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tv   NEWSHOUR  Al Jazeera  November 21, 2019 6:00pm-7:01pm +03

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channel with his counterpart attorney general barr in place of the informal channel between mr you're mocking mr giuliani ambassador bolton also expressed frustration about ambassador songlines expansive interpretation of his mandate after president from canceled his visit to warsaw we continued to try to appeal to the to the president in foreign policy and national security terms to that end and vaster taylor told me that ambassador bolton recommended that he ambassador taylor send a 1st person cable to secretary peo articulating the importance of the security assistance at a baster taylor's direction i drafted and transmitted the cable on an on about retailers behalf on august 29th which further attempted to explain the importance of ukraine and the security assistance to us national security by this point however my clear impression was that this a curity assistance hole that was likely intended by the president either as an expression of dissatisfaction with ukrainians we're not yet agreed to the breeze made by an investigation or as an effort to increase the pressure on them to do so
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on september 5th i took notes as senator johnson and senator chris murphy meetings with presidents alinsky and chief were present selenski asked about the security assistance although both senators stressed strong bipartisan congressional support for ukraine senator johnson cautioned president's alinsky that president trump has a negative view of ukraine and that president selenski would have a difficult time overcoming center johnson further explained that he had been quote shocked by president trump's negative reaction during an oval office meeting on may 23rd when he in the 3 amigos propose that president trump meet president selenski and show support for ukraine on september 8th ambassador taylor told me quote now they're insisting zelinsky commit to the investigation in an interview with c.n.n. which i took to refer to this 3 amigos i was shocked the requirement was so specific and concrete all we had advisor ukrainian counterparts. to voice
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a commitment to following the rule of law and generally investigating credible corruption allegations this was a demand that president selenski personally commit on a cable news channel to a specific investigation of president trump's political rival on september 11th the hold was finally lifted after significant press coverage and bipartisan congressional expressions of concern about the withholding of security assistance although we knew the hold was lifted we were still concerned the president's a lens he had committed in exchange for the lifting to give the requested c.n.n. interview we had several indications that the interview would occur 1st the yes conference in chief was held from september 12th to 14th and c ends freed's akari i was one of the moderators 2nd on september 13th an embassy colleague received a phone call another colleague worked for ambassador sohn my colleague texted me regarding that call that quote saw online and his alinsky interview someone said
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facility interview is supposed to be today or monday and they planned to announce that a certain investigation that was on hold with will progress silence age not know if this was decided or if saddam was advocate advocating for it apparently he's been discussing this with your mother finally also on september 13th ambassador taylor and i ran into mr your moc on our way out of a meeting with president selenski in his private office besser taylor again stressed the importance of staying out of u.s. politics and said he hoped no interview was planned this or your mock did not answer but sure did a resignation as if just to indicate that he had no choice and short everybody thought there was going to be an interview and that the ukrainians believe they had to do it interview alternately did not occur. on september 21st ambassador taylor and i collaborated on input he sent to mr morrison to brief president trump the head of a september 25th meeting that have been scheduled with president selenski in new york on the margins of the u.n.
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general assembly the transcript of the july 25th call was released the same day as of today i still have still not scenery out of the september 25th meeting as the impeachment inquiry has progressed i've followed press reports and reviewed the statements of masters taylor and yon of edge based on my experiences in ukraine my recollection is generally consistent with their testimony and i believe that the relevant facts are there for being laid out for the american people however in the last couple weeks i read press reports expressing for the 1st time that certain senior officials may have been acting without the presence knowledge or freelancing in their dealings with ukraine at the same time i also read reports noting the lack of 1st hand evidence in the investigation and suggesting that the only evidence being illicit at the hearings was hearsay i came to realize that i had firsthand knowledge regarding certain events on july 26 that i did not otherwise been
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reported and that those events potentially bore on the question of whether the president did in fact have knowledge that those senior officials were using the levers of diplomatic power to influence the new ukrainian president to announce the opening of a criminal investigation against president trump's political opponent it is at that point that i made the observation to ambassador taylor that the incident i witnessed on july 26th had acquired greater significance which is what he reported in his testimony last week and is what led to the subpoena for me to appear here today in conclusion i'd like to take a moment to turn back to ukraine today this very day marks exactly 6 years since throngs of pro western ukrainians spontaneously gathered on q.'s independence square to launch what became known as the revolution of dignity. all the protests began in opposition to
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a turn towards russia and away from the west expanded over 3 months to reject the entire corrupt repressive system that had been sustained by russian influence in the country those events were followed by russia's occupation of ukraine's crimean peninsula and invasion of ukraine's eastern region and an ensuing war that to date has cost almost 14000 lives despite the russian aggression over the past 5 years ukrainians have rebuild a shattered economy adhere to a peace process and move economically and socially closer to the west towards our way of life earlier this year large majorities of ukrainians again chose a fresh start by voting for a political newcomer as president replacing 80 percent of their parliament endorsing a platform consistent with our democratic values our reform priorities and our strategic interests this year's revolution at the ballot box underscores that
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despite its imperfections ukraine is a genuine and vibrant democracy an example to other post soviet countries and beyond from moscow to hong kong how we respond to this is sturrock opportunity will set the trajectory of our relationship with ukraine and will define our willingness to defend our bedrock international principles 'd and our leadership role in the world ukrainians want to hear a clear and unambiguous reaffirmation that our longstanding bipartisan policy of strong support for ukraine remains unchanged and that we fully back it at the highest levels now is not the time to retreat from our relationship with ukraine but rather to double down on it. as we sit here as we sit here today ukrainians are fighting a hot war on ukrainian territory against russian aggression this week alone since i
