Donald Trump says he doesn’t recall the conversation that provided the biggest bombshell of the first day of public impeachment hearings. Ambassador Bill Taylor testified that, after his initial deposition, a member of his staff had been with Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland the day after Trump’s phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky when Trump asked Sondland, on the phone, about the investigations he was pressuring Zelensky to launch.
Taylor’s staffer could hear Trump asking Sondland about “the investigations,” and “Following the call with President Trump, the member of my staff asked Ambassador Sondland what President Trump thought about Ukraine. Ambassador Sondland responded that President Trump cares more about the investigations of Biden, which Giuliani was pressing for.”
Importantly, when Sondland first revised his original deposition testimony after information came out showing he’d left stuff out, he was the one pleading “I cannot recall.” According to Sondland, he didn’t know how many times he had talked to Trump between Sept. 6 and 9, and he might have forgotten a phone call. If he might have forgotten a phone call as recently as September, what are the chances he’s going to plead “I forgot” on a call way back in July? And the Trump administration isn’t helping refresh his memory. “Despite repeated requests to the White House and the State Department, I have not been granted access to all of the phone records, and I would like to review those phone records, along with any notes and other documents that may exist, to determine if I can provide more complete testimony to assist Congress.”
Well, Sondland’s memory has now been jogged, and it will be interesting to hear what he comes up with. For that matter, the question of phone records is a reminder that while Trump might not recall such a conversation, he could order the release of records that would show if a call happened on the day in question.