Congress will hear first-hand testimony of President Donald Trump’s involvement in the Ukraine scandal.
“David Holmes, the state department aide who overheard President Donald Trump’s conversation with the US ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland, said that Sondland told Trump that the Ukranian President would do ‘anything you ask him to,’ and that he confirmed the Ukrainians were going to ‘do the investigation,'” CNN reported Friday.
“”Sondland told Trump that (Ukrainian President Volodymyr) Zelensky ‘loves your ass,'” Holmes testified. “I then heard President Trump ask, ‘So, he’s gonna do the investigation?’ Ambassador Sondland replied that ‘he’s gonna do it,’ adding that President Zelensky will do ‘anything you ask him to.'”
“While Ambassador Sondland’s phone was not on speakerphone, I could hear the President’s voice through the earpiece of the phone. The President’s voice was very loud and recognizable, and Ambassador Sondland held the phone away from his ear for a period of time, presumably because of the loud volume,” Holmes testified.
CNN also reported, “Holmes also confirmed Taylor’s testimony about the President’s thoughts on Ukraine, saying he asked Sondland ‘if it was true that the President did not ‘give a sh*t about Ukraine.'”
Holmes opening was also obtained by The New York Times.
“The official, David Holmes, testified privately that he was at a restaurant in Ukraine’s capital when he heard Mr. Trump during a cellphone call loudly asking Gordon D. Sondland, the American ambassador to the European Union, if Ukraine’s president had agreed to conduct investigations into his political rivals. Mr. Sondland, who was in Kiev for meetings with top Ukrainian officials at the time, replied in the affirmative,” The Times reported.
“Mr. Sondland did not mention the episode to investigators last month when he answered their questions in private. He will almost certainly be asked about it next week when he appears for public testimony before the House Intelligence Committee. He has already revised his initial testimony once, admitting to the panel last week that he told a top Ukrainian official that the country would probably not receive a package of nearly $400 million in security assistance unless it committed publicly to the investigations Mr. Trump sought,” the newspaper noted.
The details of the exchange are vivid.
“Mr. Holmes described sitting at a table in the restaurant with Mr. Sondland when the president called. The president was speaking so loudly, he said, that Mr. Sondland held the phone away from his ear and Mr. Holmes and others could hear Mr. Trump’s voice,” The Times reported.
In fact, Trump was so loud that there are two additional witnesses, according to CNN’s Manu Raju.
At least two other witnesses – beyond David Holmes – overheard the Trump-Sondland call in which Trump was pressing for investigations into the Bidens, we are told
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) November 15, 2019
Holmes is a career Foreign Service officer.