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tv   Lawmakers React to Impeachment Hearing  CSPAN  November 20, 2019 3:56pm-5:25pm EST

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>> call for a biden investigation -- >> i'll take one more. >> the piece of skull pa texcul evidence that exonerates the president? >> the president's own words. and the fact that president zelensky never announced any investigation. remember what mr. sondland said. to get a meeting, to get a call, to get the security assistance there would have to be an announcement. they got the meeting, the call, the security assistance without an announcement. that's it right there. >> -- from the white house today. do you think it would help to hear them testify to the public -- >> that's their call. >> that's the white house. >> thank you guys so much. >> would you like to hear from them? >>. >> seven hours after it started this morning, today's house
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intelligence impeachment inquiry wraps up with testimony from u.s. ambassador to the european union gordon sondland. also a major fund-raiser for president trump's inauguration in 2017. we will stay outside the hearing room. this is the longworth house office building. it's possible we'll now hear from some democratic members on that impeachment inquiry hearing. but we're only halfway done through the set hearings for today. another one, we understand, scheduled for 5:30 eastern coming up with two witnesses. laura cooper, the deputy assistant defense secretary for ukraine and also david hale, who is the under secretary for political affairs. that hearing 5:30 eastern. we'll have that live here on cspan 3. as we wait for that to get under way, we'll continue as we look live in the hearing room itself in longworth house office building. we continue to take your reaction, your thoughts on the testimony today from ambassador
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sondland. the lines are 202-748-8920 for democrats. republicans it's 202-748-8921. and for independents and others, 202-748-8922. if democrats do come to the cameras there at the stakeout position they call it we'll have those live for you. until then, we'd love to hear from you and we have calls waiting. we'll start with phillip in blue bell, pennsylvania. democrats line. >> caller: hello. this is philip. >> go ahead. you're on the air. >> caller: well, i have been listening to all the testimony the past few days, and i can't understand how anyone can say that there's no evidence. i mean, it's overwhelming. in fact, you hear it in the president's own words, in his phone call to the president of ukraine and in the overheard phone call between the president and mr. sondland.
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i am very worried about what's going to happen if this president is not held accountable. what's going to happen in 2020? i'm very afraid. i'm afraid that no one is going to be left watching the store. >> so you think -- you've heard enough in terms of the testimony you've heard so far to credibly come up with articles of impeachment against the president? >> caller: i would say definitely. i think it's overwhelming. there is no defense that i've heard from the republicans other than just reflection and pointing fingers at biden and his son. i mean, it's -- that's my overwhelming opinion. >> let's go to our republican line next. this is ed in bedford, indiana. >> go ahead. >> i'm here. >> i've been watching the hearings for the last couple of weeks and been paying attention to it as it's been rolling on
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and watching the adam schiff so. i have a comment. the american people want us to investigate and make sure our money is not going to corrupt countries. i am not for sure when the president started investigating to find out where the corruption was. i am thinking it was definitely before vice president biden made his decision to run for president. so i think the president should just go ahead and keep his agenda in these hearings should come to a halt. >> all right. let's hear next, william in floyd, virginia. our others line. 202-748-8922. william, hello there. >> caller: hey. how are you doing? i kind of wanted to take a middle stance here on the independent line. i identify as a progressive, but i hear a lot of people saying
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things on both sides. you've got deflection or we need to investigate corruption, and, you know, i can see where both sides are coming from. and i think in these hearings themselves, where a lot of the confusion is coming from is because we're not able to hear direct testimony from the parties that have firsthand knowledge or knowledge which would give us definitive answers on this issue. if this administration is -- and the republicans on the committee acting as a defense which to, quote, end the sham, then let's put out the facts from their sources so we can deal with the truth, whatever it may be. and we have to -- i'd like to remind everyone in the country that these are hearings designed to figure out what that is. what is the truth? we're not trying to make judgment calls at this point in the process. we're hearing testimonials primarily consisting of people's understanding and hearsay because, you know, they are the only ones involved who have been able to come forward if it weren't for their testimony, we'd all be in the dark about the allegation that trump was
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making on ukraine or who may or may not have tossed bien iny eb into some type of media circus if their narrative was to come forward. the administration is accusing their political opponents, the democrats, of a crime that they themselves seem, allegedly, unsuccessful at pulling off which is to poison it before this election and that's why we're going into these proceedings in order to figure out what are the facts here. the only thing i can take away from what we've seen so far is that there were improper actions and there's definitely the appearance of potential extortsion or bribery from the president or his senior advisers because of the surrounding circumstances and evidence which would implicate this administration in tandem with this call. i'd say it's indisputable at this point. one thing i'd say for sure is that mr. giuliani's involvement has damaged our relationship with ukraine and by extension
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our national security. >> do you think after the testimony today, would you stipulate that gordon sondland had that firsthand knowledge? and who do you think else should testify in the administration who would have firsthand knowledge of what's happened? >> so at this point, you know, it's a little difficult because i don't want to say we need to drag out the most senior officials but it seems like with regards to mr. giuliani's involvement in ukraine, it was played relatively close to the vest. but i would like to hear from the people they mention. i don't remember their exact names. i know that they referenced bolton, mulvaney and a couple of other people that actually, to be honest, and this is true for a lot of people, i only heard their names for the first time today, but there were other people in the know that they mentioned. like the head of the nsc and people of that nature. i think those are the people who are currently being blocked to testify, should come forward and give us the answers so we can
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put this to bed. right now we want to know what the truth is, both sides. >> all right. we appreciate your call. we'll go to bill next in fayetteville, arkansas, on our democrats line. what are your thoughts? >> caller: hi. number one, i want to start out with, i am only on as a democrat because i'm forced to go ahead and reg story as such during democrats so on and so forth. i had voted for republicans in the past. so i can go either way as long as the person shows that he's willing to do the best job for the american people, which is what the whole idea of american politics is about. now whoever the gop is following, that's another story. i voted republican in the past. myself and my wife both voted for ronald reagan and proud to say it. >> so from your fairly independent viewpoint, what do you think of the hearings so far, in particular, the
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testimony today? >> caller: i am -- i feel everybody that's listening that's got at least two brain cells functioning should be just as insulted at the president, the gop officials, they think that they can pull the wool over america's eyes and we're not smart enough to see what's going on. you know, you don't need the magic words, as what was said of intimidation, threats to glean a meaning out of what was said in that july phone call. you know, i don't want to say that i will do this, but -- let's face it. it's apparent. i don't want to say that anybody that's a republican blindly marching in line like toy soldiers behind trump is going to have this government at risk
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like so many states have already changed governments or governors from democrat to -- to the democrat side. turned their states from red to blue. i'm not saying it's a threat but, pay attention. it's inevitable. >> got to let you go there. and go to melba in guntersville, alabama. melba, go ahead. >> caller: -- my call. i have been observing this for 3 1/2 years, and it started back with the mueller thing. i know everything that's been going on. they are trying to take the president down whatever the means may be. and we know it. they did this in the basement, and don't let the republicans bring the ones they want? and they cut them off and don't let them answer the questions? and he stopped them.
