“He’s Gonna Do It.” David Holmes Describes Overhearing Trump-Sondland Call.

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One of the biggest bombshells on the first day of the House Intelligence Committee’s impeachment hearings came from Bill Taylor, the top US diplomat in Ukraine, who testified that a member of his staff overheard a phone call between President Donald Trump and US Ambassador to the EU Gordon Sondland. During the call, Taylor said, the president had asked Sondland about “the investigations,” referring to investigations into Trump’s political enemies that he was pressuring Ukraine to conduct.

David Holmes, the staffer who overheard the call, just described that phone call during Thursday’s hearing. According to Holmes, he heard Trump ask, “So, he’s gonna do the investigation?” Holmes said that Sondland replied that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was indeed “gonna do it.”

Holmes described easily overhearing the phone call, which wasn’t on speakerphone, because Trump’s “voice was very loud and recognizable,” so much so that Sondland had to hold the phone away from his ear. Like this: 

Holmes testified that after the call ended, he asked Sondland “if it was true that the president did not give a expletive about Ukraine,” to which Sondland agreed and said that “the president only cares about ‘big stuff.'” Sondland then explained that “big stuff” meant the investigation Trump wanted into the Bidens and Burisma—not the war Ukraine is fighting with Russia.

Holmes also testified that on the call, Trump and Sondland discussed the situation of A$AP Rocky, the American rapper who at the time was jailed in Sweden: 

Holmes said that when he returned to the US embassy, he “immediately briefed” his supervisor, as well as others, about the call between Sondland and Trump. He said that he “repeatedly referred to the call” in subsequent meetings where Trump’s interest in Ukraine “was potentially relevant.”

Trump, who has repeatedly attacked impeachment witnesses on Twitter, suggested that it would have been impossible for Holmes to overhear his statements:

Connie Schultz, a journalist married to Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), quickly noted that she, too, had once overheard “every word” of Trump’s comments on a phone call:

Listen to Washington D.C. Bureau Chief David Corn describe the outrageous partisan theatrics in the impeachment room, and the mounting evidence against Donald Trump, in the latest episode of the Mother Jones Podcast:

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THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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