David Holmes AP
Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Calif., said Holmes is a key witness to the impeachment investigation because he heard directly from Trump. That counters Republican complaints that the inquiry is based on hearsay from other officials testifying.
“He has firsthand knowledge of the conversation between Ambassador Sondland and the president of the United States,” Lieu said. “He overheard the conversation.”
Sondland told him the president did not “give a shit about Ukraine.” The president only cares about “big stuff,” Sondland said.
When the foreign service officer noted the importance of Ukraine, at war with Russia, Sondland clarified that he meant stuff that benefits the president, like the “Biden investigation.” Trump’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, was pushing the Ukrainians to investigate former Vice President Biden.
Holmes’ job often required him to be the official note-taker at meetings. He said while he did not take notes from the lunch with Sondland, he has a “clear recollection” and believes other colleagues at the table do as well.
The Associated Press has already identified one of the other people who heard the call as Suriya Jayanti, a foreign service officer based in Kyiv.
The situation in Kyiv changed dramatically in spring, he said. Key policies, including resistance to Russian aggression, “became overshadowed by a political agenda being promoted by Rudy Giuliani” and others “with a direct channel to the White House.”
Ahead of one meeting, Sondland said: “Dammit Rudy. Every time Rudy gets involved he goes and f–ks everything up.”
Holmes said he heard John Bolton, the National Security Adviser, tell others about his frustration with Giuliani’s influence with the president. Bolton told William Taylor, the top diplomat in Ukraine, to send a first-person cable to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo about the situation.