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tv   U.S. Ambassador to Russia Confirmation Hearing  CSPAN  November 1, 2019 4:21pm-6:43pm EDT

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the road, exploring the american story. we take you to laramie wyoming. we call it the gem city of the planes, because we are in a valley surrounded by mountains. this was a railroad town until it became a university town. the railroad was an important part of our history. there are all different kinds of history in laramie also. noonin us this saturday at eastern on book tv and saturday at 2:00 p.m. on american history tv as the c-span cities tour looks at the history and literary life of -- laramie, wyoming. next, the senate foreign relations committee considers the nomination of john sullivan to the u.s. -- to be u.s. ambassador to russia. he currently serves as ticket terry -- deputy secretary of state. he was asked several questions about president trump's communication with the president of ukraine in july. and alleged efforts to have
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ukraine investigate former vice president joe biden in exchange for military aid. it is just under 2.5 hours. [crowd noise] >> the committee will come to order. thank you for attending today.
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today, we will hold the nomination hearing on important position. the nominee today is john jay sullivan to be the u.s. ambassador to the russian federation. we have two distinguished colleagues of ours. we will allow them to proceed with introductions. i will postpone my opening statement. i asked the ranking member to do likewise. until the nominees have been introduced. we are glad to be joined today by senators dan sullivan of alaska and ben cardin of maryland. sullivanand senator has drawn the straw to go first. >> thank you very much. it's an honor to be before the senate foreign relations committee again on behalf of my friend john sullivan. to beport his nomination the united states ambassador to the russian federation.
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despite what his last name would suggest, we are not related. although i occasionally joke with senator markey, who is also proud sullivan member in his heritage somewhere back in history, we were somewhere all related. supportedlicly secretary sullivan's nomination once before and can speak to his long, distinguished career, all of which you are familiar. i would begin by stating that his experience and qualifications have already been endorsed by this committee and by the u.s. senate previously confirmed as deputy secretary in six2017 by a vote of 94 to and confirmed in the bush administration in march 2008 unanimously to be deputy secretary of commerce and in 2005 to be general counsel of the department of commerce.
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i first met him when we were in the georgeer in the george w. bush administration. i was working as an assistant secretary of state under condoleezza rice and john was the ticket -- deputy secretary of commerce. since 2017, john has successfully served as the united states deputy secretary he hase with integrity done a critical job in this role, widely system -- widely most importantly, by the department of state which he has helped to lead. he has worked with them, led
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them, stood by them and for them in his tenure as deputy secretary. i don't often take to quoting the national media, but you may have noticed that there is a wide cross-section of journalists and media in our country that have noted john's qualifications and reaffirm the positive impact he has already had on the state department. an article from politico recently stated that, "john sullivan is winning over state department employees. so far, sullivan has shown a fluency with diplomacy." crucial ingredients to leading the mission to russia. in a wall street journal op-ed by ambassador thomas pickering, he said of secretary sullivan, i have come to respect john sullivan's judgment, his balance, his good sense, his open-minded approach to how to deal with foreign relations problems we may have. you may have seen a letter of
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distinguished national security executives, former diplomats, security officials, secretaries of defense, and other positions were all endorsing secretary sullivan's ambassadorship to russia. as it relates to the new position he has been nominated, he currently leads the only two dialogues on strategic security. he has played a key role relating to the u.s.-russia relation ship over the past two years. at a time when u.s.-russian relations are more complex and strained than ever, it is important to have someone like john as america's top diplomat. i had the honor of introducing
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another outstanding american as the ambassador to saudi arabia to this committee. at the time, i said, while there were many disagreements in this body toward our policy toward saudi arabia, there should be consensus that we need a well respected ambassador. the same holds true with russia today. john sullivan knows what it means to serve our nation and has a career in doing so. i urge this committee to support his nomination. >> you mentioned the letter that was addressed to myself and senator menendez. i am going to admit that into the record. sen. cardin: thank you. i am pleased to be introducing secretary sullivan to this committee.
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secretary sullivan is a marylander who has a boston accent. he has served our nation, but sounds more like senator markey then he does me, but that is fine. he has served our nation well since may of 2017, acting secretary of state since april of 2018, senior positions in the department of justice, the defense department, commerce, two decades as a private attorney. he is well-qualified for the position. john sullivan, to me, is a straight shooter. he is an experienced public servant. my experience is that he has communicated with me effectively and honestly. he reached out to me when i was the ranking democrat on this committee and he has respected my role as a united states senator and a member of this committee. he said he was looking for a
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russia has been our adversary, make no mistake about it. they intervened in the eelection. putin's attack against democratic countries in europe and now in the united states. he invaded and occupied and still occupies ukraine in violation of every principle of helsinki final accords. mr. putin also is occupying russia in jordan and moldova, e's interfered in syria, and violated the own rights of his
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countymen. the list goes on and on. r. chairman, we need a confirmed ambassador who will support our democratic principles and give hope to the voices in russia that stand up to the repressive regime of mr. putin. let me conclude by quoting from senator solvin. when the nominee told us our greatest asset to the commitment to the fundamental values assessed at the founding of our foundation, the pursuit of life and happiness. it's at the heart of our leadership in the world. i couldn't agree more with nose statements. i thank john and his family for being willing to take on this challenge. >> thank yous -- thanks to both
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to have you and senator i know you have a commitment. >> i have a commitment also. >> you do. you do. we're glad to have you. again, i want to thank all of you for coming. john, welcome. we're going to contemplate the nomination of the honorable john sullivan to the russian federation. we welcome you back to the committee and thank you for your wlgness to comet serving in what is a challenging but very important role. i have no doubt but this will be a brief hearing and my colleagues will be kind and generous with you as we go through with. as senators kardon sexa and sullivan have given an introduction, i'll take a few moments to talk about the importance of this decision. most agree that the relation with the u.s. and russia is at a low point. we've tried to reset the rhythm
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only to find that the other side is an unwilling partner. this is caused in part by our very different value sets and our very different views of helping man kind. the russian interference in the electoral process has been a part of it. by the expulsion of each other's dim lo mats and by a complete backlash of trust due to treasuren's worldwide bad conduct. russia has chosen to wreak havoc. we are all familiar with the long, long list of russia's maligned global activity. it has shredded international agreements, like the conventional forces in europe treaty and seized sovereign territory from both georgia and ukraine that it continues to
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occupy today in violation of all international enormous and indeed, united nation condemnation. it has poisoned its enemies with chemical weapons on foreign soil and violated the i.b.f. treaty so blatantly that all allies reached a unanimous agreement on those violations. the government continues to meddle and has engauged in a coup in 2016. most countries recognize russia's maligned global influence and have taken action. the effort u. and u.s. have sanctioned corrupt russian igarchs under the magnicki
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act. his -- its industry industry all of which strain russia's ability to raise revenue. i hope we'll soon act to pass the bills written by senators cruz and shaheen regarding the pipeline. most of us have worked and continue to work to get that done. despite our many issues with the kremlin, there are also times of cooperation with the russians like in the area of counterterrorism and it's important we make clear to the russian people that we do value or rhythm with them. we should make sure that education and cultural exchanges still take place and that we support civil society in their country in any way we can, notwithstanding the maligned acts of their leaders. the u.s.-russia rhythm will
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exist long after putin is gone. all this leads me to the reason we are here today, to evaluate the nomination of deputy secretary issue ran to be the top representative to a country that we have such a contention -- contentious rhythm with. deputy secretary sullivan is ready for this role. he has served the u.s. government in the department of defense, commerce, and now at state. i'm confident that the past two years as serving as our government's secretary of state has given him the experience to navigate both our system and russia's system. i'm honored and pleased to hear the compliments that you've received from both sides of the aisle, even from the national media. thank you for being here today. thank you to your family for sharing the sacrifice it's going to take to do this and with that, i'll turn it over to
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ranking member menendez. >> thank you, mr. chairman. congratulations on your nomination. you understand the role of congress as a co-equal branch of government and you have separated yourself from the in nment which -- those government that have sought to break every resume. unfortunately no one person can counteract the disarray that the trump administration's foreign policy. i have served 27 years between the house and senate and never before have i seen such chaos in u.s. policy incoherence from syria, to turkey, to iran, ukraine and rusha. our state department is on the front lines of our national defense. they were patriots charged with achieveling our goals to by plomesi, not conflict.
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never in my 27 years have i seen the departments so mismanaged and so many of our diplomats maligned. you don't have to take my word for it. look to the testimony of two patriots. ambassador ivanoc -- vic and ambassador taylor. the state department is in disarray. a casualty of president trump's decision to use u.s. national security as a political well and never if -- in my 27 years via seen a department or an administration so willing to stick its thumb directly in the eye of congress, a co-quamme branch of government. i don't think we have to cite the cons ties today but i'm prepared to do so over the years there's been friction and disagreement between the executive and legislative branches but we've entered new territory, dangerous territory for our republic.
