Diplomat reveals new details at impeachment hearing — read his statement

CBSNews

In his opening statement in the first public hearings of the impeachment inquiry of President Trump, Ambassador Bill Taylor told lawmakers that he recently learned a member of his staff had overheard President Trump asking about "the investigations" the day after his July 25 call with the president of Ukraine. Here's how he described it:

Last Friday, a member of my staff told me of events that occurred on July 26. While Ambassador Volker and I visited the front, this member of my staff accompanied Ambassador Sondland. Ambassador Sondland met with Mr. Yermak. 

Following that meeting, in the presence of my staff at a restaurant, Ambassador Sondland called President Trump and told him of his meetings in Kyiv. The member of my staff could hear President Trump on the phone, asking Ambassador Sondland about "the investigations." Ambassador Sondland told President Trump that the Ukrainians were ready to move forward.  

The staffer who overheard the conversation is David Holmes, a political officer in the U.S. embassy in Ukraine, three sources familiar with the matter told CBS News. Holmes is now expected to appear for a closed-door deposition on Capitol Hill on Friday. Taylor went on to say that after the call, the staffer spoke with Sondland about Mr. Trump's thoughts on Ukraine:

Following the call with President Trump, the member of my staff asked Ambassador Sondland what President Trump thought about Ukraine. Ambassador Sondland responded that President Trump cares more about the investigations of Biden, which Giuliani was pressing for. At the time I gave my deposition on October 22, I was not aware of this information. I am including it here for completeness. As the Committee knows, I reported this information through counsel to the State Department's Legal Adviser, as well as to counsel for both the Majority and the Minority on the Committee. It is my understanding that the Committee is following up on this matter.  

Taylor, in Wednesday's testimony, as well as in earlier closed testimony, expressed concerns about his sense that Trump administration was using U.S. military aid to Ukraine and the prospect of a White House visit to pressure the country to investigate the Biden family and events surrounding the 2016 election. These events are the basis of the impeachment inquiry of the president. 

Read Bill Taylor's full opening statement here:

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