A U.S. diplomat described to House investigators a July 26 phone call between Ambassador Gordon Sondland and President Trump during which Trump brought up the Ukrainian president doing the “investigation,” CNN reported Friday.
“‘So, he’s gonna do the investigation?” Trump allegedly asked Sondland, according to the account of the call in David Holmes’ opening statement, which was obtained by CNN.
According to the testimony, Trump was referring to Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky, whom Trump spoke to on the phone the day before.
“He’s gonna do it,” Sondland said, according to Holmes’ account. Sondland also told Trump that Zelensky “loved your ass” and would do “anything you ask him to,” according to the Holmes testimony obtained by CNN.
Holmes was serving in the U.S. embassy in Ukraine, where Sondland was traveling the day of his July 26 call with Trump. The top U.S. diplomat in Kyiv, Bill Taylor, first brought the episode to light in a public impeachment hearing Wednesday. Taylor said he was told about the call after he had given his private deposition in the inquiry.
Holmes testified that he asked Sondland, after he finished the call with Trump, about Trump’s views on Ukraine. Sondland said that Trump only cared about the “big stuff,” prompting Holmes to note that “big stuff” like a war with Russia was happening in Ukraine, according to his testimony. Sondland, according to Holmes’ account, said that he meant the “big stuff” that benefits Trump, such as the “Biden investigation.”
Holmes testified he referred to the call — as well as Trump’s apparent lack of interest in Ukraine — in meetings with his colleagues.
An official working on the impeachment inquiry said Friday evening that the House Intelligence Committee issued a subpoena for Holmes testimony in “light of an attempt by the State Department to direct David Holmes not to appear for his scheduled deposition.”
Sondland is scheduled to testify publicly on Wednesday.