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tv   Impeachment Hearings  CNN  November 19, 2019 8:00am-1:00pm PST

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>> and when did that happen? >> stopping the trip planning? >> yeah. >> on may 13th. >> and how did you hear about that? >> i was called by a colleague in the -- in the vice president's chief of staff office and told to stop the trip planning. >> and as i understand it, it was the assistant to the chief of staff? >> that's correct mm. >> okay. so you didn't hear about it from general kellogg or the chief of staff or -- >> correct. >> or the president or the vice president. you heard about it from mr. schwartz' assistant? >> that's right. >> did you have any knowledge of the reasoning for stopping the trip? >> i asked my colleague why we should stop trip planning, why the vice president would not be attending and i was informed that the president had decided the vice president would not attend the inauguration. >> okay. but do you know why the president decided -- >> no, she did not have that information. >> okay. and ultimately, the vice president went to canada for a usmca event during this window of time, correct?
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>> correct. >> so it's entirely conceivable that the president decided that he wanted the vice president to go to canada on behalf of usmca instead of doing anything else, correct? >> i'm really not in a position to speculate what the motivations were behind the president's decisions. >> well, you know the vice president has done quite a bit of usmca events, correct? >> absolutely. yes, sir. >> and were you aware whether anyone at the state department qui inquired with your office for the vice president's availability for the trip to canada? >> at what point? >> early may, maybe may 8th? >> i was not involved in the trip planning for canada. one of my colleagues who covers western hemisphere was in charge of that, so i'm not aware of specific requests about the vice president's availability. i was aware from my colleague wlo who was planning that trip that we had competing trips for potentially the same uh window,
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but i was told the ukraine trip would take priority. >> but ultimately, you don't know? >> i don't know about the canada trip? >> you don't know the reason that the vice president was sent to canada for a usmca event instead of going to the ukraine? >> i don't know the reason why the president directed the vice president to go to canada instead of ukraine. >> colonel vindman, i would like to turn a little bit about the july 10th meeting, in ambassador bolton's office and the subsequent post-meeting in the ward room. who all was in the july 10th meeting, to the best of your recollection? >> are we talking about the ward room or are we talking about the actual meeting with ambassador bolton? >> we'll start with the first meeting in the ambassador's office. >> so from the u.s. side, we had ambassador bolton, dr. hill, i believe there was another special assistant to the
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president, wells griffith was in there, and myself, for the ukrainians -- >> who for the ukrainians? sorry. >> from the ukrainian side, we had alexander danylyuk, andray yermak, and alexander danylyuk's adviser, alexei semieni. >> and you testified you couldn't say why dr. bolton called the meeting short. >> i noted that it ended abruptly, but i didn't frankly -- i didn't exactly know why. >> and in if bolton meeting, you done remember ambassador sondland using the word "biden"? >> he did not, to the best of my recollection, i don't think he did. >> and then group decamped to take a photo, correct?
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>> correct. >> so the general feeling of the group was a positive one at that time, even though it may have ended abruptly? >> i think ambassador bolton was exceptionally qualified. he understood the strategic communications opportunity of having a photo and we prompted him before we completely adjourned to see if he was willing to do a photo and he did. >> so you went out to west executive ave or wherever in the white house and you took a photo. i think you said you took it? >> i certainly took a few of them. >> in the photo was secretary perry, ambassador volcker, mr. danylyuk, and mr. yermak. >> and when i was running through the u.s. side, of course, ambassador bolton, volcker, sondland were there and secretary perry was there. >> okay. now, and you testified that before the july 10th meeting, you had developed concerns about the narrative, you know, involving rudy giuliani.
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is that correct? >> that is correct. >> and had you heard, like a firsthand account from anyone on the inside, or had you just been following news accounts? >> so i certainly was following news accounts and that's from the ukrainian side. ukrainian press. and u.s. press. >> and then -- >> and my colleagues in the interagency also were concerned about this as this had started in the march time frame, so there had been ongoing conversations. so several different stories. >> and so when ambassador sondland mentioned the investigations, you sort of had a little bit of a clue of what the issue was? >> oh, definitely. >> and then you took the photo, a very nice photo, and you went to the ward room? >> correct. >> and do you remember, i think you conceded to us that you had a hard time remembering exactly
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what was said in the ward room. again, it's four months ago, it's hard to be precise about whether sondland, what specific words he used, whether he used "burisma," "2016," "investigations." >> i believe it's in the deposition, the three elements, burisma, bidens, and the 2016 elections were all mentioned. >> in the ward room? >> correct. >> i think -- you know, i think we can maybe go back to this, but i think on page 64 of your testimony, you told us that you don't remember him using "2016" in the ward room? >> i believe that i actually followed up and -- because this question was asked multiple times. i said, all three elements were in there. so maybe -- >> so when we asked the question, it sort of refreshed your recollection? >> yes, i guess that's a term now. >> there was some discussion of
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whether when mr. morrison took over the portfolio for dr. hill, whether you were sidelined at all. did you feel like you were? >> so, i certainly was excluded or didn't participate in the trip to ukraine, moldova, belarus at the end of august. and i wasn't initially -- before it changed from a potus trip to a vice president trip, to warsaw, i wasn't participating in that one. so i didn't miss that, no. >> did you express any concerns to mr. morrison about why you weren't included on those trips? >> so mr. morrison, i was on leave. i was supposed to be on leave from the 3rd of august through the 16th or so of august. and he called me and asked me to return.
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there was obviously high-priority travel to the region and he needed my assistance to help plan for it. and in asking my to return early from leave, which i had taken frequently, i had assumed i would be going on the trip. so after returning from leave early, when i was told i wasn't. correct. >> when feedback did he give you? >> he initially told me the aircraft acquired was too small and there wasn't enough room. >> did -- had you ever had any discussions with mr. morrison about concerns that he or dr. hill had with your judgment? >> did i ever have any conversations with mr. morrison about it? no. >> okay. did mr. morrison ever express concerns to you that he thought that maybe you weren't following the chain of command in all instances? >> he did not. >> and did dr. hill or mr. morrison ever ask you questions
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about whether you were trying to access information outside of your lane? >> they did not. >> and another, you know, aspect of the ukraine portfolio that you were not a part of were some of the communications mr. morrison was having with ambassador taylor. >> correct. >> and did you ever express concern that he was leaving you off those calls? >> well, certainly, it was concerning, he had just come onboard. he didn't have the -- you know, he wasn't steeped in all of the items that we were working on, including the policy that we had developed over the proceeding months. and i thought i could contribute to the performance of his duties. >> when you were -- you went to ukraine for the inauguration? >> correct. >> at any point during that trip, did mr. danylyuk offer you a position of defense minister with the ukrainian government?
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>> he did. >> how many times did he do that? >> i believe it was three times. >> do you have any reason why he asked you to do that? >> i don't know, but every single time, i dismissed it. upon returning, i notified my chain of command and the appropriate counterintelligence folks about the offer. >> ukraine's a country that's experienced a war with russia. certainly, their minister of defense is a pretty key position. for the ukrainians, president zelensky, mr. danylyuk, to bestow that honor on you, at least asking you, that was a big honor, krecorrect? >> i think it would be a great honor and frankly i'm aware of service members that have left service to help nurture the developing democracies in that part of the world, certainly in the baltics, former officers, and if i recall correctly, it was an air force officer that became minister of defense.
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i'm an american. i came here when i was a toddler and i immediately dismissed these offers. did not entertain them. >> when he made this offer to you initially, did you leave the door open? was there a reason that he had to come back and ask a second and third time or was he just trying to convince you? >> counsel, the whole notion is rather comical that i was being asked to consider whether i would want to be the minister of defense. i decided not leave the door open at all. but it is pretty funny for a lieutenant colonel in the united states army, which really is not that senior, to be offered that illustrious a position. >> when he made this offer to you, was he speaking in english or ukrainian? >> oh, mr. danylyuk is a absolutely flawless english speaker. he was speaking in english. and just to be clear, there were two other staff officers, embassy kyiv staff officers that were sitting next to me when this offer was made. >> and who were they?
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>> so one of them, you may have met. it was mr. david holmes. and the other was i don't know -- i mean, i guess i could -- it's another foreign service officer, keith bean. >> we met mr. holmes last friday evening. >> i understand. >> delightful fellow. >> and you said when you returned to the united states, you papered it up, given -- you know, with sci clearance, wherever a foreign government makes an overture like that, you paper it up and tell your chain of command? >> i did. but i also don't know if i fully entertained it as a legitimate officer. i was just making sure that i did the right thing in terms of reporting this. >> and did any of your supervisors, dr. hill at the time or dr. cupperman or ambassador bolton follow up with you about that? it's a rather significant -- you know, the ukrainians offered you
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the post of defense minister. you know, did you tell anyone in your chain of command about it? >> after i spoke to, i believe the deputy our deputy senior director, john areth was there, once inmentioned it to both of them, i don't believe there was ever a follow-up discussion. >> so it never came up with dr. kupperman or dr. hill? >> following that conversation i had with dr. hill, i don't believe there was a subsequent conversation and i don't believe ever having a conversation with dr. kupperman about it. >> did you brief director morrison when he came onboard? >> no, i completely forgot about it. >> and did mr. danylyuk ever ask you to reconsider? were there any other offers? >> no. bolton, did it come up again? >> it nev you ever think that possibly, if this information
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was, you know, got out, that it might create at least the perception of a conflict, that the ukrainians thought so highly of you to offer the defense ministry post. you know, on one hand, but on the other hand, you're responsible for ukrainian policy at the national security counsel. >> so, frankly, it's more important about what my american leadership, american chain of command thinks than any of the -- this is -- these are honorable people. i'm not sure if he meant it as a joke or not, but it's much more important what my civilian white house chain of command thinks more so than anybody else. and frankly, if they were concerned about me being able to continue my duties, they would have brought that to my attention. dr. hill stayed on for several more months and we continued to work to advance u.s. policy. >> okay.
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and during the times relevant of the committee's investigation, did you have any communications with mr. yermak or danylyuk outside of the july 10th meeting? >> i recall a courtesy note from mr. yermak within days of his return to july in which he wanted to preserve an open channel of communication and i said, you know, please feel free to contact me with any concerns. >> and were you following this, you know, there's sort of two tracks, ambassador taylor walked us through it during his testimony last wednesday. there was a -- he called it a regular channel and then he called it an irregular, but not outlandish channel, with ambassador sondland, ambassador volcker. were you tracking the sondland and volcker channel? during this time period? >> i'm trying to recall at which point i became aware ambassador -- certainly, i was aware of the fact that they were working together, sondland,
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ambassador sondland, ambassador volcker, and secretary perry were working together to advance u.s. policy interests that were in support of what had been agreed to, but i didn't really learn, like i said, until the july 10th -- actually, that's -- there may have been a slightly earlier point. i recall a meeting in which ambassador bolton facilitated a meeting between ambassador volcker and ambassador bolton in the june time frame. and there may have been some discussion about this external channel. but i frankly didn't become aware of these u.s. government officials being involved in this alternate track until july 10th. >> and i think we had some discussion that, you know, mr. giuliani was promoting a negative narrative about the ukraine and certain officials were trying to help the president understand that with zelensky, it was a new day and ukraine's going to be different. is that your understanding?
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>> that is correct. that is exactly what was being reported by the intelligence community, by the policy channels within the nsc, and the conservative voices of the various people that have actually met with him, including foreign officials. >> and to the extent that you're aware of what ambassador sondland's goals were here and ambassador volcker's goals were here, you think they were just trying to do the best they could and trying to advocate in the best interests of the united states? >> that is what i believed and that is what i still believe, frankly. >> and so to the extent mr. giuliani may have had differing views, they were trying to help him understand it was time to change those views? >> i think they were trying to bring him into the tent and have him kind of support the direction that we had settled on. >> and you never conferred with mr. giuliani? >> no. >> you never had any meetings, phone calls or anything of that sort. >> i did not. i only know him as new york's
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finest mayor. >> america's mayor. >> america's mayor. >> and did you've any discuss n discussions or communications during this relevant time period with the president? >> i've never had any contact with the president of the united states. >> my time has expired mr. chairman. thank you. >> i thank the gentlemen. we're going to now move to the five-minute member rounds. are you good to go forward or do you need a break? >> do you want to take a break? >> sure. >> i think we'll elect to take a short break. >> let's try to take a five or ten-minute break and we'll resume with the five-minute rounds. if i could ask the audience and members to please allow the witnesses to leave the room first. >> as the committee takes a short break, i'm jake tapper, live in washington. this is the first round of the impeachment hearings this week. jennifer williams, a state department aid to vice president mike pence and lieutenant colonel alexander vindman, the
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national security counsel's top ukraine adviser at president trump's white house, they have been answering the intelligence committee's questions. much of the testimony so far has surrounded that july 25th phone call between president trump and ukrainian president voldmore zelensky. >> what's your reaction to the testimony so far? >> there was a sound you can hear during a lot of the testimony today which was republican talking points disintegrating like crystals falling apart. >> how so? >> three of them. the idea that all of the information that the democrats have produced so far was secondhand. well, obviously, today, we heard a great deal about the president's own role in the july 25th phone call. the second point was that, well, ukraine didn't know that the aid was conditioned on pursuing these investigations for the president's political benefit.
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colonel vindman refuted that, convincingly. >> because of that july 10th meeting. >> the july 10th meeting -- >> with a bunch of ukrainians. >> correct. >> and third, the idea that, well, what difference does this make? because ukraine got the money anyway. that's another republican talking point. but dan goldman, the counsel did a very effective job of showing that the reason the aid was produced was that the whistle-blower had come forward at that point. that basically, the trump administration was busted. they got caught and that's the reason they released the money, not because they had any -- you know, any good reason to release the money. so those three republican talking points, i think, were severely impacted by this morning's testimony. >> and here's another one i'll add to that, which is that these witnesses are, you know, people with an anti-trump, pro-democratic agenda and that they were pushing out
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information. the way that devin nunes tried and failed -- >> the republican ranking member on the committee -- >> the republican ranking member, to get them to say that they were the ones that leaked the information, and the fact that their answers were no, you know, definitively no, gave them even more credibility, than we saw in the past. the one thing that we didn't know, which the republicans did successfully keep under wraps, is that lieutenant colonel vindman got a job offer from the ukrainians. and that is going to feed into every single conspiracy theory that is already out there about his dual loyalty, which, you know, just to kind of pre-react to, preact, if that's a word. look at him. he's in the uniform of the united states army and he, you know, almost was emotional at the end of his opening statement, talking about how grateful he is to his father, who left the then soviet union to give him a life, to give him an opportunity to serve in this
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uniform and to be able to tell a freely democratic elected congress what he sees as the truth. >> let's take a break and listen to that sound bite, because it was one of the most striking moments of the hearing so far. >> dad, i'm sitting here today in the u.s. capitol, talking to our elected professionals, talking to our elected professionals, is proof that you made the right decision 40 years ago to leave the soviet union and come here to the united states of america in search of a better life for our family. do not worry. i will be fine for telling the truth. >> lieutenant colonel vindman talking there to his father, who fled russia with his three children, i think, the mother, his wife, had passed away. and that was a moment, dana bash, where vindman was talking about how he could not do what he is doing right now, had he stayed in the then soviet union, now russia, because he would be
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killed. >> he would be killed. >> that's what he was saying. >> and it was a very dramatic moment to set up the place that he's coming from. one more thing, i was surprised that republicans didn't point out, flatly, that his very clear opinion was that what he saw and heard on the call, what he saw going on with regard to ukraine was inappropriate. it is his opinion. it might be factually based, it might be based on the policy and traditionses of united states, but i was surprised the republicans didn't try to call him out. >> well, it's early yet. and one of the things we did hear from devin nunes, the ranking republican on the committee was not a defense of president trump or a defense of the phone call, but really just an attack on the media. >> i think you see in the competing strategies almost the parallel universe we're operating in here. the democrats are trying to do a building blocks to get us to ambassador sondland later in the week, who will be the key witness. they're trying to talk about the call, how the process worked, who was key to it, who had the most access to the president.
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that is the building block approach that the democrats are taking. chairman nunes leading the republican and then mr. castor, the republican counsel, first, did you leak? are you disloyal to your country? >> both denied that they leaked. >> both denied that they leaked. then the idea of trying to right there in a public hearing, to out the whistle-blower. who did you talk to? and he said he talked to george kent and an individual in the intelligence community. devin nunes wanted him to name that individual. on the advice of counsel and with the help of the democratic chairman, colonel vindman refused to do that. but it was an obvious, deliberate effort to out the whistle-blower. back to dana's point about the conspiracy theories. and then in the conversation with colonel vindman about this officer. he says the national security adviser to the new ukrainian president offered him the job of defense minister. which is new information. all of us say, wow, that's a big deal. a cornlonel in the united state army being offered this job in ukraine because of his heritage. the counsel was asking him, what language were they speaking? essentially getting to the point, were you speaking in
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russian or ukrainian in these officials. and he says, no, they were speaking in english. and he added, i immediately reported this to my superiors. we had a laugh about it. he asked three times in a meeting and never came back to it. and made clear that he got it on the record and worked for several months with mr. fiona hill. but they were trying to impugn his loyalty to the united states of america, a man who got a purple heart serving in iraq. >> combat operations in iraq. laura coates is with us here. and laura, both of these witnesses said that they did not leak anything about the july 25th phone call between trump and zelensky to the meeting. jennifer williams, the pence aide, said she didn't talk about it with anybody, not even her superior, who was also on the call. and lieutenant colonel vindman also objected to it and he said he took it up the proper chain of command zp. >> so you're seeing time and again from the whistle-blower complaint to now, proper
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channels are being used, which is exactly what you would like to have happen. you would like people to have a if you see something, say something philosophy. what they're trying to do is say, the process is the philosophy. when you cannot attack the underlying facts that are being stated, if they have been corroborated not only the rough transcript of the president's phone call himself, the president's own statement and other people, at least over a dozen witnesses, what do you do? you try to go over the way in which the vehicle of information was actually traveling. so what you're seeing here time and again is not only with john talking about the impugning of integrity of one's loyalty, but also the idea, why are you not asking questions about the underlying substance of it? why are you asking the leaking to the media if again the idea of trying to shoot the message as opposed to talking about the underlying complaints. and all of this right now tells us, time and again, we have the same story. we have this july 25th telephone call that raised eyebrows, suspicions. it was raised up the chain, none of that has changed now. >> and if you're just tuning in,
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the house intelligence committee has taken a quick break in hearing from witnesses. and when they gavel back, we will bring that to you immediately live. we're chatting over what we heard this morning. and let me go to scott jennings, the republican on the panel here. what do you make of all of it? what do you make of devin nunes' instead of, you know, discussing the facts, being debated, talking about how awful the media is? >> well, these are common republican complaints. you know, that the media has time and again gotten things wrong about donald trump. it wasn't germane exactly to the testimony today, but it is a common republican rallying cry. i mean, my view of the witnesses is, they were honorable, honest, patriotic, earnest. they were there to do the right thing. the moment where he was talking to his dad struck me because when i was working in the bush white house and received a subpoena and it was in the news, i remember getting an email from my dad back home in kentucky saying, is everything going to be okay? and so that moment, you know, sort of struck a personal chord with me.
