tv NEWS LIVE - 30 Al Jazeera December 9, 2019 8:00pm-8:34pm +03
a summary of a scheme by the president and their visors to undermine an election by using the power of his office to pressure a foreign country to sabotage the u.s. election and we've seen republicans not with any substantive response as you said i think that's right when it's a diversionary tactic both by the republicans in the committee and the president sorry chris you're not really not there for not helping you get your guy back we're going to go back to the house judiciary committee we'll talk to you get the 5 out the evidence gathered during our. impeachment inquiry at the outset let me say that the evidence does not support the allegations that my democrat colleagues have made and i don't believe the evidence leads to the conclusions they suggest i'm hopeful to add some important perspective and context to the facts under discussion today. the chief allegation that the democrats impeachment inquiry has been trying to
assess over the last 76 days is this whether president trump abused the power of his office through a quid pro quo robbery extortion or whatever by withholding a meeting or security assistance as a way of pressuring ukrainian president selenski to investigate the president's political rival former v.p. biden for the president's political benefit in the upcoming election a secondary allegation that has been levied is whether president trump obstructed congress during the inquiry. evidence of taim during the inquiry does not support either of those allegations the republican report of evidence lays out the reasons in more detail but i will summarize i will begin with the substantive allegation about an abuse of power. the inquiry has returned no direct evidence of
president trump without a meeting or security assistance in order to pressure president alinsky to investigate former v.p. biden witnesses who testified in the in korea have denied having awareness of criminal activity or even an impeachable offense on the key question of the president's state of mind there is no clear evidence that president trump acted with malicious intent overall at best the impeachment inquiry record is riddled with hearsay presumptions speculation there are conflicting and ambiguous facts throughout the record facts that could be interpreted in different ways the para for our eyes to paraphrase professor turley from last week the impeachment record is heavy on presumptions and empty on proof
that's not me saying that that is professor turley so let me start with the best direct evidence of any potential quid pro quo or impeachable of ski scheme this is president trump's phone call with selenski for which the national security council and the white house situation room staff prepared a call summary according to testimony from tim morrison at the n.s.c. this summary was accurate and complete and ses staff member lieutenant colonel alexander vinland testified that any omissions in the summary were not significant and that editing was not done maliciously president trump has declassified and released the call summary so the american people can review it and assess it for themselves i'll make a few points that seem to have gone under noticed the call summary reflects
absolutely no pressure or conditionality. president selenski vocalize no concerns with the subject matters discussed and there is no indication of bribery store sion or other illegal conduct on the call the call summary shows president trump and president selenski engaged in pleasantries and cordiality. calls summary reveals laughter simply put the call is not the sinister mob shakedown that some democrats have described president trump raises concerns about european allies paying their fair share and security assistance to ukraine a concern that president trump would continue to raise both publicly and privately there is no discussion on the call i repeat no discussion on the call about the
upcoming 2020 a lecture or security sector is that assistance to ukraine beyond the call summary the next best piece of evidence are the statements from the 2 participants on the call president selenski has said he felt no pressure on the call on september 25th at the united nations he said we had i think a good phone call it was normal nobody pushing on october 6th president selenski said i was never pressured and there were no conditions being imposed 4 days later on october 10th president selenski said again there's nothing wrong with a call no blackmail this is not corruption it was just a call and just recently in time magazine president lansky said
never talk to the president from a position of a quid pro quo. because president selenski would be the target of any alleged quid pro quos scheme his statements denying any pressure kerry significant weight he is in fact the supposed victim here other senior ukrainian government officials confirmed president selenski statements foreign minister pre-strike those said on september 21st i know what the conversation was about and i think there was no pressure all xander danny look who was then secretary of ukraine's national security and defense counsel bassett or bill taylor on the night of the call that the ukrainian government was not the stirred by anything on the call. president trump of course has also said that he did not
pressure president selenski on september 25th president trump said there was no pressure when asked if he wanted president selenski to do more to investigate the former v.p. president trump responded no i want him to do whatever he can what every you can do in terms of corruption because corruption is massive that's what he should do several witnesses attested to the president's concerns about ukrainian corruption the initial readouts of the july 25th call from both the ukrainian government and the state department raised no concerns although lieutenant colonel of inman noted concerns those concerns were not shared by national security council leadership it were not shared by general keith kellogg who listened on the call to tenet general kellogg said in
