Former Independent Counsel Ken Starr said on Wednesday that U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland had made a "shocking omission" from his testimony by omitting the fact that President Trump told him: “I want nothing, I want no quid pro quo."
“I’m stunned that that comment would have not have come out in the opening statement," Starr told “America’s Newsroom.” "Why? Are you trying to be fair? Are you trying to be complete?"
“There is no excuse for this ambassador appointed by this president to leave out such a material omission,” Starr added.
The story of the Sept. 9 exchange between Trump and Sondland emerged as a key moment for Republicans defending Trump's actions surrounding military aid to Ukraine. The president himself argued that the ambassador's testimony should exonerate him from any claims of wrongdoing in the ongoing impeachment inquiry.
Speaking to reporters on the White House lawn before departing on a scheduled trip to Texas, Trump claimed that Sondland’s testimony means “it’s all over” for the proceedings before reading from handwritten notes made during Sondland's testimony.
Sondland testified that on Sept. 9, he asked Trump what he wanted from Ukraine.
“And it was a very short, abrupt conversation,” the ambassador said. “He was not in a good mood. And he just said, ‘I want nothing. I want nothing. I want no quid pro quo. Tell Zelensky to do the right thing.’ Something to that effect.”
Sondland, however, testified that he and others in the administration understood that a meeting at the White House and a phone call between Trump and Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky would happen only if Zelensky agreed to an investigation into the 2016 U.S. election and the son of former Vice President Joe Biden.