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have been here in washington 2 ukrainian soldiers were killed and 2 injured by russian led forces in eastern ukraine despite a declared cease fire and learned overnight that 7 more were injured yesterday is vice president pence said after his meeting with president selenski in warsaw the us recreate ukraine relationship has never been stronger ukrainians and their new government earnestly want to believe that ukrainians cherish their bipartisan american support sustain their euro atlantic aspirations and they recall that the thought of playing a role in u.s. domestic politics or elections at a time of shifting allegiances and rising competitors in the world we have no better friends and ukraine a scrappy unbowed determined and above all dignified people who are standing up against russian authoritarianism and aggression they deserve better we're now
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in a flexion point in ukraine and it is critical to our national security that we stand in strong support of our ukrainian partners ukrainians and freedom loving people everywhere are watching the example we set here of democracy in the rule of law thank you thank you mr holmes to dr hill. is the microphone on i believe it is now is not this perfect thank you again mr chairman mr chairman ranking member in unison members of the committee thank you for inviting me to testify before you today i have a shot opening statement. i appreciate the importance of congress's impeachment inquiry and i'm appearing today as a fact witness as i did during my deposition on october 14th in order to answer your questions about what i saw what i did what i knew and what i know with regard
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to the subjects of your inquiry i believe that those who have information that the congress deems relevant have a legal under moral obligation to provide this i take great pride in the fact that i'm a non parsis on foreign policy experts it was served under 3 republican and democratic presidents i have no interest in and from seeing the outcome of your inquiry in any particular direction except toward the truth i will not provide along our system and because i believe that the interest of congress and the american people is best served by about allowing you to ask me your questions and i'm happy to expound upon my october 14th deposition testimony in response to your questions today. but before i do so i'd like to communicate 2 things 1st i'd like to show a little bit about who i am i'm an american by choice i mean become a citizen in 2002 i was born in the northeast of england in the same region that
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george washington's ancestors came from both my region and my family have deep ties to the united states my paternal grandfather fought through world war one in the royal field artillery surviving being shot shells and gassed before american troops intervened to end the war in 1918 during the 2nd world war other members of my family fought to defend the free world from fascism alongside american soldiers in them and the men in my father's family or coal mine is his family's soul was struggles with poverty when my father alfred was 14 he joined his father brothers brother uncles and cousins in the coal mines to help put food on the table. when the last of the local mines close in the 1960 s. my father wanted to emigrates the united states to work in the coal mines in west virginia and pennsylvania but his mother my grandmother had been crippled from hard labor and my father couldn't leave so he stayed in northern england until he died
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in 2012 my mother still lives in my hometown today. while his dream of emigrating to america was thwarted my father loved america its culture its history and its role as a beacon of hope for the world he always wanted someone in the family to make it to the united states i began my university studies in 1904 when i just learned that i went to the same university as my colleague here mr arms and sometimes in scotland thought i would. and in 1907 i want to place on an academic extends to the soviet union i was there for the signing of the intermediate nuclear forces are enough treaty under one president ronald reagan met soviet leader mikhail gorbachev in moscow this was a turning point for me an american professor who i met there told me about graduate student scholarships united states and the very next year thanks to his advice i arrived in america to start my advanced studies at harvard years later i can say with confidence that this country has offered me opportunities i never would have had in england i grew up poor with
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a very distinctive working class accent in england in the 1980 s. and 1990 s. this would have impeded my professional investment this background has never set me back in america for the best part of 3 decades i've built a career as a nonpartisan nonpolitical national security professional focusing on europe and asia and especially the former soviet union i've served our country into 3 presidents in my most recent capacity under president trump as well as in my former position and. as under other my former position of national intelligence officer for russia and eurasia under presidents george w. bush and barack obama in that role i was the intelligence committee senior expert on russia on the farm is republics including ukraine. it was because of my background and experience that as i was asked to join the national security council in 2017 of the n.s.c. russia was part of my portfolio but i was also responsible for coordinating u.s. policy for all of western europe all of eastern europe including ukraine and turkey
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along with nato and the european union i was hired initially by general michael flynn kitty mcfarland and general keith kellogg but then i started work in april 2017 when general mcmaster was the national security adviser. so that i could help them with president trump stated goal of improving relations with russia while still implementing policies designed to deter russian conduct that threatens the united states including the unprecedented and successful russian operation to interfere in the 2016 presidential election this or let's the 2nd thing i want to communicate is based on questions and statements i have heard some of you on this committee appear to believe that russia and its security services did not conduct campaign against our country and that perhaps somehow for some reason ukraine does this is a fictional narrative that has been perpetrated in propagated by the russian security services themselves the unfortunate truth is that russia was the foreign power that