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i'm nouking -- talking about the house asking 20 times to get a basic piece of information, the extreme lengths we've had to go through to get a single document. the department refusing to even discuss certain matters. this is not just playing hard ball. it's undermining our democratic system of government and unfortunately, mr. secretary, this has taken place under your watch and under the direction of secretary pompeo. the secretary has a lot to answer for but i believe so do you. we'll talk about all of those issues that have been so central to the administration to have state department over the past two and a half years. we'll also talk about our relation for the russian federation. i do not believe that russia should be playing the role it is in syria. i don't believe that those who do business with the russian military like turkey should have -- should be given a free pass. i don't think russia belongs in
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he g-7 unless it changes the course of events. president trump, however is on the record as believing all of those things. he believes every single one. now, i think the president has lost any shred of legitimacy on russia when he delayed security assistance for ukraine. ukrainian died because of this delay and tied at the hands of force and america was made less safe. i want you to succeed if confirmed but i want you to tell us what directly is success. will you actually advocate a policy that protects u.s. national security? it's a fund mentally important choice. if it's the former, i'm have serious resignations about supporting your nomination. if it's the later, i like
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forward to hearing your thoughts. russian forces continue therrian slauth against ukrainian troops and civilians. an onslaught that was made easier by the delay in providing security assistance. your position at the state department would have afforded you the responsibility of overseeing the conduct of policy. what did you know about the role played by rudy giuliani? did kirk vocal kerr's volunteer status lead to a conflict of interests? where was the state department leadership, yourself included, when it came to defending ambassador yovanovic and others? now, i supported you for your present position but before i vote on your nomination, we're going to need answers to these and other questions. so i can't guarantee you the chairman's discussion -- discussion --
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suggestion that this will be a quick, simple and kind hearing. i do guarantee it will be a fair and honest one and i look forward to your answers to the questions that we'll be posing. >> thank you, senator menendez, for your views, as always. we'll turn to our nominee, secretary sullivan. he currently serve is adds the executive secretary of state, a position he's held since 2017. he's served in several senior positions of the commerce, justice and defense as well as a partner in several law firms. deputy secretary sullivan, thank you. thank you to your family. the letter from the 40 former officials of previous administrations, democrat and re -- republican that have been entered into the record speak to the high regard they hold you. i would ask you to spend about five minutes talking to us about
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your views on these matters? thank you, secretary sullivan. secretary sullivan: thank you. secretary, and members of the committee, it's an honor to appear before you today as the president's nominee to be the united states ambassador to the ussian fed russian fed rakes. it want to thank the president's confidence in me and the opportunity, with the senate's consent to represent the u.s. in moscow. finally, i'm indealted to our most recent ambassador to russia, my friend john huntsman, for his leadership and his advice as i seek to succeed him. i come before the committee after serving for two and a half years as the deputy secretary of state and six weeks of that tenure as the acting secretary. my service at the department, working with the men and women of the foreign and civil service in washington and around the world has been the most rewarding professional experience of my life.
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but my service would not have been possible without the love and support of my family, who join me here today. my wife grace rodrigues and our children jack, katie and teddy. my mother-in-law and my certainly susan rodriguez, her husband tony and their children. i'm eternally grateful to hem -- them for their support. if confirmed to the u.s. ambassador to russia, i will bring to the position not only my experience as the deputy secretary of state but also my previous experience in a variety of other government positions over the last 35 years. i believe my background and experience, working in four cabinet departments across three presidential administrations has to assume the assume profound fonlts responsibilities of serving as our chief mission in moscow. this mission will not be easy or simple. our rhythm with russia has
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reached a post-cold war ebb. the litany of russia's maligned actions that much severely strained our rhythm is painfulfully familiar to this committee. interfering in our election. violating ukraine and georgia. attempts in mass trunks and violating the i.b.f. treating and infringing on the basic human rights of its people, among other things. yet the need for engagement with russia is as important as ever. russia's status as a superpower and permanent matter of the security council requires us to engage in security. engaging in areas of shared interest. arms control, nonprolive race and counterterrorism, trample. a resolution where it undermines
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the interests and values of the united states and our allyles and partners. for example, by threatening stability in europe and election surlt in the united states. i've been directly involved in developing u.s. policy on russia. i lead the u.s. participation in an ongoing counterterrorism dialogue with the russians and i led a senior u.s. delegation to jeffa in nid july to restart a u.s.-russia strategic security dialogue. last month i partied in the decision to im-- participated in on decision to put sanctions ndividuals for their interference in the election. if confirmed, i would welcome the opportunity to consult and collaborate with members of this committee individually and collectively on our russia
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policy. if confirmed, i will continue to support dialogues with the russian government on counterterrorism and arms control as well as on de nuclearizing the kane peninsula and finding a peaceful solution to the conflict in afghanistan on syria and many other issues. but i will be relentless in opposing russian interference in u.s. election, to violate the sovereignty of ukraine and georgia and to inengage in the activities that has reduced our rhythm to such a low level of trust. i will protect the american citizens who live in and travel to russia, inincluding the u.s. business community, scholars, athletes, tour i-s and all americans who visit the russia federation. if confirmed, i continue to press the russian government for wheelen, whof paul
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has been in prison without charges for almost a year now and to demand that michael kell via's case be disposed of in a similar proceeding. if wheelen, who confirmed, i lo engaging with the russian people to celebrate russian culture, commemorate their history and listen on their perspectives on the issues that unite and divide us and convey to them directly, my american perspective on those issue as well. i will also continue to promote, accordance with u.s. law to foster a better understanding among the people of the united states as i have done as my activities as deputy secretary of state. i will meet with religious leaders and human rights activists. finally, there would be no greater honor than to serve with the dedicated women and then and their families who constitute our mission in russia. i know from first hand
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experience that it is not easy be a u.s. diplomat in moscow or other places, yet dedicated career officers from across the u.s. government are serving with distinction with intense pressure from the host government. that tenacity in the face of these challenges is inspiring. indeed, it was the example of my league choos in mission inspired me to leave russia and join them on the front lines of american diplomacy. i humbly ask this committee ins this opportunity. thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today. i welcome your comments and questions. >> thank you so much. we're now going to do a five-minute round of questioning. i'm going to reserve my time and will yield to senator menendez. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you, secretary, for your
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statement. do you think it's ever appropriate for the president to use his office to solicit investigations into a domestic olitical opponent? >> soliciting investigations into a domestic political opponent? i don't think that would be in accord with our values. >> as the deputy secretary of state, are you aware of any other efforts by the president or anyone else to encourage, suggest, or request that a foreign government investigate one of the president's political rivals? >> i'm not aware of any such, senator. > not to president xi? >> no. >> prime minister may? >> i'm not aware of that, senator. >> you relate to me and i appreciate you came by to meet with me and we had an in-depth discussion. you relayed to >> you relate to me that you personally had madam ambassador
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year, i even earlier this correct? >> last year. represented the united states well? >> i did. >> yet you said she was going to be rahmed early, right? was there any reason that happened? >> yes, the president had lost confidence in her. >> and you were told that by the secretary of state? >> i was. >> did you ask why he lost confidence in her? >> yes. >> and what was the answer? >> i was told that he had lost confidence in her, period. >> that's not a why. >> you asked if i asked. i asked. >> and the answer you got was -- >> that he had lost confidence. >> he didn't explain why. now, you said to me yesterday that once you were given this assignment, you wanted to treat the ambassador with respect, is
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that correct? >> that's correct. >> the best way to show respect would have been to push back. on the secretary and say why are we recalling someone, by the way, whose term has been extended and then we're recalling her back, even though there were only a few months left in her nomination, a career ambassador. why didn't you push back? >> well, as we also discussed yesterday, senator, this has been a discussion that i'd had with the secretary over a period of time and the secretary in turn had pushed back and sought jutchings from those who remember criticizing the after or and at the -- several months, the secretary finally told me that there had come a point in which the president had lost confidence in the ambassador and that we needed to make a change in our mission to ukraine. >> you were aware that there were individuals and forces outside of the state department
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seeking to smear the ambassador, is that correct? >> i was. >> and seeking to remove her? >> i was. >> did you know mr. giuliani was one of those people? >> i believed he was, yes. yes.en, >> when, in this came about, did you ever personally advocate for a statement of support on the ambassador? >> at the present time of her removal, i did not. >> so let me turn then to some of these other questions. what did you know about a shadow ukraine policy being cared out by rudy giuliani? >> by my knowledge in the spring and summer of this year about any involvement of mr. giuliani was in connection with a campaign against our ambassador to ukraine. of d ump given a packet disinformation -- you were given a packet of disinformation attempting to smear the ambassador, if i recall correctly, in our conversation,
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by the state department counsel? >> counselor. it was in response to i quireys by the secretary and other about what our ambassador had done. we got, as i understood, that packet of materials. >> did the counselor tell you how the package came to him? >> i believe he had received that packet from someone at the white house. >> and did he tell you that he and the secretary read the package? >> he had read the packet. i don't believe the secretary had. >> did you read it? >> i did. >> what did you think of it? >> it didn't provide for me a basis against taking action against our ambassador but i wasn't aware of all that might be going on in the background and to be cautious, i asked that the packet of materials both for purposes of assessing the truth of the matters that were being
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asserted and their relevance in the provenance of the package, who have giving it to us to influence us, be looked at by the inspector general and by the justice department. >> did you know that it was mr. giuliani who created the package? >> i don't know that. to this day i don't know that. >> you didn't ask where it came from? >> yes, i did ask but i wasn't told. >> and no one knew? >> no. byic mack lat ed byic mack lat conception? the reason i ask you this kind of question is because you're going to an ambassador, one of the most critical positions in the national interests and security of the united states in which, i think the president's views differ clearly from many on both sides of the aisle as it relates vis-a-vis russia and there may be moments in time in which what happened in ukraine
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is going to be happen as it relates to russia and the question is quhal you do? what will you do? > i will follow >> i will follow the law and my conscious. in this instance with respect to the removal of the ambassador, my experience had been that when the president loses confidence in an ambassador no, matter what the reason, that the president's confidence in his ambassador in capital is the most important thing for that ambassador and if he's lost that confidence, and this happened, as i think i may have mentioned to some of the members of this committee, to my uncle when he was ambassador to iran, president carter thought that my uncle was disloyal to the administration and to the president and his policies and in january of 1979 asked secretary vance to have my uncle removed our -- as our ambassador. -- ambassador. secretary vance object solid
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that my uncle was implementing the administration's policies. he pushed back. several months later, the president, the white house said he has to come out. he was undermined by the white house. they were leaks about -- about his character, his loyalty to the administration and as a result, he resigned from the foreign service. so when the president loses confidence in the ambassador, right or wrong, the ambassador needs to come home. >> i will just close by saying i appreciated your telling me that story and i appreciate hearing it again. when the perspective loses faith in an ambassador because of political reasons, not because of policy reasons, not because the ambassador has been disloyal to the united states, not not se the ambassador
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because the ambassador is not doing their job. when it is because of surrogates like mr. giuliani and others with political interests are pushing against our ambassador, i would have homed that you would have spoken up a lot more loudly if -- and if you get that position, i would expect if this happens to our people in the u.s. embassy in russia that you would speak up much more orcefully. also to defend the men and women who work every day and should be isolated from that type of political consequence. with the experience you just told me about, i would have thought that you would have been more forceful. thank you. >> thank you, secretary sullivan for your willingness to serve in foreign service and go on a foreign assignment in a far off and cold flays. i acknowledge that you'll be filling big shoes. ambassador john huntsman has served with distinction and honor in that post and i
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amendment that you will do the -- anticipate that you will do the same. on october 31 it was announced by facebook that russia continues to try to interfere in our election process by spreading false information and such and facebook took down a number of posts so it's become clear that there's been no change on the part of russia in terms of their intent to interfere request our election process. what can we do to change their behavior in this regard? what options do we have? so far the actions we've taken have been en-- incable of dissuading them from their ma lined activity. what can we do as a nation or you as a foreign ambassador to dissuade russia or iran or anyone from trying to distort our elek really a process --
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electoral process, which is at . e heart of our democracy what might we be able to do? >> what we have done, senator, and by the way, i might say in my discussions with members of the committee about this. this is an ongoing campaign by campaign by the russian government. we look at it as electionf milestones. they view it as an ongoing hyper campaign against the united states and the united states is an implacable adversary of theirs. we have pursued sanctions. we have pursued visa sanctions, criminal prosecutions.
