tv Inside Politics CNN December 9, 2019 9:00am-10:00am PST
virtually nothing wrong with what he did. we're going to hear that as they reconvene in the coming hours, jake. >> now let's go back to the hearing. >> members of the committee, members of the staff, thank you again for having me back. i'm giving you ten the opportun the evidence gathered during the impeachment inquiry. let me say the evidence does not support the allegations that my democratic colleagues have made. and i don't believe the evidence leads to the conclusions they suggest. i'm hopeful to add some important perspective and context to the facts under discussion today. the chief allegation of the democrats' impeachment inquiry has been trying to assess over the last 76 days is this. whether president trump abused the power of his office through
a quid pro quo, bribery, extortion or whatever, by withholding a meeting or security atssistance as a way o pressuring ukranian president zelensky to investigate the president's political rival, former vp biden. for the president's political benefit in the upcoming election. the secondary allegation that has been levied is whether president trump obstructed congress during the inquiry. the evidence obtained during the inquiry does not support either of those allegations. the republican report of evidence lays out the reasons in more detail, but i will summarize. i will begin with the substantive allegation about an abuse of power. the inquiry has returned no direct evidence that president trump withheld a meeting or security assistance in order to
pressure president zelensky to investigate former vp biden. witnesses who testified in the inquiry have denied having awareness of criminal activity or even an impeachable offense. on the key question of the president's state of mind, there is no clear evidence that president trump acted with malicious intent. overall at best, the impeachment inquiry record is riddled with hearsay, presumptions and speculation. there are conflicting and ambiguous facts throughout the record, facts that could be interpreted in different ways. to paraphrase professor turley from last week, the impeachment record is heavy on pre susumpti and empty on proof. that's not me saying that, that
is professor turley. let me start with the best direct evidence of any potential quid pro quo or impeachable scheme. this is president trump's phone call with zelensky for which the national security council and the white house situation room staff prepared a call summary. according to testify from tim morrison at the nfc, the summary was accurate and complete. nsc staff member colonel alex vindman testified that any omissions in the summary were not significant and that editing was not done maliciously. president trump has declassified and released the call summary so the american people can review it and assess it for themselves. i'll make a few points that seem to have gone undernoticed. the call summary reflects absolutely no pressure or conditionality.
president zelensky vocalized in concerns with the subject matter discussed. and there is no indication of bribery, extortion or other illegal conduct on the call. the call summary shows president trump and president zelensky engaged in pleasantries and cordialities. the call reveals laughter. put simply, it is not the shakedown that some democrats have described. president trump raised his concerns about european allies paying their fair share in security assistance to ukraine, a concern that president trump would continue to raise both publicly and privately. there is no discussion on the call, i repeat, no discussion on the call about the upcoming 2020 election or security sectors'
assistance to ukraine. beyond the call summary, the next best piece of evidence are the statements from the two participants on the call. president zelensky has said he felt no pressure on the call. on september 25th at the united nations, he said, i think we had a good phone call. it was normal. nobody pushed me. on october 6th, president zelensky said, i was never pressured and there were no conditions being imposed. four days later, on october 10th, president zelensky said again, there is nothing wrong with the call. no blackmail. this is not corruption. it was just a call. and just recently in "time" magazine, president zelensky said, i never talked to the president from a position of a
quid pro quo. because president zelensky would be the target of any alleged quid pro quo scheme, his statements denying any pressure carries significant weight. he is, in fact, the supposed victim here. other senior ukranian government officials confirmed president zelensky's statements. foreign minister prostikos said on september 21st, i know what the conversation was about and i think there was no pressure. alexander danny luc who was secretary of ukraine's defense counsel told ambassador taylor that the night of the call, they were not disturbed by anything on the call. president trump, of course, has also said he did not pressure president zelensky. on september 25th, president
trump said there was no pressure. when asked if he wanted president zelensky to do more to investigate the former vp, president trump responded, no. i want him to do whatever he can do in terms of corruption, because corruption is massive. that's what he should do. several witnesses attested to the president's concerns about ukranian corruption. the initial readouts of the july 25th call from both the ukranian government and the state department raised no concerns. although lieutenant colonel vindman noted concerns, those concerns were not shared by national security counsel leadership. they were not shared by general chief kellogg who listened on the call. lieutenant general kellogg said in a statement, i heard nothing wrong or improper on the call. i had and have no concerns.