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systematically attacked our democratic institutions and 2016 this is the public concretion of our intelligence agencies confirmed in bipartisan congressional reports it is beyond dispute even if some of the underlying details must remain classifies the impacts of the successful 2016 russian campaign remains evident today our nation is being told to pass through this question our highly professional expert career foreign service is being undermined u.s. support for ukraine which continues to face armed russian aggression has been politicized. the russian government's goal is to weaken our country to diminish america's global row and so neutralize a perceived u.s. threat to russian interests president putin and the russian security services into counter u.s. foreign policy objectives in europe including in ukraine where moscow wishes to reassert political economic dominance i say this not as an alarmist but as a realist i do not think long term conflict with russia is either desirable or
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inevitable i continue to believe that we need to seek ways of stabilizing our relationship with moscow even as we counter their efforts to harm us right now russia's security services and their proxies have geared up to repeat their interference in the 2020 alexion we are running out of time to stop them in the course of this investigation i would ask that you please not promote politically driven false or clearly advance russian interests as republicans and democrats have agreed for decades ukraine is a valued partner of the united states and it plays an important role in our national security and as i told the committee last month i refused to be part of an effort to legitimize an alternate narrative that the ukrainian government is a us are very sorry and the ukraine not russia touches and 2016 these fictions are harmful even if they're deployed for purely domestic political purposes president putin the russian security services operate like a super pac they deploy millions of dollars to weaponize our own political
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opposition research and false narratives when we come soon bipartisan rancor we cannot come by these external forces there as they seek to divide as against each other to great our institutions and destroy the face of the american people in our democracy. i respect the work that this congress doesn't coming out its constitution responsibilities including this require me and i'm here to help you to the best of my ability if the president or anyone else impedes us of that is the national security of united states in order to further the domestic political a personal interest that's smaller than worthy of your attention but we must not let domestic politics stop us from defending ourselves against the foreign powers who truly wish as i sit on seo questions thank you. thank you dr hill will now proceed to the 1st round of questions as detailed in the memo provided to committee members will be 45 minutes of questions conducted by the chairman or majority
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counsel or by 45 minutes for the ranking member or minority counsel a following that unless i specify additional legal time for extent of questioning will proceed under the 5 minute rule and every member will have a chance to ask questions and now recognize myself for majority counsel for the 1st round of questions 1st of all thank you both for being here thank you for testifying dr hill. your story reminds me a great deal of what we heard from alexander venom and. the few immigrant stories that we have heard just in the course of these hearings are among the most powerful i think i've ever heard you and dr and colonel them and others. are the best of this country and you came here by choice and we are so blessed that you did so welcome. my colleagues took some umbrage with your opening statement but i think the american
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people can be forgiven if they have the same impression listening to some of the statements of my colleagues during this hearing that russia didn't intervene in our election it was all the ukrainians there's an effort to take a tweet here and an op ed there at a newspaper story here and somehow equated with the systemic intervention that our intelligence agencies found that russia perpetrated in 2016 through an extensive social media campaign and a hacking and dumping operation indeed the report my colleagues gave you that they produced during investigation calls into question the accuracy of the intelligence committee's finding that russia intervened to help one side to help donald trump at the expense of hillary clinton no one in intelligence community questions that finding nor does the f.b.i. nor does the senate bipartisan intelligence committee report nor does the minority committee report of this committee the house republican report is an outlier. but
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let me ask you dr hill about your concern with that russian narrative that it wasn't the russians that engage in interfere in election in 2016 and of course this was given a boost when president trump helsinki in the presence of putin said that he questions own intelligence agencies but why are the russians pushing that narrative that it was ukraine how does that serve russian interests. the russian's interests funkier to deal it just a miser our entire presidency so one issue that i do want to read is i think that this would resonate with. colleagues on the committee from the republican party is that the goal of the russians was really to put whoever became the president by trying to tip their hands on one side of the scale under a cloud so if secretary from the 1st lady former senator clinton had been elected as president as indeed many expected in the run up to the election in 2016
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she too would have had major questions about illegitimacy. and i think you know what we're seeing here as a result of all of these narratives this is exactly what the russian government was hoping for if this siege misinformation they see doubt they have everybody questioning the legitimacy of a presidential candidates be it president trample potentially president clinton that they would pit one side of our lecturers against the other that they would pit one policy against the other and that's why i wanted to make such a strong point at the very beginning because there was certainly individuals in many other countries who had harsh words for both of the countries who had harsh words for many other candidates during the primaries we had a lot of people who were running for president on the republican size there were many people who were trying themselves to game the outcome as you know in the united kingdom the bookies take bets you can go to lodbrok so william hill the lead bet on who you think is going to be the conduit so the russian government were
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trying to lead their own bets but what they wanted to do was give a spread they wanted to make sure that whoever had bet on whoever they tried to tip the scales would also experience some discomfort that they would be holden to them 1 in some way that they would create just the kind of chaos that we have seen in our politics so i just want to again emphasize that we need to be very careful as we discuss all of these issues not to give them more fodder that they can use against us and 2020 and i quite agree there's an additional benefit in a figure absolutely right the russians are equal opportunity meddlers they will not only help one side but they'll also just seek to sow discord in the united states along ethnic lines religious lines geographic lines. but there's also a benefit now isn't there for russia to put the blame on ukraine to cast doubt on whether they intervene at all or election and blame it on a u.s. ally as a way of driving a wedge between the u.s.