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he don't like them to tell who the whistle-blower is? this is crazy. it's communism. and it starts with lying schiff. he's been lying for several years. and we know it. but we know that. and he needs to be investigated on a lot of the money he's taken, about $100,000. [ inaudible ]. we need to figure without is taking all this money from companies that are bad to be taken from so it -- it's fine if you have money, who they want to give it to, but not to people who are not devoted to vote the way the people they're getting money from as a company. companies should never give money to anybody in congress at
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all. but the day that i've been listening to this, this is terrible. this is -- >> melba in alabama, thank you. we'll continue with your calls and comments here on c-span3 and cspan radio. laura cooper will testify this afternoon along with david hale, state department under secretary for political affairs in the second round of hearings today set to get under way at 5:30 eastern. live coverage, of course, right here. president trump remarked on this morning's testimony from gordon sondland. the president reading part of his statement anyway as he departed the white house this morning for events in texas. here's a look. >> going to go very quickly. just a quick comment on what's going on in terms of testimony with ambassador sondland. and i just noticed one thing, and i would say that means it's
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all over. what do you want from ukraine? he asks me. what do you want from ukraine? i keep hearing all these different ideas and theories. this is ambassador sondland speaking to me. just happened. to which i turned off the television. what do you want from ukraine? i keep hearing all these different ideas and theories. what do you want? what do you want? it was a very short and abrupt conversation that he had with me. they said he was not in a good mood. i'm always in a good mood. i don't know what that is. he just said now he's talking about what's my response? so he's going, what do you want? what do you want? i hear all these theories. what do you want, right? and now here's my response that he gave. just gave. ready? you have the cameras rolling? i want nothing.
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that's what i want from ukraine. that's what i said. i want nothing. i said it twice. so he goes, he asked me the question. what do you want? i keep hearing all these things? what do you want? he finally gets me. i don't know him very well. i have not spoken to him much. this is not a man i know well. seems like a nice guy, though. but i don't know him well. he was with other candidates. he actually supported other candidates, not me. came in late. but here's my response. now if you want fake news, you cover it properly. i say to the ambassador's response, i want nothing. i want nothing. i want no quid pro quo. tell zelensky, president zelensky, to do the right thing. so here's my answer. i want nothing. i want nothing. i want no quid pro quo. tell zelensky to do the right
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thing. then he says, this is the final word from the president of the united states. i want nothing. thank you folks. have a good time. >> president trump departing this morning from the white house. he's in austin, texas, touring the apple manufacturing plant there. the president making those comments to reporters. we're taking your calls and comments and questions about the hearing. the first part of the hearing has wrapped up. some seven hours of testimony from gordon sondland, the ambassador to the eu. the u.s. ambassador to the european union. in that testimony, mr. -- ambassador sondland, i should say, said that he specifically told vice president mike pence he had, quote, concerns that u.s. military aid had, quote, become tied to the
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investigations. the vice president's office released a statement earlier today that read in part that the vice president never had conversations with gordon sondland about investigating the bidens, burisma or the conditional release of financial aid to ukraine based upon potential investigations. that's from the office of the vice president. also rudy giuliani, the former new york mayor, the president's attorney, his name mentioned frequently in the testimony today. he tweeted this. it came into this at volker's request. sondland is speculating based on very little contact. i never met him and had very few calls with him, mostly with volker. volker testified. i answered their questions and described them as my opinions, not demands. i.e. no quid pro quo. let's continue with your calls and comments. fresno, california, and this is dietrich on the others line. go ahead. >> caller: yes, the republicans,
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all of them, keep asking about, where's the whistle-blower. where's the whistle-blower. when is the whistle-blower going to speak? if the truth be told, if the whistle-blower were to testify, it's not going to persuade their argument one way nor the other. even if it was in a closed door deposition, it's not going to persuade them. their opinions one way or another. so i think they should just, i mean, they're not believing people with firsthand knowledge. they don't care what the whistle-blower had to say. instead they'll just put their safety at risk. >> all right, live video outside the longworth house build iing. right across the street from the u.s. capitol. these protesters just outside of longworth where the members of congress, the witnesses and others come in and out. let's go back to calls and hear from foster in bartlet, illinois, on the republican line. hello there. >> caller: hey.
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so i used to be a life-long democrat until this entire election. pretty much because i don't recognize my own party anymore. a lot of the stuff -- one thing i find suspicious was as of two hours ago, burisma was just indicted, including the entire board for money laundering with a u.s. firm. on top of that. and then i also find it suspicious the whistle-blower criteria was changed two weeks before the whistle-blower came out so now hearsay is allowed for whistle-blowers. and, i mean, there's nothing -- like for example, if he did everything wrong, if trump was guilty and did everything wrong, then why don't they allow the whistle-blower to testify? if he really doesn't know the ident ut, i'm curious if jim jordan will just say he wants to call the whistle-blower's identity to testify and, no, he wants to protect the whistle-blower then he can just
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reply back, well, i thought you didn't know who the identity was. i voted democrat all my life until -- like i don't even know what i'm going to do because it's not the party that i recognize anymore. what i feel like is that i didn't leave the party but the party left me out. >> all right. here's david next, suffolk, virginia. republican line. hello there. david in virginia, are you there? >> caller: yes, sir. how are you doing? >> doing fine. thank you. >> caller: okay. this is just an opinion. this is just my opinion, a, the house democrats, schiff, whatever, they're going to find president trump guilty and try and impeach him and then they're going to go up to the senate. the senate will say, nope, and that's it. and they are using this as an election scheme so they can try and gain control of the senate. and then when president trump is elected in 2020, that's when
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they'll do this stuff all over again. that's just my opinion. i don't think they have -- >> so you think when it comes to -- you think the senate will not find -- if it comes to the senate in a trial that they would not find the president guilty of these articles of impeachment and you think the democrats will use that as an election cause for lack of a better word in 2020? >> caller: yes. >> all right. >> caller: yes, i do. >> we go to andrea next in knoxville, tennessee, on our others line. go ahead. >> caller: yes. i just wanted to say that from where i'm from and from where i grew up, you can't send someone to prison for anything else for a criminal act if you don't have proof. we're supposed to live in a country where you're supposed to have viable proof. you can't presume that you saw something and then go, well, i presume or i interpreted it. either you did or you didn't.
