Holmes, a State Department official who overheard Sondland's phone call with Trump about Ukraine, provided the strongest evidence yet of Trump's crimes as president.
November 16, 2019

And we thought Wednesday went badly for Trump.

Today, Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch — whom Trump referred to as "the woman" who was "bad news" — received a hero's welcome, testified with dignity, gravitas and emotion, delivered epic clapbacks to Congressional Republicans' pathetic attempts to corner her, and received a standing ovation from the gallery when she completed her testimony. Applause is completely unheard of in proceedings like these, but her integrity so inspired those who witnessed it, the spontaneous outpouring of support seemed almost cathartic.

OH, and in the middle of the proceedings, during one of the recesses, the Roger Stone jury returned a verdict: guilty on all seven counts. Ho hum.

So Friday, the end of a loooong week, right? You'd think we can take a breath, right? NOOOOOOOO.

Well, remember the little nugget Ambassador Taylor* dropped on Wednesday about the dude who overheard Ambassador Gordon Sondland talk to Trump on the phone about President Zelensky and the investigations? THAT guy, David Holmes, testified today behind closed doors, and right as the east coast was about to sit down to dinner, BOOM. His testimony leaked, and CNN dropped the bombshells contained therein. Holmes talked about being in Ukraine with Sondland, going out to lunch with him and two other staffers — at an outdoor cafe, no less — when Sondland pulled out his cell phone and casually dialed up his pal, Trump.

Listen to Rachel Maddow's reading of the important parts. She even says a teeny tiny curse word...her discomfort is adorable.

MADDOW: "During the lunch Ambassador Sondland said that he was going to call president Trump to give him an update. Ambassador Sondland placed the call on his mobile phone, and I heard him announce himself several times along the lines of "Gordon Sondland holding for the president." It appeared he was being transferred through several layers of switch boards and assistants. I then noticed Ambassador Sondland's demeanor change. And I understood he'd been connected to president Trump. While Ambassador Sondland's phone was not on speakerphone, I could hear the president's voice through the earpiece of the 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. I heard Ambassador Sondland greet the president and explain he was calling from Kiev. I heard president Trump then clarify that Ambassador Sondland was in Ukraine. Ambassador Sondland replied, yes, he was in Ukraine and went onto state that President Zelensky" -- forgive me here -- "He went onto state President Zelensky, quote, loves your ass." I said I wasn't going to say the swearword and then I just did, I'm sorry. Holmes continues, "I then heard president Trump ask, 'So he's going to do the investigation?' Ambassador Sondland replied that he's going to do it, adding that President Zelensky, quote, 'will do anything you ask him to.' Even though I did not take notes on these statements I have a clear recollection these statements were made. I believe that my colleagues who were sitting at the table also knew that Ambassador Sondland was speaking with the president."

What's that? Two more witnesses, you say? Hello, two more State Department Officials, meet your brand new subpoenas! And how very Trumpian of Sondland to just whip out his cellie at an outdoor cafe in Kiev, hold the phone AWAY FROM HIS EAR while the president is yelling, and tell him right there, where god knows who else can be listening, that the new president of Ukraine will do anything Trump wants him to! Including investigating his political opponents! Wheeeeee!


MADDOW: But then there's this. He says, quote, "After the call ended, Ambassador Sondland remarked that the president was in a bad mood, as Ambassador Sondland stated is often the case early in the morning. I then took the opportunity to ask Ambassador Sondland for his candid impression of the president's views on Ukraine. In particular I asked Ambassador Sondland if it was true the president did not give a -- that the president did not -- that the president did not give a shoot about Ukraine. (He didn't say shoot.) Ambassador Sondland agreed that the president did not give a shoot about Ukraine. I asked why not, and Ambassador Sondland stated that the president only cares about, quote, big stuff. I noted that there was big stuff going on in Ukraine like a war with Russia. Ambassador Sondland replied that he meant big stuff that benefits the president like the Biden investigation that Mr. Giuliani was pushing. The conversation then moved onto other topics.

Welp. There you have it. Trump doesn't give a sh*t about little things, like war with Russia when it comes to Ukraine. He only cares about big things, like doing Putin's bidding and breaking the law to get re-elected. Next week's testimony from Sondland will be must-see TV for sure.

*An earlier version incorrectly attributed this to George Kent. We regret the error.

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