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tv   Suez The Yellow Fleet  Al Jazeera  November 19, 2019 11:00pm-12:01am +03

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changing the world we live in so is it possible for trump to actually admit to a.q. khan counting the cost on al-jazeera. i don't know and taken on the top stories on our jazeera a key witness in the us impeachment inquiry had to donald trump has described the president's phone call with his ukrainian counterpart as improper after cattle i was on the bin men has been testifying before congress he listened in on tom's phone call with no to me as a lensky in july and says he was concerned that the president asked a foreign government to investigate his political rival joe biden correct and then later you 2 were on the white house call am i right you heard it with your own ears correct not secondhand not from somebody else not hearsay right correct you heard the president's voice on the call i did and you heard him raise that subject again
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that ambassador saw and had raised before about investigating the bidens right or did and i want to ask you when you heard him say that was the 1st thought that went through your mind frankly i couldn't believe what i was hearing it was probably an element of shock. joins us now from capitol hill in washington as it were the main points that emerged from these particular witnesses. or not only did we hear from then then about his concern regarding the phone call but we also learned that he had attended a white house meeting in which aides to ukraine's president were visiting the white house prior to this call and they were told explicitly by trump's own aides that there was a quid pro quo that in exchange for a meeting between saloons in trouble in person at the white house that ukraine would have to deliver the investigations into joe biden the other witness we saw on
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the stand this morning with jennifer williams she works with the vice president's office and she had information on what happened after the call she said that she was with mike pence when he visited with zelinsky about a month after the call selenski was by then very concerned about why ukraine had not received the military aid that the u.s. had promised ken said he didn't know what was what the what was behind the hold up however there was another member of the u.s. delegation who did know that was gordon sunland the u.s. ambassador to the ease you and he explicitly told when his alinsky say that there was yet another thing in exchange for the investigations into joe biden and that indeed was the security aide now this afternoon we're expecting to hear something a bit different her volcker who is the former envoy to ukraine he is a bit of a wild card when he testified behind closed doors previously he said he didn't make
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the connection that that aid and the investigations were at all linked however he is the person who was tasked with bringing in the president's personal attorney rudy giuliani into the picture and it was also kurt volker himself who suggested the wording of the statement that trump wanted from ukraine. in which it was going to have it explained to the public that it was investigating joe biden and it was volcker who said that the statement had to include the name of the company on which joe biden's son was once a chairman so all wishes is to say that volcker could be a pivotal witness the republicans are hoping that he will continue to defend the president this afternoon however he has been incriminated further by witnesses we've seen in the past few weeks so it's an open question exactly what volcker will divulge and remind us for people who've been watching this what the process is beyond these hearings how how does impeachment work beyond these particular
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hearings. sure so after these public hearings wrap up then the house of representatives will vote on the articles of impeachment the charge sheet and the essence of say what political or crimes are misdemeanors treason as spelled out in the constitution or committed by trump then that charge sheet goes to the u.s. senate to hold the trial of president trump how that will unfold is completely they're going to make it up as they go there is really nothing in the u.s. constitution that dictates how the trial has to unfold but we can have a educated guess how it may end and that is because the senate is controlled by republicans members of trump's own party who up until this point have been very hesitant to criticize the president much less vote him out of office so some other bombshell something explosive likely still would have to develop before changing
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those republicans miles and heidi just to go back to today's events to give us an idea of whether americans are really watching all this or whether it's political journalists and the people kind of in the media who are mostly focused on it. you know what struck me listening to these hearings is that it's the same opening. statement in this same closing statement we've heard over and over again from the democrats and from the republicans and you really wonder whether the the strategy here how it will play out will americans become in a sense numb to it all there doesn't seem to be people really riveted to their television screens in comparison to the patient of president clinton and all of this has been drawn out for so long and republicans are trying to use that as an argument in their favor saying that the impeachment inquiry which relates to ukraine they say that this is also part of the democrats' efforts dating back to
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russia if you say russia to a member of the u.s. public here likely you'll get eyes rolling because for so long they had heard about the more reports the special counsel investigating whether trump had worked with russia to rig the elections in his favor all of that took up so much air from the conversation leading up to this point republicans are trying to play this impeachment inquiry is all part of the same and they're accusing democrats of finding any way possible to try to damage their president what is your question thank you very much indeed. for jeffrey cover services director of critical studies at the new skin center he joins me live from washington d.c. give us an idea of your impression of of how these hearings are going in terms of who's of coming out ahead democrats or republicans. i'm afraid it's a the worst kind of draw which is to say each side is taking from these hearings what it wants to hear the democrats have heard convincing evidence tying trump to