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ukraine isn't that true well that's absolutely the case and in fact you just made the point about u.s. allies the russians like to put a lot of blame on the u.s. allies for incidents that they have perpetrated as we saw that recently with the united kingdom in the russian secret services attack on a farm a spineless to script al and his daughter in salzburg in england where you may recall that the russians actually accused the british government of perpetrating this themselves so this falls into a long pattern of deflection of the russian government trying to pin the blame on someone else and as my colleague mr holmes here has laid out the russians have a particular vested interest in putting ukraine and ukrainians and ukrainian leaders in a very bad light all of the issues that we started to discuss today and that you on the committee have been deeply involved in began with russia's illegal on accession of the peninsular of crimea from ukraine in 2014 in response 2015 in all of the different acts of aggression russia's and gaged and since starting
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a war in the donbass shooting down russian operatives the plane m.h. 17 over the donbass is a later period there is a great deal of hostility and malign intent towards ukraine and it suits the russian government very much if we are also looking at ukraine to somehow a perpetrator of malign acts against us. mr holmes i want to assure quick a couple questions. i think is often is the case for people. you know i was obviously at your deposition read your opening testimony but as you learn more facts you start to see things in different light even though your opening statement is very much consistent with your opening statement in that position and i was struck in particular by something you sent to page 10 of your opening statement well we had advised our ukrainian counterparts to voice a commitment to following the rule of law and generally investigate incredible corruption allegations this was
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a demand that president selenski personally commit on a cable news channel to a specific investigation of president trump's political rival in this case to a point i made at the close of our hearing yesterday about hypocrisy. here we are and we are urging craniums to commit to follow in the rule of law as you said and only investigate genuine and credible allegations and what are we doing or asking them to investigate the president's political rival ukraine it's a pretty sophisticated actors aren't they they can recognise apocryphally when they see it what does that do to our anti corruption efforts when their current is perceived that we're engaging in corruption ourselves. yes serves our long standing policy is to encourage them to establish and build a rule of law institutions that are capable and they're independent and that can actually pursue credible allegations that's our policy and we've been doing that
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for quite some time with some success so focusing on particular cases including particular cases where there is interest of the president's. it's just not part of what we've done it's hard to explain why we would do that. it harkens back to the conversation and bester volcker testified about when he urged crane not to investigate or prosecute poor shank oh and the reply from mr mock was oh you mean like you want us to do with the bidens on the clintons they're sophisticated enough actors to recognize when we're saying do as we say not as we do are they not yes are you also in your testimony and i was struck by this new today. when even after the aid is lifted ukraine still felt pressure to make these statements and the u.n. ambassador taylor were worried that they were going to do it on c.n.n.