lieutenant colonel vindman's superior, tim morrison, testified that he was concerned the call would leak and be misused in washington's political process. but he did not believe that anything discussed on the call was illegal or improper. much has also been made about president trump's reference on the july 25th call to hunter biden's position on the board of burisma, a corrupt ukranian energy company. and the actions of certain ukranian officials in the run-up to the 2016 election. democrats dismissed these conspiracy theories to suggest that the president has no legitimate reason, other than his own political interests, to raise these issues with president zelensky. the evidence, however, shows that there are legitimate questions about both issues.
with respect to burisma, deputy assistant secretary george kent testified that the company had a reputation for corruption. the company was founded by micola jejekevsky who served as director of natural resources. when he served in that role, the company received local licenses without public auctions. burisma brought hunter biden on its board of directors, according to the "new york times," as part of a broad effort by burisma to bring in well-connected democrats during a period when the company was facing investigations backed not just by domestic ukranian forces but by officials in the obama administration. george kent testified about these efforts. hunter biden reportedly received
between 50,000 and $83,000 a month as compensation for his position on burisma's board. at the time that hunter biden joined the board, his father, the former vp, was the obama administration's point person for ukraine. biden has no specific corporate governance expertise, and we don't believe he speaks ukranian or russian. we don't believe he moved there. so he's getting this gigantic paycheck for what? the "washington post" wrote, at the time of biden's appointment to burisma's board, it looked nepotistic at best, and the "washington post" said, nefarious at worst. according to the "wall street journal," anti-corruption active
il -- activists in ukraine also raised concerns, that the former vp received money from jejekevsky and that he would not be prosecuted. they noted hunter biden's role on the board and how it presented at minimum a conflict of interest. lieutenant colonel vindman testified that hunter biden did not appear qualified to serve on burisma's board. witnesses testified that hunter biden's role on the board was a legitimate concern to raise. in fact, george kent explained that in 2015, he raised a concern to the office of former vice president biden that hunter biden's role on burisma's board presented a potential conflict of interest. however, hunter biden's role did not change, and former vice president biden continued to lead u.s. policy in ukraine.
on this record, there is a legitimate basis for president trump to have concern about hunter biden's role on burisma's board. the prospect that some senior ukranian officials worked against president trump in the run-up to the 2016 election draws an even more visceral reaction from most democrats. let me say very, very clearly that election interference is not binary. i'm not saying that it was ukraine and not russia. i'm saying that both countries can work to influence an election. a systemic coordinated russian interference effort does not mean that some ukranian officials -- some ukranian officials -- did not work to
oppose president trump's candidacy, did not make statements against president trump during the election. ambassador volker testified in his public hearing that it is possible for more than one country to seek influence in u.s. elections. dr. hill testified likewise at her public hearing. contemporaneous news articles in 2016 noted how president trump's candidacy led kyiv's political leadership to do something they never would have attempted before: intervene, however indirectly, in a u.s. election. in august 2016, the ukranian ambassador to the u.s. published an op-ed on the hill, criticizing candidate trump. other senior ukranian officials called candidate trump a clown and other words. they alleged that he challenged
the very values of the free world. one prominent ukranian parliamentarian explained that the majority of ukraine's political figures were on hillary clinton's side. a january 2017 "politico" article lays out in more detail efforts by the ukranian government officials to oppose president trump's candidacy. the article notes how ukraine worked to sabotage the trump campaign by publicly questioning his fitness for office. the article detailed how a woman named alexandra chalupa, an american contractor paid by the dnc and working for the dnc and clinton campaign traded information about the leads with the trump campaign in washington. chalupa explained how they worked directly with reporters to point them in the right direction. witnesses in the impeachment
inquiry testified that the allegation of influence in the 2016 election was appropriate to examine. ambassador volker testified that he thought it was fine to investigate allegations about 2016 influence. ambassador taylor said, for example, that the allegation surprised and disappointed him. on this record, i do not believe that one could conclude that president trump had no legitimate basis to raise a concern about efforts by ukranians to influence 2016 election. let me now turn to the first assertion that president trump withheld a meeting with president zelensky as a way of pressuring him to investigate the foerm r. here it is important to note ukraine's long, profound history
of endemic corruption. several witnesses in the inquiry have testified about these problems. ambassador marie yavonovitch, for example, said ukraine's perception is not just prevalent but frankly is the system. witnesses testified to having firsthand knowledge that president trump is deeply skeptical of ukraine due to its corruption bagt back years, and that this skepticism. ambassador volker testified, so i know aly have i, and it was even though he agreed in the meeting that he had with them, say, okay, i'll invite thechl. he didn't want to be renewed md.