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this question of his interest in joe biden 100 biden's activities in ukraine and the republicans have heard what they want to hear which is that this is just a democratic attempt to undo the people's will of 2016 election and try to plot to implicate trump in something that he's completely innocent of until when you know it had a kind of inman said that to the request to look into joe biden for ukraine to look into joe biden was improper does that is that something that people will take as a fact or do they will they see that as is his testimony being partisan in some way again the problem with the present moment is that the american people have become so tribal ised that the notion of objective truth is something that they see through partisan filters so in some sense to many republicans it doesn't matter what vin dimon said they are going to see him as an opponent of donald trump and therefore not credible i think the more interesting question is whether
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independents who may have supported trump in 2016 but without great enthusiasm will be turned off by the republican performance during these proceedings or whether they'll be convinced by the claim by republicans that this is all just a big witch hunt what's your impression of what we'll hear from this in the later in the next hearing as the afternoon ones what should we look out for in the next witnesses. well peart volcker is a more significant player he was part of the so-called 3 amigos with gordon song linda and rick perry who were instrumental in affecting trump administration policy toward ukraine i think what i'm waiting to hear is whether republicans crossed the line into saying trump may have done these things that the democrats are accusing him of but that's not a problem that doesn't amount to impeachable offenses so far they've really just tried to cast their aspersions on the proceedings themselves but that would be a different step and what about when people watch this if there are kind of people
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who are testifying who are awfully senior in the union in a train you've had a sort of a good career how do they feel when they see those people having this integrity question is that something that turns off people what you want to think and that again depends on what side they come from i think the conventional wisdom had been that it would be a bad move for the republicans to cast aspersions on a military veteran but then again donald trump during the 2016 elections insulted john mccain said he wasn't a hero. again cast aspersions on the parents of a deceased military veteran and then going back a few elections there was the whole republican episode of swift boating john kerry the democratic presidential nominee and casting aspersions on his military service so i think again these matters have become so much filtered through partisan lenses that it's very difficult to say how they'll be perceived. we've heard from the u.s.
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senate majority leader this afternoon that he said it's inconceivable that the senate will have 67 votes to remove trump from office. is that a fair assessment you think or do you think that's wishful thinking on his part. i think it would be very difficult to get 20 republican senators to vote to remove trump from office at this point there seems little likelihood of that based on what we have heard so far however these are republican members who tend to take a broader view of their responsibilities toward the public and who are less pressured by the base as compared to house members in their districts so at this point it's unlikely that trump would be removed from office but it's not impossible or inconceivable and in the past let me note it wouldn't useful for you to give us an end indication of how significant it is to reach this point of having an impeachment inquiry whether or not it goes through to the full the full impeachment what's the kind of historical kind of buildup to this well it's
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a solemn moment to be sure there have only been 3 give me 2 u.s. presidents who have been impeached in the past that would be entered johnson in the mid $1000.00 century and bill clinton later on and this would be a significant step however there's also the danger that there have been impeached would increase launched on proposed by politicians against presidents of the opposing party more and more frequently and therefore that impeachment might simply be one more instrument in the warfare that we see between the 2 parties what do you make of the point when the republicans were trying to draw out the witnesses on trying to get him to kind of perhaps give details that would perhaps identify the whistleblower it appeared that that was what they were trying to do is that was that your interpretation of it and how. useful a tactic was that. republicans know very well that the
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rules under which the committee investigation is operating would make it impossible order completely prohibited to identify the whistleblower however what devon nunez was trying to do by implying that the witness was trying to take the 5th is to harken back to trials or inquiries into mafia figures into figures with connections to organized crime because taking the 5th is what a kind of gangster would do would hold up in front of that kind of set of committee so again i think there is a desire to create the appearance of wrongdoing or a vision even when it's not appropriate to the situation thank you very much indeed to geoffrey kemp a service and i'm sure we'll talk to you again as in hearings continue not sit about to hardy's or castro for the moment tell us a little bit about what's happening now and the people paints a picture of what's happening on capitol hill not. sure so right now we're still waiting for the 2nd round of hearings to begin and meanwhile i think people are
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still digesting what we heard from this morning arguably the star witness of the 2 this morning was alexander then when he is the ukrainian expert on the national security council and he had quite an interesting background to highlight he started his testimony this morning by telling that story he says that he was born in the former soviet union and that. should the united states been 3 years with his father who was clean soviet persecution with this 3 sons in tow those 3 sons grew up all to serve in the u.s. military lieutenant colonel then that was actually wounded while serving in iraq and then he eventually went into the foreign policy in his now a career foreign policy expert on ukraine he built up that credibility the credibility in him in saying that he was not partisan in any way and that's why when he took. to his reaction when he heard the phone call for it's between
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president trump and the president of ukraine he said that's why it was shocking to him that he thought he found it to be of concern and that it was inappropriate but into looking into that background republicans have really delved delved into that with the president accusing then min of being a quote unquote never trump or and also other republicans attacking him suggesting that he has dual loyalties because he was born in a foreign nation then was asked multiple times by republicans us morning whether he was a source of leaks of information about this call to the media he adamantly denied that saying he never did leak and he never would leak sensitive information to the media and then he was also asked about a meeting he had with ukrainian officials in which those officials jokingly were not approached him and asked if he would like to be the new defense minister of