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and you said. that a master tailor again stress the importance of staying on the u.s. politics and said he hoped no interviews the interview was planned mr earmark did not answer but shrugged in resignation as if to indicate that they had no choice in short everyone thought there was going to be an interview and that the craniums believed they had to do. fear and knowledge ing i think mr holmes or not that ukraine if very much felt pressured to undertake these investigations that the president to reduce any and and and others were demanding. yes sir and although the hold on the security systems may have been lifted there were still things they wanted they weren't getting including a meeting with the president no oval office. whether the hold. and hold continued or not the koreans understood that that's something the president wanted and they still want to do important things from the president and i think that continues to this day i think they're being very careful they still need us now going forward in
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fact right now president selenski is trying to arrange a summit meeting with president putin in the coming weeks to his 1st face to face meeting with him to try to advance the peace process in needs our support he needs to needs president putin to understand that america supports so let's get the highest levels so that this is this is did this doesn't end with the lifting of the security assistance hold ukraine still needs us and as i said still fighting this war this very day and i would underscore again as my colleague did so eloquently they got caught that's the reason the aid was finally lifted mr goldman thank you mr chairman good morning to both of you yesterday we heard testimony from ambassador gordon song and from the european union who testified that president trump wanted ukraine to announce the investigations into biden the bidens of and the 2016 elections because they would benefit him politically and they use the leverage of that white house meeting in the security assistance to pressure
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president's olinsky to do so dr hill you testified i believe that in mid june ambassador sunland told you that he was in charge of ukraine policy is that right that's correct so yes who did he tell you had put him in charge of ukraine policy you tell me it was the president mr holmes did you also understand that ambassador sunland had been given some authority over ukraine policy from the president. we understood that that he had been told to work with mr giuliani. and did he hold himself out as having direct contact and knowledge of the president's priorities and interests yes or. now mr holmes i want to go to that july 26th date when you overheard the conversation between ambassador sunline and president trump and i'm going to ask you a little bit about the lead up to that conversation before the launch that you
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described you said that you accompanied ambassador song when volcker and taylor to a meeting with president selenski is that right that's correct and you took notes at that meeting yes or and you review those notes before you came here to testify today yes and they were helpful to refresh your recollection as to what happened is that right yes during that meeting president selenski said that on his phone call with president trump the previous day that 3 times president trump had mentioned sensitive issues. did you understand what president selenski was referring to when he said the sensitive issues i couldn't be sure what he was referring to until i later read the transcript of the july 25th call but i was aware of various contacts between the 3 amigos and his government about this set of issues and after you read
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the call what did you determine to be the sensitive issues that president selenski referenced the berries my bite investigation after this meeting with president selenski you testified that ambassador sunland had a one on one meeting with andre year mark a top aide to selenski and that you were prohibited from going into that meeting to take notes is that right yes and yesterday ambassador sunline testified that he probably discussed the investigations with mr year moch did ambassador sun tell you at all what they discussed he did not. now after this meeting with mr yarmuk you went to lunch and can you just describe where you were sitting at the restaurant s. or the restaurant has sort of glass doors that open onto a terrace. and we were at the 1st tables on the terrace so immediately outside of the interior of the restaurant the doors were all wide open. there were there was
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tables table for for all i recall it being 2 tables for 2 pushed together in a case was quite a wide table. and the table was set with sort of a table runner down the middle i was directly across from a master saw and. we were close enough that we could you know share an appetizer between us and then the 2 staffers were off to our right at this next table now you said that at some point investor son when he pulled out his cell phone and call to president trump this was an unsecure cell phone in the right yes or in the middle of a restaurant in keef yes now you said that you were able to hear president trump's voice through the receiver how were you able to hear if it was not on speaker phone it was several it was quite loud when the president came on quite distinctive believin bass or silent also said yes very often speaks very loudly
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over the phone and i certainly experienced that when. he when the president came on he sort of winced and held the phone away from his ear like this and he did that for the 1st couple exchanges i don't know if you then turn the volume down to get used to it if the president moderated his volume i don't know. but that's how i was able to hear and so you were able to hear some of what president trump said to president selenski is that right the 1st portion of the conversation yes and what did you hear president trump say to i'm sorry not presidents alinsky to ambassador sun linde. what i hear the president say to ambassador sun when he clarified whether he was in ukraine or not yes i'm here in ukraine and an advisor saw on one side. said he loves your ass when he won he said you see if you can do to investigation so you heard president trump ask ambassador sunland is he going to do the investigation yes or what was ambassador songlines response
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he said oh yeah he's going to do it he'll do anything you ask and was that the end of the ukraine portion of the conversation yes afterwards you described a follow on conversation that you had with ambassador sunland where you asked him i think generally what did president trump think of ukraine is that right correct what did ambassador sunland say to you. he doesn't really care about ukraine did he use slightly more colorful language than that he did what did he say that he does care about he said he cared about big stuff did he explain what he meant by big stuff like i asked him well what kind of big stuff we have big stuff going on here like a war with russia and he said no big stuff like that by an investigation that mr giuliani is pushing now. were you familiar with the
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biden investigation that he referenced at that point yes or no. and. how do you have such a specific and clear recollection of this conversation with the president in your conversation with ambassador sunline yeah so this was a very distinctive experience in my understanding like this of my foreign service career someone at a lunch in a restaurant making a call on a cell phone to the president stays. be able to hear his voice very distinctive personalities you know seem on television. very colorful language was used. they were directly addressing something that i had been wondering about working on for weeks and even months. a topic that had led to the recall of my former boss the former ambassador. and so here was
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a person who's who said he had direct contact with the president and said that over the course of time here he is actually having that contact with the president here in the president's voice and i'm talking about this issue of the bite investigation that i've been been hearing about so just to summarize during this phone call that you overheard ambassador song and have with president trump you heard president trump himself ask the only question that you really heard him ask i believe is whether he was going to do the investigation to which ambassador sunline responded that he would and he would in fact do anything that president selenski wants is that an accurate refer recitation of what happened that's correct and then after that call you had a subsequent conversation with ambassador sunline where he and some in substance told you that the president doesn't care about ukraine he only cares about big
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stuff related to himself and particularly the biden investigation that giuliani was pushing correct. now a day before your launch with ambassador sun when president trump did speak with president selenski as you as you referred and certainly the president made it clear to president selenski that he cared about the biden investigation now neither of you did listen to this call but as you testified you both read it subsequent to its publication dr hill you during your time 2 and a half years in the white house listened to a number of presidential phone calls is that right size can you estimate approximately how many i contact me i mean sometimes there would be multiple calls during the week i was there for more than 2 years so it's a phantom have you ever heard a call like this one that you read i don't want to comment on this call because this isn't in my view executive privilege and terms of the testimony.
