An arduous day for the White House got considerably worse on Friday evening when CNN obtained the opening statement from closed-door testimony by Bill Taylor aide David Holmes, who spoke to impeachment investigators about a phone call he overheard between Donald Trump and EU ambassador Gordon Sondland.
Earlier this week, during the first public hearing of the impeachment probe, Chargé d’Affaires Taylor revealed that one of his staff heard Sondland and Trump discuss “the investigations”.
“The Ukrainians were ready to move forward”, Sondland allegedly told the president. Taylor’s aide then asked Sondland about Trump’s feelings towards Ukraine. The ambassador “responded that President Trump cares more about the investigations of Biden, which Giuliani was pressing for”.
On Thursday, reports indicated a second US official overheard the call, which came just a day after the infamous conversation between Trump and Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelensky.
In the opening statement obtained by CNN, Holmes told lawmakers that during the call, Sondland told Trump that Zelensky “loves your ass” and would be willing to do “anything you ask him to”.
“I then heard President Trump ask, ‘So, he’s gonna do the investigation?’ Ambassador Sondland replied that ‘he’s gonna do it,'”, Holmes testified.
As for how Holmes was able to hear all of this, he’s happy to explain. Essentially, it’s because Trump screams when he talks. To wit:
While Ambassador Sondland’s phone was not on speakerphone, I could hear the President’s voice through the earpiece of the phone. The President’s voice was very loud and recognizable, and Ambassador Sondland held the phone away from his ear for a period of time, presumably because of the loud volume.
Holmes also said he asked Sondland if Trump “did not give a s–t about Ukraine”.
“[Trump cares about] big stuff”, Sondland responded.
Asked if the White House considered the war in the country “big”, Sondland responded “Big stuff’ that benefits the President, like the Biden investigation that Mr. Giuliani was pushing”.
You can find Holmes’s full statement below.2140-001