A second staffer at the US embassy in Kyiv overheard President Donald Trump's phone call to Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland about the "investigations" he asked Ukraine to launch the previous day, the Associated Press reports.
Marc Polymeropoulos, a former CIA official who oversaw the agency's operations in Europe and Russia, told CNN that there was "little doubt that the Russians and perhaps multiple other foreign intelligence services would have intercepted this call". "I don't recall", he replied. "This just should not happen", he said.
Prystaiko spoke the day after the first public hearings in the House Intelligence Committee as part of the "impeachment inquiry", where two witnesses said they came to believe there had been such a link - though only some time after Politico reported on August 28 that aid had been held up by the Trump administration.
Sondland, however, appeared to change his tune during his recent closed-door testimony at the U.S. Capitol.
She said she found it deeply concerning and asked for someone from the Intelligence Bureau to "sit down with him and explain that this was a counterintelligence risk".
Indeed, if these accounts are accurate, Sondland clearly wasn't freelancing in Kyiv; he was coordinating a scheme directly with the president who was directing - and receiving updates on - the scandalous affair.
"Yes, the investigations were mentioned, you know, in conversation between the presidents".
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'After that large meeting, I now recall speaking individually with Mr. Yermak, where I said resumption of USA aid would likely not occur until Ukraine provided the public anti-corruption statement that we had been discussing for weeks, ' Sondland continued.
The inquiry stemmed from a whistle-blower revealing in September the nature of the president's talks with his Ukrainian counterpart, who took office in May. Taylor testified that a member of his staff overheard a July 26 phone call between the President and Amb.
Taylor said his staff heard Sondland call Trump from the restaurant and could hear Trump on the phone asking about "the investigations".
Soundland walked back on his closed-door testimony where he said there was no quid pro quo.
Zelenskiy, for his part, denied that Trump tried to pressure him during the July 25 phone call.
The report comes after Bill Taylor, the top US diplomat in Ukraine, testified to the House Intelligence Committee on Wednesday that one of his staffers overheard a July 26 phone call on which Trump pressed Sondland about the "investigations" that he requested from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on the July 25 phone call at the heart of the impeachment inquiry.