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i think what you're going to hear from republicans is that, look, this testimony doesn't change anything. it's the president that sets the foreign policy, not these witnesses, no matter how honest and honorable they are. it's not uncommon to withhold aid for various reasons. and there are admissions today and ongoing admissions that there is a need to root out corruption, broadly, in the ukraine. so i think that will be a theme that you see heading throughout the rest of the afternoon. >> john dean, this is not your first impeachment proceeding, so what do you make of it all? >> i thought it was a bad morning for the republicans. they really have no defense, as jeffrey said, we saw it crumble this morning. a few items they've been hanging on to. the effort to out the whistle-blower totally failed. and these are good witnesses. and they are performing at the highest level. >> you know what, i just want to drill down on that a little bit. because i think people at home may not have understood the subtext of what was going on when, who was it, steve castor,
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the republican, was asking vindman, lieutenant colonel vindman, who he spoke with. just so people know at home, behind the scenes during the closed-door testimony, there were attempts to introduce the name of the alleged or suspected name of the alleged whistle-blower and ask lieutenant colonel vindman if he had, in fact, spoken to that individual and the objections came up at the time, as well. and i guess it was nunes, maybe -- >> it was nunes. >> who brought it up this time. let's listen to that exchange. >> mr. vindman, you testified in your deposition that you did not know the whistle-blower. >> ranking member, it's lieutenant colonel vindman, please. >> lieutenant colonel vindman, you testified in the deposition that you did not know who the whistle-blower was or is? >> i do not know who the whistle-blower is. >> how is it possible for you to name these people and then out
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the whistle-blower? >> i -- per the advice of my counsel, i have been advised not to answer specific questions about members of the intelligence community. >> and what's going on here, john dean, and you can shed a little bit more light on this is chairman schiff is very sensitive to the idea of the whistle-blower being outed, even though he had previously said that the whistle-blower wanted to talk to the committee. and there have been republican attempts to find out who the whistle-blower is. >> it's a law that's obviously going to be amended after this episode. it never contemplated that a president of the united states would try to out a whistle-blower. it was never contemplated that congress would try to out a whistle-blower. i think those will be parts of the statute in the future. because clearly, they're trying to do it. and it would be so contrary to the thrust of the law, where somebody who follows the procedure that's set out, that they can come forward with information. it's vital not only to government, it's vital to private industry. there are whistle-blower laws there, too, and these help the
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system. they keep it operating properly. >> you know what's interesting about that, also, is we often hear complaints from republicans about leakers, people in the white house who just leak to the media. here we have an individual who went through the proper channels. >> and there's no branch more dependent on the whistle-blowers than congress. that's how they find out about the most significant and serious instances of fraud, waste, and abuse within government, is when folks feel empowered to use those laws and the protection they afford to make their concerns known to members of congress. senator grassley has been a huge champion of whistle-blower rights -- >> for decades. >> for decades. so to see, particularly the republicans, striking out against the kblowhistle-blower this case is really remarkable. >> what's also weird about this, laura coates, is i remember when i was at the white house during the obama years, covering the obama years, and the whistle-blowers that were coming forward to talk about benghazi, which was a legitimate scandal in its own right, and the fact that there was a lot of respect
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for them, regardless of their personal politics. from the same republicans that we hear trying to out the whistle-blower today. >> what you described is convenient hypocrisy, right? but you also know from the obama administration is that the intelligence community members who would file a whistle-blower complaint remain the most vulnerable group of people in all of whistle-blowers. most people have the ability not to be retaliated against in any industry, whether it's private or, of course, the federal government, but the intelligence community was singled out as the group that would not have full access to the courts in the event that they were retaliated against because of the sensitive nature of the classified information they would have. their very perch made them continuously vulnerable. and you think about that, these congressmen and women are well aware about the vulnerability of the intelligence members, about the notion they don't have resource from the courts. and yesterday, they're still insisting that they should have that particular vulnerability and still be outed. what would possibly be the incentive of anyone going
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forward in the intelligence community or otherwise to say, listen, we've got a matter of extreme importance. i am privy alone to the information by virtue of my position. and i'm not going to have recourse in courts and i won't have support in members of congress, and the executive branch is also going to throw me under the bus. what information do the american people hope to gain in the future? >> and let's remember that that might be the case for a whistle-blower during a democratic administration, to whatnots to come forward. these precedents are there for a reason. jeffrey toobin, what are we expecting democrats to do as they -- as individual members get their chance to ask questions of the witnesses? and what are you expecting republicans to do? >> the democrats, i expect, are going to talk about donald trump. the criticism which the republicans have raised in the first day of hearings, which i thought had some legitimacy, which is that it was -- the testimony was somewhat remove d from the president, second or third hand. i thought dan goldman, who was the counsel for the democrats, put almost all of his
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questioning of the two witnesses on the july 25th phone call with the president and going over it in relation to everything else that was going on. i think with the republicans, it's going to be more attempts to identify the whistle-blower. more complaints about the process. and it just diminishing the importance of the testimony overall. but i think you're going to hear a lot about donald trump from the democrats. >> and dana bash, very quickly, as we're waiting for this hearing to resume, one of the other points you were touching on is we expect for some of the savvier republicans is to talk about how much vindman and williams are being asked about their opinion. >> yeah, it's hard to imagine that they won't ask that. it's easy for them to answer, saying they've worked for presidents of both parties. >> we'll now begin a period of
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five-minute questions from the members. i recognize myself for five minutes. i want to ask you both about some of the questions you were asked by my colleagues in the minority. first, if i could ask you, miss williams and colonel vindman, you were asked a series of questions by the ranking member at the outset, were you aware of the fact that, and there was a recitation of information about burisma, zlochevski and the bidens, is it fair to say you have no firsthand knowledge of the matters that were asked in those questions? >> that is correct. >> miss williams, you were also asked a series of questions about the vice president's schedule and whether he could have made the inauguration or was the president traveling or the trip to canada. let's be clear about something. the president -- you were instructed that the president had told the vice president not to go before you even knew the date of the inauguration, is that correct? >> yes, that's correct.
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>> so at the time he was told not to go, there was no calculation about where he might be or where the president might be, because the date hadn't even been set yet, is that right? >> that's right. the date had not been set, so we were weighing a number of different scenarios of when the inauguration might fall. >> now, i think you said that originally, the president had told him to go. and then you received the instruction that the president no longer wanted him to go. were you aware in the interim between the president telling him to go or the president telling him not to go that rudy giuliani had to abort a trip that he was going to make to ukraine? >> i had seen that in the press, yes. >> and had you seen in the press that rudy giuliani blamed people around zelensky for having to cancel the trip? >> for having to cancel his trip? >> yes. >> i had read that in the press reporting, yes. >> had you read in the press
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reporting also that giuliani wanted to go to ukraine to, as he put it, not meddle in an election, but meddle in investigations? >> i did read that, yes. >> and that occurred prior to the president canceling the vice president's trip to the inauguration? >> it did. i believe it was around may 10th or so. >> colonel vindman, you were asked by the minority counsel about the president's words in the july 25th call. and whether the president's words were ambiguous. was there any ambiguity about the president's use of the word "biden." >> there was not. >> it was pretty clear that the president wanted zelensky to commit to investigating the bidens, was it not? >> that is correct. >> that is one of the favors that you thought should be properly characterized as a demand? >> that is correct. >> and there's no ambiguity
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about that? >> in my mind, there was not. >> it's also true, is it not, that these two investigations that the president asked zelensky for into 2016 and into the bidens were precisely the two investigations that rudy giuliani was calling for publicly, were they not? >> that is correct. >> so when people suggest, well, maybe rudy giuliani was acting on his own and maybe he was a freelancer or whatever, the president referred to exactly the same two investigations rudy giuliani was out pushing on his behalf. is that correct? >> that is correct. >> now, miss williams, you were asked about the meeting the vice president had with zelensky in september. in which the ukrainians brought up their concern about the hold on the security assistance. is that right? >> that's right. >> and you were asked about whether in that meeting between the vice president zelensky, the
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bidens of burisma came up and i think you said they did not. is that correct? >> that's correct, they did not come up. >> now, that bilateral meeting was a large meeting that involved two or three dozen people, wasn't it? >> it was. >> so in the context of this meeting with two or three dozen people, the vice president didn't bring up those investigations, correct? >> no, he did not bring up those investigations. he's never brought up those investigations. >> were you aware that immediately, and i mean immediately, after that meeting broke up, ambassador sondland has said that he went over to mr. yermak, one of the top advisers to zelensky, and told yermak that if they wanted the military aid, they were going to have to do these investigations or words to that effect? >> i was not aware at the time of any meetings, side meetings that ambassador sondland had, following the vice president's meeting with president zelensky. i've only learned that through ambassador sondland's testimony.
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>> so with the big public meeting, it didn't come up, and you can't speak to the private meeting that was held immediately thereafter? >> correct. the vice president moved on with his schedule immediately after his meeting with president zelensky. >> now, colonel vindman, i want to go back to that july 10th meeting or meetings. the one with ambassador bolton and the one in the ward room that followed quickly on its heels. were you aware that ambassador bolton instructed your superior, dr. hill, to go talk to the lawyers after that meeting? >> i learned shortly after she was finished talking to ambassador bolton and after he wrapped up with the ward room, that she did have a meeting with him and that's what was expressed. >> now, you thought you should go talk to the lawyers on your own, correct? >> that is my recollection, yes. >> but bolton also thought that
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dr. hill should go talk to the lawyers, because of his concern over this drug deal that sondland and mulvaney were cooking up, is that right? >> that is my understanding. >> and in fact, this drug deal, as bolton called it, involved this conditioning of the white house meeting on these investigations that sondland brought up. is that right? >> that is my understanding. >> and in fact, this same conditioning or this same issue of wanting these political investigations and tying it to the white house meeting, this came up in the july 25th call, did it not? when the president asked for these investigations? >> that is correct. >> so the very same issue that bolton said to hill, go talk to the lawyers, the very same issue that prompted you to go talk to the lawyers ends up coming up in that call with the president.
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is that right? >> that is correct. >> and it was that conversation that once again led you back to the lawyer's office. >> that is correct. >> i yield to the ranking member. >> mr. chairman, you took seven minutes, so i assume you're going to give us equal time. >> yes, mr. nunes. >> thank the gentlemen. >> lieutenant colonel vindman, before i turn to mr. jordan, i asked miss williams about this, about if she had ever accessed without authorization fellow employees' computer system. she answered no to the question. have you ever accessed anyone's computer system at the nsc without authorization? >> without their knowledge, no. >> knowledge or authorization? >> i'm sorry? >> knowledge or authorization? you never accessed someone's
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computer without their knowledge or authorization? >> correct. >> mr. jordan? >> i thank the ranking member. colonel, i want to thank you for your service and sacrifice to our great country. this afternoon, your former boss, mr. morrison is going to be sitting right where you're sitting and he's going to testify and i want to give you a chance, i think we're bringing you a copy, i want to give you a chance to respond to some of the things that mr. morrison said in his deposition. page 82 of the transcript from mr. morrison. mr. morrison said this. "i had concerns about lieutenant colonel vindman's judgment. among the discussions i had with dr. hill and the transitions was our team, its strengths, its weaknesses and fiona and others had raised concerned about alex's judgment. when mr. morris was asked by mr. castor, did anyone ever bring concerns to you that they believed that colonel vindman may have leaked something, mr. morrison replied, yes." so so your boss had concerns about your judgment. your former boss, dr. hill, had
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concerns about your judgment. your colleagues had concerns about your judgment and your colleagues felt that there were times when you leaked information. any idea why they have those impressions, colonel vindman? >> yes, representative jordan, i guess i'll start by reading dr. hill's own words, as she attested to in my last evaluation that was dated middle of july, right before she left. >> alex is a top 1% military officer and the best army officer i have worked with in my 15 years of government service. he is brilliant, unflappable, and exercises excellent judgment. i'm sorry. was exemplary during numerous visits, so forth and so on. i think you get the idea. mr. morrison -- the date of that was -- yeah. let's see, i'm sorry. july 13th. so mr. jordan, i would say that
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i can't say what mr. morrison -- why mr. morrison questioned my judgment. we had only recently started working together. he's -- he wasn't there very long, and we were just trying to figure out our relationship. maybe it was a different culture, military culture versus -- >> and colonel, you never leaked information? >> i never did, never would. that is preposterous that i would do that. >> okay. >> colonel, it's interesting, we depose a lot of people in the bunker, in the basement of the capitol over the last several weeks, but of all of those depositions, only three of the individuals we deposed were actually on the now somewhat famous july 25th phone call between president trump and president zelensky. there was you, the individual sitting beside you, miss williams, and then there was, of course, your boss, mr. morrison, who i just read from his deposition. when we asked miss williams who she spoke to after the call about the call, she was willing to answer our questions. and chairman schiff allowed her to answer our questions. when we asked mr. morrison who he spoke to after the call about the call, he was willing to
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answer our questions, and mr. schiff allowed -- chairman schiff allowed him to answer our question. but when we ask you, you first told us three individuals. at the nsc. your brother and the two lawyers. and then you said there was a group of other people you communicated with but you would only give us one individual in that group. secretary kent. and the chairman would only allow you to give us that name. when we ask you who else you communicated with, you would not tell us. i want to know, first, how many other people are in that group of people you communicated with outside the four individuals i just named. >> mr. jordan, on call readout, certainly, after the first call, there were probably half a dozen or more people that i read out. those are people with the proper clearance and the need to know. in this case, because of the sensitivity of the call and mr. eisenberg told me not to speak to anybody else, i only read out, outside of the nsc, two individuals. >> two individuals. >> kent and one other person. >> and you're not willing to tell us who that other
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individual is? >> mr. chairman, point of order? >> mr. chairman, point of order? >> the gentlemen will suspend. counsel? >> mr. chairman, i would ask you to enforce the rule with regard to the disclosure, with regard to the intelligence officer. >> thank you, counsel. you know, as i indicated before, this committee will not be used to out the whistle-blower. that same -- >> mr. chairman -- >> -- necessity -- >> can you please stop the time -- >> -- will persist. our recognized again mr., jordan. >> mr. chairman, i don't see how this is outing the whistle-blower. the witness has testified in his deposition that he doesn't know who the whistle-blower is. you have said, even though no one believes you, you have said you don't know who the whistle-blower is. so how is this outing the whistle-blower to find out who this individual is? >> mr. jordan, this is your time for questioning. you can use it any way you'd like, but your questions should be addressed to the witness and your questions should not be addressed to trying to out the whistle-blower. >> okay, okay.
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colonel vindman, there's another thing mr. morrison told us in his deposition. he said he was not concerned about the call itself. he said there was nothing illegal or improper on the call, but he was concerned about the call leaking, the contents of the call leaking. >> excuse me -- >> he said this. he was concerned how it would play out in washington's polarized environment, how the contents would be used in washington's political process. >> excuse me. >> mr. morrison was right zp. >> excuse me, mr. jordan, can i get a page? >> page 44. mr. morrison was right. the call leaks, the whistle-blower goes to chairman schiff, staff, then runs off to the lawyer, the same lawyer who said in january of 2017 the coup has started against president trump. the one thing the democrats -- the one thing they didn't count on, the one thing they didn't count on was the president releasing the call transcript and letting us all see what he said! they didn't count on that! the transcript shows no linkage. the two individuals on the call
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have both said no pressure, no pushing, no linkage with security assistance dollars to an investigation. miss williams, after the call on the 25th, we know that colonel vindman talked to several people. after the call on the 25th, how many people did you talk to about the call? >> i did not speak to anybody about the call. >> didn't speak to anybody? >> no. >> i yield back. >> mr. jaimes? >> thank you, mr. chairman. i ask unanimous consent to enter the lieutenant colonel's performance review into the record? >> i may inquire of colonel vindman whether you would like us to do that? if you would, we're happy to? if you prefer it not be in the record, i leave that to you? >> yeah, i guess with redactions, it has pii in it that should be protected and maybe the only elements that are relevant are the actual narrative. >> did you read the relevant portions? >> that was the short version.
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there were some other paragraphs in there. >> i'll withdraw my request. >> okay, thank you. >> thank you both for your testimony. miss williams, you joined the foreign service in 2006, correct? >> correct. >> prior to become a nonpartisan career official you worked as a field representative for the bush/cheney in 2004 and held a political >> and now as a service officer, you are giving advice on foreign policy in ukraine and russia, correct? >> that's right. >> the president personally targeted you in a tweet. this is after he targeted ambassador yovanovitch during her hearing testimony. i would like to show and read you the tweet. it says, tell jennifer williams, whoever that is, to read both transcripts of the presidential calls and see the just-released
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statement from ukraine, then she should meet with the other never trumpers who i don't know who mostly never even heard of and work out a better presidential attack. ms. williams, are you engaged in a presidential attack? >> no, sir. >> ms. williams, are you a never trumper? >> i'm not sure i know an official definition of a never trumper. >> would you describe yourself that way? >> i wouldn't, no. >> did that tweet make an impression on you when you read it? >> it certainly surprised me. i was not expecting to be called out by name. >> it surprised me, too. it looked an awful lot like witness harassment and tampering in an effort to get you to perhaps shape your testimony today. lieutenant colonel, you previously testified that you've dedicated your entire professional life to the united states of america. colonel, above your left breast, you are wearing a device which
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is a springfield musket on a blue field. what is that device? >> it's combat infantryman's badge. >> how do you get the combat inf infantryman's badge? >> you have to be in combat. >> under fire? >> correct. >> you're also wearing a purple heart. can you tell us in 20 or 30 seconds why you're wearing a purple heart? >> in 2014, in the ramp-up to probably the largest urban operation in decades outside of folusia, we were having a control with the marines, and my vehicle was hit with a device that penetrated armor. >> were you injured? >> i was.
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>> the day after you appeared for your definition, colonel vindman, president trump called you a never trumper. would you call yourself a never trumper? >> i would call myself a never partisan. >> you've served under two republicans, two democrats a. do you ever take action based on your political beliefs? >> never. conspiracy theorists, including rudy giuliani, have said you harbor ill will on ukraine. they've accused you of espionage and dual loyalties. we've seen that in this room today. the three minutes we asked about the offer making you administrator of defense, that may have been cloaked in a brooks brothers suit, that was
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designed exclusively to give the right wing media an opening to questioning your loyalties. i want people to understand what that was all about. it's the kind of attack -- it's the keihne of thing you say when you're defending the indefensible. it's what you say when it's not enough to attack the media, the way the ranking member gave over his opening statement or to attack the democrat, but it's what you stoop to when the indefensibility of your case is when you wear a field of blue above a purple heart. i, sir, thank you for your service and yield back the balance of my time. >> mr. conaway? >> i yield my five minutes. >> speaker of the house nancy pelosi said president trump committed the impeachable offense of bribery evidenced in his july 25th call transcript with president zelensky. in concert with that, multiple
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democratic members of this committee gave tv and radio interviews over this past week discussing how the president's conduct supported his impeachment for committing bribery. all of which struck me as very odd because for the longest time, this was all about quid pro quo, according to the whistleblower complaint. but after witness after witness began saying there was no quid pro quo or even that quid pro quo was not even possible, we saw a shift from the democrats. they briefly started to refer to the president's conduct on the july 25th call as extortion. and now it shifted again last week to bribery. ms. williams, you used the word "unusual" to describe the president's call last -- on july 25th. lieutenant colonel vindman, you used the word "inappropriate" and "improper."
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i've word searched each of your transcripts, and the word "bribery" or "bribe" doesn't appear anywhere in that. ms. williams, you've never used the word "bribery" or "bribe" to explain mr. trump's conduct, correct? >> no, sir. >> colonel vindman, you haven't, either? >> that is correct. >> the problem is, in an impeachment inquiry, t the spea of the house says is all about bribery where bribery is the impeachable offense, no witness has used the word bribery to describe president trump's conduct, none of that. these aren't all of the deposition transcripts. these are just ten that have been released. six weeks of witness interviews in this impeachment inquiry. hundreds of hours of testimony. thousands of questions asked, thousands of answers given.