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ukraine them and said that he didn't take that seriously it wasn't like they were they were trying to corner him and ask him of this privately he said there were other people present in the room he outright rejected of course and then when he came back to the u.s. he said he filed a report about it never thought about it again the now republicans have dug that episode back up asking him if it showed even a sense in impropriety they also tried to to they've also try to accuse him of of dual loyalties and binman spoke quite movingly this morning about just the fact that his very presence on capitol hill speaking before lawmakers was proof that his father 40 years ago had made the right decision when deciding to move his himself and his boys to the united states and he ended his opening statement this morning by saying. to his father do not worry i will be fine for
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telling the truth and heidi when they have public hearings started last week chuck was at pains to say that he was far too busy to watch them now it seems he admits the following the move to close and we've had some reaction from him today took us through what he's been saying about it. that's right today jury the the pool at the white house was invited into the cabinet room and trump said he did catch some of them men's testimony and he was asked her response to it he he he didn't take the bait though the president didn't outright attack than in the same way that he had last week when the former u.s. ambassador to ukraine real vonnegut in a significant moment she was on the stand and the president we did about her saying that everywhere she went turned bad referring to her previous foreign service posts that led to accusations of live witness intimidation unfolding before the very
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eyes of american public who were tuned in to that hearing and move on of it she was asked on the stand how she felt about that in the moment she says she did feel intimidated so the republicans have been trying to very much narrow down their defense of the president saying that this entire proceeding against trump is biased and illegitimate the president though sometimes not making that in easy task to do by complicating the matters further even giving democrats possibly more evidence of witness intimidation which now is being discussed as a possible additional articles of impeachment but as you custer thank you very much indeed. bring you some other news now while we wait for the impeachment inquiry to start again a rights group amnesty international says it believes more than $100.00 protesters have been killed across iran since the government ordered security forces to clamp
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down on protests iranian state television has broadcast footage it says shows some of the 300 people reportedly arrested for rioting and threatening shopkeepers protests against the government increase in fuel prices began on friday with already say 6 protesters and 5 police have been killed in the unrest the u.n. human rights office says it's alarmed by reports that security forces are using live ammunition against protesters and of urged restraint also to barry has the latest from town. the number of deaths has gone up since the protestors began on friday according to official figures. 11 people have been killed 5 of those belong to the security forces 6 civilians that make up the arrests now these figures are coming to us from official state channels and officially we've heard the numbers to be much higher but we cannot verify that these demonstrations are being met with all the security forces inside the country since the supreme leader
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announced on sunday morning his views that he supported the government's decision to increase fuel prices the intelligence ministry the revolutionary guards have all issued statements saying that they will prevent any kind of gathering from taking place across the country and as a result of that over the past 24 hours there have been very few protests reported and we've seen a heavy security presence across the country now this is happening because president hassan rouhani said they have no choice but to increase the price of fuel to try and provide subsidies to nearly 60000000 iranians who are living close to the poverty line and that's because of economic sanctions that have been imposed on iran they are not able to sell their oil on the international market since the united states withdrew from the nuclear deal last year this is something the iranian president said that they were not it was not an easy decision for them but it was necessary to try and help people deal with the economic crisis that's ongoing in the country a full day standoff at
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a home grown university appears to be coming to an end as more student protest has surrendered to police chief executive kerry lamb has condemned the demonstrators behavior accusing them of violence and destruction in some of the worst protests the territory has seen so o'clock reports will go. this is the aftermath of monday night street protests roads blocked with burnt out cars tables and chairs strewn across major roads in hong kong central kalar district at polytechnic university protesters started to emerge from the campus after a not a violent confrontations with police the choice to surrender we just want to leave . them out why didn't really hard because have a lot of political will also afraid of water police say all very bad because we don't know what will happen and some people have. a calmer always because they are. also in jail or sometimes in the end i say or something like police set up
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a checkpoint to the campus for questioning those charged with rioting face up to 10 years in jail some students managed to escape on monday they were met by police firing tear gas and rubber bullets on tuesday university professes school teaches and principals negotiated a deal allowing students to leave the campus peacefully with those pages and they police agreed not to arrest them we talked on here. i detail the photos and then beat them but do things. which are rigid the police will be based on the arresting them but i'll be flat make sure that they are they dealt with before the . face protesters have emerged voluntarily for the still hard core group of protesters holed up inside the campus despite attempts by police to negotiate their exit they are facing today. hong kong's chief executive kerri lam condemned the