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do we not live in a country where facts matter? that's my concern. >> and are you hearing -- andrea, are you, as you watch it, are you hearing from the witnesses a lot of variation on the who, what, when, what happened in these phone calls and meetings? >> caller: yeah. and the thing is is that today whenever i was listening, and the only thing he could say was i presume or he wouldn't answer which is very frustrating on both sides. if you're going to be a witness or something like that, then you should come with evidence. and i don't like this whole entire thing because it's taking away from my money and other people's money and everything else. and i think we should all have the right to investigate anyone. if i go for an interview and i put down references or anything else, i want you to call them. i want you to see who i am. i want you to investigate because i want you to have the facts. and i think that's the way it should be with everyone.
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i think you should have the facts. and if there's no facts to support it, then i think we need to drop this and go on. and i don't know what i'm going to do for the next election because i don't think either one right now is great. i just really don't. >> thanks for your phone call. here's where things stand. we continue taking your calls and comments. the house intelligence committee holds the second round of today's hearing getting under way, we understand, at 5:30 eastern. they're going to hear from laura cooper who is assistant under secretary of -- deputy assistant secretary of defense for ukraine. she has already arrived. we saw her arrive earlier. also from david hale who is a state department under secretary for political affairs. again, we understand that should get under way about 5:30 eastern, and our live coverage will be here on c-span3, of course, on the c-span radio app and anywhere at back to your calls to lindsey next, philadelphia. democrats line. >> caller: hi there.
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thanks for taking my call. first, i just want to say that i am -- i don't have cable. i don't watch any cable news. i pretty much watch whatever comes on c-span and i do listen to npr. and what i have found to be so bizarre is that, you know, i've listened to everything that everyone has said that's come to these impeachment trials. everything. i just -- when the republicans start to come back and talk to the witnesses, it seems like rather than asking questions they just throw out these like sound bites of, you know -- jim jordan especially. he just throws out what he wants to say and kind of talks over -- well, doesn't talk over, but doesn't ask any questions to the witness. and the projection from the gop is just like, some of the most ridiculous stuff i've ever heard. devin nunes, complaining the democrats are, you know, throwing around conspiracy theories? like it's just unbelievable. and i also want to add, i'm a public servant myself.
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and, you know, it really does come down to the appearance of impropriety for my job. i'm certainly not the president, but i would hope that other people in the same sort of public servant position would be held to the same standard. >> let me ask you something. you talked about your view of the republicans using the opportunity for sound bites. what are they using the sound bites for? is this for their own election? is it to reinforce the president's election chances? what do you think? >> well, i think i know exactly what it's for. and i would say that a lot of the people that have called in to your program over the past couple of days have been on the republican line. and have repeated some of the same things. it's almost like this mantra that they come up with. and then people who aren't really paying attention, as much as say like someone like me is, they hear it. they think, okay, that's something i can grab onto and i can basically spew it and other people are going to agree with
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me. and it's sort of like -- it's like an echo chamber. these words and phrases that don't really mean anything but that can just keep being thrown around. >> you hear the same things from democratic callers on this issue and others? >> caller: well, i don't think so. not to the same extent. i wish i had in front of me -- i started making a list last week of -- >> you were making a list? >> caller: yes. i had a list of some of the repeated phrases but now i can't think of anything, but it's just -- >> you are watching very closely. >> caller: i'm sure anyone paying attention has also heard them. >> i appreciate you calling in. we'll go next to deborah in florence, alabama, on our republican line. >> caller: hello. >> hi, deborah. >> caller: hi. this is kind of strange, but the lady that was a witness that --
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>> yesterday? >> caller: -- the ambassador, yovanovitch. >> marie yovanovitch, yes. >> caller: yes. who had been let go or asked to step down by president trump. she knew probably about all the corruption that had been going on, and she may have known things about the former president there that no one else knew. and the corruption was still going on with the burisma back before president trump became president. he was trying -- or is, has been trying to investigate this corruption now even before he was sworn in. but the democrats are always
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coming against him. they're trying to keep everything up in the air so that there will be a lot of division and a lot of arguments over the -- his election and him being president. that's wrong. he's trying to help america, and they're trying to hinder everything that he is trying to do to help. and this is just one of their ploys to attack him. and maybe yovanovitch, in a good way, is a good thing that she was let go because during the time that obama was president, if you remember, in benghazi, stevens, ambassador stevens, was killed. and those things are horrible
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that they attack americans like that. but it may be a good thing because she may have been under attack because someone told her that she was in danger. she needed to get out. they called her and told her she needed to leave. leave now. so whatever was going on, the corruption, she was in danger of. >> deborah in alabama, appreciate your phone call. and there will be plenty of time later to talk about today and certainly tomorrow on "washington journal" at 7:00 a.m. just want to remind you the house intelligence committee is not done yet. the second round of the hearing is coming up this afternoon at 5:30 eastern. they are going to hear from deputy defense secretary for ukraine laura cooper and also david hale, who is under secretary of state for political affairs. 5:30 eastern. we'll be back here live for that. in the meantime, as we wait for
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that to get under way, we're going to show you the opening statement this morning from u.s. ambassador to the european union, gordon sondland. >> thank you, mr. chairman, and thank you, ranking member nunes. i appreciate the opportunity to speak again to the members of this committee. first, let me offer my thanks to the men and women of the u.s. department of state who have committed their professional lives to support the foreign policy work of the united states. in particular my staff at the european union. your integrity, dedication and hard work often performed without public acclaim or recognition serve as a shining example of public service and i'm personally grateful to work beside you each and every day.
