“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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Our fall fundraising drive is off to a rough start, and we very much need to raise $250,000 in the next couple of weeks. If you value the journalism you get from Mother Jones, please help us do it with a donation today.

As we wrote over the summer, traffic has been down at Mother Jones and a lot of sites with many people thinking news is less important now that Donald Trump is no longer president. But if you're reading this, you're not one of those people, and we're hoping we can rally support from folks like you who really get why our reporting matters right now. And that's how it's always worked: For 45 years now, a relatively small group of readers (compared to everyone we reach) who pitch in from time to time has allowed Mother Jones to do the type of journalism the moment demands and keep it free for everyone else.

Please pitch in with a donation during our fall fundraising drive if you can. We can't afford to come up short, and there's still a long way to go by November 5.

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