another seft facts here for a number of officials to oppose trump's candidacy in the 2016 election. some of these politicians initially remained in government when president zelensky took over. witnesses testified that these ukranian efforts in 2016 colored how president trump viewed ukraine. >> it's always pornlt recall for an unknown quantity for u.s. lawmakers. dr. hill testified that there were concerns within the national security council about zelensky's relationship with igor kamanowski. he called him his chief of staff. both ron johnson and the senator
noted these positions raised concerns. they were important in assessing the president's state of mind and understanding whether president zelensky was truly committed to finding corruption in ukraine. the evidence shows that president trump invited president zelensky to meet at the white house on three separate occasions, all without any conditions. the first was on april 21st during the initial congratulatory phone call, the second was via letter on may 29th. this letter followed an oval office meeting on may 23rd with the delegation. they expressed concern about ukraine. alexander volker recalled the president saying, these are terrible people and a corrupt country. ambassador sondland similarly testified that ukraine, in the president's view, tried to take him down in the 2016 election.
senator ron johnson confirmed this in his submission to the impeachment inquiry. and when they met browithout preconditions, it was the july 25th phone call. the next time they met, evidence does not show the ukranian government felt additional pressure due to this day. on the contrary, the ukranian regime felt pretty good about trump. government officials had at least nine meetings or phone calls with president trump, vice president pence, secretary pompeo, national security adviser bolton and u.s. ambassadors. the evidence does not support a conclusion that president trump conditioned a meeting with president zelensky on
investigating former vice president biden. mr. yarmak, the president's closest oadviser, showed an article. in this article he said he and mayor giuliani did not discuss investigations. a letter confirms yarmak's statement. ambassador volker testified there was no linkage to a potential meeting and allegations. although ambassador sondland testified he believed there was a quid pro quo, his testimony is not as clear as it has been portrayed. in his deposition, ambassador sondland testified he believed the meeting was preconditioned on an anti-corruption statement, not on investigations
themselves. a distinction that during his deposition he was keen to note, ambassador sondland said then that nothing about the request raised any red flags. in his public testimony, ambassador sondland clarified he had no preconditions with the president, he merely presumed there were preconditions. i would also like to address the july 10th meeting in ambassador bolton's office with two senior ukranian officials. allow me to submit that here, too, there is conflicting evidence about the facts. both dr. hill and lieutenant colonel vindman testified that ambassador sondland raised investigations during this meeting, causing ambassador bolton to abruptly end the meeting. dr. hill testified she
confronted ambassador sondland over his discussion about investigations. ambassador sondland's testimony about this meeting, however, is scattered. in his closed door deposition, he testified that no national security staff member ever once expressed concerns to him that he was acting improperly. and he denied that he raised investigations during this meeting. but when he came here to testify in public, he acknowledged for the first time that he raised investigations. but he denied the meeting ended abruptly. he denied that dr. hill never raised concerns to him and that any discussion of investigations brought up nothing specific, such as biden or 2016. let me lastly address the allegation that president trump directed vice president pence not to attend president zelensky's inauguration as
another way of pressuring ukraine to investigate former vice president biden. jennifer williams, a senior adviser in the office of the vice president, testified that a colleague -- she said it was the chief of staff's assistant -- told her, the chief of staff's assistant, that president trump had directed vice president pence not to attend the inauguration. however, williams had no firsthand knowledge of any such direction or the reasons given for any such direction. if, indeed, such a direction was given, it's not clear from the evidence why it was done, because the vice president's office was juggling other potential trips during that time, and the ukranian parliament scheduled the election on an extremely short time frame. it was just four days' notice. williams explained that there was a window of dates, may 30
through june 1st, during which the vice president could attend the inauguration, and that was communicated. and that if it wasn't one of those dates, it would be difficult or impossible to attend the inauguration. separately, the office of the vice president was also planning an unrelated trip to canada to promote the usmca during this same window. the usmca was and still is a significant priority for the administration. vice president pence has done a number of public events in support of it. president trump was also planning foreign travel during this time period. and as dr. hill testified, both president trump and vice president pence cannot both be out of the country at the same time. williams explained that these factors created a narrow window
