WASHINGTON — When Donald Trump was constructing the opulent Trump Tower in Midtown Manhattan four decades ago, he was infuriated when he saw a thin layer of golden-hued marble lining the walls and column in the lobby, and ordered aides to make it appear twice as thick.
Sure, he had architects and engineers to handle those decorating details so that he could focus on the building’s multimillion-dollar budget and other big-picture concerns of a business empire that would teeter in and out of bankruptcy.
But when something bothers Trump, however small, he can obsess over it.
“The bribe is to grant or withhold military assistance in return for a public statement of a fake investigation into the elections. That’s bribery,” Pelosi told a news conference.
During the hearing Wednesday, William B. Taylor Jr., the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, revealed publicly for the first time that an embassy staffer had overheard Trump speaking to the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, Gordon Sondland, who had called the president on a cellphone from a restaurant in Kyiv after meeting senior Ukrainian officials.
Taylor said the aide, who was later identified as political counselor David Holmes, specifically heard Trump ask Sondland about “the investigations,” and that Sondland said after the call that Trump cared more about Biden than about U.S. policy toward Ukraine, an ally battling a Russian-backed insurgency.
On Thursday, the Associated Press reported that a second U.S. diplomat, a foreign service officer based at the embassy in Kyiv, also heard Trump speaking on the call.
If confirmed, the cellphone conversation could place Trump and Sondland in jeopardy.