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protests she says $600.00 have been arrested $200.00 of them are under the idea of biting she appealed to the remaining group to give themselves up we will use whatever means to continue to persuade and arrange for lisa remaining protesters to leave. the campus as soon as possible so that this whole operation could be able to end in a peaceful manner and laid the basis for the subsequent work by the police to stop violence in hong kong this protest at the university almost be over but the cleanup is still underway with the added government movement vowing to continue the demonstrations which is now entering this 6th month sarah clarke al-jazeera hong kong. amnesty international has called for the release of 2 catalan leaders from prison a report by the rights group found last month's trial of 9 separatist leaders by spain's supreme court to be fair but argued the court's definition of sedition was
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vague and overly broad they were given sentences of up to 13 years each so you go you go has more from barcelona. the report by amnesty international focuses. primarily and that's the leaders of the civil society. respectively the leaders of. a and see what they say is that as private citizens and leaders of civil societies they were on fairly on prison for the crime of sedition and should be released immediately as they are private citizens and not political officials now while amnesty international which monitors the whole proceedings of the trial said in fact it was a fair process it took issue with the notion of sedition the crime which is that it can be applied broadly to repress any form of peaceful demonstrations gathering the right to freedom of speech now the acting prime minister maintains
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that the trial was fair and that he intended for those imprisoned the full terms of the sentences he said that they were imprisoned for their actions and not for their opinions the european commission's opinion on this was that it was an internal matter for spain itself underlines the importance of citizens to be able to protest and have that right to assemble peacefully swedish prosecutors have dropped an investigation into a 2010 rape allegation against wiki leaks founder julian assange he sought refuge for 7 years in the ecuadorian embassy to avoid extradition over the case and 48 year old was evicted earlier this year and sentenced to 50 weeks in a british jail for breaching bail conditions a report. 9 years old the quest to get julian assange before a swedish judge is definitively over this swedish prosecutor says she won't proceed
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with an investigation into a rape allegation made in 2010 after a review of the evidence member damning at some point after the complimentary investigation conducted over the summer and the beginning of autumn it's now clear the testimony in support of the statement given by the plaintiff has weakened this is primarily because time has passed since the event took place memories fade for natural reasons the deputy chief prosecutor said the complainants evidence of was deemed credible and reliable but julian assange is now $48.00 has always denied the allegations back in 2012 when sweden was trying to get him extradited assam skipped bail in london and sort of solemn in the ecuadorian embassy all along he insisted he'd cooperate with the swedish legal system but said he feared being sent on to the us where he might face the death penalty really is the most extraordinary compendium of war that has ever being released during the time of war.
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he's been criticized by u.s. officials of the wiki leaks published secret cables relating to the wars in iraq and afghanistan passed on by chelsea manning a former u.s. soldier who spent 7 years in jail for the leak in may of this year julian assange was removed. take you straight back to the impeachment inquiry hearings and listen and present will proceed today in the same fashion as are other hearings i'll make an opening statement and then the ranking member will have an opportunity to make his opening statement and we will turn to our witnesses for opening statements and then to questions with that i now recognize myself to give an opening statement in the impeachment inquiry into donald j. trump the 5th president of the united states. this afternoon we will hear from 2 witnesses requested by the minority ambassador kurt volker the state department's special representative for ukraine to go she is and tim morrison the senior former senior director for european affairs at the national security council i appreciate
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the minorities request for these 2 important witnesses as well as undersecretary of state david hale from whom we will hear tomorrow as we have heard from other witnesses when joe biden was considering whether to enter the race for the presidency in 2020 the president's personal lawyer rudy giuliani began a campaign to weaken vice president biden's president biden's candidacy by pushing ukraine to investigate him and his son to clear away any obstacle to the scheme days after the new ukrainian president was elected trump ordered the recall of marie yvonne of each the american ambassador in kieve was known for pushing anti corruption efforts trump and also cancel vice president mike pence his participation in the aga aeration of presidents alinsky on may 20th and instead sent a delegation headed by energy secretary rick perry and bastards to the e.u. gordon son and ambassador kurt volker these 3 returned from keven briefed president trump on their encouraging 1st interactions with the new ukrainian administration
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hopes that trump would agree to an early meeting with ukrainian president were soon diminished however when trump pushed back according to volcker he just didn't believe it he was skeptical and he also said that's not what i hear i hear you know he's got some terrible people around him present trump also told them he believed that ukraine tried to take him down he told the 3 amigos talk to rudy and they did one of those interactions took place a week before the july 25th phone call between trump and selenski and a bastra volcker had breakfast with rudy giuliani at the trump hotel welker testified that he pushed back on giuliani's accusation against joe biden. on july 22nd just days before trump would talk to zelinsky pastor volker had a telephone conference with giuliani and your mock a top advisor to the ukrainian president so the giuliani could be introduced to
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your mark on july 25th the same day as the call between president trump and selenski but before it took place investor volcker sent a text message to your mock quote heard from the white house assuming president z. convinces trump he will investigate slash get to the bottom of what happened in 2016 we will nail down day for a visit to washington good luck exclamation point later that day don't trump would have the now infamous phone call was elin ski in which he responded to ukraine's appreciation for us defense support and a request by president selenski to buy more javelin antitank missiles by saying i would like you to do us a favor though and the favor involved the 2 investigations that giuliani had been pushing for into the bidens and 2016 master volcker was not on the call but when asked about what it reflected he testified no president of the united states should