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the number of times that witnesses have been asked any question about whether or not president trump's conduct constituted bribery before ambassador yovanovitch was asked by my colleague, congressman stewart, last thursday is zero. the number of times witnesses have used the word "bribery" or "bribe" to describe president trump's conduct in the last six weeks of this inquiry zero. in fact, in these 3,500 pages of sworn deposition testimony in just these ten transcripts released thus far, the word "bribery" appears in these 3500 pages exactly one time. and ironically, it appears not in a description of president trump's alleged conduct, it appears in the description of vice president biden's alleged conduct. this is important, because as early as next week, my democratic colleagues are going to say, we need to vote on the
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evidence from this impeachment inquiry on the impeachment of the president for bribery. and they're going to send a report to the judiciary committee, and because there's more democrats than republicans, it's going to likely pass. and when that happens, the american people need to be clear that when the democrats, what they are describing as bribery, not a single witness is describing it as bribery. we've heard many times in the course of this proceeding that the facts of the president are not in dispute. but the american people are asking, if the facts are the same, why do the crimes that the president is being accused of keep changing? why do we go from quid pro quo to extortion to bribery? chairman nunes told you the answer. the answer is polling. wa "washington times" asked americans, what would be the most damning information? it didn't come back quid pro
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quo, it came back bribery. so this case is bribery. the democrats have forbidden some of the white house republicans from proceeding, but you can't defend yourself from an accusation that keeps changing in the middle of a proceeding. if the democrats accused the president about a high crime, they ought to know what it is, and when speaker pelosi says it's about bribery, it should be overwhelming. instead it's invisible. i yield back. >> ms. sewell? >> mr. chairman, i would like to join everyone in thanking both of our witnesses for your service. lieutenant colonel vindman, as part of your policy portfolio in the white house, you maintain a relationship with ukranian officials, do you not? >> that is correct. >> you explained earlier in your testimony that your job within the white house was to
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coordinate united states and ukraine policy, is that right? >> it is to coordinate united states policy vis-a-vis ukraine, correct. >> you testified in the spring of this year that these officials, these ukranian officials, began asking, quote, advice on how to respond to mr. giuliani's advances, end quote. is that correct? >> that is correct. >> what do you understand they meant by mr. giuliani's advances? >> i understood that to mean both his public commentary, so publicly calling for investigations into 2016, burisma and hunter biden, as well as his direct overtures to the government of ukraine directly and through proxies. that's what i understood. >> and as you understand it, whose authority do you think mr. giuliani was acting under? >> congresswoman, i don't know.
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>> did out crathe ukranian offi you spoke to understand that mr. giuliani was telling you to investigate vice president biden's son and debunk the 2016 conspiracy theories? >> i'm sorry, can you say that again, ma'am? >> do you think the ukranian officials you spoke to understood the underlying meeting of mr. giuliani's advances to be both investigating the bidens as well as debunking the 2016 conspiracy theories? >> yes, i think to be clear, i think you're referring to debunking that it was a russian interference. >> exactly. >> now, was this official u.s. foreign policy, to push into investigation into the bidens? >> it was not part of any process i investigated.
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>> did you understand this was to assist in ukraine foreign policy? >> obviously ukraine reforms were part of our policy. i was not to determine whether these particular reforms -- >> that's fair. was the purpose of the call on the 25th to work with mr. giuliani on these investigations? >> that is correct. >> in fact, mr. giuliani has made no secret about the fact he's acting on behalf of mr. trump. as mr. giuliani told the "new york times," and i'm going to put this on the screen, he told them, quote, my only client is the president of the united states. he's the one i have the obligation to report to and to tell him what happens. to add to that, the investigations would be, quote, very, very helpful to my client and may turn out to be helpful to my government, end quote.
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you were in contact with giving your portfolio. were you concerned about mr. giuliani's advances? >> yes, they were. >> did they understand the political nature of the requests being asked of them? >> i believe they did. >> did they understand it was affecting u.s. domestic policy? >> i'm not sure what they frankly understood about u.s. -- i think they understood the implications, yes. >> you testified earlier that you warned the ukranians not to get involved in u.s. domestic policy, is that right? >> i counseled them, yes. >> counseled them. in fact, you testified that you felt like it was important that you were espousing not just what you thought but tradition and policy of the united states to say that? >> it is what i knew for a fact to be u.s. policy. >> now, why do you think it's
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important for foreign governments not to get involved in political affairs of a nation like the united states? >> congresswoman, the first thought that comes to mind is russian interference in 2016, the impact that had on internal politics and the consequences it had for russia itself. the administration enforced sanctions, heavy sanctions, against russia for their interference, and that would not be in u.s. policy. >> colonel, i'm running out of time. is it normal for a private citizen, a non-u.s. government official, to get involved in foreign policy and foreign affairs like mr. giuliani? >> i don't know if i have the experience to say that, but it certainly wasn't helpful and it didn't help advance u.s. national security interests. >> thank you plr, mr. chairman. i yield back. >> mr. turner.
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>> ms. williams, colonel vindman, i want to thank you for your knowledge and expertise. it's very important as we help our allies and counter those who are not our allies. miss williams, you are responsible, as part of your portfolio, you advised the president of ukraine, correct? >> correct. >> ms. williams, you are the adviser to the president on ukraine and you coordinated foreign policy, correct? >> i probably ease that back. i took that off my job description to have on my eval, but i certainly spent much more time with the president. >> but your statement as you submitted it today that says, i am the principal adviser to the
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national security adviser of ukraine, correct? >> that might have been what i wrote yesterday when i was drafting it, but i chose to ease back on that language even though it was in my evaluation. >> you wrote what i just read? >> congressman, what i'm saying is what i write into the record this morning didn't say that. >> noted. because you know ukraine, you know that we worked through our allies and our multilateral relations, and you know that ukraine is an aspiring member of the eu and nato, right, miss williams? >> yes, that's correct. >> colonel vindman? >> yes, that's correct. >> and you know that the nato and the eu both have offices in ukraine and we try to advance our policy with the eu and nato, and you know that ambassador
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sondland would be responsible for ukraine, right, ms. williams? >> i would say because of this significant relationship between the eu and ukraine, that would fall to ambassador sondland. obviously we have an ambassador in ukraine as well. >> colonel vindman, you would agree? >> i agree with ms. williams. >> lieutenant colonel, you said in your written statement that mayor rudolph giuliani defied policy. >> i said false narrative in the record this morning, but i have not met him. >> so you never had a conversation with him about ukraine or been in a meeting where he spoke to others about ukraine? >> no, just his comments on tv and the news. >> similarly, you've never met the president of the united states, sfl
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states, right? >> that is correct. >> so you never advised the president of ukraine? >> i helped him get -- >> you said the organization of president zelensky, following the visit the members had a debriefing. you were a member but you weren't in that meeting, were you? >> that's correct. >> we'll just have a note there that that meeting occurred without you. you do know that this impeachment inquiry is about the president of the united states, don't you? >> i do. >> you said you're responsible for coordinating u.s.-ukranian policy? >> correct. >> does the secretary of state pompeo report to you? >> he does not. >> ambassador volker? >> he does not. >> ambassador of ukraine, eu, nato, anyone in europe report to
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you with respect to your abilities of coordinating u.s. policy with ukraine? >> i head what i view as a head committee. i chair those meetings. >> does anybody need your approval in policy to work with ukraine policy? >> it should be recorded by the nse, correct. >> ms. williams, do you have any idea that whoever is part of this inquiry, has lied to this committee? >> i do not have any testimony -- >> do you have any evidence, though that, they perjured themselves? >> no, because i don't have the transcripts. >> lieutenant vindman, are you
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aware that anybody in this party perjured themselves? >> no, i don't. >> i yield my testimony. >> i thank the gentleman. i want to make one thing clear for folks watching today. bribery doesn't involve a quid pro quo, bribery involves the conditioning of a specific act for something of value. an official act may be a white house meeting. an official act may be 400 million in military aid, and something of value to a president might include investigations of their political rival. the reason we don't ask witnesses, who are fact witnesses, to make a judgment about whether a crime or bribery has been committed, or more siskly, another way to raise
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prices. that's why we don't ask you those questions. for one thing, you may not be aware of all the facts brought forward in this investigation. i yield back. >> you were in a july 10 meeting at the white house with ambassador bolton, correct? >> correct. >> in that meeting ukraines asked about when they would get their oval office meeting, and ambassador sondland replied that they needed to, quote, speak about ukraine delivering specific information and meeting with the president, end quote. is that correct? >> that is correct. >> did you ever learn why ambassador bolton cut the meeting short? >> i didn't. >> after the meeting ended, some of the ones who attended went to a different room in the white house called the war room, is
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that correct? >> that is correct. >> did nsc lawyers tell you to come directly to them, sir, if he had any other concerns after july 10. many i believe the words were, if you have any questions, be sure to come back. he was not clear about what investigations he was requesting. m ambassador sondland made clear he was requesting an investigation into joe biden's son, is that correct? >> that's correct. >> and he made this request of mick mulvaney, is that correct? >> that is what i heard him say. >> lieutenant colonel vindman, have you ever received a request that a u.s. official investigate
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someone who is an opponent? >> i have not. >> you immediately raised concerns about this, correct, sir? >> that's correct. >> what exactly happened? >> after i reported it to the -- i'm sorry. i'm sorry. could you say that again? i apologize. >> you raised concerns about this, correct, sir? >> correct. >> what was that about? >> i stated that it was inappropriate and had nothing to do with national security policy. >> did you also raise concern that day with white house lawyers? >> i did. >> what did you tell them? >> i reported the same thing. i reported the content of the conversation with ambassador sondland. at that point i wasn't aware that -- returned what i
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experienced and instructed dr. fiona hill, your supervisor, to also might with the same white house lawyers. i had no reason to believe that there would be more specific investigations. in my view, sir, that's appalling. thank you both for your service. i yield back to the chairman. >> thank you, gentlemen. i would just point out as well that when the matter does move to the judiciary committee and no decision has been made about the output resolution, the white house through its counsel will have the opportunity to submit or make a submission to the judiciary committee. i now turn to dr. wenstrup. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you for letting me be
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here. i appreciate the sacrifice you made and i know the environment. i know the appreciation of the chain of command. you pernt at direct report of -- when you had. you didn't raise concerns about that with mr. morrison, did you? >> i immediately went to john eisen berg. >> so i reported to john eisenberg. i attempted to report to mr. morrison. he didn't avail himself, and at that point -- >> he did, though, and i'll allow him to get out of it. >> in the morrison deposition on
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pages 58 to 60, the question was, did you know if anybody else on the call went to eisen berg to get your concerns. etsd, i knew they raised concerns. the question is who? alex vindman on my staff questioned them, and he reports to you, correct? answer, he does. the direct report was mr. morrison and it didn't happen. sdplz the question was, okay, after the call on 7/25, did you have any questions with mr. morrison. per the exercise in the chain of commander, i meetdly went to e
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the. >> i'm sorry, my lawyer was talking. can you say that again, please? >> you've already said that, so we can go on. you're not a jag officer, you're not a lawyer. on page 153 of your testimony deposition in reference to that meeting with mr. eisen berg, you say, ifls not making a legal judgment, all i was doing was sharing my concerns with my chain of command. yet we've established that your direct report is to mr. morrison. so let's establish your role and your title. in your deposition, lieutenant colonel vindman, on page 200 and 201 in the colloquy with mr. stewart, you say, i am directly for ukraine. are you the only one in the entire universe of our
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government oral the portfolio? >> that's not how it would happen. typically it would be dr. bolton. >> others can besides you. going on, you say, i understand the nuances and contexts and so forth surrounding these issues. i went but expressed concerns, which to me as a military officer is completely appropriate, and i exercise that chain of command. in your deposition, page 259. the seniors then decide the action to be to sdplz he didn't fwnly houchlt. at what point did you learn that lieutenant colonel went to eisen berg.
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sfwh the 25th phone kpaully. so eisenberg never came to you and relayed the conversation? no. so mr. morrison skipped in your chain of command about your other concerns. so mr. morrison said he's the final clearing authority. he said he saw your edits. do you remember if all of the edits were incorporated and he said, yes, i accepted all of them? that's on page 61-62. so he believes all your edits were accepted. let me ask you, were, in your edits, do you believe that they entered the room. >> but you did say that in your opening statement today. thank you, sir, and a yield back. >> thank you both for your
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testimony and service. colonel vindman, wasn't it the case that mr. eisenberg, the attorney, had said to you after the july 5th meeting that you should come to him if you have any other concerns? >> after the july 10 meeting, yes, ma'am, t going outside the chain of command to speak to a lawyer within the institution, is that correct? >> no, he's there, certainly. >> both of our witnesses speak in secondhand information, but you both can answer in firsthand information because you were both in on the phone call, is that correct? >> that's correct. >> that's correct. >> you say, i want to state that the bio character attacks on these public servants is reprehensible. would you like to expand on that
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at all? >> ma'am, i think they stand on their own. i don't think it's necessary to expand on them. >> so since those depositions have been made public, have you seen your experience in your respect active jobs change, or have you been treated any differently? >> i have not, no. >> since the report on july 25th, as i stated, i did notice i was being excluded from several meetings that would have been appropriate for my position. sdp >> so in some respects, there have been reprisals? >> i don't know if i could make my judgment. i would say it was outside normal affairs to not have me participate in those. >> thank you.
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in preparation for the july 25th phone call, it's standard for the national security council to provide talking points, is that correct? >> correct. >> because the words of the president carry incredible weight. is that not correct? >> that is correct. >> so it's important to ensure that everyone has carefully considered the possibility of what the president might say to a foreign leader? >> that is correct. >> colonel vindman, did you prepare the talking points for the president's call? >> i prepared them. >> you prepared them. they were then reviewed and edited for multiple service officers at the white house, correct? >> that's correct. >> did the topic include any discussions of vefinvestigation into the 2016 election, the bidens or burisma?
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>> they did not. >> are you aware of the security council's investigations into the 2016 elections, the bidens or burisma are part of the official policy of the united states? >> no, i am not. >> some of mr. trump's allies have suggested they suggested these investigations as partisan reasons for omitting ukraine. was ukraine specifically asked to open investigations into the bidens and the 2016 election? >> nothing we prepared or discussed up to that point included any of these elements. >> would it ever be u.s. policy, in your experience, to ask a foreign leader to open a political investigation? >> there are proper procedures in which to do that. certainly the president is well within his right to do that. it is not something the nsc,
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certainly a director at the nsc would do. as a matter of fact, we are prohibited from being involved in any transaction between department of justice and a foreign power to ensure that there is no perception of manipulation from the white house. so it is not something that we would participate in. >> ms. williams, in your experience did the official policies of the united states include asking ukraine to open investigations into the bidens? >> i have not seen any reference to those particular cases in our policy formulation process. >> let me just say to you, lieutenant colonel vindman, that in listening to your opening statement, i had chills up and down my spine. i think most americans recognize what an extraordinary hero you are to our country, and i would say to your father he did well. i yield back. >> mr. stewart?
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>> lieutenant colonel vindman, ms. biwilliams, thank you for being here today. you're in your uniform. knowing that's not the uniform of the day, i think it's nice to be reminded of your service. my family served in the military. from one military family to another, i thank you and your brothers for your service. very quickly, i'm curious. when he called you mr. vindman, you corrected him and said you wanted him to call you lieutenant colonel vindman. do you always go by your rank? >> i'm in uniform wearing my military rank. i just thought it was appropriate to stick with that. the attacks i've had in the press and twitter have kind of eliminated the fact that either
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marginalizing me as a military officer -- >> i'm just telling you that the ranking member meant no disrespect to you. >> i believe that. >> i'd like to go back to your previous testimony earlier today. much has been talked about, as we discussed, between president trump and president zelensky and the word "favor" and this being interpreted as a basis for impeachment. your interpretation of the word "favor," and i'll paraphrase, you said, in the military culture s culture asks for a favor in a request, is that considered a demand? >> when a superior makes a request, that's an order. >> so you think a demand is based on your military experience? >> i think that's correct. >> is president trump a member
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of the military? >> he is not. sdp >> has he ever served in the military? >> i believe not. >> would it be fair to take a person who has never served in the military and take a revaluation of those words and attach them to somebody who has never served? >> mr. stewart, i distinguish those words. >> i think it's nonsense. i was in the military and i could distinguish between demand and orders. and president zelensky said he never felt any pressure at all. so you interpreted the word
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"favor," but the people speaking to each other never interpreted that as a demand. is that fair? >> this call with the july 10 meeting with the reporting that was going on, including the president's personal attorney, made clear that this was not simply a request. >> that's not clear at all. you said it makes it clear. it's not clear at all. and the two individuals who were talking to each other didn't interpret it that way. i'd like to go on to discuss your reaction to the phone call, and again, your previous testimony. for brevity and for clarity, i'm going to refer to your previous testimony. i did not know if thflsis was a crime or anything of that nature. i thought it was wrong. i want to key in on the word "wrong" here because we'll come back to that. in my mind, did i consider it
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another factor? in my mind, yes, but i didn't think about it more than that. so your concerns regarding this phone call were not legal, they were based on moral, ethical and policy differences. let me ask you, then, what you thought was wrong, you said this was wrong. not illegal, but wrong. as i stated previous sitting here a couple days ago, there are dozens of corrupt nations in the world, hundreds of corrupt government officials. exactly one time did a vice president go to a nation and demand the specific firing of one individual and withhold a billion dollars. he was paying his son. i ask you, was that wrong?
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everything i read to you was in the video. was that wrong as well? >> i don't know. >> the time of the gentleman has expired. you can answer the question. >> i don't know more about that incident. i saw a snippet of the video, but i don't know if i could make a judgment off that. >> mr. quigley. >> thank you, mr. chairman. it's one thing to ask somebody a favor like, hey, go pick up my dry cleaning, and it's another when the commander in chief of the most powerful army in the world asks an ally who is in a vulnerable position to do him a favor, is it not? >> yes.
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>> let me go back to that military assistance if i could. ms. williams, when was point of reference for the military a assistance was revealed? >> july 3rd. >> did you go to any other meeting where that was discussed? >> i attended a meeting on july 23rd and july 26th. i believe it may have also been discussed on july 31st. >> at that point did anyone provide a specific reason for the hold? >> in those meetings, the omb representatives reported that the assistance was being held at the direction of the white house chief of staff. >> did they give reasons beyond that it was being withheld by the white house chief of staff? >> not specifically. the reason given was that there was an ongoing review whether the funding was still in line
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with administration priorities. >> did anyone in any of those meetings or in any other subsequent discussion you had discuss the legality of withholding that aid? >> there were discussions, i believe, in the july 31st meeting and possibly prior as well in terms of defense and state department officials were looking into how they would handle a situation in which earmarked funding from congress that was designated for ukraine would be resolved if the funding continued to be held as we approached the end of the fiscal year. >> from what you witnessed, did anybody in the national security community support withholding the assistance? >> no. >> colonel, again, just for the record, when did you first learn the security assistance was being withheld? >> on or about july 3rd.
