David Holmes, the political officer at the U.S. embassy in Ukraine who has emerged as the Democrats’ new star witness in the “impeachment inquiry,” admitted he had been drinking wine at the time he claimed to overhear the president on the phone.
Holmes claimed to have overheard a conversation between U.S. Ambassador Gordon Sondland and President Donald Trump on a mobile phone on July 26, the day after Trump spoke to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Holmes told the House Intelligence Committee in a closed-door hearing last Friday that Trump asked Sondland whether Zelensky would “do the investigation,” and Sondland said that Zelensky “loves your ass.”
The text of Holmes’s prepared remarks was leaked, and the media reported he had “first-hand” evidence that Trump cared about “investigations” — though that was already known after Trump released the transcript of the July 25 call.
What the media did not report were other details that became clear Monday, when the transcript of Holmes’s testimony was released, on the eve of a second week of public hearings in the impeachment inquiry.
One detail was that Holmes, and Sondland, were drinking at the time of the conversation in question:
The four of us went to a nearby restaurant and sat on an outdoor terrace. I sat directly across from Ambassador Sondland, and the two staffers sat off to our sides. At first, the lunch was largely social. Ambassador Sondland selected a bottle of wine that he shared among the four of us, and we discussed topics such as marketing strategies for his hotel business.
Holmes is scheduled to testify on Thursday — a witness who was drinking at the time he heard part of a phone call; who failed to take notes on the crucial portion of the call, despite taking notes on everything else and emailing a colleague about another part of the call; and who had a clear antipathy toward President Trump and his conduct of foreign policy. – READ MORE