Trump July 26 call mostly focused on rapper, Sondland says

WASHINGTON (AP) — Ambassador Gordon Sondland says a July cellphone call with President Donald Trump “primarily discussed” rapper A$AP Rocky, who was imprisoned in Sweden earlier this year.

Sondland told a House impeachment inquiry into Trump on Wednesday that testimony from U.S. diplomat David Holmes had jogged his memory of the discussion.

Sondland says his July 26 call with Trump from a Kyiv restaurant mainly focused on the rapper, instead of Ukraine military aid. At the time, the rapper was in a Swedish jail awaiting trial on charges stemming from a June 30 street brawl in Stockholm.

Holmes previously testified behind closed doors that he overhead Sondland tell Trump that the president should let Rocky “get sentenced, play the racism card, and give him a ticker-tape when he comes home.”

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PARIS, FRANCE - JUNE 27: A$AP Rocky performs at Le Zenith on June 27, 2019 in Paris, France. (Photo by David Wolff - Patrick/Redferns)
PARIS, FRANCE - JUNE 22: ASAP Rocky is seen wearing batik tshirt outside Loewe during Paris Fashion Week - Menswear Spring/Summer 2020 on June 22, 2019 in Paris, France. (Photo by Christian Vierig/Getty Images)
PARIS, FRANCE - JUNE 22: ASAP Rocky is seen wearing batik tshirt outside Loewe during Paris Fashion Week - Menswear Spring/Summer 2020 on June 22, 2019 in Paris, France. (Photo by Christian Vierig/Getty Images)
VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA - JUNE 15: Rapper A$AP Rocky performs on stage during Breakout Festival 2019 at PNE Amphitheatre on June 15, 2019 in Vancouver, Canada. (Photo by Andrew Chin/Getty Images)
ROME, ITALY - MAY 28: Rakim Mayers, aka A$AP Rocky, attends Gucci Cruise 2020 at Musei Capitolini on May 28, 2019 in Rome, Italy. (Photo by Daniele Venturelli/Daniele Venturelli/ Getty Images for Gucci)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - MAY 12: A$AP Rocky performs in concert at Park Avenue Armory on May 12, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images)
SINGAPORE, SINGAPORE - APRIL 13: A$AP Rocky performs at the MARQUEE Singapore grand opening celebration on April 13, 2019 in Singapore. (Photo by Christopher Jue/Getty Images for MARQUEE Singapore)
LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 25: ASAP Rocky attends the CASA LOEWE New Bond Street opening on April 25, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Darren Gerrish/WireImage)
AUSTIN, TX - MARCH 11: ASAP Rocky, Josh Rubin and Gorden Wagener attend Featured Session: Using Design "Differently" to Make a Difference during the 2019 SXSW Conference and Festivals at Austin Convention Center on March 11, 2019 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Diego Donamaria/Getty Images for SXSW)
AUSTIN, TX - MARCH 11: ASAP Rocky speaks onstage at Featured Session: Using Design "Differently" to Make a Difference during the 2019 SXSW Conference and Festivals at Austin Convention Center on March 11, 2019 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Diego Donamaria/Getty Images for SXSW)
AUSTIN, TEXAS - MARCH 11: Rapper, actor and creative director A$AP Rocky is interviewed live on stage during the 2019 SXSW Conference and Festival at the Austin Convention Center on March 11, 2019 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Jim Bennett/WireImage)
PARIS, FRANCE - FEBRUARY 28: A$AP Rocky attends "La Nuit" by Sofitel Party with CR Fashion Book at Pavillon Cambon during Paris Fashion Week Womenswear Fall/Winter 2019/2020 on February 28, 2019 in Paris, France. (Photo by Victor Boyko/Getty Images)
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Trump publicly weighed in to support the Grammy-nominated rapper, who pleaded self-defense. The rapper, along with his two bodyguards, on Aug. 14 were given “conditional sentences,” meaning they wouldn’t serve prison time unless they commit a similar offense the in the future.

Among those urging Trump to try to free the rapper were first lady Melania Trump, Kanye West and Kim Kardashian West.

Holmes testified that in the president’s phone call with Sondland, Sondland told Trump that Sweden “should have released (Rocky) on your word” but he could “tell the Kardashians you tried.”

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