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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."

  • When asked if making a cell phone call from Ukraine risked the call being overheard by Russians, Holmes responded:
"I believe at least two of the three, if not all three of the mobile networks are owned by Russian companies, or have significant stakes in those. We generally assume that mobile communications in Ukraine are being monitored."

Why it matters: In his testimony, Holmes said Trump had asked Sondland on the phone call if Ukraine was going to "do the investigation," and that Sondland responded, "He's gonna do it."

  • "I heard Ambassador Sondland greet the President and explain that he was calling from Kyiv. I heard President Trump then clarify that Ambassador Sondland was in Ukraine. Ambassador Sondland replied, Yes, he was in Ukraine, and went on to state that President Zelensky, quote, unquote, loves your ass," Holmes testified.
  • "I then heard President Trump ask, quote, "So he's going to do the investigation?" unquote. Ambassador Sondland replied that, "He's going to do it, " adding that President Zelensky will, quote, 'Do anything you ask him to,'" Holmes added.

What's next: Holmes is due to publicly testify on Thursday.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Updated 32 mins ago - Politics & Policy

U.S. sounds alarm on Ukraine

Conscripts line up at a Russian railway station yesterday before departing for Army service. Photo: Sergei Malgavko/TASS via Getty Images

The Biden administration is "deeply concerned" by new intelligence — detailed for Axios and other outlets — showing Russia stepping up preparations to invade Ukraine as soon as early 2022.

Why it matters: Most of this was known from public sources and satellite imagery, but the administration is sending a stronger signal by releasing specific details from the intelligence community.

CNN fires Chris Cuomo

Photo: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for CNN

CNN said Saturday evening it has fired one of its star anchors, Chris Cuomo, following new revelations from a legal review made by the company into Cuomo's involvement in the management of his brother's sexual harassment scandal.

Why it matters: Saturday's firing speaks to how much pressure CNN was under by employees and critics to address Cuomo's behavior.

Updated 3 hours ago - Energy & Environment

Electric car prices could go up before they come down

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The secret to affordable electric vehicles is cheaper batteries. But after years of falling prices, battery costs are now headed in the wrong direction.

Why it matters: Costlier batteries could drive up the price of electric vehicles — threatening the auto industry's transition away from fossil fuels, and, in turn, society's fight against climate change.

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