for the vice president's participation in the inauguration. dr. hill testified that she had no knowledge that the vice president was directed not to attend. on may 16th, the outgoing ukranian parliament scheduled the inauguration for may 20th, only four days later. may 20th was not one of the three dates that vice president pence's office had provided for his availability. williams testified that this early date surprised the vice president's office because we weren't expecting the ukranians to look at that time frame. george kent at the state department said that this short notice from the ukranians forced the state department to scramble to find a u.s. official to lead the delegation, finally settling on secretary of energy rick perry. on may 20th, the date of president zelensky's inauguration, vice president pence was in jacksonville, florida for an event promoting usmca.
finally on september 25th, president trump and president zelensky met during the united nations general assembly. the two met without ukraine ever taking action on investigations, and according to ambassador taylor, there was no discussion of investigations during this meeting. i will now turn to the second assertion that president trump withheld taxpayer-funded security assistance to ukraine as a way of pressuring zelensky to conduct these investigations. here, too, context is critically important. president trump has been insisting that our allies share more of the burden of the defense. that's something he raised on the campaign trail and something he's raised consistently since. it is also important to note that security assistance is conditioned to companies around the world and that aid to ukraine has been temporarily paused in the past for various
reasons and sometimes no reason at all. ambassador volker said the 55-day pause did not strike him as uncommon and that the pause was not significant. dr. hill and katherine croft both testified that aid had been paused during the past. the secretary of state for critical affairs testified that the national security council launch aed a review of foreign assistance to make sure that taxpayer dollars were spent in the national interest and advance the principle of burden sharing by our allies. dr. hill testified that as she was leaving the nsc in july, there had been a directive for a whole scale review of our foreign policy assistance. she said there had been more scrutiny on security assistance as a result. another important data point is
president trump's willingness to take a stronger stance against ukraine and russian aggression compared to the previous administration. several witnesses testified that president trump's willingness to provide ukraine with lethal development assistance was a substantial improvement, a stronger policy and a significant decision. when we discussed democratic allegations that president trump withheld vital security dollars from ukraine, we should also remember that it was president trump, and not president obama, who provided ukraine with lethal defensive weapons. i make all these points here because there are relevant pieces of information on how the house should view the security in question. the house is virtually silent for the reason for the pause. in fact, the only direct evidence for the reason for the
pause comes from official mark sandy who testified that he learned in september that the pause was related to the president's concern about other countries contributing more to ukraine. he explained that they received requests on what other countries were submitting to ukraine. the aid, of course, was released september 11. several witnesses have testified that security assistance was not linked to ukraine's investigations. the ambassador is particularly relevant on this point because he was a key intermediary with ukranian government and someone they trusted and sought for advice. ambassador volker testified that he was aware of no quid pro quo and the ukranians never raised such concerns to him. when ambassador taylor raised the possibility of a quid pro quo to ambassador volker, volker said he replied, there is no linkage here. during his deposition, chairman schiff tried to pin him down on this point, but ambassador
volker was clear there was no connection. in his public testimony, ambassador volker reiterated there was no linkage. similarly, george kent at the state department said he did not associate aid to investigations, and he relayed how ambassador taylor told him that tim morrison and ambassador sondland also believed the two were not linked. ambassador sondland's testimony, as we have seen already, is a bit more scattered. in his deposition he said that he was never aware of preconditions on security assistance or that the security assistance was tied to investigations. ambassador sondland then later provided a written statement supplementing his deposition in which he explained for the first time that in the absence of any clear explanation, he presumed a link between security assistance and an anti-corruption statement were linked. ambassador sondland also testified in his written