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ask a foreign leader to help interfere in the u.s. election among those listening in on the july 25th call was to morrison who had taken over as the n.s.c. senior director for european affairs at the n.s.c. only days before but had been briefed by his predecessor fiona hill about the irregular 2nd channel that was operating in parallel to the official one the 10 a colonel van men and ms williams from whom we heard this morning like them morrison emerged from the call troubled he was concerned enough about what he heard on the july 25th call that he went to see the n.s.c. legal advisor soon after it ended colonel women's fear was that the president had broken the law potentially. but morrison said of his concern that the his concern was that the call could be damaging if it were leaked soon after this discussion with lawyers at the n.s.c. the call record was hidden away on a secure server used to store highly classified intelligence where remained until
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late september when the call record was publicly released following the july 25th call investor volcker work was on the and ukrainian president's close advisor your mock on a statement that would satisfy giuliani when your mark sent over a draft that still failed to include the specific words were arisen in 2016 giuliani said the statement would lack credibility volker then added both charisma and 2016 to the draft statement both volcker and morrison were by late july aware that these security assistance had been cut off at the direction of the president and acting white house chief of staff mick mulvaney as the ukrainians became aware of this is pension of security assistance and the negotiations over the scheduling of a white house meeting between trump and zelinsky dragged on the pressure increased and any pretense that there was no linkage soon dropped away morrison accompanied vice president pence to warsaw on september 1st or penson selenski met and selenski
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raised the suspended security assistance following that meeting stalin approached your mark to tell him that he believed that what could help move the aid was if the ukrainian prosecutor general would go to the mike and announce that he was opening the bryza investigation on september 7th the master saw and had a telephone call with trump and asked him what he wanted from ukraine according to morrison who spoke with saul and after the call trump insisted that there was no quid pro quo. the president does alinsky must personally announce the opening of the investigations and he should want to do it so and also said that if president selenski didn't agree to make a public statement about the investigations the u.s. and ukraine would be at a stalemate meaning it would not receive the much needed security assistance force and had a sinking feeling after the call as he realised that the ask was now being directed at selenski himself and not the prosecutor general general as on how to relate to
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a senior ukrainian aide in warsaw on september 1st the president trump claimed there was no quid pro quo his insistence that selenski himself must publicly announce investigations or they'd be at a stalemate made clear that at least 2 official acts white house meeting and 400000000 in military aid were conditioned on receipt of what trump wanted investigations to help his campaign the efforts to secure the investigations would continue for several more days but appear to abruptly ended soon after 3 committees of congress announced an investigation into the trump giuliani ukraine scheme only then with the a be released and now recognize ranking member nunez for any remarks he would like to make welcome back to act 2 of today's circus ladies and gentleman we are here to continue what the democrats tell us is a serious somber and even prayerful process of attempting to overthrow
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a duly elected president if they're successful the end result would be to disenfranchise tens of millions of americans who thought the president is chosen by the american people not by 13 democrat partisans on a committee is supposed to be overseen the government's intelligence agencies and this is an isn't it strange how we've morphed into the impeachment committee presiding over a matter that has no intelligence component whatsoever. impeachment of course is the jurisdiction of the judiciary committee not the intelligence committee but putting this farce in our court provides 2 main advantages for the democrats it made it easier for them to shroud their depositions in secrecy and allow them to avoid giving too big of a role in this spectacle to another democrat committee chairman and whom the democrat leaders obviously have no confidence who can possibly view these
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proceedings as fair and impartial they're being conducted by democrats who spent 3 years saturating the airwaves with dire warnings that president trump is a russian agent and these outlandish attacks continue to this very day just this weekend in front of a crowd of democratic party activists the chairman of this committee denounce president trump as a profound threat to our democracy and vowed that we will send that charlatan in the white house back to the golden throne he came from how can anyone believe that people who would utter such dramatic absurdities are conducting a fair impeachment process and are only trying to discover the truth it's obvious the democrats are trying to topple the president solely because they despise him because they promise and selection day to impeach him and because they're afraid he will win reelection next year
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no witnesses have identified any crime or impeachable offense committed by the president but that doesn't matter last week the democrats told us his infraction was asking for a quid pro quo this week it's bribery who knows what ridiculous crime they'll be accusing him of next week. as witnesses the democrats have called a parade of government officials who don't like president trump's ukraine policy even though they acknowledge he provided ukraine with lethal material military aid after the obama administration refused to do so. they also resent his conduct of policy through channels outside their own authority and control these actions they argue contradict the so-called interagency consensus. they don't seem to understand that the president alone is constitutionally vested with
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the authority to set the policy the american people elected president not an inter agency consensus and of course our previous witnesses had very little new very little new information to share in these hearings that's because these hearings are not designed to uncover new information they're meant to showcase a hand-picked group of witnesses who the democrats determine through their secret audition process will provide testimony most conductive and conducive to their accusations in fact by the time any witness says anything here people are actually hearing it for the 3rd time they heard it 1st through the democrats cherry picked leaks to their media sympathizers during the secret depositions and 2nd when the democrats publish those deposition transcripts and a highly staged manner of course there are no transcripts from crucial witnesses like hunter biden who could testify about his well paying job on the board of