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i think that as a threshold matter i think that there are issues of classification regarding head of state communications that we do want to be sensitive to in this forum among other issues understood i'm really just focused on this one call that has been declassified and published and just asking you whether you'd ever heard any presidential phone call along those look these lines when again i'd like to just focus in this testimony on this particular call and i will just say that i found this particular call subject matter and the whether it was conducted surprising. you said in your deposition testimony that you were very shocked and very saddened to read it that's correct so i was that because of the nature of the discussion the juxtaposition of the issues in which they were raised. also the given the fact that . i myself had actually opposed them all with the some period having
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a call unless it was very well prepared and that we were confident that the issues that ukraine and the united states were most generally together interested in were going to be raised and i saw in this call that this was not the case you also testified that you were concerned that this call was turning the white house meeting into some kind of asset do you recall that testimony i don't think was specific about that cole but i recall the testimony that because this was clearly the discussion proceeding the call remember i left on july 19th of the call took place the following week and the months leading up to that from may on once it became very clear that the white house meeting itself was being predicated on other issues namely investigations and the. questions about the election interference and 2016 mr holmes you indicate in your opening statement. the chief of
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staff to president selenski had indicated to you that in their in this phone call on july 25th there was a discussion about personnel issues related to the prosecutor general's office after you read the call did you understand who who and what that was referring to yes or. in that brief meeting with the chief of staff who was very confusing to me why in only the few minutes we had why that would have been the issue he raised it wasn't until i read the transcript of the call on the 25th that i understood that the president had specifically mentioned prosecutor general lute sankoh. selenski administration was in the process of replacing and carving out all his sort of underlings who had been. you know collaborating with him on some of the corruption we saw other and yeah i believe you also said the president had sankoh was the source of some of mr giuliani's public views and allegations is that right yes or
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so so about 2 weeks before the press kind of wave that we saw the massacre of on of it became public and embassy contacted reported to us privately to mr leach sankoh was was sending these messages and had met with an american journalist to try to get those messages out what was the u.s. embassy in ukraine's view of prosecutor general it sent up. he was not a good partner and he had failed to live to deliver on the promised reforms that he had committed to and he took office. and he was using his office to insulate and protect political allies while. socially enriching himself as another way to describe corrupt yes. now i want to take a look at a couple of eggs service from this july 25th call with you and the 1st one occurs
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right after president selenski thanked president trump for the united states support in the area of defense and president trump immediately then says i would like you to do us a favor though because our country has been through a lot and ukraine knows a lot about it i would like you to find out what happened with this whole situation with ukraine they say crowd strike i guess you have one of your wealthy people the server they say ukraine has it now dr hill is this a reference to this debunked conspiracy theory about ukraine interference in the 2016 election that you discussed at the in your opening statement as well as what chairmanship of the reference to crops like in the civil yes that's correct and it is your understanding that there is no basis for these allegations is that correct that's correct now isn't it also true that some of president trumps most senior
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advisers had informed him that this theory of ukraine interference in the 2016 election was false that's correct so is it your understanding then that president trump disregarded the advice of his senior officials about this theory and instead listen to rudy giuliani's views that's supposed to be the case yes. and i also then want to just show one other exhibit that goes back to what you were testifying earlier dr hill about. russia's interest in promoting this theory this is an excerpt from a february 2nd 2017 news conference between with president putin and prime minister orbán of hungary where putin says 2nd as we all know during the presidential campaign in the united states the ukrainian government adopted a unilateral position in favor of one candidate more than that certain oligarchs certainly with the approval of the political leadership funded this candidate or
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female candidate to be more precise mr holmes who spent 3 years as well in the u.s. embassy in russia why would it be to vladimir putin's advantage to promote this theory of ukraine interference. first of all to deflect from the allegations of russian interference 2nd of all to drive a wedge between the united states and ukraine which russia wants to essentially get back into its sphere of influence thirdly tube is smirch ukraine and its political leadership to degrade and erode support for ukraine from other key partners in europe and elsewhere and dr hill by promoting this theory of ukrainian interference in the 2016 election was president trump adopting the latter mere putin's view over his own senior advisors and intelligence officials i think we have to be very careful about the way that we phrase that this is a view that president putin the russian security services and many is and
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russia have promises but i think that this view has also got some traction pops and powell and separately here in the united states and those 2 things have a time sausage to fuse together. well back in may of this year do you recall that president trump had a phone conversation in early may with president putin i do and then he also then met in mid may with prime minister orbán who had joined president putin at this press conference that's correct now that happened between the time when president selenski was elected on april 21st and his inauguration on may 20th is that right. and in fact president isn't it true that president trump had asked vice president pence to attend the inauguration after his