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>> what exactly had you learned from the state department, i believe, that prompted you to draft the notice on july 3rd? >> on or about july 3rd, i became aware of inquiries into security assistance funding in general. there are two typical pots, state department and d.o.d., and i believe it was around that date that omb put a hold on congressional notification. >> had you had any earlier indications that this might be the case? >> prior to that, there were some general inquiries on how the funds were being spent, things of that nature. nothing specific. no holds certainly. >> were you aware of anyone in the national security community who supported withholding the aid? >> no. >> no one from the national security? >> none. >> no one from the state department? >> correct. >> no one from the department of defense? >> correct. >> did anyone, to your
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understanding, raise the legality of withholding this assistance? >> it was raised on several occasions. >> who raised those concerns? >> so the -- following the july 18th sub-pcc, which is what i convene at my level, there was a july 23rd pcc that would have been conducted by mr. morrison. there were questions raised as to the legality of the hold. over the subsequent week, the issue was analyzed, and during the july 26th deputies, so the deputies from all the departments and agencies, there was an opinion rendered that it was legal to put the hold. >> excuse me? >> there was an opinion rendered that it was okay -- that the hold was legal. >> from a purely legal point of
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view? >> correct. >> very good. i yield back to the chairman. >> thank the gentleman for yielding. ms. stefanik. >> ms. williams, colonel vindman, thank you for being here and thank you for your service. as millions of americans watch the hysteria of the media frenzy, two facts have not been in these proceedings. one, the fact that ukraine received the aid and there was no investigation into the bidens. systemic in ukraine, and the fact that aid to ukraine requires anti-corruption efforts, and three, who in the government has decision authority when it comes to these matters? as marie yovanovitch testified, one of the key reasons president zelensky was elected by the
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ukraine people was they were finally stamping out corruption in their country. would you agree? >> yes. >> yes. >> and when you prepared the vice president for his congratulatory call with president zelensky, you specified the points you wanted to communicate in the call were the following. quote, look forward to seeing president zelensky, really support the election he ran based on reforms. >> that's correct. >> would you agree that this is a critical aspect of our policy towards ukraine? >> i would. >> and lieutenant colonel vindman, you are aware that in 2014 during the obama administration, the first anti-corruption investigation partnered between the u.s., the u.k. and ukraine, was to the owner of the company burisma? >> i'm aware of it now. >> and lieutenant colonel vindman, you testified that you were aware that burisma had questionable business dealings as part of its track record. >> that is correct. >> you also testified that regarding burisma, money
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laundering, tax evasion comports with your understanding of how ukraine does business, is that correct? >> i'm not aware, but my understanding is tit would not e out of the realm of ukraine. >> you are aware that hunter biden sat on the board of burisma at this time? >> i am. >> i know i for one am surprised that hunter biden sat on a corrupt board, yet adam schiff refuses our right to call mr. hunter biden despite our requests. do you agree that hunter biden on the board of burisma has the potential for the appearance of a conflict of interest. >> certainly the potential, yes. >> ms. williams? >> yes. >> shifting to the requirements
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on corruption, lieutenant vindman, you said you understood that congress had passed, under the ukranian security assistance initiative, suggesting that that was addressed? >> that's correct. >> so forlistening, we're not just talking about president trump asking for help from ukraine, but it is so critical that overwhelmingly bipartisan support requires cooperation from ukraine in order to get military aid. colonel vindman, you talked about ukraine getting certain weapons, especially javelins. >> correct. >> and it is one of the most important tools pwe have when i
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comes to providing defensive lethal aid? >> with support, yes. >> and it is true that was provided by mr. trump and not president obama? >> that is correct. >> and my last question, colonel vindman, i know you served in a wing of the white house. i served in the white house for president bush, so i'm very familiar with the impeachment process. i also know as a staff member the person who sets the policy is the president, not his staff. i respect your tremendous service to our country. we can never repay those who have worn the military uniform and served our nation. but i was struck when you testifi testified, i'm the most knowledgeable, i'm the authority for ukraine, for the national security council, and the white house. i just want a clarification. you report to tim morrison,
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correct? your direct report is to morrison, correct? >> to clarify, only in my advisory capacity. i advise up through the chain of command. that's what i do. >> and that's tim morrison to john bolton and then the president of the united states? >> correct. >> do you believe the president serves as commander in chief as you testified previously? >> yes, i do. >> thank you. my time has expired. >> mr. swalwell, thank you both. i believe the follow-up question my colleague from new york didn't ask you but is relevant for everyone at home, isn't it true that the department of defense had certified that the anti-corruption requirements of ukraine had been met when the hold was put on by the president? >> that is correct. >> now, mr. jordan suggested none of us expected by releasing that call transcript. you listened to the call, is that right, lieutenant colonel? >> that is correct.
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>> ms. williams, you also listened to the call, is that right? >> yes. >> is it fair to say, ms. williams, a lot of people at the white house listened to the call or read the transcript? >> i can't characterize how many. i believe there were four, five or six of us in the listening room at the time. >> and the transcript was distributed to others, is that right? >> i wasn't part of that prot process, but that's my understanding. >> the president is asking us to give him a gold star because a number of people listened to the call and saw the call transcript and then he released it. the difference, of course, between this and his one-on-one meeting with helsinke and vladimir putin, he took the notes so none of us could see it. the point is the president had no choice but to release the call that everybody has seen. you were asked to characterize legally what all of this means. mr. ratcliffe pointed out no one had used the term "bribery" in
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our depositions. ms. williams, you're not a lawyer, are you? >> i'm not, no. >> colonel vindman, are you a lawyer? >> the lawyer is back there. >> your brother is a lawyer. born 20 minutes after you? >> yes. >> suppose you have a shooting victim and police respond after the victim is doing a little better, and they ask the victim, tell us what happened. the victim says, somebody came up to my car, shot me in the car, hit me in the shoulder, hit me in the back and neck. mirraculously i survived but i can identify who it is that pulled the trigger. the police say, okay, you were shot, you know who it is. but, shucks, you didn't tell us that this was an attempted murder, so we're going to have to let the person go. is that how it works in our justice system, that unless
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witnesses identify a legal part of the case, we just let them off the hook? is that how it works? >> i don't think so. >> i don't think your brother would think so, either. miss williams. after the april 21 call to you, you put a note of that in the book, right? >> and he spoke of other things that time as well, right? >> that was the biggest issue, but i believe he talked about corruption. >> and he sometimes speaks to that, correct? >> he does on occasion.
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>> to that point, he stuck to trump's talking points? >> i would say that i provided talking point, which includes president zelensky's inauguration. i would say the president discussed other issues with president zelensky as well. >> the president sets the foreign policy for the united states, is that right? >> absolutely. >> you told us after the july 25th call that you put the call trance skricht, am i right? >> i'm sure it was there, but pe don't know. >> they talked about a lot of things, but you would agree that vice president pence did not bring up the bidens? >> that's correct, he did not. >> he did not bring up investigations? >> no.
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>> is one reasonable explanation that although vice president pence will do a lot of things tore president trump, he was not willing to back up investigations of the bidens because he thought it was wrong? >> i'm not in a position to speculate. we had not discussed any of those particular vilss with the president. >> no. >> and you did not, either? >> no. >> did you ask about anything with the july 25 call? >> i did not render an opinion. >> thank you. >> ms. williams and colonel vindman, i want to thank you for your service. did you participate in or overhear any conversations about how potential information collected from the ukranians on the bidens would be used for
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political gain? >> no, i did not participate or overhear any conversation along those lines. >> lieutenant colonel vindman, i think all of us would agree that your father made the right move coming here, and we're glad that he did. you've talked about how part of your responsibilities is developing talking points for your principals, is that correct? >> that is correct. >> i'm assuming you also do that for your direct supervisor currently right now, mr. morrison, is that correct? >> mr. morrison has left the position some time ago already. >> but you prepare talking points for your supervisors, is that correct? >> typically, frankly, at that level they don't really take talking points, especially if they have expertise. pauking points are something for nor approximate. >> i'm just trying to establish his position as talking points
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for a number of people, is that correct? >> that's correct. >> does he always use them? >> no. >> is president trump known to stick to a script? >> i don't believe so. >> so is it odd that he didn't use your talking points? >> no, it is not. >> in your deposition, if your lawyer wants to follow on, it's page 306. you were asked about events during the temporary holds on u.s. assistance to ukraine? this is that 55-day period or so. and you testified that the u.s. administration did not receive any new assurances from ukraine about anti-corruption efforts and the facts on the ground did not change before the hold was lifted. is that accurate in recounting your testimony? >> that is accurate. >> when was president zelensky sworn in? >> he was sworn in on -- excuse me, may 20th, 2019. >> and he had a parliament
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seated after he was elected, correct? >> he did. >> when was that parliament seated? >> that was july 2017. >> that's when they won, but they weren't properly seated -- >> that's when he won. they weren't properly seated until august. >> your boss was your father, is that correct? >> that's correct. sdp >> did he take you with him? >> he didn't. >> we know from other witnesses, when ambassador bolton was there, they talked about others in their staff and they talked about how they were visually exhausted, because one of the things president trump did in that time period was to change the u.s. constitution to remove an important part, isn't that
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correct. >> that's correct. >> do you believe that's an important part? >> it's important. >> president zelensky with this new parliament opened ukraine's high corruption court. that means folks in our state department had been pushing it to happen, and that was established in that time frame. were you aware of this? >> yes. >> do you think this is a significant anti-corruption? >> i do. >> how many times have you met president zelensky? >> i think it was just the one time from the presidential delegation. multiple engagements but just the one trip. >> and that's a one-on-one meeting? >> that was in a larger bilateral format. there were a couple smaller -- they were all -- there was never a one-on-one, but there were a
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couple of touch points. the bilateral meeting, handshake, meet and greet. >> so there was a lot of people in the room when you met with them. >> yes. >> but you still advised the ukranian president to watch out for the russians? >> yes. >> and that was -- everybody else in the room that was there, i believe the national security adviser was there. were those points prudent? did they know you were going to bring up those points? >> we had a huddle beforehand and it's possible i flagged them, but i don't know specifically. it's possible i didn't. >> you counseled the ukranian president to stay out of u.s. politics? >> correct. >> mr. chairman, i yield back the time i do not have. >> the gentleman yields back. mr. castro. >> thank you for your service,
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ms. williams. colonel vindman, thank you for your service. it's nice to talk to another identical twin. i hope your brother is as nice to you as he was to me and didn't make you grow a beard. you both listened to the july 25th call. you would have heard mr. trump say, i'd like to know what happened with this whole situation in ukraine. end quote, the server, ukraine has it. this is a debunked conspiracy theory that has no basis in fact. president trump's own security adviser called the president of ukraine to investigate the 2016 election and the bidens completely debunked. do you have any thaeevidence th the ukranian government interfered in the 2016 election? >> i am not, and further, i
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would say this is a russian narrative that president putin has promoted. >> are you aware of any part of the u.s. government, its foreign policy or intelligence apparatus that supports that theory? >> no, i'm not aware of any. >> you are aware that other parts of the u.s. government, our intelligence community, for example, has said definitively that it was the russians who interfered in the 2016 elections? >> that's correct. >> it seems incredibly odd, though, unfortunately, but not inconsistent to me that president trump would be giving credence to a conspiracy theory about ukraine that helps russia, really, in at least two ways. first, it ignores and frarnkly undermines the assessment of the u.s. intelligence community and seeks to weaken a state dependent on united states support to fight russian aggression. it also, for the united states, hurts our national security and emboldens russia.
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i want to look at what president trump was doing on his call instead of pushing back against russian hostility. he was pressuring ukraine to do his political work. president trump stated on that july 25th call, quote, there is a lot of talk about biden's son, that biden stopped 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 about bragging that he stopped the prosecution, so if you could look into it, it sounds horrible to me. colonel vindman, when you hear those words, do you hear the president requesting a thoughtful and well calibrated, anti-corruption program consistent with u.s. policy? >> i do not. >> in fact, it sounds like president trump was encouraging the ukranian president to engage in precisely the same type of behavior for president trump's own political benefit that we
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discourage foreign leaders from undertaking in their own countries. and discouraging other countries from undertaking politically motivated investigation is, in fact, a major part of u.s. official anti-corruption policy. is that correct? >> that is correct. >> are you, in fact, aware of any evidence that vice president biden improperly interfered in investigation of his family members? sdp >> i am not. >> these false narratives, it should be said, are damaging our country. they poison our politics and distract from the truth. and pressing another country to engage in corruption is antithetical to who we are as a nation. he also mentioned that you felt this request was wrong. and you've also said that corruption in ukraine is endemic to ukraine just as it is in other places around the world. can you speak to -- what is the
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danger of a president of the united states, whether it's donald trump or any future president, asking another nation where there is rampant corruption to investigate a political rival or just any other american citizen? what would be the danger to that american? >> congressman, the ukranian judiciary is imperfect at the moment. and the reliance on u.s. support could conceivably cause them to tip the scales of justice in favor of finding a u.s. citizen guilty if they thought they needed to do that. >> so they could trump up charges on that? >> they could, and in russia that is likely to happen where
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the state will be involved in judicial outcomes and drive them. >> thank you. i yield back. >> mr. ratcliffe. >> thank you, chairman. ms. williams, you testified that what you noted as being unusual about the call that took place on july 25th was that the president raised what appeared to be a domestic political issue, correct? >> correct. >> but raising an issue of one you thought was unusual was different than making a demand. >> yes. >> as i read your deposition, it didn't sound like from your testimony that you heard what took place on that call as a demand for investigations, is that fair? >> i don't believe i'm in a position to characterize it further than the president did in terms of asking for a favor. >> but you didn't hear a demand? >> again, i would just refer back to the transcript itself. >> lieutenant colonel vindman,
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you've testified and explained to us why, in your mind, it was a demand, and you've given us reasons. disparate of pow disparity of power between the two presidents. because you did feel that way, you also felt you had a duty to report what you thought was improper. is that correct? >> that's correct. >> so two different people, two impartial observers, one felt the need to report the call because there was a demand that was improper and one that didn't report it to anyone. you didn't report it to anyone, right, ms. williams? >> i ensured the information was available to my superiors. >> so while all of this might seem as clear as mud, i think your honest and candid assessments of what you heard on the phone tell us what we need to know. we had two individual folks, nonpartisans, and i'm not hearing a consensus between the two of you about what exactly
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you both heard on the call at the exact same time, and if you can't reach an agreement with regard to what happened on the call, how can any of us? an impeachment inquiry is supposed to be clear. it's supposed to be obvious, it's supposed to be overwhelming and compelling, and if two people on the call disagree honestly about whether or not there was a demand and whether or not anything should be reported on a call, that is not a clear and compelling basis to undo 63 million votes and remove a president from office. i yield my remaining time to mr. jordan. >> i thank the gentleman for yielding. colonel veinedindman, after the, why didn't you go to mr. morrison? >> i went immediately per the instructions from the july 10th incident. i went immediately to mr.
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eisenberg. after that, once i expressed my concerns, it was an extremely busy week. we had a pcc just finish, we had the call, and then we had a deputies meeting, which consumed all my time. i was working extremely long days. i attempted to -- i managed to speak to two folks in the interagency, i attempted to speak to mr. morrison. that didn't happen before i received instructions from mr. eisenberg not to talk to anyone further. >> you didn't go to your boss, you went straight to the lawyer and your lawyer told you not to go to your boss? >> no. he didn't tell me until -- what ended up unfolding was i had the conversation with the attorney, i did my core function, which is coordination. then circling back around, mr. eisenberg told me not to report
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it to anyone. >> this is page 102. because mr. eisenberg had told me to take my concerns to him. i asked you, did mr. eisenberg tell you not to report, to go around mr. morrison? you said, actually i did say that i shouldn't talk to any other people. is that right? >> yes, but there is a period of time in there between when i spoke to him and when he circled back around. it wasn't that long a period of time, but it was enough time for me to -- >> enough time to go talk to someone that you won't tell us who it is, right? >> i've been instructed not to, representative jordan. >> the lawyer tells you not to talk to any other people, and you interpret that as not talking to your boss, but you talked to your brother, you talked to your lawyers, you talked to adam schiff. you talked to the one guy who won't tell you what it is. >> mr. jordan, i did my job.
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>> but you were instructed not to talk to anybody, and you interpreted that to mean not to talk to your boss, but you went to others who we can't identify who they are. >> i'm sorry, chairman, but that sequence is not how it played out. >> i read through the transcript, lieutenant vindman. >> the sequence played out where immediately afterwards i expressed my concerns, i did my coordination function. mr. eisenberg circled around and told me not to talk to anybody else. >> so that's when it happened. >> that's right. >> thank you, mr. chairman. colonel vindman, let's go back to that pair of meetings on july 10th in ambassador volker's office when you said as a prerequisite between the two presidents, quote, ukranians would have to deliver an
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investigation into the bidens, end quote. you said ambassador sondland was, quote, calling for investigation that didn't exist into the bidens and burisma. is that correct? >> that is correct. >> it's that same afternoon you went to mr. eisenberg, the counsel, correct? >> that meeting occurred in the afternoon and it was within a couple hours i spoke to mr. eisenberg? >> how did he react? >> he was cool, calm and collected. he said if he had notes. >> and you reported acting chief of staff mick mulvaney. did you report that to mr. eisenberg? >> i did. >> what did he say? >> he said he will take notes and follow up.
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i can't remember exactly what he said. sdplz you've now testified that it was requested to have an investigation into the 2016 election and the bidens. did you see if that was appropriate? >> it was more of an instruction. >> did you say mr. trump asked to speak -- president zelensky to speak to mr. giuliani? >> and it was at this point that the lawyers told you not to talk to anybody else? >> that is not correct on the timing. they didn't circle back around. what ended up happening is, in my coordination role, i spoke to
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members of the intelligence committee, and one of the intelligence bodies notified mr. eisenberg that there was information on the call, on the july 25th call. at that point mr. eisenberg told me i shouldn't talk to anybody else about it. >> colonel, i want to go back to 2014 in iraq when you were blown up. i presume that, given the point in your military career and what else was going on in the world, that upon recovery there was the very real prospect or possibility that you might once again find yourself in harm's way. is that correct? >> yes, congressman. it happened in 2004, but yes. >> excuse me, thank you. did you consider leaving the military service at that point? >> no. frankly, congressman, i suffered light wounds. i was fortunate compared to my
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counterparts in the same vehicle and i returned to duty -- i think it may have been that same day. >> but you could have been subjected to additional harm. you chose to continue service in uniform. >> i continued to serve in combat for the 10 or 11 remaining months of the tour. >> colonel, i have to say i find it a rich but incredibly painful irony that within a week of the president, contrary to all advice of the senior military officials, he pardons those who are convicted of war crimes which was widely decried in the military community. within the week of him doing that, he has engaged in an effort, and allies on his behalf, including here today, to demean your record of service and the sacrifice and contribution you have made. indeed, sir, less than 20 minutes ago, the white house
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officially quoted out of context the contents referred to earlier by mr. morrison, in your judgment. i can only conclude, sir, that what we thought was just the president, as the subject of our deliberations in this inquiry, isn't sufficient to capture what's happening here. indeed, what is subject to this inquiry and what is at peril is our constitution and the very values upon which it is based. i want to say thank you for your service, but, you know, thank you doesn't cut it. please know, however, that it comes from the bottom of my heart, and, i know, on the bottoms of the heart of countless other americans. thank you for your service, sir. i yield back. >> mr. jordan. >> thank you, mr. chairman. sunday the speaker of the united states house of representatives
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called the president of the united states an imposter. the speaker of the house called the president an imposter. the guy 63 million people voted for, the guy who won an electorate college landslide the speaker calls an imposter. that's what's happened to our country, to this congress. the speaker's statement says it all. the democrats have never accepted the will of the american people. democrats don't trust the american people. the american people wanted to send someone to this town that's willing to shake it up a bit. they don't trust that. they've tried to do everything they can to undo what the american people decided on november 8, 2016. they've been out to get the president since the day he was elected. the whistleblower's lawyer, the whistleblower's legal team said this. january 30th, 2017.
