State Department staffer David Holmes, the aide who claims to have overheard President Donald Trump talking to U.S. Ambassador to the E.U. Gordon Sondland the day after his July 25 conversations with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, testified in a closed-door impeachment inquiry hearing at the House Intelligence Committee Friday afternoon that he overheard Sondland telling President Trump that President Zelensky “loves your ass.”
The fact that Holmes claimed to have overheard the conversation was revealed on Wednesday, during the first public hearing in the impeachment inquiry, when Charge d’affaires William Taylor updated his own closed-door testimony from last month. The testimony added little, but confirmed Trump was interested in Ukraine undertaking “investigations” into 2016 election interference and the circumstances in which former Vice President Joe Biden forced the ouster of a prosecutor overseeing a probe into Burisma, where his son Hunter was a board member. (The testimony may also, as Breitbart News noted, have violated rules around classified and privileged communications.)
Though Holmes’s hearing was meant to be behind closed doors, a copy of his prepared statement was leaked — as many statements have been, when Democrats believe witnesses will help their case against the president. He said (via CNN):
While Ambassador Sondland’s phone was not on speakerphone, I could hear President Trump’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, primarily because of the loud volume.
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 Zelenskyy “loves your ass.” I then heard President Trump ask, “So, he’s gonna do the investigation?” Ambassador Sondland replied that “he’s gonna do it,” adding that President Zelenskyy will do “anything you ask him to.” Even though I did not take notes of these statements, I have a clear recollection that these statements were made.
It is not yet clear whether Homes will be called to testify in public.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He earned an A.B. in Social Studies and Environmental Science and Public Policy from Harvard College, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.