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sen. romney: but those have not dissuaded them. sullivan: it involves our defense of our election infrastructure and our basic internet infrastructure, in defendinghods ourselves and our allies and partners and taking action against those who at nest -- combining all of that with more direct messaging to the russian federation, to the russian government from president putin on down, and if they want to have a more stable relationship with the united is aids, which with theess to do -- united states, which they profess to do, and i was with vice president pence when he putin at the east
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summit, they have to do that. that is a redline for us. our response has to be directly coordinated to that message delivered to the russians. amorphous, malign activities but this particular activity, direct it by, authorized by the senior leadership of the russian government, carried out by nonstate actors controlled by the russian government and directed at our country, our society, and our election infrastructure. turn toney: let me russia's plans for denuclearization. my understanding is they have modernized their nuclear arsenal and aggressively invested in intermediate range nuclear weapons in a way that has contravened prior agreements.
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what is your sense of their ambitious -- ambitions relating to the nuclear weapons program? we might have a new new start treaty. they seem to be investing more in nuclear's age and. where are they headed and why? secretary sullivan: you have that the nail on the head, senator. they are using strategic weapon systems that review is not covered by new start. in our discussions with the russians, we need to advance what would otherwise be the lapsing of the new start treaty february 25th. those and at least five other weapons systems that president with that video
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we are all -- president putin publicized with all the video we are familiar with, not just the weapon systems, but a large number -- the development off and manufacture of a large nuclearf lower yield devices that could be included that would not necessarily be deemed at the strategic level. when i discussed this with my geneva,interlocutors in i made it clear to the people of the united states -- it will not matter to be president or the people of the united states if we are hit by an icbm that is covered by the new start treaty nuclearhybrid low yield weapon that destroys denver or salt lake city. all of those need to be addressed. but the new strategy is to comply with new start. we have determined that they have, but to build these systems and a large number of devices
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that we don't really have a lot of experience with. we do not even know the number -- the number of nuclear weapons that they had. they would not even address the question. >> thank you, mr. chairman. secretary sullivan, thank you very much. i appreciate your response regarding russia's interference with our elections, using, and your words, a redline. i think we have to be absolutely clear that is an attack on our country, and it is not unique to the united states. they are doing it in many democratic countries around the world and we must make it clear that it is a redline, that that cannot be tolerated. i also appreciate in your statement your willingness to
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-- to be a beacon of hope for those who are oppressed. authored aio and i letter to secretary mnuchin and in regard topeo imprisonment of opposition leaders and urging the administration to be more aggressive in protecting those individuals, including the use of the magnitsky sanctions. to start, as we do with most ambassadors going through it a nomination hearing in a country that has challenged human rights, as to how high a priority will be to promote -- rights, giving people to the people of russia that they do in sure -- enjoy
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human rights that will be the united states? secretary sullivan: i would consider it a fundamental part of the american ambassador's rights to promote human and the russian constitution guarantees many rights, but the russian government is infringing those rights , first do no harm. but absolutely. i absolutely affirm the
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americane of promoting values, basic, human values we all share -- not just americans. the consent of the governed, the democratic republic, is the highest form of government they are entitled to. overbiddin: administrations, when there are visible opportunities, summit meetings, rarely do we see human centeras a front and issue. yes, arms control, counterterrorism, the hotspots of the world, trying to resolve the problems, but we see human rights are rarely promoted to a top priority issue. believe we can make that more of a reality where these issues are showcase, where we have
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opportunities. as we look for resolutions on do we holds, rarely them hold them accountable for their actions. if confirmed as an ambassador, we ubs champion for american values not being ignored as we deal with other very important issues. arms control, counterterrorism, critically important, but that if we do not get those answers for american values we are not doing our job. secretary sullivan: i would offer a couple examples to not just talk the talk, but walk the walk.
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a year and a half ago, there were threats against me at a mosque in cartel but, but the reality of religious freedom and presidentant it was, bashir, the importance of that government respecting its citizens rights including religious freedom -- we did the same thing in nigeria when i was there to speak with the nigerian president, roughly the same time last year. sen. cardin: i appreciate that. youso appreciate that responded to senator menendez' is question that you would follow the law and your areas of the law that are in potential conflict between what many of us believe are the policies of this country and conflict, particularly with this administration. -- we had an
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appropriation in fiscal year 17 to counter russia's misinformation and the administration was very slow in releasing those funds. very, very slow. we need to get the direct information form our missions as to the importance of those types of programs. we ultimately got the moneys released, but it took a long time. we want to make sure that our russia will be giving direct information to us needs and our values and if there is a conflict with the administration, we recognize the sensitivity and the importance of the ambassador to have the confidence of the president, but we need that to be consistent with the law and your conscience. secretary sullivan: yes, indeed,
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senator, i agree. as i said in my opening statement, i look forward to working individually and collectively with this committee if confirmed as ambassador to russia. sen. cardin: thank you. thank you, mr. chairman. >> senator portman. portman: thank you, mr. chairman. i appreciate your willingness to serve, secretary sullivan. it's going to be extremely difficult. you will be dealing with the relationship -- we talked about these problems earlier today, the interference in our activities,align russia's malign activities around the world, cyber attacks, certainly what's going on in terms of this information, which i want to talk to you about in a second. we spent a lot of time of the
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ukraine issue. we did not talk much about syria . but even today as we sit here, there's the potential for u.s. forces and russian forces to be in conflict for the first time in many years. there's lots going on. having served in three administrations now you have the background and the experience to handle that, i believe. i'm glad you are willing to do it. i will -- i believe that you iwill be able to answer the questions raised by i my colleagues in a way that will confirmed.ll be senator murphy and i had a wecussion a few years ago -- have been trying to ensure that this is implemented properly, the funding senator cardin just talked about that, the dod
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funding over to the state department. this is just not -- this is not just focused on russia. this is more broadly, but friendly, russia is the number ask your in the 11 he from your purchase in moscow, will you continue to be an and ensure we do not have these glitches? that we have the funding at the state department level to push back on this information? absolutely.llivan: in fact, we spoke at my confirmation hearing to an app years ago. you may not remember this -- about global engagement. sen. portman:sen. portman: i re. at that time you make commitments that you kept. which i appreciate. secretary sullivan: the challenge was when it was created, it wased, it focused on combating nonstate actors like al qaeda and the arabian peninsula. continuing that mission, but adding state actors, specifically one as
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sophisticated as his russia has made the job even more difficult, but just as -- if not more so -- and necessary and i appreciate this committee's help in hitting that funding, which has taken us far too long to get. sen. portman: thank you. you will have a unique opportunity given your position -- i believe you will be confirmed. the second is ukraine. about.and i have talked havers of this committee authorized additional aid to the ukraine. and now latin america is an area as well with what has happened. tense time inmely the ukraine. president zelensky has told me and he has taken some rather political actions to
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fulfill this -- he would like to see the conflict resolved. he specifically as talked about the steinmeyer formula withdrawal of the russian forces in exchange for elections in the east and some level of autonomy. the point i am making is i think you, having had that experience in the state department have an interesting role to play, which is to get russia to the table -- you could face an effort both with regard to crimea, which we must never forget, and the borders. there is an opportunity for the administration, with the rod a and his board to figure out a rada andrd -- with the rada
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his board to figure out a way forward. are you prepared to help that? it could be crucial in getting russia to the table in a way that this can be resolved? ,ecretary sullivan: thank you senator. russia is the key actor. we have that situation solely because of russia's actions. i saw a little shift in the russian position a few months ago when they agreed to the .risoner exchange treaties the sailors they had illegally attacked and seized, but there has not been the follow-up we have been hoping for. i would expect the u.s. ambassador to russia would be involved in engaging with the russian government in coordination with colleagues at the department of state and the
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nsc on this extremely important issue. sen. portman: my time has expired. you will have the opportunity to play a central role in this because of your experience and the respect you have here on the hill, so i hope you will use that aggressively to resolve some of these issues, particularly with regard to the eastern border of ukraine. thank you, mr. chairman. senator shaheen: thank you, mr. chairman. secretary sullivan. you talked about the need for principal engagement with russia that includes sustained with russia where they undermine the interest of the and our partners.