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the president had been in office about a week. coup has started. first of many steps. next sentence, impeachment will follow ultimately. i guess we're in the final step. it started three and a half years ago. congressman tolibe started this congress. first day of congress, representative green said, if we don't impeach him, he will win reelection. most importantly, five democrats of this committee voted to move forward with impeachment before the phone call ever happened. the truth is the attacks actually started before the inauguration, even before the election. the ranking member talked about this. his opening statement, july
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2016. the fbi opens an investigation into the so-called trump russia coordination conclusion that was never there. my guess is that's probably never happened in american history, but they did it. and for ten months, jim comey's fbi investigated the president. guess what, after ten months, they had nothing. you know why we know that? because when we deposed mr. comey last congress, he told us they didn't have a thing. no matter. special counsel mueller gets a poi ppoi nr ppointed and they come back and they got nothing. but the democrats don't care. so now we get this. a bunch of depositions in the bunker in the basement of a capitol, witnesses who aren't allowed to answer questions about who they talked to about the phone call. we get this. all based on some anonymous
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whistleblower, no firsthand knowledge, bias against the president. these facts have never changed. we knew these right away. who worked with vice president biden, who wrote a memo after somebody talked to him about the call but waited 18 days to file a complaint. 18 days to file a complaint. what did he do in those 18 days? we all know. ran off to talk to chairman schiff's staff. then hired the legal team i just talked about, that i just talked about, one of the steps in the whole impeachment coup, as his legal team has said. this is scary what these guys are putting our country through. it is sad, it is scary, it is wrong. and the good news is the american people see through it all. they know the facts are on the president's side. as representative stefanik said,
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four facts will never change. we got the transcript which they thought the president would never release. shows no coordination, no conditionality, and president zelensky said, no pressure here. and most importantly, we have yet to have one witness tell us any evidence from anyone that president zelensky did anything to get the aid released. the process is certainly not on our side. it has been the most unfair process we've ever seen, and the american people understand those 16 million americans, and i think others do as well, they see this for what it is and they know this is especially wrong just 11 months before the next election. i yield back. >> mr. welch? >> thank you. what this hearing is about, i
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think, was best stated by colonel vindman's opening statement. the question before us is this. is it improper for the president of the united states to demand a foreign government investigate the united states citizen and political opponent? it's very well stated. i just listened to mr. jordan, as you did as well, and i heard his criticisms of the process. nothing really happened. a lot of people are out to get the president. i didn't hear an answer to the question as to whether it's proper for the president of the united states to demand a foreign government to investigate a u.s. citizen and political opponent. and to date i haven't heard any one of my republican colleagues address that question. colonel vindman and ms.
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williams, thank you. i want is to ask some questions and go through the background. what's come out during this process is that we had two ukraine policies. one was bipartisan and longstanding. a and that was to assist ukraine which had freed itself from the domination of russia to fight corruption and to resist. ly. >> to give folks a repart of russia. is it your understanding that he took billions of dollars of that
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impoverished country? >> there are different levels, but it's my understanding, yes. >> and is it your understanding that powerless but motivated ukranians rose up in protest to this incredible graft and theft and abuse by their president? >> that is correct. >> and it was called the may den revolution, the revolution of dignity, correct? >> correct. >> and people went into that square in downtown kyiv and demonstrated for months, correct? >> correct. and a hundred died. >> 106 young people died, and older people died, correct? that was in -- between february
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18, correct? >> that's correct. >> thousands of people died and they had put snipers on the rooftop of buildings to shoot into that square and kill, murder, slaughter those young people. is that your understanding? >> that is correct. >> in our bipartisan support -- by the way, i want to say to our republican colleagues, a lot of leadership having this bipartisan support came from your side. thank you. but our whole commitment was to get rid of corruption and to stop that russian aggression, is that correct? >> that amounts to some of the key pillars. . >> that's right. and to giuliani, sondland, and it appears trump policy was not about that, it was about investigations into a political opponent, correct? i'll take that question back. we know it. and, you know, i'll say this to
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president trump. you want to investigate joe biden, you want to investigate hunter biden, go at it. do it. do it hard. do it dirty. do it the way you do do it. just don't do it by asking a for approximaten approximate. >> my goal is two things. the first is to get an answer to lieutenant colonel vindman's question. the second is for congress to return to the ukraine policy that nancy pelosi and kevin mccarthy both support. it's not investigation, it's the unrest in ukraine and
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aggression. i yield back. >> thank you both for being here. you know, lieutenant colonel vindman, this may be one of your first congressional hearings like this, so you may not understand -- >> and the last. >> i can't blame you for feeling that way, sir. particularly when i've been sitting here listening to my republican colleagues. you know, one of the advantages of being down here at the kids' table is hearing the folks above me ask your questions. i've listened to my republican colleagues. and i've heard them say just about everything, except to contradict the substantive testimony you've been bothgiven. there have been a lot of insinuations and suggestions, maybe, that your service is somehow not to be trusted. you were treated to questions about your loyalty because of some half-baked job offer, i guess, ukranians made you, which
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you, of course, dutyfully reported. we've heard that many times in your history and they try to demean you as though you overstated the importance of your job, and you were the guy on the national security council responsible for directing ukranian policy. we heard him air out some allegations with no basis or proof, but they want to get them out there hoping some strands of spaghetti will stick on the wall. they keep throwing them. one of my colleagues questioned why you would wear your dress uniform today, even though that dress uniform includes a breast plate that has a combat infantryman badge on it and a purple ribbon. it seems someone who should wear that uniform, it's someone who
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has a breast plate on it. we've had a lot of dust kicked up. ms. williams, you heard the call with your own ears, correct? >> yes, sir. >> not secondhand, not hearsay, you heard the president speak? >> correct. >> and your conclusion was what he said about investigating the bidens, correct? >> that's correct. >> and you heard ambassador sondland raising conditions about a white house meeting on that that you thought were unduly political, and you went to the cdc council and reported him, correct? >> you were also on the white house call? not from somebody else, not hearsay, correct? sdp >> correct. you heard the president's voice on the call. >> i didn't. >> and you heard him raise what ambassador sondland raised
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before about investigating the bidens, correct? >> i did. >> i want to ask you, when you heard him say that, what was the thought that went through your mind? >> personally, i couldn't believe what i was hearing. it was probably an element of shock that maybe in certain regards, my worst fear of how our ukraine policy could play out was playing out and how this was likely to have significant implications for u.s. national security. >> you went immediately and reported it, didn't you? >> i did. >> why? >> because that was my duty. >> do you still have your opening statement handy? >> i do. >> read the last paragraph for me again. not the very last one, the second to last one. will you read that one again for me? i think the american public deserves to hear it again. >> i think my dad would appreciate this one, too. dad, my sitting here today in the u.s. capitol talking to our
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elected officials is proof that you made the right decision 40 years ago to leave the soviet union and come here to the united states of america in search of a better life for our family. do not worry. i'll be fine for telling the truth. >> you realize when you came guard out of sense of duty that you were putting yourself in direct opposition to the most powerful person in the world. do you realize that, sir? >> i knew i was assuming a lot of risk. >> i'm struck by that phrase, do not worry, which you addressed to your dad. was your dad a warrior? >> he did serve. it was a different military, though. >> and you're wariring if you pt yourself up against the president of the united states, correct? >> he worried about it because it was the ultimate risk. >> why do you ever kfhave confi that you can do that and tell your dad not to worry? >> congressman, because this is america. this is the country i served and
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defended, that all my brothers have served, and here right matters. >> thank you, sir. i yield back. [ applause ] >> ms. demmings? >> thank you, mr. chairman. first of all, miss williams, let me thank you for service to our nation. it truly matters. lieutenant colonel vindman, i had the honor of speaking to a group of veterans this past weekend. what i said to them was that no words are really adequate or sufficient to fully express our gratitude for their service to our nation. so, lieutenant colonel vindman, today i say to you there are no words that are sufficient to fully express our gratitude to you for what you have done for
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our nation, and amazingly, what you are still willing to do for our nation. it is vitally important that the american people understand how president trump's unethical demand that ukraine deliver politically motivated investigations in exchange for military assistance created a security risk for our, the united states of america, national security. the president was not just playing a political game by upholding military aid and meetings with ukraine, threatening the hundreds of millions of dollars of military assistance that congress had appropriated has real life consequences for ukraine and for the usa. in your deposition, colonel vindman, you testified, and i quote, a strong and independent
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ukraine is critical to our security interests. could you please explain why a strong and independent ukraine is so critical and why it is so vital to u.s. interests? >> we sometimes refer to ukraine as a front line state. it's on the front line of europe. they have actually described to me, the ukranians, that they consider themselves as a barrier between russian aggression and europe. and what i've heard them describe is the need for u.s. support in order to serve this role, in order to protect european and western security. >> lieutenant colonel, this is not just a theoretical conflict between ukraine and russia. you've already said this morning that russia is actively fighting
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to expand into ukraine, that ukraine is in a hot war with russia right now, is that correct? >> it's stable but it's still how it worked. >> and isn't it true, lieutenant colonel, that even if the security assistance was eventually delivered to ukraine, the fact that it was delayed, just that fact, could signal to russia that the bond between ukraine and the u.s. was weakening. >> that was the concern of myself and my colleagues. >> and was the risk of even the appearance that the u.s.-ukraine bond is shaky is that it could embolden russia to act with more aggression. would you say that's correct? >> i believe that was my testimony. >> just last month during an interview, president putin joked about interfering in our political elections. i can only guess that's what we have become to russia and its president. i think he felt emboldened by
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the president's reckless actions, both attempts to hold critical military aid from ukraine, and president trump's effort to blame ukraine, not russia, for election interference. miss williams and lieutenant colonel vindman, i can only say that every american, regardless of our politics, should be critically concerned about that, and let me just say this. yes, we do trust the american people. but you know what, the american people trust us, too, as members of congress to support, protect and defend the constitution of the united states against all enemies, foreign and domestic. and we intend to do just that. thank you again for your service. mr. chairman, i yield back.
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>> mr. christian? >> good afternoon, lieutenant colonel vindman and miss willia williams, thank you for your service. >> lieutenant colonel vindman, i'm worried your loyalty has been questioned because you're an immigrant. fox news host brian kilme said you were born in the soviet union, emigrated with his family young. he tends to feel sympatico. lieutenant colonel, i came to this country when i was three months old. your family fled the soviet union and you moved to the u.s.,
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right? >> yes. >> your father wanted freedom, correct? >> that is correct. >> your father embraced what it meant to be american, correct? >> that is correct. >> you and your family faced difficult times during your childhood, correct? >> yes. >> i can relate. that's my story, too. but your father went on to become an engineer, right? >> he established himself in his former profession in the united states. >> i can relate. i got a b.s. in engineering. of course, some people claim i practice the b.s. part now. your father never gave up working hard to build his very own american dream, did he? >> he did not. >> well, lieutenant colonel vindman, your father achieved the american dream, and so did you and your family. from one immigrant american to another immigrant american, i want to say to you that you and
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your family represent the very best of america. i assume that you are as proud to be an american as i am, correct? >> yes, sir. >> sir, i want to turn your attention to yuri leschenko. you called him disruptive, correct? >> correct. >> mr. leschenko, the general in ukrai ukraine, has made various claims about americans, correct? >> yes. >> you are unaware of his accusations against marie yovanovitch, correct? >> right. >> he also was a source for an article by john solomon in the hill, right? >> that is correct. >> and you said that key elements of that article, as well as his accusations, are false, right? >> correct.
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>> leschenko is not a credible source, correct? >> correct. >> sir, the other side claims there was absolutely no pressure on this july 25th phone call. i think that's what we heard earlier, right? >> i believe so. >> and you have turned what president trump asked in terms of investigations on that phone call as a demand, correct? >> correct. >> and you pointed out the large power of disparity between president trump on the one hand and president zelensky on the other, correct? >> yes. >> there was pressure on that phone call, right? >> the ukranians needed the meeting. the ukranians subsequently when they found out about it needed the security assistance. >> so pressure was brought to bear on them, correct? >> i believe so. >> sir, colonel vindman, last
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week we heard a decorated military veteran, namely ambassador bill taylor, come before us. you interacted regularly with ambassador taylor and you know him to be a man of integrity and he's a patriotic american, isn't that right? >> superb individual. >> i asked ambassador taylor a series of questions based on his experience as an infantry commander. i asked him, quote, is an officer allowed to hold up action placing his troops at risk until someone provides them a personal benefit? ambassador taylor responded, no, sir. colonel vindman, do you agree with ambassador taylor? >> i do. >> i then asked ambassador taylor, quote, is that because they would be betraying the responsibility to the nation? ambassador taylor responded, yes, sir. colonel vindman, do you agree with ambassador taylor? sdp >> i do. >> i then asked ambassador taylor, quote, could that kind of conduct trigger a court martial? ambassador taylor said, yes,
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sir. do you agree with ambassador taylor, lieutenant colonel vindman? >> i do. >> thank you for your service. >> you are recognized for any concluding remarks. >> act one of today's circus is over. for those of you who have been watching at home, the democrats are no closer to impeachment than where they were three years ago. the process that the department of justice, the fbi, state department, elements within the ic, the icig have all suffered long-term damage. the democrats can continue to poison the american people with this nonsense. we sat here all morning without any evidence for impeachment. which would be a very serious crime, high crime and misdemeanors, as it says in the constitution. no such thing. policy disagreements, and the democrats' failure to
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acknowledge their involvement in the 2016 election, i would say it's astonishing to put too little emphasis on their actions. i yield back the balance of my time. >> i thank the gentleman. i want to thank our witnesses today, ms. williams, colonel vindman, both of you for your service to the country, for your testimony here today. and i just want to address briefly some of the evidence you presented as well as others thus far in the impeachment inquiry. first of all, i want to join my colleagues in thanking you, colonel vindman, for your military service. and i should tell you that notwithstanding all of the questions you got, why didn't you talk to your supervisor, why didn't you go to the national security lawyer as if there's something wrong with going to
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the national security lawyer? are you aware we asked mr. nelson why he went to the security lawyer and he did? we said, if you had this problem of colonel vindman going to you and not to the lawyer, you must have gone to your supervisor. do you know what his answer was? he did not go to the supervisor, either. so i hope he's not upset with what he attacked you about. you will be attacked, but i want you to know this is what the joint chairman chief of staff had to say about you. he is a confident, patriotic and loyal officer. he has made an extraordinary contribution to the security of our nation in both peace time
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and combat. i'm sure your dad is proud to hear that. my colleagues have tried to make the argument here today, and we've heard it before, that the president was just interested in fighting corruption. that's our goal, fighting corruption in ukraine, this terribly corrupt country. the problem, of course, with that is there is no evidence of the president trying to fight corruption. the evidence all points in the other direction, the evidence points in the direction of the president inviting ukraine to engage in the corrupt act of investigating a u.s. political opponent. ambassador yovanovitch was known as a strong fighter of corruption, so what does the president do? he recalls her from her post. ambassador yovanovitch, in fact, was at a meeting celebrating other anti-corruption fighters including a woman who had acid thrown in her face on the day
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she was told to get on the next plane back to washington. you prepared talking points for the president's first conversation with zelensky. he was supposed to talk about rooting out corruption. if this president had such a deep interest in rooting out corruption in ukraine, surely he would have brought it up in the call, but of course we now know that he did not. we then see rudy giuliani not fighting corruption but asking for an investigation of the bidens, and my colleagues say, well, maybe he was acting on his own even though he says he's acting as the president's lawyer. maybe he was really acting on his own. but the two investigations that rudy giuliani wanted come up in the meeting you participate in on july 10th at the white house when ambassador sondland brings up the bidens and burisma in 2016. tells ukranians you have to do these investigations. now they would say ambassador sondland was acting on his own,
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but that doesn't quite work, either, because we have the call record from july 25th which the president was forced to release, in which the president doesn't bring up corruption. he doesn't say, how are those anti-corruption courts going, or great work. of course not. what does the president say? i want you to investigate the bidens and this debunked conspiracy theory pushed by vladimir putin. that also helps me in my reelection. so much for fighting corruption. the real message to ukraine, our u.s. policy message is, don't engage in political investigations. the message from the president, however, was the exact opposite. do engage in political investigations and do it for my reelection. it's also made clear they want the white house meetings, and ultimately, in they want 4 million in u.s. aid, this is what they have to do. the only lament i hear from my
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colleagues is, it's not necessary. they got caught. they still had to release the money. they had to release the money because the whistleblower blew the whistle, the whistleblower that the president wants to punish, and because congress announced they were doing investigations very soon thereafter, the president was forced to lift the hold on the aid. they argue, well, this makes it okay that it was a failed effort to bribe ukraine, a failed effort to extort ukraine. that doesn't make it better. it's no less odious because it was discovered and it was stopped. we have courageous people like yourself who come guaforward, w report things, who do what they should do, who have a sense, as you put it, colonel, of duty. of duty. not to the person of the president but to the presidency and the country. and we thank you for that. at the end of the day, i think
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this all comes back to something we heard from another career foreign service officer just last friday in a conversation he overheard with the president in a restaurant in ukraine. in which the president, not rudy giuliani, not anyone else, the president of the unitedstates wanted to know, are they going to do the investigations? this is the day after the july 25th call. are they going to do the investigations and he's assure by ambassador sondland they're going to do it. and what does sondland relate to this foreign service officer as he hangs up that call? the president doesn't give a expletive about ukraine. he only cares about the big things that help his personal interests. that's all you need to know. and it isn't just about ukraine. of course, ukraine is fighting our fight against the russians, against their expansionism.
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that's our fight, too. the that's our fight, too. at least we thought so on a bipartisan basis. that's our fight, too. that's why we support ukraine with the military aid that we have. the president may not care about it, but we do. we care about our defense, we care about the defense of our allies, and we darn well care about our constitution. we are adjourned. >> i please ask the audience to allow the witnesses and members who have to go vote to leave first. >> i'm jake tapper live in washington. today's first round of the impeachment hearings for this week is in the books. we just heard from jennifer williams. she's a state department aide to vice president mike pence. colonel lieutenant vindman is a military veteran.
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they were both present in that call on july 25th that they were listening to. before we get to an analysis, i want to play to what could be a key point of this entire investigati investigation, of this entire impeachment hearing when you strip away the democrats talking about colonel vindman's patrioti patriotism, his service, his sf service to which country, when he was a little boy, questions about whether or not he followed the chain of command when it came to the call. this is what this hearing is really all about. >> just to summarize in this july 25th call between the presidents of the united states and ukraine. president trump demanded a favor of president zelensky to conduct investigations that both of you a acknowledge were for president trump's political interest, not the national interest, and in return for his promise of a much
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desired white house meeting for president zelensky. colonel vindman, is that an accurate summary of the excerpts we just looked at in. >> yes. >> miss williams? >> yes. >> jeffrey toobin, your response? >> when you strip away everything, what we have learned over the past month is one thing, which is for the first time in american history, an american president has used taxpayer dollars to persuade, bribe, extort another president for information that will help him get reelected. that was the initial accusation and that's what's been proven over and over again with all these witnesses. >> dana bash? >> absolutely. and what you haven't heard is any republican on that day say anything other than that. no republican has tried, even attempted to poke a hole in that fundamental question, why we are all here, why these hearings are
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taking place. what republicans did instead was question the credibility of the witness, question the story, raise conspiracy theories that have been arisen from the community, the trump justice department which we'll get to in a second, but just keeping it broad, the fact that republicans didn't even try to go there on the substance of the allegation and what the picture of these witnesses, just like the ones last week painted, is very, very telling. it goes to the notion of, okay, he did it, and a lot of these republicans have said in other forums, it wasn't the right thing to do but it's not impeachable and the process is bad. >> john king, during the hearing, president trump didn't tweet at lieutenant colonel vindman or jennifer williams as he has before about both of them. but the white house official
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account did tweet something, if we could put that tweet up. the white house official account, paid by your tax dollars saying, tim morrison, alex vindman's former boss, said he had questions about vindman's recall. he said he wasn't sure whether he had the right response on the job, but there was a question about who was responsible. >> now you have the taxpayer accounts, as you mentioned, but it's part of the republican strategy. and you saw some of this in the hearing as well. mr. morrison did say that. if you read the full transcript of mr. morrison, he said something damaging about the president. he, too, went to the lawyer and told his concerns.
