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Ken Starr, who led impeachment against Clinton, says yesterday was 'bombshell day' for Trump

The US ambassador to the EU said yesterday he worked with Ukraine at the “express direction” of Donald Trump.

Trump holds handwritten notes as he makes remarks to the press about the impeachment inquiry. The notes read:
Trump holds handwritten notes as he makes remarks to the press about the impeachment inquiry. The notes read: "I WANT NOTHING I WANT NOTHING I WANT NO QUID PRO QUO."
Image: UPI/PA Images

THE PROSECUTOR WHO led the impeachment process against Bill Clinton has said “it’s over” for Trump after the US ambassador to the European Union testified yesterday that he worked with Ukraine at the “express direction” of the US president. 

During his testimony, Gordon Sondland told congressional impeachment investigators that he worked with Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani on the case and also claimed that he pushed a “quid pro quo” deal with Kiev because that was what the president wanted.

Ken Starr, who headed the investigation that led the impeachment process against Bill Clinton, called yesterday a “bombshell day” that “doesn’t look good for the president substantively”. 

“We now know that the president, in fact, committed the crime of bribery…  I think articles of impeachment are being drawn up if they haven’t already been drawn up,” Starr told Fox News.  

‘It’s over’ 

“I want nothing. I want nothing. I want no quid pro quo,” the Trump told Sondland in a September phone call, the same day that members of Congress learned of a whistleblower complaint that would trigger impeachment hearings. 

“Tell Zelenskiy — President Zelenskiy to do the right thing,” Trump added in his conversation with his ambassador to the European Union.

Trump recreated the phonecall yesterday, reading from handwritten notes on the South Lawn of the White House. He insisted it should dispel the impeachment cloud over his head. Trump’s takeaway: “Not only did we win today, it’s over.”

PastedImage-91268 Source: Twitter

Trump’s “I want nothing” remark to Sondland may have given him a reprieve, according to Starr. 

“The president may have covered himself by saying ‘no quid pro quo’ even if “the record is muddy, the record is murky.”

“He doesn’t give you questions, he doesn’t give you orders,” his former longtime personal attorney and fixer Michael Cohen, who is now imprisoned on tax evasion and campaign finance charges, explained to lawmakers earlier this year. “He speaks a code, and I understand the code because I’ve been around him for a decade.”

Former Trump campaign adviser Sam Nunberg objected to that characterisation but said Trump was typically careful to share things only on a need-to-know basis.

“I’m very surprised that the president got himself into a situation where he has exposure by so many people,” said Nunberg, “because in my past experience, he’s always been careful to compartmentalise and to make sure that his actions are not left up for multiple interpretations.”

Trump’s September phone call with Sondland has also been a topic of dispute. Tim Morrison, a former National Security Council staffer who spoke with Sondland after the call, said Sondland told him that while the president swore off any quid pro quo, at another point in the chat, Trump told the diplomat that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy must personally announce the opening of the investigations — and should want to do it.

However, Sondland testified Wednesday that he couldn’t remember Trump ever telling him directly the aid would be held up until the statement was made.

- With reporting from Associated Press 

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Adam Daly

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