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WASHINGTON (AP) — A State Department official based in Ukraine told impeachment investigators Friday that he overheard a conversation between President Donald Trump and a diplomat about “investigations” in Ukraine, according to one lawmaker leaving the closed-door deposition.
Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Calif., said David Holmes told lawmakers he overhead the call while he was having lunch in Kyiv in July with Trump’s European Union Ambassador, Gordon Sondland. Lieu said two other people heard the call as well, and said there were four people at the lunch. The Associated Press has already identified one of the other people who heard the call as Suriya Jayanti, a foreign service officer based in Kyiv.
“He has first firsthand knowledge of the conversation between Ambassador Sondland and the president of the United States,” Lieu said. “He overheard the conversation.”
William Taylor, the acting head of the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine, testified Wednesday that a staff member — later identified as Holmes — overheard the conversation at a restaurant in Kyiv, when Sondland was speaking to Trump on his phone.
Taylor said the staff member explained that Sondland had called the president and they could hear Trump on the phone asking about “the investigations.” The ambassador told the president the Ukrainians were ready to move forward, Taylor testified.
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