President Donald Trump on Thursday appeared to level another real-time attack against a witness in the House impeachment inquiry, questioning the testimony of a State Department official who claimed to have overheard an incriminating phone call that involved the president.
“I have been watching people making phone calls my entire life. My hearing is, and has been, great,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “Never have I been watching a person making a call, which was not on speakerphone, and been able to hear or understand a conversation. I’ve even tried, but to no avail. Try it live!”
The president’s post came mere minutes before David Holmes, the political counselor at the U.S. embassy in Kyiv, delivered his opening statement before a public hearing of the House Intelligence Committee.
Holmes previously told lawmakers in a closed-door deposition last week that he and two other State Department staffers joined Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, for a July 26 lunch in the Ukrainian capital.
During that meal on a restaurant’s outdoor terrace — at which Sondland selected a bottle of wine and the four “discussed topics such as marketing strategies for his hotel business” — Holmes testified that Sondland placed a call on his mobile phone to Trump.
Although the call “was not on speakerphone,” Holmes said he “could hear the President’s voice through the earpiece” of Sondland’s phone.
“The President’s voice was very loud and recognizable, and Ambassador Sondland held the phone away from his ear for a period of time, presumably because of the loud volume,” Holmes said.