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a corrupt ukrainian company or alexander chalupa who worked on an election meddling scheme with ukrainian officials on behalf of the democratic national committee in the clinton campaign that's because the democrats refused to let us hear from them as for evidence we're left with. what we're left with is the transcript of the truck selenski phone call which the president made public that means americans can read for themselves an unremarkable conversation with president selenski who repeatedly expressed satisfaction with the call afterward but democrats however claim president zelinsky was being bribed and therefore he must be lying when he says the call was friendly and posed no problems. there's some irony here for weeks we've heard the democrats but moan the damage president trump supposedly caused to the u.s. ukrainian relations but when the ukrainian president contradicts their accusations
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they publicly dismiss him as a liar i may be wrong but i'm fairly sure colony friendly foreign president newly elected a liar violates their so-called interest agency consensus so overall the democrats would have you believe president zelinsky was being blackmailed with a pause on lethal military aid that he didn't even know about that president trump did not mention to him and that diplomats have testified they always assumed would be lifted which it was without the ukrainians undertaking any of the actions they were supposedly being clear worst into doing this process is not serious it's not sober and it is certainly not prayerful it's an ambitious attack to deprive the american people of the right to elect a president the democrats don't like as i mention chairman of this committee claims
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that democracy is under threat if that's true it's not the president who poses the danger or you'll back i thank the gentleman we're joined this afternoon by ambassador kurt volker and mr timothy morrison best record served in the u.s. foreign service for nearly 30 years working on european and eurasian political and security issues under 5 different presidential ministrations. during the george w. bush administration he served as the acting director for european and asian affairs in the national security council and later as a deputy assistant secretary of state for european and your asian affairs in 2008 president bush appointed ambassador volker to united states permanent representative to nato or he served until may 2009 in july 2017 a master volcker was appointed to be the u.s. special representative for ukraine negotiations serving in that position until he resigned in september is
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a pleasure to welcome mr morrison back to the legislative branch where he served for almost 2 decades as a republican staffer he was a professional staff member for representing mark kennedy ms soda and senator john kyl of arizona later mr morris and served as the longtime policy director for the republican staff of the house armed services committee july 28th mr morrison joined the national security council as senior director for countering weapons of mass destruction fall in the parts of dr fiona hill in july $21000.00 mr morrison assume the position of senior director for russia and europe to final points before the witnesses are sworn 1st witnesses witness depositions as part of this inquiry were unclassified in nature and all open hearings will also be held at the unclassified level. and the information they touch on classified information will be addressed separately in a 2nd congress will not tolerate any reprisal threat of reprisal or attempt to retaliate against any u.s.
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government official or testifying before congress including you or of any of your colleagues if you both please rise and raise your right hand i will begin by swearing you and you swear or affirm that the testimony you're about to give is the truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth so help you god. let the record show that the witnesses answered in the affirmative thank you and please be seated. microphones are sensitive so please speak directly into them without objection your written statements will also be made part of the record with that mr morse and you are recognized for your opening statement and immediately thereafter investor volcker you're recognized for your opening statement german schiff ranking member nunez and members of the committee i appear before you today under subpoena to answer your questions about my time as senior director for european affairs at the white house and the national security council as related to
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ukraine and u.s. security sector assistance to that country i will provide you the most complete and accurate information i can consistent with my obligations to protect classified and privileged information whether the conduct that is the subject of this inquiry merits impeachment is a question for the u.s. house of representatives i peer here today only to provide factual information based upon my knowledge and recollection of events i will not waste time restating the details of my opening statement from my deposition on october 31 2019 which has recently been made public however i will highlight the following key points 1st as i previously stated i do not know who the whistleblower is nor do i intend to speculate as to the individual maybe 2nd i have great respect for my former colleagues from the n.s.c. and the rest of the inner agency i am not here today to question their character or integrity my recollections and judgments are my own some of my colleagues recollections of conversations in interactions may differ from mine but i do not
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view those differences as the result of an untoward purpose 3rd you to believe ukraine is on the front lines of a strategic competition between the west and vladimir putin's revolve just russia russia is a failing power but it is still a dangerous one the united states aid ukraine and her people so they can fight russia over there and we don't have to fight russia here. support for ukraine's territorial integrity and sovereignty has been a bipartisan objective since russia's military invasion in 2014 it must continue to be as i stated during my deposition i feared at the time of the call on july 25th how its disclosure would play in washington's political climate my fears have been realized i understand the gravity of these proceedings but i beg you not to lose sight of the military conflict underway in eastern ukraine today the ongoing illegal occupation of crimea and the importance of reform of ukraine's politics and economy every day that the focus of discussion involving ukraine is centered on