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they're cherry picking the information that they believe helps them. they're want challenging the facts. we've now had five witnesses in public impeachment hearings and the republicans are not challenging the facts. the facts are being billed that everyone involved, whethe they're in ukraine or the state department or today inside the west wing of the white house thought this was outside the rails, thought it was illegal. the republicans aren't challenging that. what they're trying to do is hold the republicans in line about questions about judgment, about loyalty, about leaking. it's all a side show, but it's a side show to keep republicans from breaking. >> laura coates, your take on this time not the president but the white house itself attacking a witness -- that's my interpretation -- i should say criticizing, publicly airing critical testimony against one witness while that witness was testifying? >> what i really have a problem
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with is this idea in isolation not providing the full context of the statement. when you do that and you use selective quotes, you mislead the public and the job of the white house is not to do just that. the real issue for me is let's compare last week to now. last week it was all about, well, he was inappropriate but not outlandish. now it's, you described an abuse of power, you described a quid pro quo, but you didn't say the words bribery and extortion, therefore, it's not really a problem. that's the only leg they have to stand on. that combined with the really offensive one here to me was the idea of, who are you to tell me this information, vindman? they had the audacity to refer to him as lieutenant colonel instead of mister? who do you think you are? wearing your uniform in this professional courtroom, who do you think you are? >> you see lieutenant colonel
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vindman and his twin brother who also works in the white house walking through the halls. i'm sorry. >> and you have positions of real power, but he refused repeatedly to overstate his position. he refused to say that he was somebody who was in charge of policy. nobody questioned that he was in charge of policy to the -- that the president of the united states had to set. they attacked that because they had nothing else there. it was the audacity of the comments, the semantics, that was most effective here and what they were talking about. if you do not have anything to report to the actual substance, you have to shoot the messenger and take the shot that, it may have been important for the world to tell us, but you were the wrong person to tell us. who should it have been? >> andy mccabe, you know a little about mean tweets at the
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white house, so without going through your entire history, we heard ambassador yovanovitch last week say in realtime that she found president trump's tweet intimidating. republicans have said the mean tweets cannot be intimidating, it just means he cares. having been on the end of a campaign of mr. trump, coming from the white house, what do you think? is it intimidating or is it just a mean tweet that cares? >> that's not what it is, it's absolutely horrifying. i know that from my time still serving in government. to be receiving those sorts of attacks from the president that you serve while you're in a government position, and therefore, not in any position to ever respond or reply or defend yourself in public, it is both horrifying to be turned upon by that by our chief executive of the nation, and
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also just oddly -- you just feel so defenseless because there is absolutely nothing you can do to respond to it, to respond in a way with the sort of amplification and clarity that the president has when he speaks about anything. it is absolutely horrifying, it's chilling to your family. >> we heard lieutenant colonel vindman say it's not just about the attacks of the president, it's everything it set off. >> it unleashes a whole torrent of the president's supporters, people who follow him closely, voters and folks like that, but even worse so, people on the hill. other folks, elected representatives, positions of authority who pick up these false narratives and then begin to repeat the lies that the president says about you. i can't even adequately describe it, and i know exactly how ambassador yovanovitch feels.
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>> so stepping back from that tweet from the white house, tell us what you think was effective, what wasn't effective, what point were made. >> if i could just flip note what andrew said about having been attacked. and the bake truth what happened and efforts to stir up, confuse it. you get a certain comfort in knowing you've told the truth, and attacks just don't affect that. i happened to have been in the witness protection program, so i had extra help in protecting myself, but what's happened this morning to me is not surprising. there was a lot of speechifieing. republicans didn't have a lot of questions very quickly and posturing, started attacking the process and shows the weakness of their position overall.
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democrats obviously refuted some of that. big picture, nothing that changed. more confirmation, public getting educated, putting faces on these people and learning what indeed -- how unprecedented that a president would use his office in this manner to get political advantage over his potential opponent. >> i want to ask about one point i that was not ineffective by republican congressman chris stewart of utah taking issue with lieutenant colonel vindman's use of the word "demand." the president suggesting he's like a favor and want president zelensky to do something for him. they thought it was inappropriate and a demand. here's taking issue at that. take a listen. >> much has been talked about as we discussed between president
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trump, press zelensky and the word "favor" interpreted as a basis for impeachment and your interpretation of the word impeachment. paraphrasing you. correct me. in the military culture, when a superior officer asks for a favor of a subordinate they will interpret that as a demand. is that a fair synopsis of what you previously stated? >> representative when a superior makes a request, that's an order. >> in short your interpretation of a favor is a demand based upon your military experience and military culture? >> i think that is correct. >> is president trump a member of the military? >> he is not. >> has he ever served in the military. >> not that i'm aware of. >> is president zelensky a member of the military? >> i don't believe so. >> the answer is, he's not. would it be fair to take a person who has never served in the military and to take your
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re-evaluation of their words based on your mill teitary experience and culture and attach that means and words to someone who's never served? >> representative, i made that judgment, and i stick by that judgment. >> he calls in nonsense. i think that's nonsense, is what stewart says right after i made that judgment. what do you think? >> yeah. i thought it was an interesting line of questioning but it went to the overall assertion by republicans today vindman isn't in a position to know exactly what the president's state of mind was. on other occasions never met or advise the president directly. i don't know what the president was thinking, quote, i was making a judgment call as a layman. what stewart was doing was effective. to say you heard this but because you don't know the president you didn't speak to the president and have a different frame of reference you're giving your opinion instead of what may be the most important fact, which is what is the president's state of mind? it's fine for republicans to argue that today and thought it was effective.
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that's all going to change tomorrow when gordon sondland shows up, because he actually has been talking to the president. i view today, jake, as bit of a bridge day to get to the main event, which is sondland . >> it is a smart strategy. you think the a demand because you're a colonel but the president wouldn't. republicans want you to focus on that won moment. the other day, ambassador yovanovitch, if they wanted to remove you to be remove in ukraine why replace you with bill tail jer a man of integr y integrity? they want you to look at the weeks before instead of the weeks after. >> far be it for me to predict what viewers of fox news will think, but can we talk about what a crazy position stewart was taking there? this president of ukraine has people dieing from lack of military equipment. he has people dieing every day because they don't have military
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equipment. donald trump holds in his hand the potential to save the lives of ukrainians. do you think maybe he's going to agree to what donald trump says about anything to get that money? i mean, the idea that this is -- well, it would be nice if you investigated joe biden. it's not a request. it's a demand with ukrainians lives on the line. >> hold that thought. talk about that. a quick break. up next, the impeachment testimony resumes with two additional witnesses plus the president just responded to today's hearing. stay with us. routine so why treat your mouth any differently? listerine® completes the job by preventing plaque, early gum disease, and killing up to 99.9% of germs. try listerine®. need stocking stuffers? try listerine® ready! tabs™.
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washington for cnn special coverage of the impeachment inquiry. the first session is over. in a short time two more witnesses will they have. kurt volker and tim morrison former national security council adviser on russia and europe who was the immediate supervisor of lieutenant corner vindman. before they get started, let's
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go through the highlights as this such as corner vindman. asked about his conserves over the phone call between president trump and ukrainian president zelensky. >> it was inappropriate. it was improper for the president to request, to demand an investigation into a political opponent especially a foreign power will there's -- where there's at best dubious belief this would be a completely impartial investigation. >> what is it between the relationship between the president of the united states and the president of ukraine that leads you to conclude when the president asking a favor like this it's really a demand jrnl. >> in this case the power disparity, my impression, in order to get the white house meeting president zelensky wos have to deliver these white house investigations.
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>> that call dominated much of the democrats' questioning during the first session while republicans were more focused on the witnesses themselves especially lieutenant corner vindman. manu raju on capitol hill for us. >> reporter: right. after these it two witnesses who were on that july phone call between president trump and president zelensky, they did not describe the call as perfect as the president has done time and time again. in fact, they raised their own concerns about what they heard. williams, concerned it was unusual and inappropriate that political investigations should not be raised and lieutenant corner vindman raised serious concerns saying it would undercut national security and raised those to the national security council. and vindman made clear he heard from a top ambassador, gordon sondland in a private white house meeting, that the administration was seeking these investigations into the president's political rivals before a key meeting between
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president trump and president zelensky could take place. >> to the best of my recollection, ambassador sondland said that in order to get a white house meeting, the ukrainians would have to provide a deliverable, which is speck investigations. >> reporter: republicans during this hearing tried to undercut vindman's credibility suggesting he did not report his concerns appropriately up the chain of command and raising concerns about his recollection of deevents. he pushed back. republicans have their own witness in a matter of minutes. they requested two of them, one tim morrison also come hoog was on that call who had his own concerns about what he heard on that call and also is going to testify later about what he heard from gordon sondland, ambassador to the european union who according to morrison will testify about the ask for ukraine to announce those investigations, the $400,000 in
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military aid being withheld. republican, looking forward to that testimony and even more to provide more evidence that could be damaging to the president's case. >> manu raju, thanks. talk more about this. before the break jeffrey toobin brought up the idea how desperate ukraine's need for the aid to beat back pro-russian separatists. one of the points a republican from texas tried to make, while democrats are now using the word "bribery" to describe the actions of the president. we see kurt volker walking into congress. the former special envoy to ukraine who is going to testify in the next session, but one of the points ratcliffe was trying to make in all the hundreds of pages of testimony, the word "bribery" only appeared once. and congressman adam schiff, chairman of the committee had a response. let's play that sound.
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>> ms. williams, you used the word "unusual" to describe the president's call last, on july 25th. lieutenant corner vindman, you used the word "inappropriate," improper." i've word searched on each are your transcripts, and the word "bribe "bribery" or "bribe" doesn't appear anywhere in that. ms. williams, you've never used the word bribery 0 are bribe to explain president trump's conduct. kresh correct? >> no, sir. >> mr. vindman, you haven't either. >> correct. >> the problem is in an impeachment hearing that the speaker says is all about bribery, where bribery is the impeachable offense no witness has used the word bribery to describe president trump's conduct. >> bribery does involve a quid pro quo. bribery involving the conditions of an official act for something
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of value. an official act may be a white house meeting. an official act may be $400 million in military aid and something of value might include investigations of their political rival. the reason we don't ask witnesses that are fact witnesses to make the judgment about whether a crime of bribery has been committed or whether more significantly the, what the founders had in mind when they itemized bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanors is your fact witnesses. it will be our job to decide whether the impeachable act of bribery has occurred. >> andrew mccabe, let me ask you, bigger picture, without getting into the semantic debate of quid pro quo versus bribery and a report in the "washington post" that democrats actually used focus groups to figure out what to call this so as to get into voters' heads, what the president is accused of doing. >> sure. >> as somebody who has
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investigated crimes, president trump does not use the word demand on the phone call. he just does not say, i demand you do this if you want that. he does not use the term quid pro quo. >> that's right. >> he asks for a favor in the context of ukraine saying that they appreciate the military aid and the president saying, you are not doing enough to reciprocate this friendship. is it a demand in your view? >> absolutely a demand. not even arguable. i should say over the course of many years investigating organized crime and listening to many conversations in which organized crime figures would try to bend interiors or victims to their will, no one ever says i'm going to offer you a quid pro quo, or here's how i'll walk through the terms of our bribery. what you have, the person with the power uses that power to coerce the subservient person to do or produce whatever it is they want. the key to this phone call, of course, everyone looks first to the paragraph in which the president says i would like you
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to do us a favor, though. you have to go back before that to the president's prior paragraph where he completely sets up the demand. he says, but the united states has been very good to ukraine. i wouldn't say that this was reciprocal necessarily because things are happening that are not gut but the united states has been very good to ukraine. he's hutting him in a position, hey, we've been very good to you, given you all this support, we're on your side. you haven't done anything for us and it's on the tail of that setup that he said, but first i'd like to you do us a favor, though. absolutely it's clear that the president of ukraine is not in a position to resist. he is as jeffrey mentioned absolutely desperate for this security aid and in another way desperate for the white house meeting and the recognition that comes along with that he is not in a position to say no to the president's request and that makes it a demand. >> scott? >> he did say no, because they didn't open the investigation. look, i they that end of the day, we're discussing all of
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these interpretations of this phone call. we have the transcript of the call. we're only going to hear from one meaner know's the spread's state of mind, that's sondland. most important testimony this week. after all that, republicans will end up landing on, you know what? i either don't care, it's not that bad or this was really bad judgment. one of those three zones and all land but it's not impeachable. all of this analysis of vindman and what these different folks will say especially the ones that didn't meet the president, didn't know the president, to me, it's not going to ultimately impact how the republican senators view this when it finally gets over there. >> public opinion is everything here. right? because as we were talking about earlier it is about first of all i agree, it's probably not going to affect the republican senators, for one main reason which is they can say, who i am i take the right of my constituents to vote yes or no against donald trump in november of 2020?
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but this information is key information for those voters. maybe at the end of the impeachment process it won't matter to senators votes in a trial or even in the shorter term house members votes, republicans. but this getting across things like the word "bribery," and that is -- it was a political shift. we all heard nancy pelosi do it in her press conference last week. it was blatantly obvious she used the word bribery intentionally, because it packs more of a punch. it is more understandable for people, because her goal is to penetrate public opinion, it has been. she's very open about that, and quid pro quo doesn't cut it. and that is a political aim, and you know, it is what it is. that is their goal. >> to your point about public opinion. so last week after the hearings, politico indicated public support did not increase. independents went down negative ten on impeach money.
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npr marist, 70% in both parties said i can't imagine anything in the hearings changing my opinion. axios, reporting on swing voters in wisconsin saying they are unmoved what they've heard so far. it's obvious why they're having to change the political tactics because it hasn't penetrated -- >> where are we at ten day dprs now is critical. it takes a while. seen it in campaigns and other settings. any big change takes a while to sink in. if it holds, republicans stay. if they move, thing to watch, hurts on this committee, 16, 17 republicans retiring in the house. do any break? challenge one for republicans. hold them. it you hold most or all of them senate climb probably doesn't change. if more than two or three republicans break in the house, we're in a different land. >> come to you first and then a quick break. one other polling data point scott, i think you've seen but did not cite. in a recent abc news/"washington post" poll 51% of american poll
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supported president trump impeached and removed from office. 60% thought what he had done is not acceptable. >> absolutely a -- a lot of republicans will give speeches to say i don't approve of this. varying levels of anger. >> sta little shorthanded on th lever? >> you're dating yourself. >> i've read about it. >> stick around. more to talk about. coming up next, testimony resumes with two more witnesses plus more character attacks on lieutenant corner vlonel vindma the white house and from the president's oldest son. stay with us. easier... holidays this. because right now when you buy one of the latest samsung phones you get one free. on that. so you can post this... ...score this... there like this... ...and share all of this... ...with that. so do this, on that, with us.
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"thank you, real people." you're welcome. we're gonna need a bigger room. i'm jake tapper. continuing our coverage of the impeachment hearings. we just heard from two key witnesses and in a short time, kurt volker, and tim morrison former national security adviser in russia and europe. testify in round two. and cabinet, president trump weighed in and kaitlan collins is at the white house for us. what did the president have to say? >> reporter: he said he had in fact been watching the testimony today but said he didn't know a lot of the witnesses testifying
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including colonel alex vindman. listen to what he said speaking to reporters, first time we've seen him since saturday. >> i don't know, as he says, the lieutenant colonel. i understand somebody had the misfortune of calling him mister and he corrected them. i don't know vindman at all. what i do know is that even he said that the transcript was correct. there was no anything. they don't, they probably think, they can't -- they probably can't even understand what's going on with this guy. vindman, i watched him for a little while this morning, and i think he -- i'm going to let people make their own determination, but i don't know vindman, but these are names that, like taylor. like kent, with the bow tie. wonderful bow tie. maybe i'll get one for myself some day. i don't know who kent is. i don't know who taylor is. all of these people are talking about, they heard a conversation
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of a conversation of another conversation that was had by the president. what's going on is a disgrace. and it's an embarrassment to the our nation, and in the meantime we can't get usmca approved because nancy pelosi is grossly incompetent. >> reporter: now, jake, the president is arguing he's nerve her direct contact with vindman an argument that may work with him but not like the ambassador to the eu gordon sondlanden set to testify tomorrow who it direct contact and phone calls with the president. the president might have been more restrained in his criticism than in the past referring to corner vindman as a never trumper, something vindman denies during the testimony today but the white house twitter account not so much. quoting tim morrison used to work at the national security council, recently left his post. he said, i had concerns about lieutenant colonel vindman's judgment. that was in reference to more
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policymaking from that testimony, if you read it. in the con thaex quote is in. morrison also did note vindman is a patriot but jake, it's notablethat is an official white house twitter account funded by taxpayers attacking an official who still works in this white house while testifying. we should note, vindman there along with his didentical brothr as jennifer williams work woulds in the building right next door not that far from the oval office. >> appreciate it. coming up next, hear how the two witnesses responded when asked if they were "never trumpers." stay with us. what are you doing back there, junior? since we're obviously lost, i'm rescheduling my xfinity customer service appointment.
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ms. williams, are you engageds in a president's attack? >> no, sir. >> ms. williams, you are a never trumper? >> i'm not sure i know what an official definition of a never trumper -- >> would you describe yourself that way? >> i would not, no. >> the day after you appeared for your deposition, lieutenant colonel, president trump called you a never trumper. colonel vindman, would you call yourself a never trumper? >> iowa call myself never partisan. >> thank you. colonel vindman in your military career you served under two presidents, two republicans and two democrats. would you ever waver from the oath you took to support and defend the constitution? >> never.
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>> any political motivations for your appearance here today. >> none. >> congressman jim himes, democrat of wisconsin asking questions of jennifer williams, state department aide assigned to vice president pence and lieutenant colonel and have minh conveying that they are not never trumpers. and in 2016 it was a who would never support donald trump to become president. it seems to have taken on a new meaning to be even people who possibly voted for trump and directly work for him to just disagree with him about some items? >> yes. it's come to mean people assumed because of the positions they hold they would never want to see a president like president trump take office. the president in a macro way, has run against the unelected bureaucracy. i think the common parens of
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never trumper encompasses all of those folk whose flow out of that like the witnesses today. i don't know if theme pease are never trumpers or not. a few years ago might have been called rhinos but it morphed into never trumpers. it's used in republican circles. >> and it's hard to argue she's not a republican? >> oh, sure, look. i don't know what the political preference of these people are. they seemed, to me, came off today as professional, love their country. didn't particularly want to be there. sort of mortified they're sitting there, you know, vindman loves his dad, loves his country. proud of his service. i don't know attacking them on what their assumed political views are is effective. more effective is that they don't know the president. the way to get past a witness like that, my opinion, minimize their ability to know exactly what the president wanted or didn't want. that's what i would fork is on there. >> why it is so stunning.
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you mentioned this shortly after the end of the hearing, but it bears repeating that a republican white house, any white house, okay, just say that, but especially a republican white house uses a taxpayer-funded twitter account to attack a man in uniform who has sha rrapnel in his body is d blowing. this is what the president does, what he sanctions. it's unbelievable. >> really? donald trump attacking a gold star family. why does this surprise you at all? >> i'm not saying it surprises me. i'm saying it's worth noting that is remarkable that the entire republican party, except for those never trumpers, to go back to that conversation, has moved towards saying, this is okay.
