Two embassy staffers in Kyiv, not just one, overheard a phone call in which President Donald Trump asked EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland about “the investigations,” the Associated Press reported Thursday.
Acting Ukraine Ambassador Bill Taylor made the bombshell revelation Wednesday that, a day after the now-infamous phone call in which Trump pressured Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky for politicized investigations, Trump called Sondland to ask about those investigations.
“The member of my staff could hear President Trump on the phone, asking Ambassador Sondland about ‘the investigations,’” Taylor testified. “Ambassador Sondland told President Trump that the Ukrainians were ready to move forward.”
The staffer was later identified as a counselor for political affairs at the embassy, David Holmes, who was accompanying Sondland while the EU ambassador was in Ukraine on July 26. Sondland played a key role in relaying Trump’s pressure campaign to Ukrainian officials.
The second witness to the call was another embassy staffer, Suriya Jayanti, AP reported, citing an unnamed person briefed on the discussion.
Sondland used a cell phone for the call and made it from a restaurant. Holmes and Jayanti were reportedly sitting at the table with him. It wasn’t clear from the AP report what Jayanti overheard of the call. The President told reporters Thursday that he didn’t recall the conversation.
Holmes is scheduled to testify in the impeachment inquiry behind closed doors on Friday. Jayanti was initially scheduled to testify behind closed doors last month, but the testimony was postponed. It’s not clear whether it has been rescheduled.
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