David Holmes, a political officer at the U.S. embassy in Ukraine, will testify Thursday morning at the House Intelligence Committee in the seventh public hearing in the ongoing impeachment inquiry.
Holmes was called to testify after he belatedly told his boss, Charge d’affairs William Taylor, that he had overheard U.S. Ambassador to the E.U. Gordon Sondland talking to President Donald Trump on his mobile phone in a restaurant on July 26, the day after Trump’s phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Holmes testified in a closed-door hearing last week that Trump asked Sondland whether Zelensky would “do the investigation,” and Sondland said that Zelensky “loves your ass.”
On Wednesday, Sondland told the committee in his own public testimony that he remembered the conversation with Trump, but disputed Holmes’s claim that Sondland later referred to the “Biden investigation” in a conversation at the restaurant table.
According to Sondland, he was only talking about an investigation into Burisma, the allegedly corrupt Ukrainian company on which former Vice President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter, served as a board member.
Key Democrat Talking Points
1. Democrats made clear during Sondland’s testimony that they view Holmes’s account as a crucial piece of evidence in establishing that Trump’s request for investigations, was primary politically motivated.
- What Democrats aren’t telling you: Holmes admitted in his deposition that both he and Sondland were drinking wine at the time. He also admits that he did not take notes, even though he took notes meticulously of almost every other conversation. He also has clear political differences with the Trump administration.
2. Holmes will testify that he objected to the role of former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani in Ukraine, and cite his professional experience in declaring that he had never seen anything like the Trump administration’s behavior — for example, in the firing of former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch.
- What Democrats aren’t telling you: For a professional diplomat, Holmes was very sloppy. At one point he admitted that he had boasted to his friends on vacation about overhearing the president’s conversation.
3. Democrats will cite Holmes’s many complaints about the direction of President Trump’s policy in Ukraine.
- What Democrats aren’t telling you: For all his complaints, Holmes admitted to the committee behind closed doors that President Trump’s policy toward Ukraine has actually been supportive and favorable.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He earned an A.B. in Social Studies and Environmental Science and Public Policy from Harvard College, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.