Democrats in the US House of Representatives have released the testimony of two other witnesses as part of an investigation into possible impeachment of US President Donald Trump. Of particular interest is the statement by diplomat David Holmes of the US Embassy in Kiev. Holmes had testified behind closed doors last Friday. US media had already reported on substantial content of the statement, citing participants.
According to the transcript, Holmes said he overheard Trump's telephone conversation with the US Ambassador to the EU, Gordon Sondland, in Kiev on 26 July. Trump said he had asked if Ukrainian President Volodymyr Selenskyj would initiate investigations that could harm Trump's political rival Joe Biden. Sondland replied: "He will do it." Selenskyj will do everything "for what you ask him".
Holmes said he had asked Sondland after the phone call for his impression of Trump's view of Ukraine. "In particular, I asked Ambassador Sondland if it is true that the President does not give a damn about Ukraine Ambassador Sondland agreed that the President does not give a damn about Ukraine." Asked for the reason, Sondland should have answered that Trump is only interested in "big things". "Big things," which benefited Trump, such as the "Biden investigation" have Sonadland explained to further inquiries. Sondland is increasingly becoming a central figure in the Ukraine affair. He will testify publicly on Wednesday in the House of Representatives.
In the second published transcript, the statement is given by David Hale, a senior State Department official in Washington. Almost two weeks ago, Hale had already spoken out on the premature recall of US ambassador to Kiev, Marie Yovanovitch. A public hearing Holmes is scheduled for Thursday. Hale is scheduled to testify on Wednesday.
Ex-Foreign Minister indirectly criticizes Trump
Meanwhile, former US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson indirectly criticized Trump's actions in the Ukraine affair. Without mentioning the president's name or details of the incident, the former US Secretary of State told PBS, "It's obviously wrong to ask for personal favors and to use US assets as collateral."
Tillerson, a former oil manager, was fired by Trump in March of last year. Since then he has been more critical of his former boss. Among others, Tillerson said it was his job to stop Trump from doing anything illegal. The US President responded angrily and described Tillerson as "stupid as a stone".
The Democrats in the House of Representatives are conducting preliminary investigations into possible impeachment proceedings against Trump. The question is whether he abused his position for his own political purposes with the request to Selenskyj. The President rejects any misconduct and accompanies the testimony of witnesses to angry tweets.