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you believe this is the philosophy by which the president has approached russia? hasetary sullivan: he nominated me to be ambassador. i believe i would be filling the with regarddesires to russia if i follow the policy i have laid out. can you explain whether you were briefed on president trump' us to our private meeting with president putin in july 2018? sen. shaheen: -- secretary sullivan: whether i was briefed after the meeting? sen. shaheen: yes. or anytime between then and now. secretary sullivan: subsequent to the meeting. i have been briefed by the secretary of state and the national security advisor to the president, and the two principal items i was charged with words -- were the counterterrorism
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and strategic security talks to rid there was a third request from president putin concerning a business dialogue which has yet to be implemented. it really would not involve substantial involvement of the united states government those are the three issues i was briefed on last year. did you ever see actual notes from that meeting? secretary sullivan: ambassador bolton -- memorandum, the back-and-forth between the two presidents in the meeting, but i hesitate to say this -- there may be memos that discuss priorities. memo thatnot see a
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summarized the results of the conversations between these residents. that briefing may have been in rider -- in riding as well -- writing as well. a number of isis prisoners remain in northern syria. a number remain at large. analysts say that russia may own domestic its terrorist problem to syria. do you believe with that -- do you believe that? and given russia's increasingly prominent role in syria following our withdrawal, are you aware of united states efforts to push russia to address the global terror problem and to take back its own isis fighters who have immigrated to syria?
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syria? secretary sullivan: yes. that is a major topic of our discussion in the counterterrorism dialogue. had discussions at deputy and lower levels involving the fbi ncaa, etc. etc.e fbi and cia, russian citizens who left their homeland, went to northeast syria or elsewhere, are now detained in northeast syria, that they should be taking those citizens back to their home countries to be prosecuted -- sen. shaheen: has russia done that yet go -- has russia done that? secretary sullivan: they have. in large numbers. we have the opposite concern, senator, how people will be treated when they get back to russia.
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from my perspective, the russians are aggressive in wanting their people back and put pressure on other countries, particularly european countries, to take theirs. my concern is what happens to those people, particularly family members of those fighters when they go back to russia, which is one of the limitations of our counterterrorism dialogue. there are limits. were you aware that rudy giuliani had opened a second channel of diplomacy -- if you want to call it that -- as second channel of effort in ukraine? as itary sullivan: responded to senator menendez, i was aware mr. giuliani was involved in ukraine issues. , particularly in april, may, june, was focused on
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campaign, basically, against the ambassador of ukraine. sen. shaheen: is that normal? i will sayullivan: there are examples going back through history of presidents using people outside of the composedt in whom they trust to convey messages abroad, so it's not, in my experience unprecedented. i don't know if i could say more than that. it's also the president's prerogative even within the u.s. government if they are, let's say, sending secretary perry to
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ukraine to discuss energy issues, even though he is going on a mission to a foreign country and he is not the secretary of state, that is something the president can typically do. time is up, soy we will stop, but i think we normally assume everyone is pursuing the same policies when we have different panels of communication to a country. inc. you. -- thank you. secretary sullivan: may i respond? >> you may. that's a sullivan: problem when you have multiple parties involved. for any secretary of state to maintain control of u.s. foreign policy in any government, even within the u.s. government went i know in the bush 43 administration there were great
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thegreements between departments on foreign policy issues. there is a challenge for the secretary of state to maintenance -- to maintain control in that situation. thank you. congratulations on your nomination. i found you to be accessible and you have comported yourself with great integrity thus far in your public life. i am disposed to support your confirmation. i have a question -- a series of questions about arms control, which you have identified in your testimony as an area of shared concern, shared interest between the united states and issia, and i do think it important, as many challenges and disagreements as we have, that we find areas of
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commonality. i don't think that's a bad thing. , you affirmed you believe it is in the best interests of the united states to pursue a new start. you confirmed, i believe, the russian strategy is to comply with new start, but all the weapons andnew lower yield nuclear weapons. anconjunction with pursuing new start extension, are there conditions to ensure a new start is as potent and forceful as possible? yes.tary sullivan: , ouri would say is position should be not to announce new start today, but to engage immediately with the
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russians on not just the terms of an extension, but these other weapons systems i discussed that senator romney identified, that i think you and i talked about earlier. so, what is the role of an ambassador in those conversations and making sure you land in the right spot? secretary sullivan: i would be consulted and a conduit to the russian government in both , but my expectation , thatwe were to proceed major major undertaking requiring a large amount of resources, joint staff, dod, as, and my expectation is
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ambassador i would not be directly involved as those negotiations proceeded. young: one of the most important goals of an ambassador is to make sure the trains are on time, the personnel have what confident our very diplomatic personnel. you will need full embassy staffing and a functioning network to most effectively carry out your mission. in april of 2018, as you and i discussed, russia expelled 60 of our amounts enclosed our consulate in st. petersburg. what actions will you take, mr. consulate to get our back to where we need to be an back open so it can serve american mr. sullivan: we have n
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ongoing discussion with the russian foreign ministry on these issues. it's gotten to the point where we were -- our staffing level was cut to 455 u.s. direct hires. in fact, because the disputes we have with russia extends beyond just the initial expulsion of 60, but their refusal to give visas for us to be able to backfill -- we are substantially below 400 people at this point in our mission. i think the problem is even greater than you described it. it's very acute. that's become clear to me over my 2 1/2 years as our mission has shrunk, we lost the consulate in st. petersburg. the price is we closed the russian consulate in san francisco. we don't have plans to allow them to reopen that consulate,
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which was used for other than diplomatic purposes. not having a consulate in st. petersburg, for purposes of providing american citizens services out of our embassy -- we have so many americans who visit from cruiseships. it is essential we have a consulate there, and we are handicapped to work out of moscow. sen. young: to the extent we can be helpful, we want to. i am going to submit for the record a series of questions, will very quickly, publicly say them, and i would appreciate it if you could respond to them later. simple yes or no answers. i think it's really important that we sort of protect the prerogatives of this committee and of this article 1 branch. here they are. have you adhered to applicable laws in governing conflicts of
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interest? have you assumed any duties or any actions that would appear to presume the outcome of this confirmation process? do you agree if confirmed to appear and to testify before this committee when requested by the chairman and ranking member? do you agree to provide documents and electronic communication in a timely manner when requested by this committee, its subcommittees, or other appropriate committees of congress and to the requester? would you ensure you and your staff complies with deadlines established by this committee for the production of reports, records, and other documents including responding timely to hearing questions for the record? will you cooperate in providing witnesses and briefers in response to congressional requests? finally, will those briefers be protected from reprisal for their briefings? i don't anticipate any challenges whatsoever, but i'll submit this for the record. sen. risch: those questions will be submitted.
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thank you. senator kaine. sen. kaine: thank you so much for your strong service. have you reviewed the phone call that the white house made public last month? mr. sullivan: i have. sen. kaine: i would like to introduce it into the record. letter. conversation, totally appropriate, very good and anybody that reads that letter, which is basically what happened on that conversation with the president of ukraine, the president of ukraine said
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she did not even know what anybody was talking about. . the foreign minister said there was absolutely no pressure. the president did the same thing. the democrats are lunatics. in the meantime, we have the greatest economy ever. the others,n on adam schiff, who is a corrupt speechian, he made up a and he read what i said and it was not what i said. it was a terrible thing he said. many people saw that. that is how this whole thing -- he started it as a con. the whistleblower -- we got to find out about the whistleblower because what he said has no relationship to what took place on my very good phone conversation. with all of this that is happening, i think the republicans have been amazing. 196 to nothing.
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we have tremendous support from the senate, from the house. we even had democrats go over to the republican side yesterday because they said this is not impeachable. this isn't impeachable. that is supposed to be high crimes and misdemeanors. in my opinion, except that he has immunity, which he shouldn't have, adam schiff created a high crime and a misdemeanor when he gave a false reading of what i said so we have to find out why did the whistleblower give a false account? we have to find out what happened with adam schiff and the whistleblower. i have to say we have had tremendous support. we had great poll numbers. we have real energy now, the evangelical leaders came in four days ago, they said that the evangelical christians and other faith-based organizations,
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churches, temples, synagogues, no matter where you look, they have never seen it so unified, they have never seen it so energize it and they came in with 28 leaders come in, said they never seen the energy ike they have. impeachment is a hoax. whether or not they tried pulling it off, it would be a disgrace. presidentimpeach a who did nothing wrong. you can't impeach a president that has the greatest economy in the history of our nation. you can't impeach a president that has unemployment numbers historic. never had so many people be working both employment and unemployment. our military, taking care of our vets with accountability. nobody thought those things could be passed. i think we have done more than any administration in history in his first 2.5 years. >> [indiscernible]
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testified that your phone call was not perfect. they were concerned about that phone call. >> all they have to do is read the transcript. the gentleman that came in yesterday was terrific. he was supposed to be their primary witness and he said he didn't see anything wrong with that and i have a lot of never trumpers who have been in different positions for a long time. don't forget, i beat the bush dynasty, i beat the clinton dynasty and i beat obama and all of his people and i came to washington and a lot of thousands of people, tens of thousands are still working. when you read that transcript, it all goes away, because that transcript was totally appropriate. >> [indiscernible] >> are you leaving new york because of the court cases against you? >> no, they haven't treated me
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properly. i pay millions of taxes and they never treated me -- since i became president, they just haven't treated i think the office with the kind of respect the- i don't mind paying taxes. new york is a very expensive place to live but many bad things are happening in new york and i just put out a statement on new york so i think you probably -- did you get it? i just put out a statement so i think it is pretty complete. >> are you really willing to sit down -- by not cooperating? >> i think i am cooperating. i am in front of you. let me just tell you. you have a corrupt politician leading this thing. donees, he leaks, he has so many things that are corrupt. he shouldn't have immunity. he made up a statement that i -- that he said i said and i didn't
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say it and it was only people when they went back and looked at the transcript they said it was perfect. he is a corrupt politician. nancy pelosi should spend more time working on her district, which is going to hell. what is happening in san francisco is sad. you look at the homeless situation, you look at the problems. nancy pelosi should go back to her district because she has totally lost control of her house and you are going to have many more democrats come on our side. >> [indiscernible] >> president erdogan ones to come to the white house. we have a very good relationship. -- we haveire has cap the oil, we stayed back and kept the oil. other people can patrol the border of syria frankly and turkey, let them -- they have been fighting for 1000 years.
