Bill Taylor, the acting US ambassador to Ukraine, revealed that he learned of a previously unreported phone call on which President Trump pressed his EU ambassador on the status of the “investigations” he demanded Ukraine launch into his political opponents.
Taylor, who gave “damning” testimony at his closed-door deposition last month, testified publicly before the House Intelligence Committee on Wednesday.
Taylor revealed that he did not know at the time of his deposition that one of his staffers overheard a call between Trump and EU ambassador Gordon Sondland one day after Trump’s infamous July 25 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky pressing him to investigate the Bidens.
"The member of my staff could hear President Trump on the phone asking Ambassador Sondland about the investigations," Taylor said. "Ambassador Sondland told President Trump the Ukrainians were ready to move forward."
After the call, Taylor said his aide asked Sondland what Trump “thought about Ukraine.”
Sondland "responded that President Trump cares more about the investigations of Biden, which Giuliani was pressing for,” Taylor testified.
Trump claims he doesn’t know what Taylor is talking about:
Trump claimed that he had no idea what Taylor was referring to when asked about the call on Wednesday.
“I know nothing about that, first time I’ve heard,” Trump said. “The one thing I know about Sondland is that he did speak to me for a brief moment, and I said ‘no quid pro quo.’”
“I’ve never heard this,” he added. “In any event, it’s more secondhand information, but I’ve never heard it.”
Pressed again on the phone call, Trump replied, “No, I don’t recall, not even a little bit. The only thing, and I guess Sondland stated with his testimony, is there was no quid pro quo.”
Of course, Trump’s memory can be faulty. Just last week he claimed to “hardly know” who Sondland was.
House to question aide that heard the call:
During Taylor’s testimony, the House scheduled a new closed-door deposition for Friday to interview David Holmes, the staffer who overheard the call.
Holmes is a counselor for political affairs at the US embassy in Kiev.
“Holmes received an award from the State Department in 2014 for speaking up internally against the Obama administration’s policy on Afghanistan, potentially complicating any Republican plans to paint him as a liberal partisan,” The Washington Post reported. “The William R. Rivkin Award acknowledges a mid-level Foreign Service officer and recognizes the value of dissent.”