The July 26 lunch on an outdoor terrace in a Kyiv restaurant started out social enough. There was a bottle of wine and casual chatter about marketing strategies for Sondland’s hotel business.
Then, according to David Holmes, a counselor at the U.S. embassy there, Sondland said he was going to call Trump to give him an update. The conversation Holmes overheard was loud — and memorable.
Holmes said he heard Sondland tell Trump that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy “loves your ass.”
“I then heard President Trump ask, ‘So, he’s gonna do the investigation?’ Ambassador Sondland replied that ‘he’s gonna do it.’” He said Sondland told Trump that Zelenskiy will do “anything you ask him to.”
When the call ended, Holmes said he asked Sondland if it was true that Trump did not “give a s--t about Ukraine.” Sondland said that was indeed the case and that the president only cares about the “big stuff.”
“I noted that there was ‘big stuff’ going on in Ukraine, like a war with Russia, and Ambassador Sondland replied that he meant ‘big stuff’ that benefits the president, like the Biden investigation that Mr. Giuliani was pushing.” That was a reference to Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal lawyer who had been pushing for Ukraine investigations.