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let them do the border. we want to bring our soldiers home. we did leave soldiers because we are keeping the oil. i like oil. we are keeping the oil and we are working with the kurds and with turkey and a lot of countries. we had a tremendous victory the other day in getting the number one terrorist in the world and probably number -- the number one terrorist of the last 50 years, we knocked him out and then we knocked out number two and we already have number three in our sites. i am going right now to a great place and we are going to a wonderful totally sold out big deal and we are going to have a wonderful governor elected in a fabulous state. you know what that state is? mississippi. >> what about replacing your chief of staff? >> i have a very good relationship. i like mick mulvaney. i have a good relationship with
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him. , as you know.y i put in a very nice -- i put in a very good man who is highly respected and he is acting right now. we will see where that goes. know, i like acting. a lot of people say act -- i like acting. it gives you great electability. >> what is the status of the deal with china? we are hearing -- where might an alternative location to sign the deal be? >> we are moving along with a deal with china. china wants to make the deal very much and we have a relationship and i will see what happens. don't like to talk about deals until they happen but we are making a lot of progress. >> where? >> looking at a different couple locations. it could even be in iowa. it could be in iowa.
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you understand. it could be. is something we are discussing but we are discussing locations but i like to get deals done first. i would do in the u.s.. >> xi would, too? >> we are thinking about iowa. >> where in iowa? >> i want to get the deal done. do it in iowa. it would be the largest deal ever for farmers. i like iowa. >> you said the phone call was perfect. now there will be public hearings. do you feel that will help? >> i think helps us. my poll numbers are very high. we have raised record-setting money. record. a numbers that i don't think people have ever seen this before. on the swing states, when it comes to the impeachment word,
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it is a very ugly word, but when it comes to that word, we are way ahead. they don't want to do it. democrats don't want to do it. we are going to take over the house because of it. they want to keep going forward with the charade but that letter was perfect. that was highly appropriate and perfect. hello. anybody else? go ahead. >> [indiscernible] he is right now acting and we will see what happens. we have great people in their and i want to thank the country of mexico. soldiersey have 27,000 on our border. a fantastic job. they are doing a job that the democrats should do and the democrats won't do it. the do-nothing nothing democrats won't do it. they can't do it. they are incapable, incompetent, or incapable but they are incapable of doing it because we have loopholes that could be
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settled out and salt in 15 minutes and they won't do it. they want open borders, which means crime. they want sanctuary cities, which means crime and lots of other problems. it's -- what the democrats -- it is disgraceful but they are doing. i say it again. soldiersday has 27,000 guarding our border. for free. i very much appreciate it. i really like the president of mexico. we have a great relationship. guatemala, honduras, el salvador have been terrific. we have a great thing going and the numbers are way down. we have very good numbers. >> [indiscernible] >> we will see. what evidence you had that he is a never trumper? do you have any proof?
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>> how do you think the stock market would be? >> without impeachment, the stock market would be higher. it's not going to happen. if they want to pursue it, i can't imagine it taking very long because it is so basic and so simple. if i wanted to, that could take a long time. but i don't want that. i think the stock market is been very much affected. i think the stock market right now would be substantially higher -- one of the reasons it is up 300 points today is that people finally got to see the -- the transcribed letter or version of the phone call with the president of ukraine. everybody that saw it said, this is good and the market went up a lot over the last short time, because they got to see it. most people thought it was the hem schiff rendition, which made up but when you saw the letter, you look at what's
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happening with the stock market right now. when they saw that letter, look at what happened to the stock market. if anything ever happens, you would have a crash the likes of which this country has never seen. thank you. >> which is not to say it hasn't happened. sen. markey: as ambassador to russia, would you ever put any individual's political interest ahead of the foreign policy and national security interests of this country, even the political interests of the president of the united states, even if requested by the president of the united states? mr. sullivan: i would only implement the president's foreign policy in the national security interests of the united states. senator markey: you would never compromise america if political
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interests of the president ran contrary -- mr. sullivan: my oath would be, as my current oath is in my present position, to the united states and our constitution. sen. markey: i have received information before john bolton resigned president trump may have made a decision to exit the open skies treaty which permits signatories to conduct unarmed reconnaissance flights over the entire territories of -- to collect data on military forces and nuclear weapons activities. we then share this information with our allies and all signatories to the treaty. do you believe withdrawing from the open skies treaty is in the interest of the united states? mr. sullivan: to my knowledge, the united states has not withdrawn from the open skies treaty. in fact, the united states this month is chairing the open skies consultative commission. it was the 1500th open skies treaty flight. sen. markey: do you believe withdrawing from the open skies treaty is in the best interest
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of the united states? mr. sullivan: there would need to be substantial evidence to support the national security interests for withdrawal from that treaty, and there would need to be consultations with this committee, with congress, and in particular with our nato allies and the other countries that are members of the treaty before -- as we did when we withdrew from the i.n.f. treaty. sen. markey: have you made decision to withdraw yourself? mr. sullivan: i have not. senator markey: for the record, secretary of state shultz, secretary of defense bill perry, sam nunn all strongly support continued u.s. participation. has the white house consulted the state department about potential withdrawal from the open skies agreement? mr. sullivan: i have been consulted because i heard those same rumors. sen. paul: markey -- sen. markey: you have been? mr. sullivan: i inquired whether we had withdrawn from the treaty and assured we have not. sen. markey: have you been involved in the discussions given your leading role?
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mr. sullivan: i have, and i consulted with our ambassadors to nato and the o.s.c.e. and heard their views and conveyed their views about their view that we should continue to be members of the treaty. and ambassador of the osce is the chair, as i said this month, of the consultative commission. sen. markey: you consulted with allies who benefit tremendously from this agreement? what is their view? mr. sullivan: we have not. sen. markey: you have not? mr. sullivan: no. sen. markey: have you consulted with hong kong? mr. sullivan: in connection with my nomination, no. senator markey: is the united states and russia still in compliance with the treaty? mr. sullivan: the united states is in compliance. the united states' view is the russians have not been in compliance in certain respects, including flights over kaliningrad. but we and the russians and all the signatories of the treaty continue to be members. and as i have said twice before, we are chairing the commission that oversees the treaty this
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month ambassador gillmor. sen. markey: do you think this transparency which the treaty creates is in our national interests and we should resolve the ambiguities? mr. sullivan: it has been in our interest, and to the extent that it's not, we need to be transparent about why as we were when we withdrew from the i.n.f. treaty. senator markey: i think it's in our best national security interest we remain in the open skies treaty. it's helped us a lot and our allies have benefited. thank you. sen. barrasso: congratulations, good to visit with you again. i know you have had a lengthy discussion about russia's new strategic nuclear weapons. i want to just go back a bit to the new start treaty, which i always believe was a one-sided agreement. i voted against it and have major concerns about it. to me it was more about reducing the united states' strategic nuclear forces but not russian's forces, because that treaty required the united states and
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russia to reduce our deployed nuclear warheads to numbers that -- russia was already below those numbers. one-sided, unfair, and that we made significant reductions to get below the limit. in future arms control negotiations with russia, are you committed with ensuring the united states isn't entering into a one-sided arms control agreement where we are a party required to make more reductions when russia is not? mr. sullivan: absolutely, senator. the united states should only enter into any treaty, particularly an arms control treaty, that is in the national interest and security interest of the united states. sen. barrasso: russia, to me, continues to use economic instruments and propaganda to achieve its objectives and exert influence in europe. we see this as we travel in europe and visit with our nato allies. they try to influence and exert control over countries through a variety of means. military intimidation, energy
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dependence. cyber attacks, trade. would you speak to what you see as putin's ultimate objective? mr. sullivan: particularly with respect to europe, fracturing europe, particularly eastern europe from western europe. i've spent a lot of time traveling in eastern europe in the balkans, which is a laboratory for russian hybrid warfare, whether it's cyber, disinformation, intimidation, etc. it's more significant in ukraine, where there is actually violence being done on a daily basis. there are assassinations in ukraine that are carried out. it is a hot war. there have been 13,000 people that have been killed in ukraine over the last five years. that's not just hybrid warfare, that's real warfare. sen. barrasso: what are the most effective tools and leverage points we could use to change
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russian behavior? mr. sullivan: we have talked about some of those today, senator. sanctions, visa, and economic sanctions. and also, we have worked hard with our allies and partners, particularly in eastern europe, to harden them and their infrastructure, particularly cyber infrastructure, against intrusions, forward deployment of u.s. assets, and by that i mean cyber, as well as i think that's very important for us to support, because they are under stress every day, particularly under cyber threats, from russia. sen. barrasso: one of the things we discussed when you came to my office was the issue of europe's reliance on russian energy and russia's effort to addict europe to their energy sources. europe is trying to work on a number of initiatives to counter this influence. the european union members have identified the risks associated with it, although germany is
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moving ahead with the pipeline. we look at some things that people are trying to do to avoid this dependence. lithuania created that floating lng terminal called the independence, where efforts to increase interconnections, reverse flow capacities of european pipelines. you can see what they are trying to do running up and down in montenegro and croatia. that area. despite these efforts, it does seem clear that more needs to be done, especially in light of russia's efforts to build nord stream 2. as we look at their steps, our allies, partners can take to promote energy security, what efforts do you think need to be the top priorities? mr. sullivan: the top priority we have had has been opposition to nord stream 2. but to address your particular question, it reminds me of my conversation with senator markey about ukrainian dependence on russian gas.