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it is my honor to serve as the u.s. ambassador to the european union. the u.s. mission to the eu is the direct link between the united states and the european union and its members. america's longest standing allies in one of the largest economic blocs in the world. every day, i work to support a strong united and peaceful europe. strengthening our ties with europe serves both american and european goals as we together promote political stability and economic prosperity around the world. i expect that few americans have heard my name before these events, so before i begin my substantive testimony, please let me share some of my personal background. my parents fled europe during the holocaust. escaping the atrocities of that time, my parents left germany
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for uruguay and then, in 1953, emigrated to seattle, washington, where i was born and raised. like so many immigrants, my family was eager for freedom and hungry for opportunity. they raised my sister and me to be humble, hardworking and patriotic, and i am forever grateful for the sacrifices they made on our behalf. public service has always been important to me. as a life-long republican, i have contributed to initiatives of both republican and democratic administrations. in 2003, i served as a member of the transition team for oregon democratic governor ted kulengowsky. the governor also appointed me to serve on various statewide boards. in 2007, president george w. bush appointed me as a member of the commission on white house
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fellows. i worked with president bush on charitable events for his foundation's military service initiative, and i also worked briefly with former vice president joe biden's office in connection with the vice president's nationwide anti-cancer initiative at a local northwest hospital. and, of course, the highest honor in my public life came when president trump asked me to serve as the united states ambassador to the european union. the senate confirmed me as an ambassador on a bipartisan voice vote, and i assumed the role in brussels on july 9th, 2018. although today is my first public testimony on the ukraine matters, this is not my first time cooperating with this committee. as you know, i've already provided ten hours of deposition testimony. and i did so despite directives
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from the white house and the state department that i refuse to appear as many others have done. i refused to testify because i respect the gravity of the moment and believe i have an obligation to account fully for my role in these events. but i also must acknowledge that this process has been challenging. and in many respects, less than fair. i have not had access to all of my phone records, state department emails and many, many other state department documents. and i was told i could not work with my eu staff to pull together the relevant files and information. having access to the state department materials would have been very helpful to me in trying to reconstruct with whom i spoke and met and when and what was said. as ambassador, i've had hundreds
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of meetings and calls with individuals, but i am not a note taker or a memo writer. never have been. my job requires that i speak with heads of state, senior government officials, members of the cabinet, the president, almost each and every day. talking with foreign leaders might be memorable to some people, but this is my job. i do it all the time. my lawyers and i have made multiple requests to the state department and the white house for these materials. yet these materials were not provided to me, and they have also refused to share these materials with this committee. these documents are not classified. and in fairness, in fairness, should have been made available. in the absence of these materials, my memory admittedly has not been perfect.
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and i have no doubt that a more fair, open and orderly process of allowing me to read the state department records and other materials would have made this process far more transparent. i don't intend to repeat my prior opening statement or attempt to summarize ten hours of previous deposition testimony. however, a few critical points have been obscured by noise over the last few days and weeks. and i am worried that the bigger picture is being ignored. so let me make a few key points. first, secretary perry, ambassador volker and i worked with mr. rudy giuliani on ukraine matters at the express direction of the president of the united states. we did not want to work with mr. giuliani. simply put, we were playing the
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hand we were dealt. we all understood that if we refused to work with mr. giuliani, we would lose a very important opportunity to cement relations between the united states and ukraine. so we followed the president's orders. second, although we disagreed with the need to involve mr. giuliani, at the time, we did not believe that his role was improper. as i previously testified, if i had known of all of mr. giuliani's dealings or his associations with individuals, some of whom are now under criminal indictment, i personally would not have acquiesced to his participation. still, given what we knew at the time, what we were asked to do did not appear to be wrong.
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third, let me say precisely because we did not think that we were engaging in improper behavior, we made every effort to ensure that the relevant decisionmakers at the national security council and the state department knew the important details of our efforts. the suggestion that we were engaged in some irregular or rogue diplomacy is absolutely false. i have now identified certain state department emails and messages that provide contemporaneous support for my view. these emails show that the leadership of the state department, the national security council and the white house were all informed about the ukraine efforts from may 23rd, 2019, until the security aid was released on september
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11th, 2019. i will quote from some of those messages with you shortly. fourth, as i testified previously -- as i testified previously, mr. giuliani's requests were a quid pro quo for arranging a white house visit for president zelensky. mr. giuliani demanded that ukraine make a public statement announcing the investigations of the 2016 election, dnc server and burisma. mr. giuliani was expressing the desires of the president of the united states, and we knew these investigations were important to the president. fifth, in july and august of 2019, we learned that the white house had also suspended
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security aid to ukraine. i was adamantly opposed to any suspension of aid. i was adamantly opposed to any suspension of aid as the ukrainians needed those funds to fight against russian aggression. i tried diligently to ask why the aid was suspended but i never received a clear answer. still haven't to this day. in the absence of any credible explanation for the suspension of aid, i later came to believe that the resumption of security aid would not occur until there was a public statement from ukraine committing to the investigations of the 2016 elections and burisma, as mr. giuliani had demanded. i shared concerns of the potential quid pro quo regarding the security aid with senator ron johnson. and i also shared my concerns with the ukrainians.
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finally, at all times, i was acting in good faith. i was acting in good faith. as a presidential appointee, i followed the directions of the president. we worked with mr. giuliani because the president directed us to do so. we had no desire to set any conditions. we had no desire to set any conditions on the ukrainians. indeed, my own personal view, which i shared repeatedly with others, was that the white house and security assistance should have proceeded without preconditions of any kind. we were working to overcome the problems given the facts as they existed. our only interest, and my only interest, was to advance
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longstanding u.s. policy and to support ukraine's fragile democracy. now let me provide additional details, specifically about ukraine and my involvement. first, my very first days as ambassador to the eu, which was starting back in july of 2018, ukraine has featured prominently in my broader portfolio. ukraine's political and economic development are critical to the longstanding and long-lasting stability of europe. moreover, the conflict in eastern ukraine and crimea remains one of the most significant security crises for europe and the united states. our efforts to counterbalance an aggressive russia depend in substantial part on a strong ukraine.
