Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff, Marc Short, is shooting down a claim made by European Union Ambassador Gordon Sondland during a public impeachment hearing.
Sondland said in his opening statement about a discussion with Pence in Warsaw, Poland, on Sept. 1: “I mentioned to Vice President Pence before the meetings with the Ukrainians that I had concerns that the delay in aid had become tied to the issue of investigations. During the actual meeting, President Zelensky raised the issue of security assistance directly with Vice President Pence. The Vice President said he would speak to President Trump about it.”
The U.S. diplomat also said during the hearing that he was in a briefing with several people — following Pence’s meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky — where he told Pence, “It appears that everything is stalled until this statement gets made, words to that effect.”
He then noted, “The vice president nodded that he heard what I said.”
Amb. Sondland says he told Vice Pres. Pence ahead of Warsaw meeting with Zelenskiy, "It appears that everything is stalled until this statement gets made, words to that effect."— ABC News (@ABC) November 20, 2019
"The vice president nodded that he heard what I said." https://t.co/1TxiFjjHgO #ImpeachmentHearings pic.twitter.com/9QthA2sDdJ
Pence’s chief of staff said in a statement in response to Sondland’s claim that Pence was “never alone” with Sondland:
“The vice president never had a conversation with Gordon Sondland about investigating the Bidens, Burisma, or the conditional release of financial aid to Ukraine based upon potential investigations. Ambassador Gordon Sondland was never alone with Vice President Pence on the September 1 trip to Poland.
“This alleged discussion recalled by Ambassador Sondland never happened,” the statement continued.
See the statement below:
Just in: VP Pence chief of staff Marc Short says "the alleged discussion recalled by Ambassador Sondland never happened." pic.twitter.com/MxZCwtldF7— Elaina Plott (@elainaplott) November 20, 2019
Trump doesn’t seem too worried about Sondland’s testimony in the impeachment inquiry, as he told reporters, “Here is my response that he just gave. Ready? You have the cameras rolling? That’s what I want from Ukraine. I want nothing – I said it twice.”
“I don’t know him very well. I have not spoken to him much. This is not a man I know well. He seems like a nice guy though,” Trump said of Sondland.
The president read off of hand-written notes when he spoke to reporters.
Trump carried hand-written notes and print-outs of tweets as he left the White House. Photo by Getty's Mark Wilson. pic.twitter.com/kxROdam0qC— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) November 20, 2019
President Trump: "I say to the Ambassador in response: 'I want nothing, I want nothing. I want no quid pro quo. Tell Zelensky, President Zelensky, to do the right thing.'" pic.twitter.com/xK2kKVQ8fT— The Hill (@thehill) November 20, 2019
Trump said in recalling his previous conversation between himself and Sondland: “I want nothing. I want no quid pro quo. Tell President Zelensky to do the right thing. This is the final word from the President of the United States. I want nothing.”