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these proceedings he said if those matters is a day when we are not focused on the interest ukraine the united states and western style liberals i'm sure finally i concluded my active service at the national security council the day after i've asked to appear before you i left the n.s.c. completely of my own volition i felt no pressure to resign nor have i feared any retaliation for my testimony i made this career choice some time before i decided to testify on october 31st i'm here to answer your questions to the best of my ability and recollection thank you investable. thank you very much mr chairman ranking member. thank you very much for the opportunity to provide this testimony today as you know i was the 1st person to come forward to testify as part of this inquiry i did so voluntarily and likewise
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voluntarily provided relevant documentation in my possession in order to be as cooperative clear and complete as possible i'm here today voluntarily and i remain committed to cooperating fully and truthfully with this committee all i can do is provide the facts as i understood them at the time i did this on october 3rd in private and i will do so again today like many others who have testified in this inquiry i'm a career foreign policy professional. i began my career as an intelligence analyst for northern europe for the central intelligence agency in 1906 before joining the state department in 1908 i served in diplomatic postings primarily focused on european political and security issues for over 20 years under presidents ronald reagan george h.w. bush bill clinton george w. bush and barack obama my last 3 positions before leaving the senior foreign service
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in 2009 where as director for nato and west european affairs at the national security council principal deputy assistant secretary of state for european affairs at the state department and finally as u.s. ambassador to nato in the spring of 2017 then secretary of state tillerson asked if i would come back to government service as u.s. special representative for ukraine negotiations i did this on a part time voluntary basis with no salary paid by the u.s. taxpayer simply because i believed it was important to serve our country in this way i believed i could steer u.s. policy in the right direction for over 2 years as u.s. special representative for ukraine negotiations my singular focus was advancing the foreign policy and national security interests of the united states in particular that bent pushing back on russian aggression and supporting the development of a strong resilient democratic and prosperous ukraine one that overcomes
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a legacy of corruption and becomes integrated into a wider trans-atlantic community this is critically important for us national security if we can stop and reverse russian aggression in ukraine we can prevent it elsewhere. if ukraine the cradle of slavic civilization predating mosque ale succeeds as a freedom loving prosperous and secure democracy it gives us an enormous hope that russia may 1 day change providing a better life for russian people and overcoming its current plague of authoritarianism corruption aggression toward neighbors and threats to nato in the united states the stakes for the united states in a successful ukraine could not be higher at no time was i aware of or knowingly took part in an effort to urge ukraine to investigate former vice president biden as you know from the extensive real time documentation i have provided by president
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biden was not a topic of our discussions i was not on the july 25th phone call between president trump and president zelinsky i was not made aware of any reference to vice president biden or his son by president trump until the transcript of that call was released on september 25th 21000 from july 7 2017 until september 27th 2019 i was the lead u.s. diplomat dealing with russia's war on ukraine my role was not some irregular channel but the official channel i reported directly to secretaries of state tillerson and from pale kept the national security adviser and secretary of defense well informed of my efforts and work closely with ambassador ma she was on a bitch and as the senior director hill and her successor to marzan then assistant secretary wes mitchell and his successor acting assistant secretary phil reeker
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deputy assistant secretary george kant deputy assistant secretary a defense lawyer cooper and a c director alex binmen and many many others i have known many of them for several years it was a team effort when ambassador your vonage left keefe identified and recommended bill taylor to secretary pompei oh so we would still have a strong seasoned professional on the ground. for 2 years before the events at the heart of this investigation took place i was the most senior u.s. diplomat visiting the conflict zone meeting with victims of russia's aggression urging increased u.s. security assistance including lethal defensive weapons working with ukrainian president poroshenko and then his successor president zelinsky and their teams working with france and germany in the so-called normandy process pressing for support from nato the e.u. and oh as c.e. supporting the o. ses vessel monitoring mission and engaging in negotiations and other contacts with
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russian officials at the time i took the position in the summer of 2017 there were major complicated questions swirling in public debate about the direction of u.s. policy toward ukraine where the administration lift sanctions against russia would it make some kind of grand bargain with russia in which you would trade recognition of russia's seizure of ukrainian territory for some other deal in syria or elsewhere where the administration recognizes russia's claimed anik sation of crimea will this just become another frozen conflict there also a vast number of vacancies in key diplomatic positions so no one was really representing the united states in the negotiating process about ending the war in eastern ukraine during over 2 years of my tenure as u.s. special representative we fundamentally turned u.s. policy around u.s. policy toward ukraine was strong consistent and enjoyed support across the administration bipartisan support in congress and support among our allies and
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ukraine we changed the language commonly used to describe russia's aggression i was the ministrations most outspoken public figure highlighting russia's invasion and occupation of parts of ukraine calling out russia's responsibility to end the war. i visited the war zone 3 times meeting with soldiers and civilians alike always bringing media with me to try to raise the public visibility of russia's aggression and the humanitarian impact on the lives of the citizens of the dome bus we coordinated closely with our european allies and canada to maintain a united front against russian aggression and for ukraine's democracy reform sovereignty and territorial integrity ukraine policy is perhaps the one area where the u.s. and its european allies had been in lockstep this cordon helped this coordination and helped to strengthen u.s. sanctions against russia and to maintain the e.u.