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on april 21st, 2019, volodymyr zelensky was elected president of ukraine in an historic election. with the express support of secretary pompeo, i attended president zelensky's inauguration on may 20th as part of the u.s. delegation, which was led by energy secretary rick perry. the u.s. delegation also included senator johnson, ukraine special envoy volker and lieutenant colonel alex vindman of the national security council. my attendance at president zelensky's inauguration was not my first involvement with ukraine. as i testified previously, just four days after assuming my post as ambassador in july of 2018, i received an official delegation from the government of then-ukraine president petro poroshenko.
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the meeting took place at the u.s. mission in brussels and was prearranged by my career eu mission staff. and i've had several meetings since then in brussels. later, in february of 2019, i worked well with u.s. ambassador marie yovanovitch in making my first official visit to ukraine for a u.s. navy visit to the strategic black sea port of odessa. and the reason i raise these prior ukraine activities, the meetings in brussels, my visit to odessa, is to emphasize that ukraine has been a part of my portfolio from my very first days as the u.s. ambassador. any claim that i somehow muscled my way in to the ukraine relationship is simply false. during the zelensky inauguration on may 20th, the u.s. delegation
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developed a very positive view of the ukraine government. we were impressed by president zelensky's desire to promote a stronger relationship with the united states. we admired his commitment to reform, and we were excited about the possibility of ukraine making the changes necessary to support a greater western economic investment. and we were excited that ukraine might, after years and years of lip service, finally get serious about addressing its own well-known corruption problems. with that enthusiasm, we returned to the white house on may 23rd to brief president trump. we advised the president of the strategic importance of ukraine and the value of strengthening the relationship with president zelensky. to support this reformer, we asked the white house for two
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things. first, a working phone call between presidents trump and zelensky and, second, a working oval office visit. in our view, both were vital to cementing the u.s./ukraine relationship. demonstrating support for ukraine in the face of russian aggression and advancing broader u.s. foreign policy interests. unfortunately, president trump was skeptical. he expressed concerns that the ukrainian government was not serious about reform, and he even mentioned that ukraine tried to take him down in the last election. in response to our persistent efforts in that meeting to change his views, president trump directed us to, quote, talk with rudy. we understood that talk with rudy meant talk with mr. rudy giuliani, the president's
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personal lawyer. let me say again, we weren't happy with the president's directive to talk with rudy. we did not want to involve mr. giuliani. i believe then as i do now that the men and women of the state department, not the president's personal lawyer, should take responsibility for ukraine matters. nonetheless, based on the president's direction, we were faced with a choice. we could abandon the efforts to schedule the white house phone call and a white house visit between presidents trump and zelensky, which was unquestionably in our foreign policy interests, or we could do as president trump had directed and talk with rudy. we chose the latter course, not because we liked it, but because it was the only constructive path open to us. over the course of the next
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several months, secretary perry, ambassador volker and i were in communication with mr. giuliani. secretary perry volunteered to make the initial calls with mr. giuliani given their prior relationship. ambassador volker made several of the early calls and generally informed us of what was discussed. i first communicated with mr. giuliani in early august, several months later. mr. giuliani emphasized that the president wanted a public statement from president zelensky committing ukraine to look into the corruption issues. mr. giuliani specifically mentioned the 2016 election, including the dnc server, and burisma as two topics of importance to the president. we kept the leadership of the state department and the nsc
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informed of our activities. and that included communications with secretary of state pompeo, his counselor, brechbuhl and ambassador bolton, dr. hill, mr. morrison and their staff at the nsc. they knew what we were doing and why. on july 10th, 2019, senior ukrainian national security officials met with ambassador bolton, ambassador volker, dr. hill, secretary perry, myself and several others in washington, d.c. during that meeting, we all discussed the importance of the two action items i identified earlier. one, a working phone call and, two, a white house meeting
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between presidents trump and zelensky. from my perspective, the july 10th meeting was a positive step toward accomplishing our shared goals. while i am now aware of accounts of the meeting from dr. hill and lieutenant colonel vindman, their recollections of those events simply don't square with my own. or with those of ambassador volker or secretary perry. i recall mentioning the prerequisite of investigations before any white house call or meeting. but i do not recall any yelling or screaming or abrupt terminations as others have said. instead, after the meeting, ambassador bolton walked outside with our group and we all took some great pictures together outside on the white house lawn. more important, those recollections of protest do not square with the documentary record of our interactions with
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the nsc in the days and weeks that followed. we kept the nsc apprised of our efforts, including specifically our efforts to secure a public statement from the ukrainians that would satisfy president trump's concerns. for example, on july 13th, and this is three days after that july 10th meeting, i emailed tim morrison. he had just taken over dr. hill's post as the nsc eurasia director, and i met him that day for the first time. i twroewrote to mr. morrison wi these words. the call between zelensky and potus -- president of the united states -- should happen before 7/21, which is the parliamentary elections in ukraine. sole purpose is for zelensky to give potus assurances of new
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sheriff in town, corruption ending, unbundling moving forward and, and i emphasize, any hampered investigations will be allowed to move forward transparently. goal is for potus to invite him to oval. volker, perry, bolton and i strongly recommend. mr. morrison acknowledged and said thank you and specifically noted that he was tracking these issues. again, there was no secret regarding moving forward and the discussion of investigations. moreover, i've reviewed other state department documents, some of which are not currently in the public domain, detail playing giuliani's efforts. for example, on july 10th, the very same day that ambassador volker, secretary perry and i were meeting with the ukraine
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officials in washington, ambassador taylor received a communication that mr. giuliani was still talking with ukrainian prosecutor yuri lutsenko in whatsapp messages with ambassador volker and i. ambassador taylor wrote to us as follows. just had a meet with andriy and vadym prystaiko. he said the, cranie i ukrainiany concerned about what lutsenko told them that, according to rg -- rudy giuliani, the zelensky/potus meeting will not happen. volker responded, good grief. please tell the dean to let the official u.s. government representatives speak for the u.s. lutsenko has his own self-interest here. taylor confirmed that he had
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communicated that message to the ukrainians, and he added, i briefed ulrich this afternoon on it referring to ulrich brechbuhl. again, everyone is in the loop. three things are critical about this whatsapp exchange. first, while the ukrainians were in washington at the white house, mr. giuliani was communicating with the ukrainians without our knowledge. ambassador taylor, ambassador volker and i were all surprised by this. second, mr. giuliani was communicating with the reportedly corrupt ukrainian prosecutor lutsenko and discussing whether a zelensky/trump meeting was going to happen, again without our knowledge. and, third, with, they la this news, he briefed brechbuhl, the counsel to secretary of state pompeo. even as late as september 24th
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of this year, secretary pompeo was directing kurt volker to speak with mr. giuliani. in a whatsapp message, kurt volker told me in part, spoke with rudy per guidance from s. s is the state department's official resignator for the secretary. spoke with rudy per guidance from s. look, we tried our best to fix the problem while keeping the state department and the nsc closely apprised of the challenges we faced. on july 25th, presidents trump and zelensky had their official call. i was not on the call, and i don't think i was invited to be on the call. in fact, i first read the the transcript on september 25th the day it was publicly released. all i had heard at that time was that the call had gone well.
