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Diplomat: I used profanities to relate to Trump

WASHINGTON: Among the revelations on Wednesday in the impeachment inquiry into Mr Donald Trump - an ambassador revealed how he employed profanity-laden 'Trump-speak' in hopes of relating to the US President.

In an unusual moment of levity in the televised hearing, Mr Gordon Sondland, the US Ambassador to the European Union, acknowledged he may have told Mr Trump that Ukraine's leader "loves your ass".

"That sounds like something I would say," Mr Sondland, a hotel owner who received the ambassadorship after donating to Mr Trump, said with a smile when asked by the Democratic counsel about the account.

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"That's how President Trump and I communicate - a lot of four-letter words. In this case, three-letter," he said, drawing laughter.

Mr Sondland said he was trying to explain to Mr Trump how Ukraine's new President, Volodymyr Zelensky, was "very willing to work with the United States and was being very amicable".

"So putting it in Trump-speak - by saying 'he loves your ass, he'll do whatever you want' - meant that he would really work with us on a whole host of issues," he said.

The colourful language was first revealed to congressional investigators by Mr David Holmes, a US diplomat in Ukraine, who described how Mr Sondland invited the US team to lunch after a meeting in Kiev with Mr Zelensky.

Mr Holmes said that Mr Sondland, after ordering a bottle of wine, connected by his mobile phone with Mr Trump, whose voice was "very loud and recognisable".

Mr Sondland "went on to state that President Zelensky 'loves your ass'. I then heard President Trump ask, 'So, he's gonna do the investigation?'" Mr Holmes said.

Mr Trump is facing impeachment calls over allegations he demanded that Ukraine dig up dirt on his domestic rival Joe Biden as a condition for a summit with Mr Zelensky and the release of military aid to fight Russian-backed separatists.

Mr Sondland told the House Intelligence Committee he was following Mr Trump's orders in seeking a "quid pro quo" deal with Ukraine, adding that he disagreed with the freeze on aid. He also said most of the top men in the White House, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo "were in the loop".

Mr Trump - who last month called Mr Sondland "a really good man" - told reporters on Wednesday: "I don't know him very well." - AFP

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