supplement that he likely voiced this concern to mr. yermak, a close adviser to president zelensky. mr. yermak, however, in a subsequent news account published on november 22nd, disputed ambassador sondland's account and said he doesn't remember any reference to military aid. in his public testimony, ambassador sondland reiterated his testimony was based on a presumption, acknowledging to congressman turner that no one on the planet told him that security assistance to ukraine was conditioned on investigations. ambassador taylor is another actor here. he testified that ukraine would not receive security assistance until president zelensky committed to the investigations. however, in his public testimony, ambassador taylor acknowledged that his clear understanding came from ambassador sondland, who was merely presuming that there was
a link. president trump, too, rejected any linkage to president zelensky and the investigations. it ought to be persuasive because he made the same statement in two private conversations with two different u.s. officials ten days apart. there would be no reason for the president to be anything less than candid during these private conversations. on august 21st, the president spoke on the phone to ron johnson and told president trump that he should tell president zelensky that investigations would be forthcoming. when senator johnson raised the potential linkage to security assistance and investigation, president trump vehemently denied any connection, saying, no way. i would never do that. who told you that?
in closing the call, president trump told senator johnson that we're reviewing it now, referring to the security assistance. and guess what? you'll probably like my final decision. he told that to senator johnson on august 31st. this statement strongly suggests that president trump was already leaning toward lifting the aid. separately, on september 9th, president trump spoke by phone with ambassador sondland. ambassador sondland asked the president, what do you want from ukraine? president trump responded, i want nothing. i want no quid pro quo. i want zelensky to do the right thing. in addition, senior ukranian government officials denied any awareness of a linkage to u.s. security assistance and investigations. these denials are persuasive, because if there was, in fact, an orchestrated scheme to pressure ukraine by withholding security assistance, one would think the pause on security
assistance would have been clearly communicated to the ukranians. foreign minister prystaiko said sondland never linked security assistance to investigations. prystaiko said, i have never seen a direct relationship to investigations and security assistance. although there is some testimony that ukranian officials from the embassy in washington made informal inquiries to the state department and the defense department about these issues with security assistance in july and august. the evidence does not show that the president and advisers in kyiv were aware of the pause until it was publicly reported by "politico" on august 28th. a subsequent news article explained the conflicting testimony that nbc officials in washington had made in formal inquiries about issues with the aid while senior officials in
kyiv. it explained that president zelensky's predecessor went rogue and did not inform president zelensky that there was any issue with the aid. according to the news account, president zelensky and his senior team only learned of a pause when it was reported on august 28th. as ambassador volker testified, because certain ukranian officials were unaware of the pause, there was no leverage applied. the actions of senior government officials, while the system was paused, reinforces a conclusion that they did not know the aid was on hold. in the 55 days during which the security atssistance was paused president zelensky had five discussions with u.s. senior officials. on july 25th, he spoke with president trump on the phone. july 26th he met with ambassador volker, ambassador taylor and ambassador sondland in kyiv.
on august 27th, he met with ambassador bolton. september 1st he met with vice president pence in warsaw, and on september 5th he met with senator ron johnson, senator chris murphy in kyiv. in any of these meetings did the president raise concerns about security linkage and investigations. in particular, the september 5th meeting with senator johnson and senator murphy is notable because they are not part of the trump administration and president zelensky could be candid with them. what did occur during those 55 days was historic effort in reform. vice president pence pressed e president zelensky about these, and tim morrison testified that
during a meeting in kyiv, everybody on their side of the table were exhausted because they had been up all night working on these forms. president trump met with vice president pence and acting chief of staff mick mulvaney. they discussed whether ukraine's absence was enough to release the security assistance. he thaefd he was also armed during a conversation andly. the president, then, lifted the hole. in concluding this mommy. the president was skeptical to foreign atsz answer generally and he believed our allies should share the burden for assistance.