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looking back, i find it very odd, very odd that neither i nor ambassador taylor nor ambassador volker ever received a detailed readout of that call with the biden references. now there are people who say they had concerns about the call, but no one shared any concerns about the call with me at the time which frankly, would have been very helpful to know. on july 25th, ambassador taylor, ambassador volker and i were all in kiev to meet with president zelensky. the timing of that trip immediately after the call between presidents trump and zelensky was entirely, entirely coincidental. the key of meetings had been scheduled well before the date that the white house finally fixed the call. during our kiev meeting, i do not recall president zelensky
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discussing the substance of his july 25th call with president trump. nor did he discuss any request to investigate vice president biden which we all later learned was discussed on the july 25th call and this is consistent with the reported comments from ambassadors volker and taylor. after the zell know ski meeting i also met with the aid andrey yermak. i believe the issue of the investigations was probably a part of that agenda or meeting. also, on july 26th, shortly after our kiev meetings, i spoke by phone with president trump. the white house which has finally, finally shared certain call dates and times with my attorneys confirms this. the call lasted five minutes. i remember i was at a restaurant in kiev, and i have no reason to
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doubt that this conversation included the subject of investigations. again, given mr. giuliani's demand that president zelensky make a public statement about investigations, i knew that investigations were important to president trump. we did not discuss any classified information. other witnesses have recently shared their recollection of overhearing this call. for the most part, i have no reason to doubt their accounts. it is true that the president speaks loudly at times, and it is also true and i think we discuss discussed a.s.a.p. rocky. it's true the president likes to use colorful language. anyone that's met with him for any reasonable amount of time knows this, while i can't remember the precise detail again, the white house does not allow me to have readouts of the call and the july 26th call does
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not strike me as significant at the time. actually, actually, i would have been more surprised if president trump had not mentioned investigations, particularly given what we were hearing from mr. giuliani about the president's concerns. however, i have no recollection of discussing vice president biden or his son on that call or after the call ended. i know that members of this committee frequently frame these complicated issues in the form of a simple question. was there a quid pro quo? as i testified previously with regard to the requested white house call and the white house meeting, the answer is yes. mr. giuliani conveyed to secretary perry, ambassador volker and others that president trump wanted a public statement from president zelensky committing to investigations of burisma and the 2016 election.
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mr. giuliani expressed those requests directly to the ukrainians and mr. giuliani also expressed those requests directly to us. we all understood that these prerequisites for the white house call and the white house meeting reflected president trump's desires and requirements. within my state department e-mails, there is a july 19th e-mail. this e-mail was sent. this e-mail was sent to secretary pompeo, secretary perry, brian mccormack who is secretary perry's chief of staff at the time. miss kenna who is the acting -- pardon me, who is the executive secretariat for secretary pompeo, chief of staff mulvaney and mr. mulvaney's senior adviser rob blair. a lot of senior officials.
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a lot of senior officials. here is my exact quote from that e-mail. i talked to zelensky just now. he is prepared to receive potus' call. we'll assure him that he intends to run a fully transparent investigation and will turn over every stone. he would greatly appreciate a call prior to sunday so that he can put out some media about a friendly and productive call, no details, prior to ukraine election on sunday. chief of staff mulvaney responded. i asked the nfc to set it up for tomorrow. everyone was in the loop. it was no secret. everyone was informed via e-mail on july 19th days before the
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presidential call. as i communicated to the team i told president zelensky in advance that assurances to run a fully transparent investigation and turn over every stone were necessary in his call with president trump. on july 19th in a whatsapp message between ambassador taylor, ambassador volker and me, ambassador volker stated, had breakfast with rudy this morning. that's ambassador volker and rudy giuliani. teeing up call with yermak monday. that's senior adviser andre yermak and most important is for zelensky to say that he will help investigation and address any specific personnel issues if there are any. on august 10th, the next day, mr. yermak texted me. once we have a date which is a
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date for the white house meeting, we will call for a press briefing announcing upcoming visit and outlining vision for the reboot of the u.s.-ukraine relationship including, among other thing, burisma and election meddling in investigations. this is from mr. yermak to me. the following day, august 11th and this is critical. i sent an e-mail to counselor brechbuhl and lisa kenna. she was frequently used as the pathway to secretary pompeo as he would prefer to receive the e-mails through her and she would print them out and put them in front of him. with the subject, ukraine, i wrote mike -- referring to mike pompeo, kurt and i negotiated a statement from zelensky to be delivered for our review in a
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day or two. the contents will hopefully make the boss happy enough -- the boss being the president, to authorize an be invitation. zelensky plans to have a big presser -- press conference, on the openness subject including specifics next week. all of which referred to the 2016 and the burisma. miss kenna replied, gordon, i'll pass to the secretary. thank you. again, everyone was in the loop. curiously, and this was very interesting to me. on august 26th, shortly before his visit to kiev, ambassador bolton's office requested mr. giuliani's contact information from me. i sent ambassador bolton the
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information directly. they requested mr. giuliani's contact information on august 26th i was first informed that the white house was withholding security aid to ukraine during conversations with ambassador taylor on july 18, 2019. however, as i testified before i was never able to obtain a clear answer regarding the specific reason for the hold. whether it was bureaucratic in nature which often happens or reflected some other concern in the inner agency process. i never participated in any of the subsequent dod or dos review meetings. that others have described. so i can't speak to what was discussed in those meetings.