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you refer to it as an addiction. and senator markey used the same term. it is. it's creation of dependency to control. and now, having made ukraine dependent, building that -- completing that second pipeline is going to provide a huge lever. among the issues that we can use with the ukrainians is increasing energy efficiency. other sources of energy whether it's l.n.g. or stopping nord stream 2 so gas will continue to flow through ukraine. senator risch: senator murphy. sen. murphy: thank you very much, mr. chairman. good see you again. ambassador sullivan, thank you for your service to the country. you have been asked a version of this question in a couple different ways. let me ask it specific to the events that we now know took place over the course of the summer and fall.
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we have learned now with some certainty, as you have testified, that employees of the state department, people under your supervision, specifically kurt volker, bill taylor were pressing the ukrainian government to open specific investigations into topics connected to the biden family, and alternative theories about who interfered in the 2016 elections. knowing what you know now about what was happening and those specific requests that were being made, do you think the actions of those individuals were proper? mr. sullivan: what they were doing back then, was it proper? i don't -- i'd have to think about that. i don't think that -- as i testified previously, the concept of investigating a political rival as opposed to encouraging anti-corruption reform, which is a legitimate and consistent with our values,
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that that would be inconsistent with our values. senator murphy: in this case, they were specifically requesting investigations connected to a political rival of the president of the united states. so your testimony is that those requests were improper. mr. sullivan: to the extent that they were made. i'm going to have to assume that what i read -- i'm not present at the depositions, but what has been reported in the press as a general matter in response to one of the first questions from senator menendez that investigation of a political -- asking a foreign government to investigate a domestic political rival as opposed to -- as part of a larger anti-corruption campaign which we have been engaged in encouraging the ukrainians for years, those are two different things. sen. murphy: do you have any reason to believe that the reports in the press and testimony of ambassador taylor are wrong? mr. sullivan: i don't. i also don't know that they are accurate.
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i don't know -- i will accept him for purposes -- hypothetically, if they are, i'll answer the question. i just don't know personally. sen. murphy: these, as i mentioned, were individuals acting under the auspicious of the state department, and so i think it's important for the committee to understand where their authority came from. we talked a little about this in our private meeting. did you order volcker, sondland, and taylor to coordinate with rudy giuliani in pressing the ukrainians for these investigations into the origin of the 2016 interference? mr. sullivan: i did not. sen. murphy: did secretary pompeo order these individuals to request these investigations? mr. sullivan: not to my knowledge. senator murphy: did john bolton order these individuals to coordinate with rudy giuliani in pressing for these investigations? mr. sullivan: i don't have basis to answer. i don't believe so. i don't know that he did. i have no reason to think he did. i don't have a factual basis to provide a definitive answer.
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senator murphy: clearly if these are people under your supervision, you didn't ask them to undertake these activities. i would imagine you would want to get to the bottom of that. so what is your understanding as to where the instructions were coming from if they weren't coming from you or the secretary of state? mr. sullivan: they are getting their instructions, ambassador taylor is getting instructions from the secretary, from me, and from our undersecretary -- senator murphy: you testified neither you nor the secretary asked them to request these specific investigations. and so where did those instructions come from? mr. sullivan: i don't know. senator murphy: have you made any attempt to find out? mr. sullivan: since i learned of it in september, i have not. senator murphy: that's curious, if people are operating outside of your specific instructions. i think it's curious would you not try to find out. let me ask a few more quick questions. is it currently the policy of the united states that ukraine
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must conduct investigations into crowd strike? mr. sullivan: no. senator murphy: why not? this was the policy over the summer, so why is it not the policy now? mr. sullivan: i had accepted as a hypothetical that was our policy. i don't know that. it is not our policy. our policy has been to encourage anticorruption reform, generally in ukraine. that's something i have worked on for over two years, but never with respect to a particular investigation or company or individual. individual. sen. murphy: is rudy giuliani currently carrying out any diplomatic business on behalf of the united states? mr. sullivan: not to my knowledge. sen. murphy: i have a great deal of respect for the work you have done. you have toiled under difficult circumstances, and i'm pleased that you are willing to take on this difficult assignment. but your testimony as to your lack of interest in asking questions about why people under your control were being given direction that did
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not come from you or the secretary, and your lack of attempts to delve into what the policy actually was during this period of time, you are accepting hypotheticals but you don't seem to have an opinion as to whether it was the policy of the united states, which by the testimony that the house has received it clearly was, to encourage these investigations, i do think it is concerning. but i appreciate the service you have given the country. appreciate your testimony today. senator risch: mr. sullivan, i think my friends on the other side in your discussion have kind of sharpened the question that the jury in the senate will have to answer. that is having to do with the corruption in the ukraine. you would agree with me this corruption in ukraine has been going on since they left the soviet union and has been of great concern to virtually every administration, republican, democrat over that period of time. would you agree? mr. sullivan: absolutely. the fact it's been so long-standing and ingrained is what makes it so
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difficult to change and eradicate now. sen. risch: would you also agree with me that every time we discussed this, and when i say we, all of us, talk about the ukraine, it's almost impossible to talk about conditions. without talking about the corruption in the country. over the many administrations they have had in the ukraine since they got out from under the soviet union, is that a fair statement? mr. sullivan: it affects the entire society. sen. risch: having said that, the gas company has been right at the heart of that corruption in the ukraine, has it not? mr. sullivan: gas is so central to the ukrainian economy that of course. senator risch: now we have a situation where people have taken this transcript and argued that the president was having them investigate a political rival regarding corruption that took place in ukraine. i think you said and everyone has today said and agrees if it was strictly a
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political rival to be investigated that that would be wrong. what happens if the -- if the political rival is somehow involved in the corruption in the ukraine? that becomes a lot dicier question, when a president has to look the other way if a political rival is involved? going to be a question we are all going to deal with at some time in the not-too-distant future, i think. in any event. thank you for that. senator
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coons. senator coons: thank you, mr. chairman. ranking member menendez for holding today's hearing. and mr. deputy secretary, for your distinguished service over many different positions across several administrations. i greatly appreciate your recognition both in your public testimony and in our private meeting the critical work that important service and civil service officers do every day. and their determination, their dedication to forwarding foreign policy goals in the national interest of our country aside from our partisan politics. nowhere are those goals and interests more important than in our work in russia. russia as you agree, attacked and undermined our elections in 2016 and continues its influence campaign efforts to meddle in democratic processes, not just in the united states, not just in the united states and europe. there is actually an article in "the new york times" today about how russia has launched influence campaigns across africa in a new playbook that features outsourcing and franchising their influence campaign. we all need a comprehensive and sustained strategy to blunt that. it is my hope you will get the chance to carry out your commitments to push back forcefully on this maligned activity by russia. let me just follow up on a question that you got asked before. senator kaine asked you, this is in the context ukraine and corruption that's been at the center of so many questions today, senator kaine asked you why president trump kept referring ukrainian president zelensky to discuss all issues with rudy giuliani and attorney
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general barr. you said president trump was focused on anti-corruption. if anti-corruption in ukraine is such a priority for the president and this administration, i'm struck as an appropriator that my understanding of this record in the subcommittee that funds the >> >> international narcotics control and law enforcement budget that in 2019 the administration requested a cut in funding to $13 million, congress rejected that and restored funding to $30 million. in 2020 the administration again sought to cut that funding to $13 million. congress, i think, is likely to once again restore it to $30 million. if this is a great priority, combating corruption in ukraine for the administration, why does the president's budget not reflect that in any of the three budgets he's submitted? mr. sullivan: i think, senator, the prime obstacle to anti-corruption reform in ukraine is not
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technical or monetary support by the united states, but the will of the ukrainian government to reign in ukrainian oligarches and reform their system. we saw this over two years in urging president poroshenko to engage in anticorruption reform, and the will was simply not there. i think that's the biggest obstacle to anti-corruption reform. can we use that extra money and do an even better job on behalf of the united states? absolutely. will we be wasting that money if there isn't anti-corruption, a will to engage in anti-corruption reform by ukrainian leadership? i'm afraid that's also true. sen. coons: i think that fund something critical for the national anti-corruption bureau and special anti-corruption prosecutors office and restoring some semblance of rule of law in a country where corruption is widespread. let me move to
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another issue, human rights. i'm the co-chair of the human rights caucus in the senate. there are hundreds of political prisoners in russia. a prominent human rights organization says the number of political prisoners has increased five old in the last four years. if confirmed, what will you do to draw attention to russia's political prisoners and push for their release? mr. sullivan: i point out that i believe the rate at which the russian government is incarcerating political prisoners is increasing, not decreasing. shining a light and being transparent about what actually is going on and being public about it is the first step. it's urging the russian government to abide by its own laws and treat its people right. senator coons: the senator unanimously passed earlier this year senate resolution 81, which i supported and helped draft, that condemns president putin for targeting political opponents and working to cover up some of their actions, in