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phone call with president selenski on april 21st i'm not sure that i can said the president the vice president pens i was not in any meeting in which that took place i can say that on myself and many others at the n.s.c. in the state department were quite came very eager to have vice president pence go to ukraine to represent the united states government and the president and is that also your recollection mr holmes that you wanted vice president pence to attend yes sir and we understood that that was the plan. now jennifer williams from the office of the vice president testified here that on may 13th which is the same day that president trump met with prime minister orbán that the president called off ice president trips by president pence's trip for unknown reasons but before the inauguration date had been scheduled and dr
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hill were you aware also that the during the period there was a lot of publicity and i think mr holmes you referenced this in your opening statement as well about rudy giuliani's interest in these investigations in ukraine i was so yes and the. around this time dr hill you also i believe testify that ambassador bolton had expressed some views to you about mr giuliani's interest in ukraine do you recall which concerns yes what he said to you rather i do i do recall yes it was part of a conversation about the things that mr giuliani was saying very frequently in public and we saw them often 6 or saw him often on television making these statements and i had also ready brought to the bolton attention the attacks this me a company against him bust evanovich and expressed regrets about how this was
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unfolding and in fact the shameful way in which the event of it was being smeared in the tax and i'd asked if there was anything that we could do about it is . bolton had looked pale and basically indicated with body language that there was nothing much to do about it and he then in the course of that discussion said that rudy giuliani was a hunger that was going to blow everyone up did you understand what he meant by that i did actually what did he mean well i think he meant that obviously what mr giuliani was saying was pretty explosive in any case he was frequently on television making quite incendiary remarks about everyone involved in this or that he was clearly pushing forward issues and ideas that would probably come back to haunt us and facts i think that that's where we are today mr holmes did the ukrainians understand that rudy giuliani represented the president's views. i
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believe they did 1st he was reaching out to them directly. he also asked ambassador vonnegut's his removal i think israel relevant to this force of inquiry because she was removed following this media campaign in which rudy giuliani giuliani and associates were very prominent. and criticizing her for not taking seriously some of the theories and issues that later came up and so when she was removed i. you know commentators in ukraine believed that loued sankoh working with giuliani had succeeded in getting her removed so they were already aware of mr giuliani and his influence the issues that he was promoting and the of them and ultimately that he was able to get an ambassador removed. partly because of that so he was someone to contend with and then in addition immediately after you know gratian he began reaching out to his own skin administration key figures and in his
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let's get ministration and continue to do that let's focus on the inauguration for a minute you and you have escorted for lack of a better word the u.s. delegation around so i joined them in some of their meetings but not for the entire day and who was the official who was on the official delegation yes or it was 5 people so as the head of the delegation was secretary perry and it was the master volcker represented state department master sohn one our temporary stars a joseph pennington and alex venom and represent the white house and did the delegation have a meeting with president selenski that you attended yes and you testified i think in your. previously that secretary perry gave a list of some sort to president selenski at that meeting do you recall that yes in the meeting with the president secretary perry as the head of the delegation opened the meeting for the american side and enough. points he made and during that period
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he handed over a piece of paper i did not see what was on the paper but secretary perry described what was on the paper as a list of trusted individuals friend recommended the secretary and that presents a lengthy i could draw from that list for advice on energy sector reform issues and do you know who was on that list i didn't see the list i don't know other colleagues. there are other other people who have been in the mix for a while on that set of issues other people secretary perry has mentioned as being. people to consult on reform and they americans yes now do you also recall that colonel van minh spoke to president selenski in that meeting yes and what did he say to president selinski and in terms of some of the issues that we're addressing here in this investigation yes or he was the last to speak he made
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a general point about the importance of ukraine. join ashleigh security and he said it's very important that this lenski ministrations stay out of us domestic politics was it your understanding that president selenski and the ukrainians were already starting to feel some pressure to conduct these political investigations yes and those were the ones related to biden embarrassment the 2016 election correct now dr hill you also testified that around this same time in may you learned that president trump was receiving information from someone else at the national security council is that right. that's not quite right i was told in passing that someone else the national security council that the president may want to speak to them because of some materials related to crane. and did that person indicate that the president thought that was the director of ukraine that was correct who larry
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brief conversation just to be clear who is the director of ukraine direct to feed krenz onix been kind of inman and who did the this individual in the executive secretary's office refer to the individual just said the name cache did you know who that was initially what i was thinking about it but i had to search my mind on the any cash that i knew with the national security council's cash to tell and cash to tell did not work on ukraine matters that you oversaw is that right not that i oversaw no so the indication is that cash patel had provided some information directly to the president without your knowledge that seemed to be the indication now i want to go back to the july 25th call right now where president trump in another excerpt asked president selenski about his political a potential political opponent vice president joe biden in this excerpt the the president said the other thing there's
