US Official Confirms Damning Trump/Sondland Call

The New York Times reports:

An official from the United States Embassy in Kiev confirmed to House impeachment investigators on Friday that he overheard a call between President Trump and a top American diplomat in July in which the president inquired about investigations he wanted from Ukraine, according to three people familiar with the testimony.

The official, David Holmes, testified privately that he was at a restaurant in Ukraine’s capital when he heard Mr. Trump during a cellphone call loudly asking Gordon D. Sondland, the American ambassador to the European Union, if Ukraine’s president had agreed to conduct investigations into his political rivals. Mr. Sondland, who was in Kiev for meetings with top Ukrainian officials at the time, replied in the affirmative.

Mr. Sondland told Mr. Trump that President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine “loves your ass,” and would conduct the investigations and “anything you ask him to,” according to two of the people, who described his testimony on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly discuss it.

CBS News reports:

A source attending the closed hearing told CBS News that the deposition of Holmes was “very damning” for Sondland. The source said that Sondland will “either go to jail or have to turn on the president.”

At the first public hearings of the impeachment inquiry, Taylor testified that a member of his staff, whom he did not name, was with Sondland at a restaurant on July 26 when the ambassador placed a call to Mr. Trump.

“The member of my staff could hear President Trump on the phone, asking Ambassador Sondland about ‘the investigations,'” Taylor, the chargé d’affaires at the U.S. embassy in Kiev, said in his opening statement. “Ambassador Sondland told President Trump that the Ukrainians were ready to move forward.”