a statement i heard nothing wrong or improper on the call i had and have no concerns. lieutenant colonel vin minh superior to morrison testified that he was concerned the call would leak and be misused in washington's political process but he did not believe that anything discussed on the call was illegal or improper much has also been made about president trump's reference on the july 25th call to hunter biden's position on the board of barisan a corrupt ukrainian energy company and the actions of certain ukrainian officials in the run up to the 2016 election democrats dismiss these comparisons conspiracy theories to suggest that the president has no legitimate reason other than his own political interests to raise these issues with president selenski the evidence
however shows that there are legitimate questions about both issues with respect to barisan. assistant secretary george can't testified that the company had a reputation for corruption the company was founded by me collazo cesky served as ukraine's minister of ecology and natural resources when so cesky served in that role his company received oil exploration licenses without public options resume a brought 100 biden on to its board of direction or of directors according to the new york times as part of a broader effort by barisan to bring in well connected democrats during a period when the company was facing investigations act not just by domesticity ukrainian forces by officials in the obama administration george
can't testified about these efforts under biden reportedly received between 50083000 dollars a month. as compensation for his position on barisan his board at the time that hunter biden joined the board his father the former v.p. was the obama administration's point person for ukraine idea has no specific corporate governance expertise and we don't believe he speaks ukrainian or russian we don't believe he moved there so he's getting this gigantic paycheck for what the washington post wrote at the time of biden's appointment to barisan his board and it looked nepotistic at best and the washington post said the washington post nefarious at worst according to the
wall street journal anti corruption activists in ukraine also raise concerns at the former v.p. son received money from. and worried that that would mean so cesky would be protected and not prosecuted witnesses in the impeachment inquiry noted hunter biden's role on the board and how it presented at minimum a conflict of interest 10 a kernel of inman testified that hunter biden did not appear qualified to serve on barisan his board witnesses testified that hunter biden's role on the board was a legitimate concern to raise in fact george can't explain that in 2015 he raised the concern in the office of former vice president biden that hunter biden's role on barisan was bored presented a potential conflict of interest however hunter biden's role did not change and
former vice president biden continued to lead u.s. policy in ukraine on this record there is a legitimate basis for president trump to have concern about hunter biden's role on barisan as board. the prospect that some senior ukrainian officials worked against president trump in the run up to the 2016 election draws an even more visceral reaction from most democrats let me say very very clearly that election interference is not binary i'm not saying it was ukraine and not russia i am saying that both countries and work to influence an election a systemic coordinated russian interference effort does not mean that some
ukrainian officials some ukrainian officials did not work to oppose president trump's candidacy did not make statements against president trump during the election ambassador volcker testified in his public hearing that it is possible for more than one country to seek influence in u.s. elections dr hill testified likewise at her public hearing contemporaneous news articles in 2016 noted how president trump's candidacy led teves wider political leadership to do something they would never have attempted before intervene however indirectly in a u.s. election in august 26th seen the ukrainian ambassador to the us published an op ed in the hill criticizing candidature on other senior ukrainian officials called candidate trump
a clown and other words they allege that he challenge the very values of the free world one prominent ukrainian parliamentarian explained that the majority of ukraine's political figures were on hillary clinton's side a january 27th team politico article lays out in more detail efforts by the ukrainian government officials to oppose president trump's candidacy. the article notes how ukraine worked to sabotage the trump campaign by publicly questioning his fitness for office the article details how a woman name alexandra chalupa a ukrainian american contractor it by the d.n.c. and working with the d.n.c. and the clinton campaign traded information and leads about the trump campaign with the staff at the ukrainian embassy in washington chalupa explained how the
ukrainian bisi worked directly with reporters to point them in the right direction witnesses in the impeachment inquiry testified that the allegation of ukrainian influence in the 2016 election was appropriate to examine ambassador volcker testified that he thought it was fine to investigate allegations about 2016 influence ambassador taylor said for example that the allegations surprised and disappointed him on this record i do not believe that one could conclude that president trump had no legitimate basis to raise a concern about efforts by ukrainians to influence the 2016 election let me now turn to the 1st assertion that president trump withheld a meeting with president selenski as a way of pressuring him to investigate the former v.p.