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sanctions as well all with others in the administration i strongly advocated for lifting the ban on the sale of lethal defensive weapons or at least the defense of arms do you crane advocated for increasing u.s. security assistance to ukraine and urged other countries to follow suit my team and i drafted the pompei a declaration of july 25th 2018 in which the secretary clearly and definitively laid out the u.s. policy of non-recognition of russia's claim bannock station of crimea i engage with our allies with ukraine and with russia in negotiations to implement the minsk agreements holding a firm line on insisting on the withdrawal of russian forces dismantling of the so-called people's republic and restoring ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity together with others in the administration we kept u.s. policy steady through presidential and parliamentary elections in ukraine and worked hard to strengthen the u.s. ukraine bilateral relationship under the new president and government helping
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shepherd in a peaceful transition of power in ukraine so in short where is 2 years ago most observers would have said that time is on russia's side by 2900 when i departed we had turned the tables and time was now in ukraine so it's a tragedy for the united states and for ukraine that our efforts in this area which were bearing fruit have now been thrown into disarray. one of the critical aspects of my role as u.s. special representative was that as the most senior u.s. official appointed to work solely on the ukraine portfolio i needed to step forward to provide leadership if we needed to adopt a policy position i made the case for it if anything if we need to do if anyone needed to speak out publicly i would do it when we failed to get a timely statement about russia's illegal attack on ukraine's navy and seizure of ukraine sailors i tweeted about it in order to condemn the act if a problem arose i knew it was my job to try to fix it that was my perspective when
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i learned it may 29000 that we had a significant problem that was impeding our ability to strengthen our support for ukraine's new president in his effort to ramp up ukraine's fight against corruption and implementation of needed reforms i found myself faced with the choice to be able where of a problem and to ignore it or to accept that it was my responsibility to try to fix it i tried to fix the problem was that despite the unanimous positive assessment and recommendations of those of us who were part of the us presidential delegation that attended the inauguration of president selenski president trump was receiving a different negative narrative about ukraine and president zelinsky that narrative was fuelled by accusations from ukraine's then prosecutor general and conveyed to the president by a former mayor rudy giuliani as i previously told this committee i became aware of
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the negative impact this was having on our policy efforts when 4 of us who were part of the presidential delegation to the inauguration met as a group with president trump on may 23rd we stressed our finding the presence of lewinsky represented the best chance for getting ukraine out of the mire of corruption and had been for over 20 years we urged him to invite presidents alinsky to the white house the president was very skeptical. given ukraine's history of corruption that's understandable he said the ukraine was a corrupt country full of terrible people he said they tried to take me down in the course of that conversation he referenced conversations with mayor giuliani it was clear to me that despite the positive news and recommendations being conveyed by this official delegation about the new president president trump had a deeply rooted negative view on your grain rooted in the past he was receiving other information from other sources including marriage giuliani that was more
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negative causing him to retain this negative view within a few days on may 29th president trump indeed signed the congratulatory letter to president clinton which included an invitation to the pres president to visit him at the white house however more than 4 weeks passed and we could not nail down a date for the meeting i came to believe that the president's long held negative view toward ukraine was causing hesitation in actually scheduling the meeting much as we had seen in our oval office discussion after weeks of reassuring the ukrainians that it was just a scheduling issue i decided to tell president's olinsky that we had a problem with the information reaching president trump from mayor giuliani i did so in a bilateral meeting at a conference on ukrainian economic reform in toronto on july 2nd 2019 where i led the u.s. delegation i suggested that he call president trump directly in order to renew
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their personal relationship and to assure president trump that he was committed to investigating and fighting corruption things on which president selenski had based his presidential campaign i was convinced that getting the 2 presidents to talk with each other would overcome the negative perception of ukraine the present trump still harbored presence alinsky senior aide under yarmuk approach me several days later to ask to be connected to mayor giuliani i agreed to make that connection. i did so because i understood that the new ukrainian leadership wanted to convince those like mary giuliani who believes such a negative narrative about ukraine that times have changed and that under presidents alinsky ukrainians weren't ukraine is worthy of u.s. support ukrainians believe that if they could get their own narrative in a across in a way that convinced mare giuliani that they were serious about fighting corruption and advancing reform mayor giuliani would convey that assessment to president trump
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correcting the previous negative narrative i made sense to me and i tried to be helpful i made clear to the ukrainians the mayor giuliani was a private citizen the president's personal lawyer and not representing the u.s. government likewise in my conversations with mayor giuliani i never considered him to be speaking on the president's behalf or giving instructions rather the information flow was the other way from ukraine to marry giuliani in the hopes that this would clear up the information reaching president. on july 10th after hearing from mr yarmuk i wrote to marry giuliani to seek to get together and finally on july 19th we met for breakfast for a longer discussion at that meeting i told mr giuliani that in my view the prosecutor general with whom he had been speaking mr let's go was not credible and was acting in a self-serving capacity to my surprise mayor giuliani said that he had already come
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to that same conclusion. mr giuliani also mentioned both the accusations about vice president biden and about interference in the 2016 election and stressed that all he wanted to see was for ukraine to investigate what happened in the past and apply its own laws. concerning the allegations i stress that no one in washington al-jazeera listening to day 3 of the public impeachment hearings on capitol hill and listening to ambassador kurt volker the former u.s. special envoy to ukraine who was closely involved in negotiations with ukraine officials at the heart of this impeachment inquiry he has testified that he did not knowingly take part in an effort to press ukraine to investigate the former vice president biden we're also hearing in this particular hearing from morrison who is tim morrison the former national security council off who says that he was not pressured into resigning from his.


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