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particular the assassination of opposition leader boris nemtsov. that resolution from the senate urges government officials to raise the case of nemtsov's assassination. if confirmed, are you committed to raising this issue with senior russian officials, including president putin? mr. sullivan: yes, i am. sen. coons: thank you. and russian authorities continue to target the lgbtq community despite condemnation from governments around the world. will you commit to discussing, raising, and pressing lgbtq rights with your russian counterparts? mr. sullivan: enthusiastically. sen. coons: thank you. i appreciate your appearing today as a number of my colleagues have testified or have mentioned in their comments. we need a forceful presence in moscow, and i appreciate that we have had this opportunity to talk today and look forward to working with you. thank you. sen. risch: thank you, senator. senator menendez. sen. menendez: thank you. you know, mr. secretary, i get struck by you as an honorable man. but i also get struck as someone who, in the role that
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you have had, has played the role of see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil. i'm going to give you a chance to prove me wrong. ambassador sondland is our ambassador to the e.u. , is that correct? mr. sullivan: that's correct. sen. menendez: ukraine is not part of the european union. is that correct? mr. sullivan: that's correct. sen. menendez: did you know what sondland was up to as it relates to ukraine? mr. sullivan: i was aware he had been tasked with the president with working with the other colleagues involved in ukraine policy. sen. menendez: when you responded to senator shaheen and some extent senator kaine about rudy giuliani and sometimes private citizens have a role, are you not suggesting what mr. giuliani did in this case was kosher or ok or correct, is it? mr. sullivan: i didn't offer a judgment what he did was kosher or correct. i'm not sure exactly what he was up to in toto with
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respect to ukraine. sen. menendez: so you're the number two person at the state department and you had no idea what he was doing as relates to ukraine although you knew he was doing something. mr. sullivan: i wouldn't say it would be accurate to say i knew nothing. i was particularly aware of the campaign against our ambassador in kiev. sen. menendez: outside of that, you did not know what else he was doing. mr. sullivan: i was not aware of what he was doing or purpose. senator menendez: would you say that putin and russia, there is corruption? would you say in putin and russia there is corruption? mr. sullivan: absolutely. sen. menendez: would you say the same thing about hungary? mr. sullivan: corruption is endemic. sen. menendez: these two people are the two people talking to the president about corruption in ukraine. you also seem to suggest, and you are a very able attorney, you also seem to suggest a couch , that the reason that these conversations were taking place, the money was
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being held, was about corruption in ukraine. is that a fair statement? mr. sullivan: i didn't know it at the time. my characterization of what the president was saying now was that it was about anti-corruption reform. if you -- sen. menendez: you are characterizing his statements. your own view. why was money being held? mr. sullivan: as i think i said to some members of the committee, if you had asked me in july -- was aware money was being withheld. we had a number of requests -- senator menendez: did you ask why money was being withheld? mr. sullivan: i did not. but i was aware that we had requests of the ukrainian government, not just anti-corruption reform, but energy reform and economic reform, all of which was important to -- sen. menendez: none of that conversation has come forth. it's all about corruption, right? mr. sullivan:
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that july 25 call, yes. sen. menendez: but, in fact, the department of defense, in coordination with the secretary of state, certified in may of this year, prior to this call that the president had, they rain had made reforms to decrease corruption and increase accountability and could ensure accountability for u.s. military equipment. as a matter of fact, that certification by the department of defense in cooperation with the secretary of state, person immediately above you, not only took place then, but it took place prior to that in july of -- 13 of 2018 and may 23 of 2019. if d.o.d. and state had already certified that ukraine had made progress on corruption, what was left to
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review? mr. sullivan: for purposes of our assistance that was being provided to ukraine, that that assistance wouldn't be diverted for corrupt purposes. calling hombre station -- i recall a conversation about that with secretary mattis. >> what did you do to dislodge the money? >> i personally did not take any action. >> did you call omb? >> no, i had conversations about omb. my perspective that -- was that there were a number of programs that funding was being held for, including the northern triangle countries. my focused in august and into september was focusing on the northern triangle countries. i was leaving it to our ambassador, i was informed, i went up to testify before the house appropriations
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subcommittee on northern triangle -- >> i appreciate that. i'm focused on the position for which you were nominated. >> that was the day in which i was told, i was handed a note that among other things, the ukrainian assistance had been, the hold had been lifted. >> i ask that the senate introduce into the record the letter that was directed to you as chairman of the committee. senator risch: that will be entered. senator menendez: mr. secretary, a couple of other final questions here. isn't it true that russia illegally occupies crimea continues to conduct attacks in eastern ukraine? mr. sullivan: absolutely. senator menendez:
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more than 13,000 ukrainian troops and civilians have been killed in the conflict since 2014. mr. sullivan: i believe-- i testified to that earlier. >> isn't it true that russia assaulted our elections in 2016 using cyber attacks? mr. sullivan: indeed. senator menendez: isn't it true russia illegally occupied part of georgia's territory? mr. sullivan: yes. senator menendez: russia's bombing campaign in syria also involved bombing indents? russian bombing in syria campaign also involve bombing innocent? mr. sullivan: i believe so. senator menendez: now, we have established that the kremlin behavior continues to pose a national security threat to the united states. congress sought to address that to the countering america's adversary through sanctions act that passed 98-2 and president signed into law. does it help or hinder u.s. national security when president trump characterizes russia's interference as a hoax? mr. sullivan: the united states
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government hasn't accepted that it's a hoax. the united states government's position led by president trump is, we are dedicated to stopping it. we acknowledge it occurs. is ongoing and doing all we can to stop it. senator menendez: does it help or hinder national security when president jokes about election interference with president putin? mr. sullivan: as i said we are -- i'm devoting a huge amount of my time as deputy secretary to countering russian election interference. that's at the direction of the president. senator menendez: does it help or hinder when the president redirects millions of dollars from the european deterrent initiative that is to help us in a deterrence to russia to pay for a border wall? mr. sullivan: that was the president's judgment and a national security priority. senator menendez: here's the problem. you are going to go to russia. and you are going to have -- are you going to be saying one set of things based upon your testimony here today and private conversations you had with members that we have the president who in his public statements is totally aligned differently than what you are going to be saying. do you understand the incredible difficult job that you are going
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to have as a result of that? mr. sullivan: what i would say, senator, is, you cited the president's statements. i cite the president's actions. you mentioned the nerve agent that was used, we expelled 60 -- the president expelled 60 undeclared russian intelligence officers in response. we have imposed sanctions on probably 350 russian individuals and organizations, including for election interference. i think the president's actions speak very loudly in this. the secretary pompeo has said that this administration, this president is firmly committing to confronting russia in all these areas that -- senator menendez: overwhelmingly those sanctions have been forced by the hand of congress, particularly in the legislation after having sanctions in iran and other places including
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russia in a way that provided very little discretion because, in a bipartisan basis, there is concern. finally, let me just ask you this. because i'm trying to find a way forward on your nomination. the department that you helped run has tried to block individuals from testifying before congress, something that i find appalling, because congress, article 1 of the constitution, not 2 or 3, article 1, ultimately provides as a check and balance on any administration. this or anyone in the future. forcing them to either choose between defying congress or their superiors. this department has sent them letters that appear aimed at scaring them out of appearing before congress. is this the type of support and protection you think that our public servants deserve? mr. sullivan: i would say that the actions
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that the department has undertaken led by the secretary has been on the advice of counsel not only state department counsel but white house counsel as well and direction from the white house. senator menendez: why is the department working to prevent employees from testifying before congress? mr. sullivan: well, as has been laid out in an extensive letter from the counsel to the president, the rationale is laid out there. senator menendez: i understand the house is directing its request to you, is that correct? mr. sullivan: they have, yes. senator menendez: i'd like to enter the letter from the house to mr. sullivan into the record, mr. chairman. have you responded to them? mr. sullivan: i don't believe so. the letter was addressed to me, but -- the letter has been addressed -- i personally have not. the letter has been addressed to me in the misunderstanding that the connect sect has recused himself. -- that the secretary has recused himself. senator
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menendez: the secretary has not. even though these requests are coming to you you are turning them over. mr. sullivan: correct. i didn't ask they be sent to me. they have decided that. senator menendez: i ask a request to enter a series of letters into the record by a correspondence between the state department and members -- myself and letters from myself to the state department all which have gone unanswered. senator risch: those will be entered. senator cruz. senator cruz: thank you, mr. chairman. let me start by observing as we sit in these august chambers from the storied committee above which the ghost of henry cabot lodge no doubt looks down, i feel compelled to the distinguished senator from virginia is choosing to mock me
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for his nationals beating my astros last night in game six back in houston. [laughter] sen. cruz: i will only say that there is a virtue to patience. and at this time tomorrow, one of the other of us will be on the losing side of a wager and wearing the colors of the winning team, so i look forward to hopefully to 24 hours from now my good friend. >> i can't wait to see how that comes out either way. sen. cruz: congratulations on your nomination, mr. sullivan. i'm not sure what you did at state to merit being sent to siberia, but congratulations nonetheless. i have every confidence you will perform ably in this new role. let's talk about some different aspects of russia. russia, as you know, has a the long history of using energy as a weapon. and one of the tools i believe poses a real threat for strengthening russia, for weakening europe, and for weakening america is the
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north stream to pipeline. can you give me your assessment of the regional and global impact of russia's north stream 2 pipeline if the construction is completed? mr. sullivan: i think it is going to be extremely detrimental to ukraine. it is going to give the russian federation and a norma's lever over you train and a hammer they can hit the ukrainians with. if the russians cut gas transit to ukraine, ukraine will lose billions in hard currency that it -- is desperately needed for its economy. so the president has been as vociferous as he has been in almost issue that i've seen in opposing nord stream 2 and urging our nato allies, and particularly germany, in not cooperating with this pipeline because of the damage it will do to ukraine and we have not succeeded to date in convincing them to stop their cooperation.
