland was asked about a phone call in which he was said to have told Trump the Ukrainian president “loves your arse” and would investigate Hunter Biden’s business dealings.
- Sondland said the phrase sounded like something he would say: “That’s how President Trump and I communicate. Lots of four-letter words.”
- Follow along our live coverage of the hearing here.
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The seriousness of the impeachment hearings was broken up by a rare moment of laughter Wednesday when the US ambassador to the European Union joked about the colourful language he used when speaking with President Donald Trump.
Gordon Sondland was questioned about a recently revealed telephone call between himself and the president, in which a US official testified that the ambassador had told Trump that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky “loves your arse.”
“Yeah, it sounds like something I would say,” Sondland said, breaking out into a laugh.
Most of the hearing room followed suit.
“That’s how President Trump and I communicate,” Sondland said. “Lots of four-letter words. In this case: three letters.”
The impeachment hearings centre on Trump’s efforts to pressure Ukraine to launch politically motivated investigations at the same time he was holding up military aid and a White House meeting with Zelensky.
David Holmes, a State Department aide, testified behind closed doors last week that in the phone call Sondland spoke casually about the pressure campaign, saying Zelensky would launch an investigation into Hunter Biden’s business dealings in the country and in fact would do “anything you ask him to.”
Sondland took a more serious tone during his testimony Wednesday, saying he was essentially just following orders and believed that the president was pushing for a “quid pro quo.”He said he kept several top figures in the administration abreast of the plan.
- Read more:
- Gordon Sondland confirms quid pro and implicates Trump, Pompeo, and Bolton in Ukraine investigation in a blistering opening statement – read it here
- State Department denies report that Pompeo has been privately telling Republicans he’s planning to resign
- Here’s everyone testifying in the public hearings on the possible impeachment of Donald Trump
- Trump’s ambassador to the EU says the president ordered him against his will to work with Rudy Giuliani on Ukraine