we know that omb researched and provided information about which foreign countries were committing money to ukraine. president trump told senator johnson on august 31st, we're reviewing it now and you'll probably like my final decision. he told ambassador sondland on september 9th, i want zelensky to do what he ran on. president zelensky, who ran on an anti-corruption platform, was an unshod politician with ties to a potential controversial oligarch. vice president pence reiterated to president zelensky that on september 1st, the need for reform was paramount. after president zelensky paused -- i'm sorry, after president zelensky passed historic anti-corruption reforms, the pause on security analyst. she never took any action only.
president trump alleged to have ork strafltd. the attle -- every ambassador interviewed in the impeachment inquiry acknowledged the president has an absolute right to call on ambassadors for any reason or no reason. it's apparent the president lost confidence in ambassador yavonovitch and it's not an abuse of power for him to recall her. beyond that, the trump administration replaced ambassador yavonovitch with ambassador bill taylor who
became one of the first state department officials to voice concerns discussed during the course of our inquiry here. in fact, ambassador taylor made a prominent role in some of the hearings last month. if president trump truly sought to remove ambassador yavonovitch as part of a nefarious plan, he certainly would not have replaced her of someone of the likes of ambassador bill taylor. second, the three u.s. officials who comprised ambassador volker, sondland and secretary perry could not be called outlandish. the three kept the state department and the nfc informed of their activities. finally there is evidence that mayor giuliani did not speak on behalf of the president. according to a new story, professor yermak asked volker to connect him with rudy giuliani because the team was surprised by the mayor's negative comments about ukraine. they wanted to change his mind.
both ambassador volker in his deposition and yermak in an august "new york times" article denied that mayor giuliani was speaking to president trump as his agent. irn stea instead, as ambassador volker explained, rudy giuliani saw them as a conduit in which they could change the president's mind. the second allegation at issue, of course, is whether the president obstructed congress by not agreeing to all the demands of documents for testimony. as someone with experience in investigations, and i strongly agree with congress' number one authority, but this impeachment article is responded to drastically for impeachment as well as the fundamental tenets of fairness. they promised fundamental fairness and due process to the
president. it allowed substantive participation and participation from the president's counsel in the fact-finding process. democrats denied us witnesses. democrats voted down subpoenas we sought to issue from both documents and testimony, and i note democrats never brought to a committee vote any of the subpoenas that were issued. they were all tabled. democrats directed witnesses not to answer our questions, and these sorts of action delegitimize the inquiry and do not give the witnesses or the president confidence that the inquiry is fair. second, the president or any potential witness to this impeachment inquiry should be allowed to raise defenses without it being used as an adverse inference against him. courts have held that the constitution mandates an accommodations process between the branches. for this reason, congressional oversight is a time-intensive endeavor. it certainly takes longer than 76 days. here, however, the initial letters from the democrats
instructed potential witnesses that if they did not cooperate in full, it shall constitute evidence of obstruction. democrats wanted all their demands honored immediately and were unwilling to consider the privileges or defenses. f finally, there is no basis for obstruction. the one witness who spoke to president trump is a witness, and ambassador sondland said the president told him to cooperate and tell the truth. the president has declassified and released the call summary of his july 25th and april 21st calls with president zelensky. the white house wrote to speaker pelosi and said it was willing to communicate further if they went back to a bipartisan,
constitutional-based impeachment process. as we know, these were never satisfied. the democrats virtually ignores any evidence that's not helpful to their case. it ignores, for instance, that ambassador sondland's testify that he presented, that there was a quid pro quo, and it ignores many public statements made by ukranian officials. the report presents a story as if the evidence is clear when, in reality, it's anything but. democrats have gone to great lengths to gather information to build their case, and they've even obtained and released phone records relating to the communications of the president's personal attorney, a reporter and a member of congress. there are additional phone records that have not yet been released, and our members remain concerned about the prospect of more phone records being released. there have been a lot of hyperbole, a lot of hysteria over the last three months about this inquiry and the underlying facts. i believe a lot of this can be
