“He’s Gonna Do It.” David Holmes Describes Overhearing Trump-Sondland Call.

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One of the biggest bombshells on the first day of the House Intelligence Committee’s impeachment hearings came from Bill Taylor, the top US diplomat in Ukraine, who testified that a member of his staff overheard a phone call between President Donald Trump and US Ambassador to the EU Gordon Sondland. During the call, Taylor said, the president had asked Sondland about “the investigations,” referring to investigations into Trump’s political enemies that he was pressuring Ukraine to conduct.

David Holmes, the staffer who overheard the call, just described that phone call during Thursday’s hearing. According to Holmes, he heard Trump ask, “So, he’s gonna do the investigation?” Holmes said that Sondland replied that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was indeed “gonna do it.”

Holmes described easily overhearing the phone call, which wasn’t on speakerphone, because Trump’s “voice was very loud and recognizable,” so much so that Sondland had to hold the phone away from his ear. Like this: 

Holmes testified that after the call ended, he asked Sondland “if it was true that the president did not give a expletive about Ukraine,” to which Sondland agreed and said that “the president only cares about ‘big stuff.'” Sondland then explained that “big stuff” meant the investigation Trump wanted into the Bidens and Burisma—not the war Ukraine is fighting with Russia.

Holmes also testified that on the call, Trump and Sondland discussed the situation of A$AP Rocky, the American rapper who at the time was jailed in Sweden: 

Holmes said that when he returned to the US embassy, he “immediately briefed” his supervisor, as well as others, about the call between Sondland and Trump. He said that he “repeatedly referred to the call” in subsequent meetings where Trump’s interest in Ukraine “was potentially relevant.”

Trump, who has repeatedly attacked impeachment witnesses on Twitter, suggested that it would have been impossible for Holmes to overhear his statements:

Connie Schultz, a journalist married to Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), quickly noted that she, too, had once overheard “every word” of Trump’s comments on a phone call:

Listen to Washington D.C. Bureau Chief David Corn describe the outrageous partisan theatrics in the impeachment room, and the mounting evidence against Donald Trump, in the latest episode of the Mother Jones Podcast:

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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