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i mean -- >> not only okay. it's not per space isuasivpersu. they're fact witnesses. not actually people testifying about facts in the ballot box or something related to an election's if they were perhaps i could make a stretch, i wonder why you were there in the first place? a primprimary? no. they're listening to a phone call. listening to that infamous july 25th phone call. not talking about issues even related to personal views. given information skills and information and no more relevant their party than if somebody witnessed the car accident to say whether the light wag green or red, whether they themselves were blue or red. looking at this issues you can change objective facts depending on the intermission. that's not at the core of this issue. it's whether or not they heard the president of the united states say words he himself in a
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rough transcript provided to the american team already. the corroboration is already there. >> looking at tim morrison going through security there. at the house of representatives to testify, i think that's him with the glasses he just put on. there he is in the center of the came camera. john king, another thing going on in addition to the white house twitter feed officially attacking one of their own employees, head of the ukraine desk and head of the national security council, veteran war veteran shrapnel in his body, and morrison said literally bled for this country even though he had issues for him in other ways, while doing that, the president's son, something of just in case you didn't think president trump was id enough, donald trump jr. is the id of the id tweeting whatever he wants. calling the hearings a joke saying lieutenant colonel vindman has no credibility and attacking him over and over. >> to have donald trump jr.
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attack lieutenant corner vindman is kind of right in the that this is the man that invited them donald trump into the political campaign. does he have credibility of a witness himself? shall we say. leave it there. goes back to the strategy. they are not challenging the facts. trying to keep the republican party and the president's base in line. donald trump jr., whatever anybody thinking of him is popular with the president's base. traveling the country doing fund-raisers, released a new book, doing pretty well and has a voice with the president's base. someone who is followed. we might say it has nothing to do with the facts or it's a character fact on a decorated military veteran. their strategy is hold the line. if they hold the line, they believe they succeed. >> don't you think attacking somebody in uniform risks that? >> a giant risk on the other side. with their own barracks an
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interean -- base it's a question. some democrats say no to the question of impe imimpeachment gets to the senate. joe manchin, nothing right about this. dead wrong. bottom line people have to make a decision about impeachment. bottom line, for anyone to condone this and say this is normal behavior and how we should act as a country, superpower, world is wrong. ask the republicans start attacking the witnesses in question and patriotism and character of these people you see some of the democrats who you might expect to be quiet and safe be more outspoken. the elastic works both ways. >> just re-elected and counting on nobody remembering or talking about this in six years. stick around. more to talk about. testifying in the impeachment inquiry hearings, and how lieutenant colonel vindman responded when asked if he's getting blowback at work. wow!
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try listerine®. need stocking stuffers? try listerine® ready! tabs™. welcome to cnn special coverage of today's public impeachment inquiry hearings. i'm jake tapper live in washington. the first half of today's testimony concluded and in moments we'll hear from two additional witnesses, kurt volker, former u.s. special envoy to ukraine and former national security council official tim morrison. morrison was listening in to it's now infamous call at the center of the impeachment inquiry july 25th between president trump and the president of ukraine.
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volker one of the so-called three amigos along with secretary of energy rick perry and u.n. ambassador to the european union gordon sondland. all three in charge according to president trump in charge of guided relations between the u.s. and ukraine. let's look ahead to what we're going to hear. scott jennings, volker called the president's july 25th call with zelensky, quite a surprise, and extremely unfortunate and explosive, in his prior testimony. but was actually not on it, talking what he saw after he read the rough transcript. democrats are, i am guessing, going to focus on what he felt that way. >> absolutely. i guess republicans will turn around and focus on morrison who i believe has said he didn't find anything particularly wrong with the call. so you're going to have competing narratives than call this afternoon. i assume also there's going to be fosome focus what morrison sd about vindman the white house is
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tweeting out. i wonder what we'll get out of this today. what i'm particular lg listly l for, gordon sondland's name. who talked to him and are they going to try set anything up pre-sondland coming in tomorrow. >> and morrison did not criticize the presidentedal call per se but he did say, john dean, in his testimony, this is tim morrison, lieutenant colonel vindman's former boss, head of the russia and europe desk and the national security council, that after the call he was concerned about what president trump had said about the investigations to the degree that he talked to his boss, then national security advisers john bolton, and then also went to the national security council lawyers because he was concerned. >> exactly. i find it very interesting that both of these witnesses are on the republican list of who they wanted to testify. and they in some regards do much more damage, because of that credential than they would
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otherwise if they just appeared. but you're right. they are cooperating witnesses, and they didn't really take particularly dramatic action after either. >> one other thing that's interesting is that morrison traveled with vice president, or was present, at least, in warsaw when vice president pence met with the ukrainian president, zelensky, september 1st i believe, and then we have gordon sondland, kind of the point man in all this speaking to president trump directly according to him. go up to a zelensky aide andre yermak and come back and tell morrison, if you want the aid released announce the investigations. >> you have somebody who can give you the direct information. not just the innuendo about it but what did you actual assay? and sets up gordon sondland for an important position. an opportunity to compare his testimony to somebody else's.
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he's had to correct his testimony, and in another position as you talked about, scott that fwroibridge to the n testimony tomorrow, it's another point to say puffering, bravado? accuracy will be there. if you're morrison's attorney every single time this morning you heard morrison named or vindman asked questions about him, you popped a tum hoping your client are be able to address the point called here today to speak will and do so in a comprehensive and honest way. you have people directly relying on him to undermine a previous person criticized while in uniform, questioned adasty to appear even under subpoena. it's building up to this moment. >> john king, one of the things i expect to hear from republicans is an attempt to use tim morrison, on the record,
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saying he had questions about colonel vindman's judgment. if you read the transcript of that deposition he basically says that he talked out of school sometimes. and he just didn't see him in the policymaking arena as being um to the job. i think you're going to see republicans go after him and say, why do you think vindman went around you, if he was so alarmed by the call, and to the national security council attorneys? and what republicans who are trump supporters are saying online and elsewhere is this is part of the deep state conspiracy. that vindman and the whistle-blower were all there to work around the good people and go to others in an attempt to set president trump up. >> i think have both republicans and democrats handle that is critical to this idea who was vindman and to the degree who is morrison? todown's point, very important. two witnesses called by republicans. can they bend the story or crack the other way? previous witnesses to this point painted a damning picture and linked it back to the president.
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can these two republicans say, our guys, bend it back some? or does it continue to advance in the other direction? to the question, two guys on a senior white house staff in sensitive positions. 340 morrison comes in, replaces a bot, fiona hill. and i don't know this guy. go to the lawyer, or summoned around. see where the testimony goes. why chairman schiff before the last session concluded made a point to note morrison also had worries and went to the lawyers as were ell. there may be a chain of kmoocom issue but everyone thought there was something wrong with it, to some drifferent, maybe to a different degree and went to the lawyers. he wad concerned by the call worried it would leak and blow up the bipartisan support. that they would see the president talking about biden. he said he did not find that to be illegal. important for republicans to get that on the record. someone who works in the west
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wing. the issue even he said, who is this sondland guy? why does this sondland guy keep popping up? kurt volker, same thing. thought i was doing the secretary's bidding. working through the special channels of government as a special envoy and his sondland guy keeps popping up. morrison replaced fiona hill and she said who told you you were in charge of ukraine? he said, the president. she said, that shut her up. interesting part, did fiona hill tell morrison? testimony about that? handed off from the last person who had your job when you took her place, were there conversations? watch out for sondland. >> a lot of names and a lot for viewers to digest especially if living their lives and doing their jobs and taking care of their families? right? we are actually paid to keep track of all of these people. one of the points, dana bash, i count to get across, it's not all just about the july 25th phone call between trump and zelensky. kurt volker, for example, was
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present at this july 10th meeting between a bunch of white house officials including the national security adviser john bolton and a bunch of ukrainian officials where sondland and talks about investigations and bolton shuts down the meeting. volker will be asked about this. >> this is an impeachment ir inquiry. such a critical point, because it's also what people did at the behest of the president and that meeting is really dethat. what investigation? how did they express the need for that investigation in that meeting to the ukrainians? and also, of course, debunks the notion the ukrainians didn't know anything about it. the other thick about swrol kvod you mentioned the word biden we should be watching for. throughout all the hearings republicans are still try to do the political dance of returning this all to what rudy giuliani's
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goal was from the jump, which is, joe biden, he's corrupt. he did something wrong. what volker said in his closed-door deposition is, that's not true. joe biden didn't do anything wrong. there was nothing untoward about the vice president's actions. separate from hunter biden taking the job. that's a judgment call that we could question, but when it comes to the former vice president of the united states, volker was crystal clear that he didn't do anything improper and that's going to be kind of a cloud over the republican argument. >> we're going to take a quick break and come to you first, jeff, when we get back. >> that's okay. okay. it's okay. >> i feel -- as a dad, it's important to get to everybody. >> because the viewers will stay tuned. >> people want to hear what you have to say. minutes away from the second round of hearings with testimony from two new witnesses. first republicans defending their questions from this morning's testimony, and that's next.
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welcome back to cnn's special coverage. i'm jake tapper in washington. any moment the two more witnesses publicly testify on on
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capitol hill. we flared lieutenant commander alexander vindman and jennifer williams a state department official and aide to vice president mike pence. right now republicans are defending questions to those two witnesses. bringing in senior congressional correspondent manu yauraju. what are you hearing? >> reporter: that republicans are raising dual liability questions and vindman saying he immigrated to this country at a young age from the soviet union and questions from top republican counsel asking vindman about a job offer apparently given by a top ukrainian official for a top position vindman saying he didn't take it seriously it was comical all to question his
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loyalty to this country. they're defending the line of question wering. jim jordan, republican, who's the boss, sits on the house oversight committee and intelligence committee said to me, he said the question you guys are asking about doesn't seem to bother lieutenant colonel vindman. seemed fine answering it. other republicans making a similar case saying no issue by raising questions and that he had no problems in responding to the questions, and also, jake, republicans are raising questions about vindman's cred act even though vindman made clear he's not partisan, serves on the national security council, is a decorated war hero. some question whether he's partisan or not. and i was told moments ago all of his questions and answers em sooed to go against the president. you hear republican pushback against this witness who democrats provided damning testimony against the president.
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>> manu raju. thank you. appreciate it. jeffrey toobin? >> it's perfectly fair for republicans to challenge his credibility. an important, incriminating witness. if you're trying to defend the president you want to try to challenge his story. i don't think there's anything wrong with that. the idea that one way of doing that is persuading the public that he's somehow not a patriotic american, that his great ambition in life is to be the defense minister of ukraine which is this perhaps real, perhaps joking job offer he received is pretty absurd but republicans have every right to challenge a witness who gave a very incriminating story. now, as i listen to the testimony, i didn't think they succeeded very well, but the effort seems like a perfectly legitimate thing to me. >> so much to talk about and moments away from two more witnesses testifying publicly in the impeachment inquiry these two called by the republicans on the committee. our coverage of the hearings
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leader mitch mcconnell spoke about the impeachment hearing saying he hopes the sna the cen account through a not too lengther impeachment trial if the house can convince to vote. and it a fate apomp pli thit ace will vote? >> i think it remains apart from the private hearings for now. a way to have another bite of the apple. the second bite is the actual senate trial at which time the public has to galvanize behind certain senators and those who want to change from an impeachment inquiry to perhaps a removal. it wasn't as if it was a self-fulfilling prophecy. you see those who provided testimony and now we see in the open people to corroborate,
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confirm and being more additive. interesting to see whether or not the witnesses this afternoon are able to undermine what we've already learned. i suspect not able to derail it in that way and there will be articles of impeachment drafted against what? the fourth president of the united states? >> uh-huh. john dean worked for the second president of the united states to be impeached -- >> third -- second. third. right. third. >> he was not actually, but no votes because he resigned before being impeached. >> right. >> let me ask you a question about watergate because historians have said this is actually worse than watergate because it involve as foreign country. be that as it may, one thing that seems very different, republicans are holding, banding together. unanimously voted against proceedings just to the impeachmeimpeach ment inquiry pt not a vote on actual impeachment. the heard geraldo say the other day to hannity on fox, that
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richard nixon wouldn't have been impeach if there was fox. is that what's different? >> i don't generally cite geraldo but it is a good statement. >> he meant it as a complement. i don't any you do. >> there's no question that with the combination of social media and fox news the dynamics of imp peoplement have changed. i'm one of those who do think it's worse today, because there's a foreign country involved. national security is involved, and what occurred, than what occurred during watergate. and at a point there's far more proof at this point now than there was against nixon and he resigned. but they're hanging on because they have something like fox news to go out and keep that, that base, that 30% to 40% content that everything isn't all wrong. when it might be all wrong. >> but you also have a very different republican party today than did you in the 1970s.
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had you a very significant moderate republican element in the 1970s. >> yes. democratic party, too. >> but we're talking about a republican president under fire. you had your little robert staffords, robert packers, all who are gone, and the -- the group in the house on the house judiciary committee, the republicans who ultimately voted in favor of impeachment, that moderate group rails back -- those people are gone from the house. there is really no more moderate republican party at all. >> that's true. >> anymore. i think that's -- a big difference from today. >> ask you a question, scott james, because this is going to go to the senate ultimately, we think, because it's in all likelihood the house will vote to impeach, i think. assuming that happens, there are some to take issue slightly with jeffrey, there are some
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republicans who at least portray themselves at moderates, i think empirically are moderates. susan collins in maine up for re-election. cory gardner maybe not a moderate but con temp rainly one up for re-election. mcsally what would you want, someone who wants to keep control of the senate what would you tell them to do? >> number one, you shouldn't vote on things like this based solely whether you want to keep your seat in the senate or in the house. these things are in the constitution and you have to set, at some regard your political interests aside. i do think these senators have to represent their states. look inside of your state and figure out, is this what my people want me, expect me to do. some some states i don't know if it's the case. in the bluer states, maybe impeachment is preferred. i think, though, in, take an arizona. take a north carolina. maybe in colorado. i'm not sure this is going to be the position that most people
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would want their senator to take. i do think, by the way, that it is fait accompli they're going to impeach the president. one of the reasons, jake, you mentioned republicans are holding, a large cohort of democrats wanted to do it from the beginning. one thing hurting republicans from convincing they've been crying impeachment over and over and over since elected. we whether over emoluments or jared and ivanka. they get to this issue still crying the same thing. for republicans, look back and say, you know, you might have credibility with me if you had just raised this now. but you have been pounding this day after day after day and seems more political than necessary, but nancy pelosi was opposed to impeachment throughout this process, until the ukraine story happened. >> until her base got to her? >> no. until the facts got to her.
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until -- until they saw a president extorting, bribing, a foreign leader in return for campaign dirt on his opponent. i don't think nancy pelosi -- you think nancy pelosi wanted to do impeachment? >> i think whatever she wants is irrelevant because she's clearly not in full control of her conference. they overwhelmed her. this is the last offering before we get into an election. >> turn to the senate again. we heard mitch mcconnell say he didn't want it to be too lengthy a process in the senate. wants it to be fairly quick. doesn't it help republicans to a degree to drag this out for many reasons, but one of them is that there are so many democratic senators running for president, and for another one, the longer this goes on, there's a wariness that can take hold? >> a great conversation among senate republicans privatesly on this very question. if i just -- stop one second. the fast the snact majority leader assumes he'll have a trial. that's a big deal. i mean, if the fate accom pleat.
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mitch mcconnell assumes sometime early in the new year as iowa gets to kick off the president's campaign with new hampshire just behind it, he's going to be running a senate trial. the chief justice brought in actually to run the trial but majority leader mcconnell in charge of it. some republicans think bernie sanders, elizabeth warren, kamala harris, cory book string it out. threat play out in a democratic president's campaign, let ter s tensions get out to the south, through the swin statg states, midwest, see what it looks like, others say because of mcsail and others, no, no. don't want these to linger, these discussions, maybe people say do something. >> you for the amy klobuchar. say that so we don't get an angry phone call. stick around. two more witnesses to testify in
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a few minutes. first, responding to this morning's hearing. stay with us. tom steyer: wall street banks took advantage of millions of americans during the recession. so, my wife kat and i took action. we started a non-profit community bank with a simple theory - give people a fair deal and real economic power. invest in the community, in businesses owned by women and people of color, in affordable housing. the difference between words and actions matters. that's a lesson politicians in washington could use right now. i'm tom steyer, and i approve this message.
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impeachment hoax for their own political gain. to try and damage the republican party and damage the president, but it's had the opposite effect, because you've seen the polls. we're now, i'm the highest i've ever been in the polls. >> not even remotely true. that was president trump reacting to the first half of today's public hearings in the impeachment inquiry. in moments the second half of the hearings will start on capitol hill with two more witnesses. we'll bring those to you live. first we bring back cnn's kaitlan collins. the president making a false plame about his polls being higher than they've ever been kbhap else been. what else is being said? >> reporter: essentially buried among the witness' personal opinion and conjecture about the call long released to the white house, stephanie grisham said it was accurate and nothing president trump has done or said
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amounts to bribery or any other crime. now, that is part in true where vindman, the national security council expert who handled ukraine testified while the name of the company hunter biden sat on the board room was left out of the final transcript he said he did not believe it was with nefarious intent. the white house statement leaves out the pent aid called the president's call for investigations for that call unusual while's vindman said it was inappropriate and both officials testified they did not know of a single national security council official who agreed with the hold on that military aid. jake, you saw the president somewhat restraining chris simple of these two officials saying essentially he doesn't know them and hasn't had direct contact with them even though days ago he's referred to both as never trumpers. something they both denied during the hearings, vindman saying not a never trumper, he is "never partisan." >> kaitlan, bottom half of the quote from the white house press secretary, she said vindman and
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williams testifieds that the president didn't commit any crime? what was that? i missed what you said. >> reporter: read it again. both witnesses testified the transcript they released of that late july call was accurate and nothing president trump has done or said amounts to "bribery or any other crime." >> she saying they said that? >> reporter: that is not what they testified. >> they didn't say. >> reporter: they found incredibly unusual and inappropriate, especially the president calling for a foreign government to investigate political rivals was wrong and something he had not seen before. >> they didn't say that at all. joining me, on the house intelligence committee holding today's public hearings. congressman, thank for joining us. look ahead to the witnesses you'll have in a few minutes. what do you want to find out from kurt volker, the former special envoy to ukraine? >> well, i think mr. volker was one of the three amigos. you know, volker, sondland,
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perry were basically commandeering ukraine policy under the direction of giuliani and the president, and they were at the heart of this pressure scheme to get the ukrainians to investigate the president's political rivals here in the united states. that being said, you know, volker does in his deposition say things like, you know, joe biden's a man of integrity. he's not someone who should be investigated for anything. same with his son. he also disparages the former prosecutor general who came up with all of these conspiracy theories an americans and so forth. with regard to morrison, he was on the call. the july 25th call and so what's very interesting is that he ran straight to the lawyers, as soon as he heard the call, and also vouches for pretty much everything bill taylor said last week. so it's going to be interesting to see what they say today, but i think those points will probably come out among others. >> and what are you going to ask
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morrison about specifically? morrison obviously talked about how gordon sondland told him that he had, sondland, told a zelensky aide if they want the aid released they need to public aannounce the investigations that sondland had asked -- sondland had told him, morrison. >> yes. >> he was coordinating strategies and taking direction from president trump? >> that's right. so you have three people by the way who back up that very scenario you talk about. you have ambassador taylor. you have sondland. you have, of course, morrison. and i think that probably honing in on that conversation and among others, because it's so important. that is a clear linkage between aid and basically investigations. someone said the other day, missiles for misinformation. >> what did you make of the republican attorney on the committee steve castor bringing up something that i don't think
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we knew about before. which is that apparently the ukrainians were so taken with lieutenant colonel vindman who we should remind people has been described even by his critics as a patriot who bled nor this country, the united states that he was offered a job, i don't know how seriously, as defense minister. what did you think of castor asking that? i've heard democrats criticize it as a question meant to impugn the loyalty of lieutenant colonel vindman? >> he may have intended that but i think the net effect of it was, it just, to me, bolstered lieutenant cornlonel vindman's skills as a, a career military man, and somebody that a lot of people looked up to. lieutenant colonel vindman took it as almost a comical offer. he didn't take it seriously, but out of an abundance of caution he ropt ereported it up the cha made sure he documented it and, of course, declined a, what he
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thought to be an unserious offer in an unserious way i think. >> what did you make of the white house issuing a tweet attacking lieutenant colonel vindman pointing out one of the other witnesses you'll hear from, tim morrison, said that he had lost faith in his judgment? >> that's -- that's completely reprehensible and unfounded. you know, i think that morrison was with him for like all of two months. i don't know the exact time period but a very short time period. his previous supervisor was fiona hill. interesting, the lieutenant colonel brought his last performance evaluation to the hearing just because he knew that the republicans were going to attack him, and he read the very sterling review that fiona hill gave for him. so i think that his character, his performance, you know, were excellent and unblemished, and i thought they didn't lay a glove
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on him. >> all right. congressman raja krishnamoorthi, thank you so much. any moment two witnesses called by republicans, volker and morrison will start testimony in the impeachment hearing. that's when we come back. stay with us. ♪ some things are too important to do yourself. get customized security with 24/7 monitoring from xfinity home. awarded the best professionally installed system by cnet. simple. easy. awesome. call, click or visit a store today.