here it is important to note ukraine's long profound history of endemic corruption several witnesses in the inquiry have testified about these problems ambassador marie yvonne of each for example said ukraine's corruption is not just prevalent but frankly is the system witnesses testified to having firsthand knowledge that president trump is deeply skeptical of ukraine due to its corruption back years and that this skepticism contributed to president trump's initial has its to meet with president selenski. ambassador volcker testified so i know he had a very deep rooted skeptical view and my understanding at the time was that even though he agreed in the meeting that we had with him say ok i'll invite him i'll invite him he didn't really want to do it volcker said and that's why the meeting
kept getting delayed another relevant set of facts here is the effort of some ukrainian officials to approach president trump's candidacy in the 2016 election some of these ukrainian politicians initially remained in government when presidents alinsky took over witnesses testified that these ukrainian efforts in 2016 color helped president trump viewed ukraine it's also important note that president alinsky was a relatively unknown quantity for u.s. policy makers ambassador evanovich called him an untried politician dr hill testified that there were concerns within the national security council about selenski relationship with igor kohl moyse a controversial oligarch in ukraine although president selenski ran on a reform platform president selenski appointed kohl moyes he's lawyer mr botha on
as his chief of staff oath embassador volcker and senator ron johnson noted that this appointment raised concerns these facts are important in assessing the president's state of mind in understanding whether president selenski was truly committed to fighting corruption in ukraine the evidence shows the president trump invited president selenski to meet at the white house on 3 separate occasions all without any conditions the 1st was on april 21st during the initial congratulatory phone call the 2nd was via letter on may 29th this letter followed oval office meeting on may 23rd with the u.s. delegation to the inauguration during this meeting president trump against expressed his skepticism about ukraine. ambassador volker recalled the president saying these are terrible people and a corrupt country and bassett are silent similarly testified that ukraine in the president's view tried to take them down in the 2016 election senator
ron johnson confirmed this testimony in his submission to the impeachment inquiry only the 3rd time the president trump invited selenski to meet again without any preconditions was during the july 25th phone call although some time passed between may $21000.00 when the president formally invited selenski to meet and september 25th when the president's met the evidence does not show that the ukrainian government felt additional pressure due to this delay to the contrary ambassador volcker testified that the ukrainian regime felt pretty good about its relationship with the trump administration in this period during those 4 months in your ukrainian government officials had at least 9 meetings or phone calls with president trump by spreads event pants secretary pompei o. security advisor bolton and u.s.
