House investigators on Monday released transcripts of closed-door testimony from two State Department officials ― David Holmes, the political counsel at the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine, and David Hale, the State Department’s third-ranking official ― as part of the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump’s pressure campaign on Ukraine.
Holmes, who testified Friday, told impeachment investigators that he overheard President Donald Trump talking with Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, about “investigations” in Ukraine. Holmes said Trump was talking so loudly that Sondland had to hold the phone from his ear.
This conversation came a day after Trump’s July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, in which Trump pressed his counterpart to investigate 2020 presidential rival Joe Biden. A whistleblower’s complaint about that call sparked the announcement of the impeachment inquiry.
After Sondland told Trump on the July 26 call that Zelensky “loves your ass,” the U.S. president responded, “So, he’s going to do the investigation?”
“He’s going to do it,” Sondland replied.
Hale, who spoke to lawmakers earlier this month, testified that State Department records show Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal lawyer, twice in late March. These calls came around the time that Giuliani was involved in a political smear campaign against former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch.
Yovanovitch, who testified Friday, said that she tried to get Pompeo to issue a statement of support for her but learned that he declined to do so, purportedly out of concern that Trump could undermine it in a tweet.
Hale also said that Pompeo called Fox News host Sean Hannity, which Hannity has denied.
Here you can read the transcript of Hale’s testimony:
Below you can read the transcript of Holmes’ testimony.
In his testimony, Holmes also detailed how Giuliani was promoting a political agenda, including an investigation of former Vice President Biden and his son Hunter and of supposed Ukrainian interference in the 2016 U.S. election (a debunked conspiracy theory that Giuliani nevertheless still pushed).
“The themes that Mr. Giuliani was promoting and his associates were promoting.... In my mind, those were... political things that were not related to the implementation of our policy,” Holmes said.