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State Department Staffer Who Overheard Phone Call Between Trump and Sondland Will Testify Publicly This Week

David Holmes for a closed-door deposition as part of the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump on Capitol Hill, November 15, 2019. (Yara Nardi/Reuters)

State Department official David Holmes, who allegedly overheard a conversation between President Trump and U.S. ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland in which Trump asked about a Ukrainian investigation into the Bidens, will testify in a public impeachment hearing Thursday.

William Taylor, the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, testified Wednesday during the first public impeachment hearing that Holmes heard Trump press Sondland about investigations during a July 26 phone call, the day after Trump’s ill-fated phone call with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky that sparked the impeachment inquiry against him. Trump asked Sondland whether Ukraine would investigate Democratic 2020 candidate Joe Biden’s connections to a Ukrainian gas company as well as alleged Ukrainian interference in the 2016 election.

Taylor added that after the phone call, Sondland remarked to Holmes that Trump cared more about whether Ukraine would investigate Biden than about the broader U.S. policy toward Ukraine.

“So, he’s gonna do the investigation?” Holmes will testify that Trump asked Sondland, according to a prepared opening statement.

“He’s gonna do it,” Sondland responded.

The White House has denied accusations of a quid pro quo relating to the Trump administration’s delay of much-needed U.S. military aid to Ukraine over the same period the administration was pressuring Ukraine to publicly announce an investigation into the Bidens.

Holmes’s appearance comes as a number of other impeachment witnesses are slated to testify this week, including Sondland himself and Kurt Volker, the former U.S. special envoy to Ukraine who testified in a closed-door congressional hearing about Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani’s involvement in the push for investigations.

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