ambassadors evidence does not support a conclusion that president trump condition to meeting with president selenski on investigating former vice president biden mr president let's he's close advisor said that explicitly in an august 21000 new york times story which was published before the beginning of the impeachment inquiry in this article your mike said that he and mayor giuliani did not discuss a link between a presidential meeting and investigations witness testimony confirms your max statement ambassador volcker testified there was no linkage between a potential meeting and investigations although ambassador sunline testified that he believed there was a quid pro quo his testimony is not as clear as it has been portrayed. in his deposition ambassador simon testified that he believed the meeting was conditioned
on a public anti-corruption statement not on investigations themselves a distinction that during his deposition he was keen to note ambassador silence said then nothing about the request raised any red flags in his public testimony ambassador clarified that he had no firsthand knowledge of any linkage coming from the president and never discussed any preconditions with the president he merely presume and there were preconditions i'd also like to address the july 10th meeting in ambassador bolton office with 2 senior ukrainian officials allow me to submit that here too there is conflicting evidence about the facts both dr hill and lieutenant colonel of inman testified that ambassador seidlin raised investigations during this meeting causing
ambassador bolton to broccoli and the meeting dr hill testified she confronted ambassador. over his discussion about investigations bessemer silence testimony about this meeting however is scattered in his closed door deposition he testified that no national security staff member ever once expressed concerns to him that he was acting improperly and he denied that he raised investigations during this meeting but when he came here to testify in public he had knowledge for the 1st time he raised investigations but he denied that the meeting ended abruptly he maintained that dr hill never raised concerns to him and that any discussion of investigations did not mention anything specific such as biden or 2016. let me lastly address the allegation that president trump directed
vice president pence not to attend president selenski inauguration as another way of pressuring ukraine to investigate former vice president biden jennifer williams a senior advisor in the office of the vice president testified that a colleague she has said it was the chief of staff assistant hold her the chief of staff assistant to president trump a directed vice president penn's not to attend the inauguration however williams had no firsthand knowledge of any such direction or the reasons given for any such direction if indeed such a direction was given it's not clear from the evidence walk away it was done because the vice president's office was juggling other potential trips during that time and the ukrainian parliament skidoo scheduled the election on an extremely
short timeframe it was just 4 days notice williams explained that there was a window it was a window of dates may 30th through june 1st during which the vice president could attend the inauguration and that was communicated and that if it wasn't one of those dates it would be difficult or impossible to attend the inauguration separately the office of the vice president was also planning an unrelated trip to canada to promote the u.s. m.c.a. during the same window the u.s. m.c.a. was and still is a significant priority for the administration by president pence as done a number of public events in support of president trump was also planning foreign travel during this time period and as dr hill testified with president trump and vice president pence cannot both be out of the country at the same time.
williams explained that these factors created a narrow window for the vice president's participation in the inauguration dr hill testified that she had no knowledge that the vice president was directed not to attend on may 16th the outgoing ukrainian parliament scheduled the inauguration for may 20th only 4 days later may 20th was not one of the 3 dates that vice president pence's office had provided for his availability williams testified that this early date surprised the vice president's office because we weren't expecting the ukrainians to look at that time for george tenet the state department said that this short notice from the ukrainians forced the state department to scramble to find a u.s. official to lead the delegation finally settling on secretary of energy rick perry on may 20th the date of president selenski inauguration vice president pence was in
jacksonville florida for an event promoting u.s. m.c.a. ighly on september 25th president trump and president selenski met during the united nations general assembly the 2 met without ukraine ever taking action on investigation and according to ambassador taylor there was no discussion of investigations during this meeting i will now turn to the 2nd assertion that president withheld taxpayer funded security assistance to ukraine as a way of pressuring selenski to conduct these investigations here too context is critically important president trump has been skeptical of foreign assistance in general and believes quite strongly that our european allies should share more of the burden for regional defense that's an assertion he made on the campaign trail something he's raised consistently since it's also important to note the u.s. security assistance is conditioned to countries around the world and that u.s.