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sen. cruz: as you know, this committee has passed, by overwhelming bipartisan margin, my legislation with senator shaheen to stop that pipeline from being completed, but the window for passing that legislation into law is shrinking. what would the benefits be if we can finish the job and stop that pipeline from ever being completed? mr. sullivan: we had this conversation in your office a few days ago whether we have reached the point where the russians can complete the pipeline. construction has continued. there has been a holdup because of environmental review by denmark. those will be lifted. we may have already reached a point where the russians will have the resources no matter what we do, in which case imposing sanctions will not stop
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the pipeline. it will impose a cost, but it will not stop the pipeline. i don't know that we have reached that point yet. sen. cruz: although the russians lack the technology to lay the deep-sea pipeline, so they have to rely on outsourcing. mr. sullivan: i think we need to discuss with some experts in that whether what they have left to do, the little stub that is left, whether they could complete that on their own. they would have to reposition assets that they are using elsewhere. given the length of the pipeline already completed, it may be they are already capable of doing that. mr. sullivan: let's shift --senator cruz: let's shift to the new start treaty. the trump administration rightly withdrew from the treaty earlier this year. it is slated to expire in february 20 21. does
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the administration believe continued adherence is in the u.s. national security interest or will we let the treaty lapse? mr. sullivan: our position is that we should engage with the russians now in discussions about including those weapon systems that we have discussed
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weapon systems that we have discussed previously, which are not -- the problem that i foresee is that if we were to extend now without touching those other systems, we are tying our hands and not limiting where the russians see their growth and their strategic assets. sen. cruz: one final question shifting to another treaty, i've long been skeptical about this treaty and a couple years ago offered language in the authorization act conditioning u.s. compliance with it, as i have offered language in the nda as well. what is your assessment of the effectiveness of the open skies treaty. in my view, it exposes vulnerabilities in terms of opening ourselves up in terms of monitoring in a way that does not gain us anything for russia, but gains russia quite a bit. mr. sullivan: i'm not sure i can go into great detail in an open session, but there are intelligence community assessments on that question. what i've been most concerned about with is if we were to reach that decision that, informed by intelligence community and so forth that it no longer was in the united states' interest to continue in the treaty, that we would need to engage in a consultation process with this committee, with congress, and with our allies, as we did with the inf treaty. the most important thing that we did with our withdrawal
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from the treaty was getting unanimity among our nato allies that russia has been and is in violation of the inf treaty. we would need to do that to make sure we did not do damage to our nato alliance and explain why we were withdrawing, if the decision were to be made. sen. cruz: thank you. >> for those members of the committee that have not seen it, there are briefings available in a secure facility and i would urge everybody to take a look at those. regardless as this discussion goes forward, i think it is important that we have this
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information at the end. we had a discussion giving you credit for the discussion on nord stream 2. regardless of whether we are past the point in overturning it or not, i think your bill needs to be pursued. we are trying to find a path forward. we are going to try to make that happen. i think almost everyone is in agreement with that. senator, you want another height at the apple? senator tim kaine, too. >> just a few more additional questions. you said that it is not without precedent for the president to use individuals outside of the state department to conduct conversations outside -- and there is historical precedent. i would argue that there is really no precedent for what rudy giuliani was doing, which was using his access to the president as a means to try to score political points with foreign nations. for the purposes of this hearing, rudy
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giuliani does not actually say that he was acting simply at the direction of the president, he says he was acting at the direction of the state department. in fact, he says, you know who i did it at the request of? speaking about his conversations with ukraine, the state department. i never talked to a ukrainian official and still the state department called me and asked me to do it. did the state department call rudy giuliani and ask him to have these conversations with ukrainian officials? mr. sullivan: my recollection is that that is a reference to his communications with kurt volker, who is a state department special representative for ukraine. my recollection is that
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that quote is in reference to communications he has had with kurt volker. sen. murphy: you nor the secretary asked rudy giuliani to carry out any diplomatic efforts? mr. sullivan: i did not and i'm not reporting -- aware that the secretary did either. sen. murphy: you believe he is referring to the others with whom he discussed? mr. sullivan: kurt volker in particular. sen. murphy: i want to support your nomination, you know i believe in usa public servant. -- in you as a public servant. i am a little concerned about your reluctance to make a statement about the united states policy over the summer. you have read the transcript, read the texts, i hope you have conducted your own investigation. let me ask the question i asked earlier again. is it your understanding
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that it was the policy of the united states to press the ukrainian government to conduct investigations and alternative theories about the 2016 election interference? i understand that you may not have been part of these efforts, but is it now your opinion that that was the policy of the united states, having read the transcript of the call with the president and seen all this other evidence? mr. sullivan: so, the president has been clear in his subsequent statements about their not being the phrase that has been used, a quid pro quo -- sen. murphy: that's not what i'm asking. what is -- was it our policy to request specific investigations related to the company and related to relitigating or at least looking into alternative theories about the 2016 election? mr. sullivan: sure. so, my understanding is that there was, as part of our general anticorruption policy, encouraging anticorruption reform in ukraine, from reading
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the transcript or the summary of the july 25 call, that looking at as the chairman mentioned that gas company and board member and u.s. person involved in was certainly mentioned by the president and therefore part of u.s. policy, but the president has denied that there was any quid pro quo. sen. murphy: do you have knowledge that the president has ever raised any other specific corruption investigations that he wishes ukraine to undertake other than the investigation related to joe biden and the investigation related to the 20 16 election interference? mr. sullivan: not specific investigations, but he has been emphatic about the need for anticorruption reform generally in ukraine. sen. murphy: i think this is, as we sort of move forward on how to proceed as a senate, i just don't buy this idea that there was this general
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interest in corruption, given the fact that the president has only raised two of these issues in the phone call, but i have no doubt that you care about the issue of corruption in russia, ukraine, and the region, and i hope you pursue it vigorously, as you have testified to before the committee. sen. risch: thank you, senator murphy. i have no doubt you will get an opportunity to express yourself in a vote on a floor based on this. senator kaine? senator kaine: i want to acknowledge my colleague from texas. should the astros win in game 7, i will be winning astros gear and serving his staff crab cakes and whiskey. should the nationals win, continuing the already historic trend of the visiting team winning every team thus far in the series, he will wear nationals gear and serve my staff texas barbecue and shiner beer. i would rather win than lose, but either way, he group
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of high working -- hard-working and ill fed staff will have a meal far above their station. >> is it permissible for me, though i have been in marylander for years? [laughter] >> it is up to you. >> i just wanted to note that until tonight, the pending world series champions are the boston red sox. [laughter] sen. cruz: i'm afraid this nomination can't proceed. [laughter] sen. kaine: for couple more questions. i went through a line of questions about when president zelensky brought up sanctions, president trump said talk to attorney general bar and rudy giuliani. when president zelensky brought a military aide, president trump did not say talk to the secretary of the abbasid or, he said talk to attorney general barr and rudy giuliani. on energy and trade, he said talk to attorney general
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barr and rudy giuliani. your explanation for that and you are not president trump, you are understanding of it -- if the call was about corruption, i guess i can understand the president saying, talk to attorney general barr, but why rudy giuliani? mr. sullivan: i think rudy giuliani is the president's personal attorney and friend and outside advisor and he had been talking to him about ukraine as we discussed previously about our mission. sen. kaine: you stated as far as you know, he was not pursuing any policy for the state department, as far as you know. mr. sullivan: to the extent that he was coordinating with the state department, he was coordinating with the individuals -- sen. kaine: do you know whether he had coordinated with them? mr. sullivan: i don't. sen. kaine: do you have any knowledge that
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he coordinated? mr. sullivan: i have no knowledge that kurt did that. sen. kaine: was the state department or the u.s. government paying rudy giuliani? mr. sullivan: i would be surprised. i have no idea. sen. kaine: do you know whether he was being paid at all by the president trump, the trump campaign, or a third party? mr. sullivan: i don't know. sen. kaine: were you involved in any discussions about turkey sanctions that were mandated by congress due to the turkish purchase of russian air defense systems? mr. sullivan: yes. sen. kaine: explain your involvement. mr. sullivan: i've been involved for a long time now. this deal has been pending for quite some time. working with then secretary mattis, and chairman dunford and now
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secretary esper and chairman millie along with my colleagues at the state department, as this committee will notice. the u.s. has withdrawn turkey from the program because of the s four acquisition. the question that is on the table are the sanctions and whether this is a significant transaction. i find it difficult to characterize it as insignificant given that we have sanctioned china for purchasing the s-400 system. what we are still working to do and we have not reached that point yet is to convince the turks to undo come as a nato ally, to undo the damage they have done already by taking this system on board, before it becomes operational. sen. kaine: is it your testimony today that there is still a difference of opinion in the administration about whether the purchase is a significant transaction? mr. sullivan: i don't know. sen.
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kaine: when you say if it is a significant transaction, then the sanctions come into play. is there a difference of opinion that you are aware of within the administration about whether this purchase was a significant transaction? mr. sullivan: i have not been involved in the legal discussions about parsing the statutory language. i'm giving you my impression. sen. kaine: let me ask one more question. last week in response to a question from senator menendez, the syrian envoy testified that he was not consulted prior to the president's decision to withdraw u.s. troops from the kurdish region of northern syria. do you know if anyone was consulted at the state department prior to that decision? mr. sullivan: i believe the secretary, at a minimum, was involved. sen. kaine: do you know for certain?
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mr. sullivan: i have had conversations with him about it and it has certainly been the case for anybody involved in syrian policy that it was well known the president's desire to withdraw our troops from syria. this has been a topic of discussion going back years. including december of 2018 when secretary mattis resigned. sen. kaine: thank you, mr. chair. sen. risch: thank you. with that, our sincere thanks. i think this has been a productive discussion. focused our view on some of these issues and your help is greatly appreciated. the record will remain open until the close of business on friday, including for members to submit questions for the record. again, thank you for your service, thank you for your agreement to serve further, thank you to your family for the sacrifice it is going to take. this committee is adjourned. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2019] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit] [general chatter] (music)
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>> our c-span campaign 2020 bus team is traveling across country. issues theys, what want presidential candidates to address during the campaign. >> something i want the presidential candidate to addressed is gun violence. i don't think there is one clear-cut answer we need to initiate the discussion as to what options are available to present -- prevent these incidents from happening. >> how are you going to combat the rising prices and drugs and health care? >> an issue that is important to me is focusing on fixing our criminal justice system. how can we rehabilitate our if offenders? how can we support a positive therelationship between
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public and law enforcement? how can we change our incarceration rates? helpingwait focus on those in poverty, the school to prison pipeline is important to focus on. how can we help our juveniles who are involving themselves in delinquency? ask an issue that is important to me is autonomy. currentlyet is not being protected by the u.s. government and it should be. >> part of the c-span's battleground store. -- tour. live everyon journal day with news and policy issues that impact you. coming up saturday morning, former wisconsin democratic senator will be with us to talk about the impeachment inquiry against president trump. and his experience as a u.s. senator during president


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