Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) grilled David Holmes, a top staffer at the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine, Thursday, during a public Democratic-led House impeachment inquiry hearing against President Trump, in the House Intelligence Committee.
Homles claimed that he “overheard a conversation between President Trump and Gordon Sondland”, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, in which Trump reportedly asked about the “investigations”.
“Mr. Holmes, why didn’t your boss talk about it?” Jordan asked, to which David Holmes responded, “What’s that sir?”
“Why didn’t your boss bring up the call that you overheard– the reason you’re here today. I mean, you’re their closing witness. Yet, their star witness, their first witness, Ambassador Taylor, didn’t even bring it up? And when we deposed you, you said, ‘This was extremely distinctive experience, one of the most remarkable events of my life,'” Jordan explained.
“You described it like this,” the Ohio Congressman continued. “You said ‘After the call happened, I immediately told deputy chief admissions and others at the embassy about the call.’ Then you said you went on vacation. You told several friends and family about the call. Then, you come back on August 6 and you tell Ambassador Taylor about the call. And then, in your deposition statement, and your statement today as well, ‘I repeatedly referred to the call, in meeting and conversations where the issue of the President’s interest in Ukraine was relevant.’ That sounds like government-speak for ‘you told everybody!'”
“Yet, their star witness, their first witness, Ambassador Taylor, when he came here he related 13 different conversations he had between July 18 when the aid is frozen, and September 11 when it’s released. 13 different conversations and never once mentioning this call,” Rep. Jordan pointed out. (Continued Below)
Jordan began to read off a list of conversations between Ambassador Taylor, Gordon Sondland, Tim Morrison, Ambassador Volker, Ukrainian President Zelensky, President Trump.
“Nowhere is there a Holmes tells Taylor what the President of the United States told Sondland,” Jordan said after reading off conversations. “13 conversations from their star witness, you’re their closing witness and he can’t remember a call from a guy he works with every single day? Why?” the congressman asked of Holmes.
“Yes, sir. So immediately when I went back to the embassy, after this lunch on the 26, I told my direct supervisor, the deputy chief of admission. I would’ve told Ambassador Taylor immediately, except he was on the front lines that afternoon. I then went on, as I testified, my vacation on Saturday, came back the following Monday, and on Tuesday, I was back in the ambassador’s office where I referred to the call in that week plus that I was away. It was my assumption that the deputy chief of admission would’ve informed other people about the call as well. My recollection is when I did refer to the call in that meeting, that Ambassador Taylor nodded– knowingly, as though he had been briefed on it,” Holmes said. (Video Below)
Homles went on to say that he “referred to the call and mentioned some of his takeaways from the call”, adding, “And at the time, the main takeaway from the call was the President doesn’t care about Ukraine. So, we’re gonna have a tough road ahead to convince him that it’s important enough for him to schedule oval office meeting with President Zelensky and ultimately to release this aid on security assistance. That was the takeaway. And that’s what I referred to repeatedly in the coming weeks whenever it became relevant. Throughout this time as I’ve testified, we were trying to find a formula, things we could do with Ukrainians that would convince the President that they were worth talking to.”
Jordan stopped him to say, “Maybe Mr. Holmes, the takeaway was he thought it was no big deal because he already knew. He didn’t remember it because we already had the transcript! The Trump-Zelensky transcript had been out for two months! Even though you’re repeatedly bringing this conversation up as you said to everybody, when there’s any time a talk about Ukraine, you recall this conversation.” [Emphasis added].
Watch Rep. Jordan’s full questioning to David Holmes:
“Maybe it was the transcript– the call happened on July 25, that’s four months ago. The transcripts had been out for two months. Maybe the ambassador thought ‘this is nothing new here.’ But shazam! Last week you come forward with supposedly this new information? There is nothing different in there than what we had on the transcript. Maybe that’s why their star witness, their first witness didn’t bring it up. But you’re their closing witness and you overheard the President talking to Ambassador Sondland,” Jordan added.
Homles responded, “I believe that Ambassador Taylor did already know when I briefed him– when returned from vacation on the 6th. It was not news to him that the President was pressing for a Biden investigation.”
Jordan interjected and said, “That’s not what I asked. I asked why didn’t he share with us?”
“It’s exactly my point. I briefed the deputy chief of admission, … when I come back I refer to the call and everyone is nodding. Of course, that’s what’s going on. Of course, the President is pressing for a Biden investigation before he’ll do these things the Ukrainians want. There was a nodding agreement. So, did I go through every single word in the call? No, because everyone by that point agreed. It was obvious what the President was pressing for an Ambassador Taylor, as you’ve just outlined, had all those other interactions…” Holmes responded, but dodged Jordan’s question.
“But [Ambassador Taylor] didn’t share it with us. And so all of a sudden last week you have to come tell us, right?” Jordan asked.
“He was involved in a number of other interactions as you’ve outlined, that brought him to the same conclusion. It is quite possible….” Holmes said.
“He doesn’t the share the one… the guy he worked with, he doesn’t share that one.” Jordan said grinning.
Schiff slammed his gavel as Jordan’s time was up to say, “You may not like the witnesses answer…”