aid including a to ukraine has been temporarily paused in the past for various reasons and even for no reason at all. bassett or volcker testified the 55 day pause on security assistance did not strike him as uncommon and that the pause was not significant dr hill and state department official catherine croft both testified that security assistance to ukraine specifically had been temporarily paused in the past that massacre david hale the undersecretary of state for political affairs the 3rd most senior person at the state department testified that the national security council had launched a review of u.s. foreign assistance across the world to make sure x. spare dollars were spent in the national interest and to advance the principle of burden sharing by our allies dr hill testified that as she was leaving the n.s.c. in july there had been a directive for a whole scale review of our foreign policy assistance she said there had been more
scrutiny on security assistance as a result another important data point is president trumps willingness to take a stronger stance in supporting ukraine against russian aggression and compared to the previous administration several witnesses testified the president trumps willingness to provide ukraine with lethal defensive assistance javelin anti-tank missiles was a substantial improvement a stronger policy and is significant decision when we discuss democrat allegations that president trump withheld vital security assistant dollars from ukraine we should also remember that it was president trump and not president obama who provided ukraine with lethal defensive weapons i make all of these points year because there are relevant pieces of information that bear on how the house should view the evidence in question although the security assistance was paused in july
the evidence is virtually silent on the definitive reason for the pause. in fact the only direct evidence of the reason for the pause comes from o.m.b. official mark zandi who testified that he learned in september that the pause was related to the president's concern about other countries contributing more to ukraine he explained o.m.b. received requests for information on what other countries were contributing to ukraine which o.m.b. provided in the 1st week of september aid of course was released september 11th several witnesses have testified that security assistance was not linked to ukraine so investigations besser volcker's testimony is particularly relevant on this point because he was a key intermediary with ukrainian government and someone who they trusted and sought for advice and bassett or volcker testified that he was aware of no quid pro quo and the ukrainians never raised such concerns to him when ambassador taylor raised the possibility of a quid pro quo ambassador volcker volcker said he replied there's no linkage here
during his deposition chairmanship tried to pin him down on this point but ambassador volcker was clear there was no connection in his public testimony ambassador volcker reiterated there was no linkage similarly george can at the state department said he did not associate aid to investigations and he relayed how ambassador taylor told him to morrison and ambassador simon also believed the 2 were not linked ambassador silence testimony as we have seen already is a bit more scattered in his deposition he said that he was never aware preconditions on security assistance or that the security assistance was tied to investigations and bass or asylum then later provided a written statement supplementing his deposition in which he explained for the 1st time that in the absence of any clear explanation he presumed it link between
security assistance and an anti-corruption statement. were linked ambassadors on that also tested in his written supplement and he likely voiced this concern to mr your mac a close advisor of president selenski on september 1st in warsaw mr yarmulke however in a subsequent news account published on november 22nd disputed ambassador sun was a cow and said he doesn't remember any reference to the military aid and his public testimony ambassador simon reiterated that is testimony was based on a presumption acknowledging to congressman turner that no one on the planet told him that security assistance to ukraine was conditioned on investigations and massacre taylor is the other relevant actor here he testified in his deposition that he had a clear understanding that ukraine would not receive security assistance until president selenski committed to the investigations however in his public testimony ambassador john taylor acknowledged it is clear understanding came from embassador
someone who was merely presuming that there was a link president trump to rejected any linkage between security assistance to ukraine and investigations the president's statements in this regard ought to be persuasive because he made the same statement in 2 separate private conversations with 2 different u.s. officials and days apart it would be no reason for the president to be anything less than candid during these private conversations on august 31st president trump spoke by phone with senator johnson who was traveling to ukraine in the coming days and sought the president's permission to tell president to lansky that the security assistance would be forthcoming president trump responded that he was not ready to do that so i knew craning corruption and burden sharing among european allies when senator johnson raised a potential linkage between security assistance and investigation president trump
vehemently denied any connection saying no way i would never do that who told you that. in closing the call president to trump told senator johnson that we're reviewing it now referring to the security assistance and guess what you'll probably like my final decision he told that to senator johnson on august 31st this statement strongly suggests that president trump was already leaning toward lifting the aid separately on september 9th president trump spoke by phone with ambassador sama and ambassador someone asked the president what do you want from ukraine president response president trump responded i want nothing i want no quid pro quo i want selenski to do the right thing in addition senior ukrainian government officials denied any awareness of a linkage between u.s. security assistance and investigations these denials are persuasive because if there wasn't fact and or.