traced back to the anonymous whistleblower complaint. i believe the whistleblower reframed a lot of the facts at issue and caused witnesses in the inquiry to recast their views. and it's thaufrt we haven't been able to review the issue. one should also expect that like ken starr and robert mueller, the chairman should testify. and our members, all the committees, believe very strongly that chairman schiff should testify and answer questions. with that, mr. chairman, the time is yours. >> the gentleman's time has expired. we'll now proceed to the first round of questions. point of order, the general attorney's point of order. >> we've been told that counsel
for the democrats was a witness and that's why he didn't have to comport with rules of the court. now he's sitting up here -- i've been a judge and i know that you don't get to be a witness and a judge in the same case. that's my point of order. he should not be up here. >> it's not a point of order. >> it is. >> pursuant to house resolution 660, it is accompanying judiciary procedures. there will be 45 minutes of questions conducted by the chairman of majority counsel followed by 45 minutes of the ranking member minority counsel. only the chair and ranking members of their counsels may instruct the witnesses during this period. following that, unless i specify additional equal time for extended questioning, we will proceed under the five-minute rule. every member will have the chance to ask questions. i now recognize myself for the first round of questions. the republicans' expert witness last week, professor turley, wrote in an article that, quote, there is no question that the use of public office for
personal gain is an impeachable offense pm, including military aid and those for a political opponent. that was mr. turley's comment. mr. goldman, did the investigative committee prove that the president used his public office for personal gain? >> yes, mr. chairman. >> in fact, the finding in fact 5 found that frump used his office as president to provide ukraine and the ukranian government to announce the political motivations desired by president trump. and did the evidence also prove that prumpd withheld military aid for investigation of his political opponent? >> yes, it did. >> and b said conditioned release of the vital military assistance is suspended to
ukraine on ukraine's public announcement of the investigations president trump sought. didn't the evidence dmon sflat frumpl are underlined that in many ways. >> yes. >> in fact, six said in order to advance his personal flichlt in fact, the president sought to reduce the pressure of ukraine to announce politically motivated investigations, lacking legitimate predication that the u.s. government otherwise skurjz and proposes as a maefrtter of that. in fact, he undermined ukraine and undermined national security. and didn't the evidence also show that president trump compromised national security of the united states? >> yes. >> in fact, fact finding of fact
7 said, by withholding vital military assistance and diplomatic support from a strategic foreign partner government engaged in a military complicate illegally instigated by russia, the president advanced its political interest. and isn't it true the president made a scheme for investigators? >> yes. >> in fact, number nine says, using the power of the office of the president and exercising his authority over the executived ld to confuse the pun and the house of. so vmt forn leblgz fts a
tricycle our free and fair elections. did the evidence proof that president trump was a threat to our elections. >> yes, it did, mr. trump insisted on foreign governments to investigate his political opponent. this solicitation of foreign interference shows a clear and present danger that the president will continue to use his power of office for his personal political gain, closed quote, i would add in the next election. now to my counsel mr. berg for additional questioning. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. castro, as an experienced investigator, would you agree that it's relevant to look at evidence bearing the president's state of mind that may explain
the president's actions. >> use your mic, please. >> sir, my only question to you, is that a relevant thing to consider? >> yeah, like the call he had with senator johnson. >> it's relevant to consider. sir, would you agree that joe biden was a leading democratic contender to face president trump in 2020? >> i wouldn't agree with that. it's too early. >> so it's your testimony that president trump did not view president biden to be a legitimate contender? >> i don't know what president trump believed or didn't believer, but it's too early. >> did you determine whether president trump tweeted at all about former vice president joe biden in january how many times? >> i try to stay off twitter. >> did you know the president tweeted about president zelensky
on and after july 25th? >> i didn't know. >> do you believe he tweeted about having more meetings? >> it's hard to say what he tweets about mr. chairman, what is -- >> the gentleman is not recognized. mr. berk has if. >> how many of the rules are you just going to. >> this is not appropriate to have a witness be questioned on somebody that was a witness when he was. >> the gentleman will refrain from making -- >> i made a point of order and you won't rule on it.
