A$AP Rocky was name-dropped at least five times during the U.S. Ambassador to the European Union, Gordon Sondland's, impeachment testimony on Wednesday, Time reports. Yet while the rapper's unlikely cameo in the ongoing investigation into Donald Trump may come as a surprise to some, it's actually not that wild.
Now, unless you were living under a rock this summer, no doubt you'll have an idea that Donald Trump's connection to A$AP Rocky is linked to the rapper's detainment in Sweden. However, if the link to the impeachment inquiry is where the situation gets a little cloudy for you, allow us to cut through the confusion and explain why Rocky's name has been mentioned so often.
Donald Trump's involvement in A$AP Rocky's Sweden trail: A refresher
Firstly, let's briefly back track: When Rocky was held in jail Stockholm in July this year, Trump began to put pressure on the Swedish government. He called for Rocky's release on Twitter, sent a presidential envoy to the hearing, and called out "the very talented Prime Minister of Sweden" Stefan Löfen for "letting [the] African American Community down."
Despite Trump's vocal attempts to #FreeRocky, Swedish prosecution refused to take the pressure, issuing a letter that stated nobody "may interfere with a specific case or try to affect the prosecutor responsible." In other words, nice try, but no.
Per Vanity Fair's coverage, once Rocky was released from jail, the rapper refused to publicly thank Trump for his support. Members from Trump's executive team reportedly found it "embarrassing" to inform Trump’s advisor, his son-in-law Jared Kushner, that “they’d had no meaningful contact with Rocky after his release” and that Rocky’s manager eventually stopped "returning our text messages’ altogether.”
This isn't the first time Rocky was mention in the impeachment inquiry
On Friday, November 15, David Holmes — an American diplomat serving in the Ukraine — gave his official statement to the House impeachment investigators. He testified that on July 26 he overheard European Union ambassador Gordon Sondland take a phone call with Trump in a restaurant in Kiev. “I could hear the president’s voice through the earpiece of the phone," he said. "The president’s voice was very loud and recognizable.”
During that call, Sondland reportedly told Trump that Rocky was "kind of fucked" and that he “should have pled guilty." Holmes added that Trump was also allegedly advised to “let [Rocky] get sentenced" in order to “play the racism card” after the verdict was delivered, and then “give him a ticker-tape when he comes home.”
Holmes also said that Sondland had told Trump that Sweden “should have released [Rocky] on [Trump's] word” but that the President could still “tell the Kardashians [he] tried" — referencing the request from Kim and Kanye that lead to Trump's involvement in the first place.
Why was A$AP Rocky mentioned in Gordon Sondland's Impeachment Hearing?
Fast forward to November 20, to Gordon Sondland's testimony to the House Intelligence Committee, which essentially confirmed Holmes' previous allegations. He said that the mention of Rocky had jogged his memory to the phone call, which had taken place — as Holmes stated — in the Kiev restaurant on July 26.
“The whole thing sort of came back to me after [Holmes] mentioned A$AP Rocky," Souland said. “Other witnesses have recently shared their recollection of overhearing the call. It’s true that the president speaks loudly at times. I think we primarily discussed A$AP Rocky.”
Sondland also added that he “had no reason to doubt that this conversation included the subject of investigations” (into Biden and the 2016 election).
Find excerpts from Sondland's statement below.
Reactions to A$AP Rocky being mentioned in the impeachment inquiry
Now while (after reading the above, at least) Rocky's involvement in the impeachment inquiry makes sense, it's undeniably odd to hear a rapper's name mentioned so many times during an official political trial. That fact hasn't gone unnoticed on Twitter, either, with many taking to the platform share thoughts — and of course, memes — regarding this peak 2019 situation.