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a lot of talk about biden's son that biden stop the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that so whatever you can do with the attorney general would be great biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution so if you can look into it it sounds horrible to me now dr hello this was of course one of the allegations that rudy giuliani was was pushing is that right and now it confirmed in this july 25th call that the president was also interested in it yes. ambassadors vulgar and so on lynn have tried to draw a distinction between their understanding of the connection between very small and the bidens but dr hill was it apparent to you that when president trump rudy giuliani or anyone else was pushing for an investigation into greaseman that the reason why they wanted that investigation related to what president trump said here the bidens it was very apparent to me that that was what rudy giuliani intended yes
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intended to convey that the recent i was linked to the bidens and he said this publicly but the today mr holmes you also understood that barry's mo was code for biden's yes and do you think that anyone involved in ukraine matters in the spring in the summer would understand that as well yes now are either. are you aware of any evidence to support the allegations against vice president biden i'm not snow. and in fact. mr holmes the former prosecutor general of ukraine who vice president biden encouraged to fire was actually corrupt is that right correct and was not pursuing corruption investigations and prosecutions right my understanding is. the prosecutor general the time show can. was not at that time pursuing investigations of barry's moer the vines and in fact removing that corrupt
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prosecutor general was part of the united states anti corruption policy isn't that correct that's correct and not just us but all of our allies and other institutions are involved you create the time. now dr hill you indicated earlier that you had understood that a white house meeting was conditioned on the pursuit by ukraine of these investigations and i want to focus on the july 10th meeting in the white house where that came to light. you indicated that in your testimony that there was a large meeting that ambassador bolton ran where ambassadors sunline volcker and secretary perry also attended is that right correct yes and why were they included in that meeting with 2 ukrainian officials about national security matters well the initial intent had not been to include them we're down to suppose that the 2 credit officials would have
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a number of meetings as is usually the procedure or there would be meetings at the state department potentially also at the energy department and then there was a request to have. some london vulcan included coming directly from their offices as a result of the t.v. given the important role that secretary perry was playing in the energy sector reform in ukraine and the fact he had also been in the delegation to the presidential inauguration and ukraine we decided that it would be better then to include all 3 of them now that toward the end of this meeting the ukrainians raised to the ongoing their ongoing desire for an oval office meeting is that right that's correct and what happened after they did that well i listened very carefully john bussey to sunderland's testimony yesterday so i want to actually point out something where i think it's easy to explain why he had a different interpretation of how this came into being. the meeting had initially
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been scheduled for about 45 minutes to an hour and it was definitely in the wrap up phase of the meeting when this occurred we've gone through a series of discussions and xander done a little coup is at this point the designated national security adviser of ukraine really wanted to get into the weeds of how you might reform a national security council he talked to me about this prior to the meeting he was hoping and i've had this opportunity with the national security adviser united states to get his firsthand opinions and thoughts on what might happen we'd also want to go through discussion about how important it was for ukraine to get its energy sector reform under way and clearly the secretary had some talking points this is an issue that i'm possible was also interested in and then we knew that the ukrainians would have on their agenda inevitably the question about a meeting and so as we get through the main discussion we're going into that wrap up phase ukrainians mr dunning look starts to ask about
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a white house meeting and i busted a bolton was trying to parry this back although he's the national security adviser he's not in charge of scheduling the meeting we have input recommending the meetings and this goes through a whole process so it's not ambassador bolton's role to start pulling out the schedule and start saying right well we're going to look and see if this choose day in this month is going to work with this and he does not as a matter of course like to discuss the details of these meetings he likes to leave them to you know the appropriate stuff for this so this is already going to be an uncomfortable issue as ambassador bolton was trying to move that part of the discussion away i think is going to try to deflect it onto another rocket topic on buses sunland lean day in basically to say well we have an agreement that there will be a meeting of specific investigations put under way and that's when i saw ambassador bolton stiff and i was sitting behind him in. the chair i saw him sit back slightly
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like this he'd been well moving forward like i am to the table and for me that was an unmistakable body language and it caught my attention and then he looked up to the clock and you know says what show of trouble does rest in any case again i was sitting behind him and basically said well you know it's been really great to see you i'm afraid i've got another another meeting and did buster simon say who his agreement on this white house meeting was with in that particular juncture i don't believe so it was a letter which i'm sure you'll want to talk about that he did say most specifically what did he say later let's say he said that he had an agreement with the chief of staff mulvaney. in return full investigations this meeting would get scheduled and was he specific at that point later about the investigations that he was referring to he said investigations and. now did you have a conversation with ambassador bolton after the subsequent meeting with their boss or so.


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