Yesterday, the State Department’s Bill Taylor broke the news that one of his staffers overheard Gordon Sondland discussing the Ukraine extortion plot over the phone with Donald Trump. This was a big deal for a few reasons. It meant that his staffer, David Holmes, was going to come forward as an impeachment witness. It also means that Sondland was going to face pressure to fess up about the phone call.
Now Trump and Sondland are facing double the trouble when it comes to that phone call, because the AP is reporting that foreign service officer Suriya Jayanti also overheard the call. Here’s why this matters. It means that even if Sondland wanted to take the position that Holmes was lying or misheard things, he can’t do that now. No one will believe that two different people overheard the same phone call and both somehow misheard the exact same thing.
This means that when Sondland publicly testifies in front of the television cameras next week, he’ll have no choice but to admit that this phone call with Donald Trump took place, and to spell out the ugly details. So we’re about to see Sondland tell the entire world that Trump said he didn’t care about the fate of Ukraine at all, and only cared about getting Ukraine to smear Biden.
This comes after Donald Trump claimed yesterday that “I don’t recall” the phone call with Gordon Sondland. He gave that strangely lawyerly answer, instead of his usual bluster of claiming it never happened and that everyone involved is lying. Perhaps Trump sensed that once the phone call was unearthed, he was in the kind of trouble he couldn’t talk his way out of. He’s right.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report