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nonetheless, before the september 1st warsaw meet, the ukrainians had become aware that security fund his yet to be dispersed. in the absence of any credible explanation for the hold, i came to the conclusion that the aid, like the white house visit, was jeopardized. in preparation for the september 1, warsaw meeting i asked secretary pompeo whether a face to face conversation between trump and zelensky would help to break the logjam and this was when president trump was still intending to travel to warsaw. >> specifically, on august 22nd, i e-mailed secretary pom p/ea directly. i wrote, and this is my e-mail to secretary pompeo. should we block time in warsaw
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for a short pull-aside for potus to meet zelensky? i would ask zelensky to look him in the eye and tell him that once ukraine's new justice folks are in place in mid-september that zelensky should be able to move forward publicly and with confidence on those issues of importance to potus and the u.s. hopefully that will help break the logjam. the secretary replied yes. i followed up the next day asking to get ten to 15 minutes on the warsaw schedule for this. i said we'd like to know when it's locked so i can tell zelensky and brief him. executive secretary kenna replied, i will try for sure. moreover, given my concerns about the security aid, i have no reason to dispute that
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portion of senator johnson's recent letter. in which he recalls conversations he and i had on august 30g9. by the end end of august, my belief was if you crane did something to fight corruption and addressing burisma, and then maybe the hold on military aid would be lift. >> there was a meeting with warsaw. trum a attorney was canceled through to hurricane dorian and vice president pence attended instead. i mentioned that i had concerns that the delay in aid had become tied to the issue of investigations. i recall mentioning that before the zelensky meeting. during the actual meeting, president zelensky raised the issue of security assistance
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directly with vice president pence and the vice president said that he would speak to president trump about it. based on my previous communication with secretary pompeo, i felt confident sharing my concerns with yermak. it was a very polarized conversation that wanted in a few seconds. i thought the resumption of u.s. aid would likely not occur until ukraine took some kind of action on the public statement that we had been discussing for many weeks. as my other state department state department have testified. it should not have been delayed. i expressed this view to many during this period, but my goal at the time was to do what was necessary to get the aid released and to break the logjam. i believe that the public statement we had been discussing for weeks was essential to
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advancing that goal. you. >> know, i really regret that the, cranians were placed in that predicament, to braekt logjam and to not some problem. y i mentioned at the outset that we would the lead lead are surprised and was aware that a commitment to invest fwagd gagzs were the acting assistant secretary phil reeker sent an e-mail to me, to secretary perry and to others forwarding some positive media coverage of president zelensky's attendance at our event. mr. reeker wrote, and i quote,
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this headline underscores the importance and timeliness of zelensky's visit to brussels, and the critical, and the critical, perhaps historic role of the dinner and engagement gordon coordinated. thank you for your participation and dedication to this effort. months later, on september 3rd i sent secretary pompeo a letter expressing my appreciation following the warsaw trip. i wrote, mike, thanks for schlepping to europe. i think it was really important and the chemistry seems promising, really appreciate it. secretary pompeo replied the next day on wednesday, september 4th, quote, all good. you're doing great work. keep banging away.
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state department leadership expressed total support for the ukrainian administration. look, i've never doubted the strategic value of strengthening our alliance with ukraine and at all times, at all times our efforts were in good faith and fully transparent to those tasked with overseeing them. our efforts were reported and approved and not once do i recall encountering an objection. it remains an honor to serve the people of the united states as their united states ambassador to the european union. i look forward to considering the committee's questions. thank you. >> u.s. ambassador to the european union gordon sondland 40-plus minute opening statement before the house intelligence committee this morning in a hearing that ultimately went some seven hours. we are live back in that hearing
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room inside the office building, a room normally used by the house ways and means committee and here used by the intelligence committee including a hearing that's coming up shortly at 5:30 eastern when the intelligence committee will hear from laura cooper who is the deputy assistance defense secretary for ukraine and david hale who is state department undersecretary for political affairs and a look here at the line of visitors, folks hoping to get inside the hearing room and watch some of the proceedings this evening. we understand also from chad pergram of fox. there will be no extended question round. following opening statements it will go straight to questions and we will have it live on c-span3 and as we wait for that to start we open up our phone lines to hear from you, and what
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you may have heard from gordon sondland in that lengthy opening statement this morning. 202-748-8920 is the number to call for democrats. if you are republican, 202-748-8921 and for independents and others, 202-748-8922. let's go to san bernardino, california, on the others line independent is willie. california, hello, willie. go ahead with your comments. >> yes, i was here for the nixon impeachment and the clinton impeachment and now the trump impeachment and this one is totally a disgrace. it's a disgrace to american politics. what is it that makes it a disgrace, will sne. >> excuse me? >> what is it that makes it a disgrace, in your opinion. >> in my opinion it's a disgrace because you can sit here and watch sondland sit here and not tell the truth. everyone there knows he's not
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telling the truth. you sit here and you watch the republicans sit here and try to skate around what should have been done back in 2016. 2016 is not involved in this and we need to get to the truth of what really went on in 2018 and 2019, but nobody seems to want to find that out. everybody is just looking at impeach the president, impeach the president, well if he needs impeaching, i agree with it, but get to the truth first before you make that decision. >> let's hear from don next, port orange, florida, democrats line. >> yeah. i'd just like to say i wish congress both democrats and republicans would get together and pass the bills that they need to pass that helps out the common people in the country that they were elected in. as far as the impeachment goes, i think it's a farce, and it's
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just ridiculous to sit here and watch it. >> to don's point, the house is voting on bills. whether it's passed or not, there are still two or three votes left on the house floor and that's why we're waiting for the start of the hearing with the two additional witnesses and the hearing as we heard from chad pergram of fox. we expect it to be truncated without the additional questioning from counsels on the democrat and republican side. we'll move to pamela next in auburn, washington, republican line. >> yes. i've been following this procedures for the last few days. hours i'll never get back, and what i've come away with is this is why once mueller report was over the democrats went to biden and said you have to get in the race so we have to impeachment for a political offense and that's why this is going on and
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that's the only reason biden is in the race. at least that's what i'm taking away. >> so you think that was joe biden's sole motivation for getting in the race was to impeach donald trump? >> i certainly do. and if you think about it it wasn't until after the mueller report failed that they went to biden and said you have to get into the race. that turns it into a political agenda. if biden is not in the race it's not political and it's with burisma. >> we go to mike in windmere, florida. i wanted to make a couple of quick comments and the first one being that any negotiations that take place between our president and foreign relations people with foreign countries or foreign representatives are always going to include some quid pro quo. i mean, they have to do something to receive our aid. they just can't be lawless and
