Nov 21, 2019

David Holmes recounts Trump phone call with Sondland in Ukraine

David Holmes, a State Department official at the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine, testified on Thursday about a now-infamous phone call in Kyiv in which he overheard President Trump and EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland discuss the "investigations" that are now at the heart of the impeachment inquiry.

Why it matters: Holmes is the first witness to testify in the impeachment hearing who was on the ground in Ukraine for the entire length of the pressure campaign led by Rudy Giuliani, Sondland and others. Holmes claims that Sondland told him Trump "doesn't give a s--t about Ukraine," and that he only cares about "big stuff that benefits the president — like the Biden investigation that Mr. Giuliani was pushing."

  • Notably, Sondland was adamant in his testimony Thursday that he did not use the word "Biden" in his conversation with Holmes.
  • He and former U.S. special envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker testified that they never realized the investigation of Ukrainian natural gas company Burisma that Trump was pushing was related to the Bidens — though it later became obvious that this was the case.

The other side: While Holmes was giving his opening statement, Trump tweeted that it is impossible to overhear others' phone conversations without them being on speakerphone.

Go deeper: Live updates on Fiona Hill and Holmes' impeachment testimony

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