Top US diplomat Bill Taylor revealed details of a previously unknown phone call between Trump and Gordon Sondland in his bombshell impeachment hearing testimony

Bill Taylor, the top US diplomat in Ukraine. Getty Images/Chip Somodevilla

Bill Taylor, the top US diplomat in Ukraine, testified during the first day of public impeachment hearings on Wednesday that his staffer overheard President Donald Trump asking Gordon Sondland, the US ambassador to the European Union, about Ukrainian “investigations” in a previously unreported July 26 phone call.

Taylor said that a member of his staff saw Sondland call Trump at a restaurant the day after Trump’s phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. After the call, Sondland told Taylor’s staffer that Trump was focused on Ukraine investigating former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter, Taylor said.

“The member of my staff could hear President Trump on the phone asking Ambassador Sondland about the investigations,” Taylor said on Wednesday. “Ambassador Sondland told President Trump the Ukrainians were ready to move forward.”

Taylor said that following the call, his staffer asked Sondland what Trump “thought about Ukraine.”

Taylor said Sondland “responded that President Trump cares more about the investigations of Biden, which Giuliani was pressing for.”

Taylor said that Rudy Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer, was engaged in “highly irregular” efforts to influence Ukrainian actions that undermined official US policy.

Details of this phone call weren’t included in Taylor’s private testimony before congressional investigators last month because he was informed of it only afterward, he said.

In Taylor’s statement, the rest of which was reflected in his previous testimony, he said that Trump was threatening to withhold “everything,” including nearly $US400 million in US security assistance and a White House meeting, from Ukraine if the country didn’t announce investigations into the Bidens.