House Democrats called in as their first witness in their public impeachment inquiry hearing a U.S. diplomat who allegedly overheard President Trump on the phone asking about “the investigations” — what some Trump critics are calling a “bombshell” revelation.
The top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, Amb. Bill Taylor, testified Wednesday in the first public hearings of the impeachment inquiry that one of his staff told him last week that he overheard Trump ask U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland about “the investigations” during a July 26, 2019, phone call.
Taylor said, at the time, he was in Ukraine with Trump’s Special Envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker while one of his staffers, reportedly U.S. diplomat David Holmes, was with Sondland at a restaurant when he called Trump and told him about a meeting with one of the Ukrainian president’s aides.
“The member of my staff could hear President Trump on the phone asking Ambassador Sondland about ‘the investigations,’” Taylor said Wednesday — an update to the previous testimony he gave behind closed doors last month to the House Intelligence Committee.
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He said Sondland told Trump the Ukrainians were ready to move forward, and after the call, Holmes asked Sondland about Trump’s thoughts about Ukraine.
“Sondland responded that President Trump cares more about the investigations of Biden, which Giuliani was pressing for,” Taylor said.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) followed up: “What your staff overheard was President Trump asking Ambassador Sondland about ‘the investigations.’ Is that right?”
“That is correct,” Taylor responded.