Gordon Sondland sauntered onto the witness stand this morning with the swagger of a man who was about to set himself free…at least according to social media users.
You see, Sondland released his opening statement to the press ahead of his testimony today, allowing the mainstream media to get a head start on spinning what he was about to say. This led to a cavalcade of Democratic back-patting and premature celebration, particularly online, where Twitter users reveled in what they believed was the end of the Trump presidency.
But they missed the point. Big time.
Sondland, when asked under oath if he had any direct evidence of Trump’s alleged “quid pro quo”, was unable to provide any. In fact, the transcript of a call between Trump and Sondland then became the focus of the questioning.
The President read from this transcript on the White House lawn today.
The president read off the testimony transcript from his notes as he left the White House for Texas to visit an Apple computer manufacturing plant.
“It was a very short and abrupt conversation that he had with me,” Trump said.
Trump recalled Sondland repeatedly asked him what he wanted from Ukraine.
“I want nothing, I said it twice,” Trump said, adding again he said he wanted “no quid pro quo.”
Trump scolded reporters at the White House, saying,”If you weren’t fake news, you would cover it properly.”
Then, Trump went for the jugular.
“That means it’s all over,” Trump said to reporters as he left the White House, adding he “turned off the television” after he heard Sondland’s recollection of a call he had with the president about Ukraine.
It now appears as thought the Democrats’ earlier victory lap was premature.