Trump denies talking to Sondland about investigations in Ukraine

Trump denies talking to Sondland

Washington — During the first day of public testimony in the impeachment inquiry, Ambassador Bill Taylor, the top diplomat to Ukraine, testified about a phone call between President Trump and E.U. Ambassador Gordon Sondland. According to Taylor, the takeaway from that call is the president cared more about investigating his political rival than he did about Ukraine.

But, speaking alongside the Turkish president on Wednesday, Mr. Trump denied ever talking to Sondland about investigations in Ukraine.

"I don't recall. No, not at all. Not even a little bit," he said.

Their relationship is one the president has tried to downplay since last week. Despite claiming he's paying no attention to the impeachment inquiry, the president found time to tweet 30 times about the hearings.

Taylor: Sondland said Trump cared more about investigating Bidens than about Ukraine

The White House unleashed a plan to dial up its defense of the president during the public hearings with a "rapid response" team reacting in real-time. The White House posted a video on Twitter, showing the chair of the House Intelligence Committee, Congressman Adam Schiff, as Pinocchio, calling the impeachment investigation a "new hoax. Same swamp."

Throughout the day, officials also blasted out detailed talking points for Trump allies and Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham lashed out against the impeachment hearing calling it a "kangaroo court," adding the two "star witnesses in this impeachment sham have never even spoken to @POTUS."

But even though the White House is allegedly adding two new spokespeople to handle all questions about impeachment, a declaration from the president last month seems to be holding up.

"I don't have teams. Everyone's talking about teams. I'm the team," he said.

On Wednesday, the president was the only one from the White House to push back against Democrats on camera, saying it's a "sham," and "shouldn't be allowed."