President Donald Trump claimed that a September 9 phone call with EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland exonerated him in the Ukraine scandal but the White House cannot find any record that the call actually took place.
Sondland testified to Congress that Trump told him he did not want a quid pro quo with Ukraine.
“I just said: ‘What do you want from Ukraine?’ I may have even used a four-letter word. And he said, ‘I want nothing, I want no quid pro quo,’” Sondland told the House Intelligence Committee last week, while also clarifying that there was actually a “quid pro quo.”
Trump ignored the rest of Sondland’s remarks and declared that he was vindicated.
“Here’s my response that he just gave: ‘I want nothing. . . . I want nothing. I want no quid pro quo,’” Trump told reporters last week. “I would say that means it’s all over. Just happened, to which I turned off the television.”
There is no evidence of the call:
The White House has not been able to locate any record that this call took place, The Washington Post reports.
No other witnesses have described a September 9 call and no documents exist to show it occurred.
“I believe it was on the 9th of September. I can’t find the records and they won’t provide them to me,” Sondland admitted to the committee.
“I still cannot find a record of that call because the State Department or the White House cannot locate it,” he added. “But I’m pretty sure I had the call on that day.”
There is evidence of a much more damning call:
Though there is no evidence of the September 9 call, witnesses have described a very different September 7 call.
National Security Council official Tim Morrison testified that Sondland told him that Trump on a September 7 call said there was not a quid pro quo” but added that Sondland “further stated that President Zelensky should want to go to the microphone and announce personally… that he would open the investigation.”
Acting Ukraine Ambassador Bill Taylor confirmed that account.
“According to Mr. Morrison, President Trump told Ambassador Sondland that he was not asking for a ‘quid pro quo,’ ” Taylor said. “But President Trump did insist that President Zelensky go to a microphone and say he is opening investigations of Biden and 2016 election interference, and that President Zelensky should want to do this himself.”