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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Read David Holmes' opening statement in the impeachment hearing

David Holmes, a State Department official at the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine, is testifying Thursday in the House's impeachment inquiry.

The big picture: While a portion of Holmes' statement focused on the July 26 call between President Trump and EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland that made him a last-minute addition to the hearings, he spent the majority of his time laying out how the Trump administration's Ukraine policy affected things on the ground in Kyiv.

Go deeperArrowNov 21, 2019

Holmes: Trump-Sondland call was likely monitored by Russians

Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

A transcript of State Department official David Holmes' impeachment testimony published Monday reveals that he assumes calls made from Ukraine are usually monitored by Russians — including one between U.S. ambassador to the EU Gordon Sondland and President Trump on July 26.

What they're saying: Holmes, who works at the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine, said in closed-door testimony that Sondland phoned Trump the day after the president's now-famous call with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky. Holmes said Sondland used his mobile phone for the call, which was "surprising" because "generally, phone calls with the president are very sensitive and handled accordingly."

Go deeperArrowNov 19, 2019

Bill Taylor aide David Holmes to testify publicly in impeachment inquiry

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

David Holmes, a State Department official working at the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine, will testify publicly in an impeachment hearing on Thursday alongside President Trump's former Russia adviser Fiona Hill, according to House officials.

Why it matters: In a closed-door deposition, Holmes testified that he overheard a phone call between EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland and Trump on July 26, the day after the infamous call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Holmes claimed he heard Trump ask Sondland, "So, he's gonna do the investigation?" to which Sondland responded, "He's gonna do it," adding that Zelensky would do "anything you ask him to."

Go deeperArrowNov 18, 2019