>> i have not heard a point of order. >> mr. chairman -- >> if the gentleman has a point of order, he'll state his point of order. >> there is no rule or precedent for anybody being a witness and then getting to come up and question, so -- the point of order is he's inappropriate to be up here asking questions. >> that is not an appointed order. >> how much money did you have to give to be able to do that? >> the gentleman will not cast aspersions on members of the staff or committee. mr. berk has the time. >> is mr. berk a witness? >> you have to state a point of order. >> the gentleman will perform a state of order. >> he is not here to appear for
his opinions. is that right or not? >> that is not a point of order. it is mr. berk's time pursuant to -- >> i have ruled. >> point of order. mr. chairman -- >> the gentleman will state a point of order if he has one. >> the point of order is this. we operate by rules, and if there is nothing specific in the rules permitting this, we go by precedent. it is unprecedented for a person to come and sat with who you've described as a witness to then go back to the bench and question. that is a point of order. >> that is not a point of order, but i will point out is not a recognizab recognizable. the gentleman has been designated by me to do this.
660 is in accordance with rules of the house, and the skbrelt. mr. crass tro, you're aware that mr. trump asked? did you look at a calendar on the 21st? did you look at that and seely s. he's on yusly running for reelection. what date does that matter? >> and sir, you knew president biden also will run held for me. >> so you would agree with med that if the ukraine announce aid corruption investigation of former vice smplt yes or no,
sir, would you agree with that principal? >> i slightly disagree with the premise of your question -- >> i have asked a question that requires opinion and not fact. >> the gentleman has the floor. >> i reject to the question. rule on whether the question is in order or not. >> the question is in order. >> the president was not asking for a personal favor. he said, and i'll read it, i'd like you to find out what happened with the whole situation with ukraine. they say crowd strike. i guess you have one of your wealthy people -- >> sir, i'm not asking you to reca
recall. let's look at the reference to biden. sir, you see on the july 25th call on page 4, isn't it a fact that president trump and his call with president zelensky said that he heard that former president joe biden had stopped the prosecution of his son? is that correct, sir? yes or no. >> it says the other thing, there is a lot of talk about biden's son, that biden stopped the prosecution -- >> that is correct, he said he stopped the prosecution. >> point of order, he is entitled to answer his question fully. rememb rememb he was in the committee of foreign relations and the foreign vp was a little bit
audacious on the paper. >> is that what it says? >> it talks about biden's son. >> it says biden stopped the prosecution, is that correct? >> that's what it says, yes. >> and doesn't it also say president trump asked him, if you can look into it, correct? >> that's correct. >> president trump was asking ukranian president zelensky to have out crathe ukranian officik into vice president joe biden, correct? >> i don't think the report says that. >> can you look into it, president trump is asking him -- >> i don't think it says that. i think it's ambiguous. mr. goldman, you're an experienced federal prosecutor. i know that firsthand.
is this president trump asking president zelensky to investigate his political rival, joe biden? >> i don't think there is any other way to read the words on the page than to conclude that. >> and, mr. castecaster, you mae point, as an experienced investigator, is it your experience that when someone has done something wrong and corrupt that they explain their intentions to do something wrong and corrupt? >> are you talking about the call transcript? >> i'm asking you in general. >> you're saying a schemer would fwa talk about his scheme? >> you made it clear in your presentation that president trump did not go further and tell president zelensky that he wanted the investigation announced to help his if
campaign. >> he did not do that. >> and if he abused his power, most likely he would tell president zelensky that he was asking to help his presidential prospects? >> you would never engage in conduct nor explicitly say, in this case, president zelensky, i'm going to bribe you now, or i'm going to ask you for a bribe, or i'm now going to extort you. this is not the way these things work. >> getting back to you, we talked about hunter biden. hunter biden had been on the board of burisma going back to 2014, correct? >> yes. >> president trump supported ukraine with aid and otherwise in both 2017 and 2018, correct? >> president trump has done a lot for ukraine.