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welcome back to cnn's special coverage of today's public impeachment hearings. i'm jake tapper. you're watching live op capitol hill. that is tim morrison former national security council adviser. that is kurt volker former special envoy to ukraine. you'll hear from them. these are two witnesses that republicans wanted to call, although they have also said things that democrats might want to take advantage of as well. we're waiting for chairman's adam schiff. the democratic congressman to gavel the second session in and let's listen in. [ gavel ] >> the hearing will come to order. good afternoon. this is the fourth in a series of public hearings the committee will hold as parts of the house of presentatives impeachment
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inkauai. without objection the chair is authorized to authorize recess of the committee at any time. there is a quorum present. we will proceed in the same fashion as other hearings. i'm make an opening statement and the ranking member has an opportunity to make an opening statement and turn to 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 45th president of the united states. this afternoon we will hear from two witnesses requested by the minority ambassador kurt volker, the state department special representative for ukraine negotiations and tim morrison, senior, former senior director foreeuropean affairs at the national security council. i appreciate the minority's request for these two important witnesses as well as undersecretary of state david haile fr hale whom we will hear from tomorrow. when joe biden considered entering the race for the president any 2020 the
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president's personal lawyer rudy giuliani began a campaign to weaken vice president biden's candidacy by pushing ukraine to investigate him and his son. to clear a way any obstacle to the scheme days after the ukrainian president was elected trump order the recall of maria yovanovitch, american ambassador in kyiv known for push anticipate corruption policies. and instead sent a delegation headed by rick perry, gordon sondland and ambassador kurt volker. these three returned from kyiv and briefed president trump on encouraging first interactions with the new cnnian administration. hopes that trump would agree to an early meeting with ukrainian president were soon diminished, however, when trump pushed back. according to volker, just didn't believe it. he was skeptical and said that's
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not what i hear. i hear he's got some terrible people around him. president trump also told them he believed that ukraine tried to take him down. he told the three amigos, talk to rudy. and they did. one of those interactions took place a week before the july 25th phone call between trump and zelensky. and ambassador volker had breakfastry rudy giuliani at the trump hotel. volker testifieds that he pushed back on giuliani's accusations against joe biden. on july 22nd days before trump would talk to zelensky, ambassador volker had a telephone conference with rudy giuliani and yermak, a top adviser to the ukrainian president. on july 25th same day as the call between president trump and zelensky, but before it took place, ambassador volker sent a tefk message to yermak. "heard from the white house
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assuming president z convinces trump he will investigate/get to the bottom of what happened in 2016, we will nail down date to washington. good luck, exclamation point." l later a now infamous phone call to presidezelensky and a reques president zelensky top buy more javelin anti-tank missiles saying, i would like you to do us a favor, though. and the favor involved the two investigations giuliani had been pushing for into the bidens and 2016. ambassador volker was not on the call when asked what it reflected he testified no president of the united states should ask a foreign leader to help intervee in a u.s. election. among those listening in on the july 25th call was tim morrison. who had taken over as in kr senior director for hurp peen affairs at the nsc days before and briefed by hs predecessor
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fiona hill about the irregular second channel operating in parallel to the official one. lieutenant colonel vindman 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 nsc legal adviser soon after it hended. colonel vindman's fear, the president had broken the law potentially, but morrison said of his concern that his concern was that the call could be damaging if leaked. soon after this discussion with lawyers at the nsc, the call record was hidden away on a secure server used to store highly classified intelligence where it remained until late september when the call record was publicly released. following the july 25th call, ambassador volker worked with sondland and the ukrainian president's close adviser yermak on a statement that would satisfy giuliani. when yermak sent over a draft
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that failed to include the speck words, barisma and 2016, giuliani said the statement would lack credibility. ambassador volker added barisma and 2016 to the draft statement. both volker and morrison were by late july aware that the security assistance was cut off at the direction of the president and acting white house chief of staff mick mulvaney. as ukrainians became aware of the suspension of security assistance and that negotiations over the scheduling of a white house meeting between trump and zelensky dragged on, pressure increased and any presense to linkage dropped away. morrison accompanied vice president phones wausau september 1st. zelensky raised the suspended security assistance. following that meeting sondland approached yermak to tell him he believed what to help move the aid was if the ukrainian prosecutor general would go to the mic and announce he was
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opening the barisma investigation. september 7th ambassador sondland had a telephone call with trump and asked what he wanted from ukraine. according to morrison who spoke with sondland after the call, trump insisted there was no quid pro quo but president zelensky must permanently announce opening of investigations and he show want to do it. sondland also said if president zelensky 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. morse hadn't a feeling-sinking feeling. the call directed at him himself and not the inspector jern as sondland relayed to a senior ukrainian aide in warsaw september 1st. president trump claimed there was no quid pro quo his insistence zelensky himself pub politically announce
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investigations where that at a statemate made clear at least two official acts, white house meeting, $400 million in military aid can conditioned on receipt of what trump wanted. investigations to help his campaign. efforts sew secure the investigations continued several more days but abruptly ended soon after three committees of congress announced an investigation into the trump/giuliani/ukraine scheme. only then would the aid be released. and i recognize ranking member nunes for remarks he would like to make. >> welcome back to act ii of today's circus, ladies and gentlemen. we are here to continue what the democrats tell us is a serious, somber and even prayerful process of attempting to overthrow a duly elected president. if they're successful the end result would be to disenfranchise tens of millions of americans who thought the president was chosen by the american people, not by 13
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democrat partisans on committee that's supposed to be overseeing the government's intelligence agencies. and this is, isn't it strange how we morphed into the impeachment committee? presiding over a matter that has no intelligent component whatsoever. impeachment, of course, is the jurisdiction of the judiciary committee not the intelligence committee. but putting this farce in our court provides two main advantages for the democrats. it made it easier for them to shroud their depositions in secrecy. and it allowed them to avoid giving too big of a role in this spectacle to another democrat committee chairman and in whom the democrat leaders obviously have no confidence. who can possibly view these proceedings as fair and impartial? they're conducted by democrats who spent three years saturating airwaves with dire warning that president trump is a russian agent and outlandish attacks
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continue to this very day. just this weekend in front of a crowd of democratic party activists the chairman of his committee denounced 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 the people who would utter such dramatic absurdities are conducting a fair impeachment process? and are only trying to discover the truth? it's obvious democrats are trying to topple the president solely because he despise him. because they promised since election day to impeach miami and becau him and frayed afraid he will w re-election next year. 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
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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 military aid after the obama administration refused to do so. they also resent his conduct, the 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 the authority to set the policy. the american people elect a president, not an interagency consensus. and, of course, our previous witnesses had very new, very little new information to share
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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 determined 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 third time. they heard it first through the democrats cherry picked leaks to media sympathizers during the secret deposition and second when the democrats published those deposition transcripts in a highly staged manner. of course, there are no transcripts from crucial witnesses like hunter biden who could help about his well-paying job on the board of a corrupt ukrainian company. or alexander chalupa, worked on a scheme on behalf of the democratic national committee and the clinton campaign. that's because the democrats refused to let us hear from
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them. as for evidence, we're left with what we're left with is the transcript of the trump/zelensky phone call, which the president made public. that means americans can read for themselves and unremarkable conversation with president zelensky who repeatedly expressed sanction with the call afterward. the democrats, however, claim president zelensky was being bribed and, therefore, he must be lying. when he says, the call was friendly, and posed no problem. there's irony here. for weeks we've heard deaths bemoan the damage president trump supposedly caused to the u.s./ukrainian relations. but when the ukrainian president contradicts their accusations, they publicly dismiss him as a liar. i may be wrong, but i'm fairly sure calling a friendly foreign president newly elected a liar violates their so-called interagency consensus.
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so overall the democrats would have you believe president zelensky was being blackmailed with a cause on lethal military aid that he didn't even know about. that president trump did not mention to him. and that diplomats testified they always assumed would be lifted. which it was. without the ukrainians undertaking any action they were supposedly being co-ersed 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 their trite elect the president the democrats don't like. as i mentioned, chairman of this committee claims that democracy is under threat. if that's true, it's not the president who poses the danger. i yield back. >> thank the gentleman.
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we are joined this afternoon by ambassador kurt volker and mr. timothy morrison. ambassador kurt volker served in the u.s. foreign service nearly 30 years working on european and eurasian political and security issues under five different presidential administrations. during the george w. bush administration served acting director for european and eurasian affairs and national security council and later deputy assistant secretary of state foreeuropean and eurasian affairs. in 2008 president bush appointed the ambassador be to the united states permanent representative to nato, served until may 2009. july 2017 ambassador volker apointed to be u.s. special representative for ukraine negotiations serving in that position until he resigned in september. a pleasure to welcome mr. morrison back to the legislative branch where he served almost two decades as a republican staffer. he was a professional staff member for representative mark kennedy of minnesota and senator jon kyl of arizona. later mr. morrison served as
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longtime policy director with republican staff the house armed services committee. july 2018 mr. morrison joined the national security council as senior director forecountering weapons of mass destruction well in departure of dr. fiona hill he assumed position of senior director forerussia and europe. two final points before the witnesses are sworn. first, the witnesses, witness depositions as part of this inkwirny classified as nature and all open hearings held at the unclassified level. anything information may touch on classified information will be addressed separately. second, congress will not tolerate reprisal, threat of reprisal or attempt to retaliate against any official testifying before congress including you or any of your colleagues. if you both would please rise and raise your right hand i will begin by swearing you in. do you swear or affirm that the
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testimony you are 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. please, speak directly into them without objection your written statements will be made part of the record. with that, mr. morrison, you are recognized for your opening statement and immediately thereafter ambassador volker, you're recognized for your opening statement. >> chairman schiff, ranking member nunes and members of the committee i appear before you today understand subpoena to answer your questions about my time as seen jer director foreeuropean affairs at the white house and the national security council. as related to ukraine and u.s. security secretary assistance to that country and will provide the most complete and ak vitt information i can, consistent with my obligations to protect, classified and privileged information. whether the conduct that is subject of this inquiry merits impeachment is a question for
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the u.s. house of representatives. i appear 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 that recently been made public however will highlight the following key points. first, as previously stated i do not know who the whistle-blower is, nor do i intend to speculate toos who the individual may be. second, i have great respect for my former colleagues from the nsc and the rest of the inner agency. i am not here today to question their character or integrity. my recollection and judgments are my own. some of my colleagues recollectioning play differ from mine but i do not view those differences as an untoward purpose. third, i continue to believe ukraine son the front lines of a strategic competition between the west and vladimir putin's russia. russia is a failing power but it
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is still a dangerous one. the united states aids 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 climate. my fears have been realized. i understand the gravity of these proceedings but beg you not to lose sighted of the military conflict underway in ukraine today. the illegal occupation of ukraine and importance of the government and economy. everything is focused on those instead of today's matters is the day we are not focus and the united states and western style lib rather share. finally i concluded my act of
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service as national security council the day after i last appeared before you. i left the nsc completely of my own volition and felt no pressure to resign nor have i feared any retaliation from my testimony. i made this career choice sometime before i decided to testify on october 31st. i am prepared to answer your questions to the best of my ability and recollection. >> thank you. ambassador volker? >> 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 first person to come forward to testify as part of this inquiry. i did so voluntarily, and likewise voluntarily provided relevant documentation in my possession in order to be as cooperative, clear and complete as possible. i am here today voluntarily and remain committed to cooperating fully and truthfully with this committee.
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all i can do is provide the facts as i understood them at the time. i did this october 3rd on private and will do so again today. like many other whose 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 1986. before joining the state department in 1988. 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 three positions before leaving the senior foreign service in 2009 were as director for nato and west european affairs at the national security council. and foreign affairs at the u.s. state department and finally as u.s. ambassador to nato.
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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 two 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, i had been pushing back on russian aggression and supporting the development of a strong, resilient, democratic and prosperous ukraine. one that overcomes a legacy of corruption and becomes integrated into a wider transatlantic community. this is critically important for u.s. national security. if we can stop and reverse
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russian agrgrecian in ukraine w can prevent it elsewhere. if ukraine, the cradle of slavic civilization succeeded moscow succeeds as a freedom loving democracy did gives us enormous hope russia may one day change providing a better life for russian people and overcoming its current placing authoritarianism, corruption and threats to nato and tstate. the stake could not be higher. at no time was i aware of or knowingly took part in an effort to investigate former vice president biden. you know from the extensive realtime documentation provided vice president biden was not a topic of our discussions. i was not on the july 25th phone call between president trump and president zelensky. i was not made aware of any reference to vice president biden or his son by president trump.
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until the transcript of that call was released on september 25th, 2019. from july 2017 until september 27, 2019 i was 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 pompeo, kept the national security adviser and secretary of defense well informed of my efforts and worked closely with ambassador be maria yovanovitch and nsa krener director hill and morrison and then secretary wes mitchell and his successor acting assistant secretary phil reeker and join kent, deputy assist secretary lawrence copper and many, many others. i've known many for several years. it was a team effort.
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when ambassador yovanovitch left kyiv, identified and recommended bill taylor to secretary pompeo. so we would still have a strong season's professional on the ground. for two years before th of the investigation took place i was the most senior u.s. diplomat visiting the conflict zone, meeting with victims of russia's aggression, urging increases u.s. assistance including lethal defensive weapons, working with poroshenko and his successor president zelensky and their teams, working with france and germany and the so-called normandy process and pressing for support from nato and the eu and supporting the osce special monitoring mission and engaging in negotiations and other contacts with 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.
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with the administration lift sanctions against russia, would it make some kind of grand bargain with russia in which it would trade recognition of the seizure of ukrainian territory for syria and somewhere else and recognize the annexation of crimy ow will this become another frozen conflict and there are vacancies in key diplomatic positions so no one was representing the united states in the negotiating process during the war in ukraine. during two years as special representatives we turned u.s. policy around. the u.s. policy toward ukraine was strong, consistent, and enjoyed support across the administration, bipartisan support in congress and support among our alleys and ukraine. we changed the language used to describe russia's aggression. i was the administration's most outspoken public figure highlighting russia's invasion and occupation of parts of
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ukraine calling out russia's responsibility to end the war. i visited the war zone three 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 dombass and we coordinated with canada to maintain a united front against russian aggression and for ukraine's reform and sovereignty and integrity. ukraine policy is perhaps the one area where the u.s. and the european allies had been in lock-step. this coordination helps to strengthen u.s. sanctions against russia and maintain eu sanctions as well. along with others in the administration i strongly advocated for lifting the ban on the sale of lethal defensive weapons or the arms to ukraine advocated for increasing u.s. security assistance to ukraine
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and urged other countries to follow suit. my team and i drafted the pompeo declaration of july 25th, 2018, in which the secretary clearly and definitively laid out the nonrecognition of russia's claimed annexation of crimea. i engaged with our allies with ukraine and russia in negotiations to implement the ninesk agreements and restoring ukrainian sovereignty and integrity and together with others in the administration we kept u.s. policy steady through elections in ukraine and worked to strengthen the relationship under the new president and government helping shepherd in a peaceful transition of power in ukraine. so in short, whereas two years ago most observers would say time is on russia's side by 2019 when i departed we turned the table and time was now on
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ukraine's side. it is a tragedy for the united states and for ukraine that our efforts which were bearing fruit have been thrown into disarray. my role as u.s. special cts of - representative was the most senior u.s. official to work solely on the ukrainian portfolio, if we needed to adopt a policy decision i made the case for it. 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 and fix it. that is my perspective when i learned in may 2019 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
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reforms. i found myself faced with a choice to be aware of a problem and to ignore it or to accept that it was my responsibility to try to fix it. i tried to fix it. the problem was that despite the unanimous, positive assessment and recommendations of those of us who were part of the u.s. presidential delegation that attended the inauguration of president zelensky, president trump was receiving a different negative narrative about ukraine and president zelensky. that narrative was fueled 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 the negative impact this was having on our policy efforts when four 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 that president zelensky representing the best chance for getting
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ukraine out of the mire of corruption it had been in for over 20 years and urged him to invite president zelensky to the white house. the president was very skeptical. given ukraine's history of corruption, that is understandable. he said that 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 ukraine rooted in the past. he was receiving other information from other sources including mayor giuliani that was more negative, causing him to retain this negative view. within a few days, on may 29th, president trump indeed signed the congratulatory letter to president zelensky which included a invitation for the
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president to visit him at the white house. however, more than four 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 zelensky 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 their personal relationship and to assure president trump that he was committed to investigating and fighting corruption, things on which president zelensky had based his presidential campaign. i was convinced that getting the two presidents to talk with each
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other would overcome the negative perception of ukraine that president trump still harbored. president zelensky's senior aide andre yermak approached me to be connected to mayor giuliani. a greed to make that connection. i did so because i understand the knew ukrainian leadership wanted to convince those like mayor giuliani who believed such a negative narrative about ukraine that times have changed and that under president zelensky ukraine is worthy of u.s. support. ukraineez believe if they could get their own narrative across in a way that convinced mayor giuliani they were serious about fighting corruption and advancing reform, mayor giuliani would convey that assessment to president trump thus correcting the previous negative narrative. that made sense to me and i tried to be helpful. i made clear to the ukrainians that mayor giuliani was a private citizen. the president's personal lawyer
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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 mayor giuliani in the hopes this would clear up the information reaching president trump. on july 10th, after hearing from mr. yermak i wrote to mayor 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. lutsenko, was not credible and was acting in a self-serving capacity. to my surprise mayor giuliani said that he had already come 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.
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concerning the allegations, i stressed that no one in the new team governing ukraine had anything to do with anything that may have happened in 2016. they were making television shows at the time. i also said that it is not credible to me that former vice president biden would have been influenced in any way by financial or personal motives in carrying out his duties as vice president. a different issue is whether some individual ukrainians may have attempted to influence the 2016 election or thought they would buy influence. that is at least plausible given ukraine's reputation for corruption. but the accusation that vice president biden acted inappropriately did not seem at all credible to me. after that meeting, i connected mayor giuliani and mr. yermak by text and later by phone. they met in person on august 2nd, 2019. in conversations with me


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