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crazy, right? so i think people should think about that. that's quite important and something that happened four hours ago that i haven't seen on tv yet is that nicolai, the owner of burisma was just indicted and also named -- he actually named that the bidens received $16.5 million. so i think that that's going to be a huge thing. this couldn't have happened without this fake whistle-blower calling out corruption that didn't happen. so that's my thoughts. thank you. >> to the democrats line. stephanie in new york, as we await the start of the hearing. you're on the air. >> hello. thank you for taking my call. i just wanted to comment that it seems like both sides have come in with their views already set and so it's frustrating to me just watching these hearings
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just knowing that either side, both democrat and republican side's minds are already decided on what they think has happened as opposed to genuinely asking, and i think you'd see that as well on the ltrepublican line. gordon, good evening. >> good evening. we've been watching the debates here, so to speak, between all parties and we think they've made a good case for the president. we see a lot of state department individuals who think they run the country without direction from the executive, and that's a little frightening. so i think the hearings are going well for the president and for the republicans. >> all right. here's ed next calling from
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cuyoga falls. you're on the air. >> yeah, i think i'm kind of an average joe, united states citizen, love the country and i worked 30 years. my wife worked 30 years and we talk about politics and we've been with democrats, republicans and others and what i think surprises us the most is the absolute power a president of the united states actually has and president trump has exercised that to the limit as far as most of the average joe citizens are concerned that, boy, how much can you do as a president hurting major aspects
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of the country without being questioned by it and that's why the questions are very important to see what really goes on in today's politics with our current president. so it seems very hard to remove a president, i understand that. it has to be serious, but when you ask a foreign country to inquire about a united states opponent or quid pro quo, you're asking for a lot. thank you. >> thank you. we'll continue to take your calls for the next couple of minutes. we're looking live at the hearing room inside the longworth house office building. the intelligence committee in the house returning, we understand, about 5:30 eastern
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and president trump left washington this morning for a visit to austin, texas and we'll return this evening touring the apple manufacturing plant near austin. hogan diddley, the deputy assistant press secretary that this picture tells the real story. president trump at an apple plant with tim cook while the democrats continue wasting the american people's time and money with their illegitimate sham and impeachment hearing. that's from hogan gidley. let's hear from bob, democrats line. >> what i have to say is joe biden on youtube swearing in at jeff sessions, you see him molesting these little girls. the entire left supports pedophilia. they want to normalize it and call it attractive child syndrome. so you have donald trump for
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four more years no matter what, you'll have his son for eight years, and you'll have his daughter or else or else there will be sharia law in this country and it's a real threat and it's worse than the go engineer and the glycofate, conspiracy boths the king of reality. >> joe on the republican line. joe, hello there. >> yeah. i'm just amazed how the democrats listen how schiff just continually tries to coerce and put words inside of the ambassador's mouth and the ambassador says no, not exactly, and he says don't you mean this? why are we even listening to this that he's trying to force him to say something that he wants to say?
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and i don't see how people are even listening to this, and we all know that trump, he didn't do it. he said there was no quid pro quo, and we just don't understand what the democrats are continually trying to pull and i think they're trying to smear his name, but they don't realize they're making us stronger, republican, and we'll go out and vote stronger and there will be more turnouts. we'll let you go there, joe. based on the resolution passed, the intelligence committee taking the lead in the impeachment investigation with hearings that began last week and continuing today. we'll have another hearing beginning at 9:00 a.m. eastern tomorrow. the two other committees involved, the judiciary commitet and oversight committee following the death of elijah cummings several weeks ago, the committee temporarily appointed
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carolyn malone, the 14-year veteran of the committee. she's now been elected as chair of the committee beating out jerry connelly in the vote, 133-86 and carolyn maloney will now lead the oversight committee to the house and we'll hear from menefee, california and this is fred on the others line. go ahead. >> yeah. i've got a question for you. i'm an independent, however, i'm switching over to a republican in light of the situation. i continue to hear the democrats say one thing that really bothers me and nobody is above the law. if they truly believe nobody is above the law, why would they have concerns about our president stepping in and finding out any corruption that has been going on in ukraine? like one of the other callers previously stated, the burisma,
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the president of burisma was caught today stating that $16.5 million was given to biden's son. so where is their concern on the democratic side about finding out those issues. >> do you think that's something, fred, that we should leave to the ukrainian authorities or given that there's allegedly an american involved in this case, hunter biden, that is something that u.s. authorities should look at? >> absolutely should take care of it ourselves. this is a u.s. personnel and his father is running to be the president of the united states. i think every american should have the right to know if there is corruption in that family and where it is, whether it's in the united states or whether it's overseas. >> we'll go to our republican line next and here from the
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democrats' line we'll hear from doris in alabama. >> good afternoon. i've been watching this, and i just find the whole thing disgusting for republicans and democrats, even though i'm a democrat. the law as is stated, mr. trump -- he committed an illegal act by using his office to gain a political agenda for the new election, and this has been laid out to be a big conspiracy theory and it got worse with the kennedy assassination, and i am sure that our country has already spent millions of dollars just for this alone when there are so many areas out here that should be working and
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social security and this money is going to wait and doing nothing, but shaming our nation and that goes for the democrats and the republicans. it's like children on the playground. which one took the ball and who's going have to chase it and that's what it boils down to, and now it's totally gotten out of control. >> all right, doris, let's hear from linda next. erie, pennsylvania, a couple of more calls here as the hearing is about to get under way. go ahead 37. >> hi, this is linda. nice to talk to you. i read the same article about the indictment of the owner of burisma today, and $7.4 billion that has a connection to a democratic establishment and they don't identify what that is and that's why democrats don't
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want the holdings of burisma investigated because they're connected to it. this witch hunt has got to stop. they have been wanting, they, the democrats, have been wanted to impeach the president before he was even inaugurated. when this goes away, because it's going to go to the senate and it will get thrown out. >> linda, we'll let you go there as we await the arrival of the two witnesses the committee will hear this evening, laura cooper, the assistant defense secretary for ukraine and david hale, the undersecretary for political affairs. the hearing should get under way shortly. live coverage here on c-span3.


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