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tv   Impeachment Inquiry House Hearings Impeachment Hearing With Amb. Gordon...  CSPAN  November 20, 2019 10:29am-12:00pm EST

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nation's heroes. earlier this fall the national medal of honor museum foundation chose my hometown of arlington, arlington, texas, as the location for the new national medal of honor museum. this legislation makes it official. congratulations to mayor williams and the rest of arlington's leadership for bringing it to the dallas-fort worth residents and over 14 million visitors arlington welcomes each year. most importantly the 1.8 million veterans and active duty military that call texas home. with that i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to clause 12-a of rule 1, the chair declares the house in recess until --
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>> now that white house meeting was going to be an official meeting between the two presidents correct? >> presumably. >> it would be an oval office meeting hopefully? >> a working meeting. >> a working meeting, yes. >> so an official act. >> yes. >> and in order to perform that official act, donald trump wanted these two investigations that would help his re-election campaign, correct? >> i can't characterize why he wanted them. all i can tell you is this is what we heard from mr. giuliani. >> but he had to get those two investigations if that official act was going to take place, correct? >> he had to announce the investigations. he didn't actually have to do them, as i understood it. >> president zelensky had to announce the two investigations the presiden t wanted, make a public announcement, correct? >> correct. >> and those were of great value to the president, that he was quite insistent upon them and his attorney was incestent upon them? >> i don't want to characterize
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whether they were valued, not valued. again, through mr. giuliani, we were led to believe that's what he wanted. >> you said mr. giuliani was acting at the president's demand, correct? >> right, when the president says talk to my personal lawyer, mr. giuliani, we followed his direction. >> and so that official act of that meeting was being conditioned on the performance of these things the president wanted as expressed both directly and through his lawyer, rudy giuliani. correct? >> as expressed through rudy giuliani. correct. >> you've also evidence is that your understanding, it became your clear understanding that the military assistance was also being withheld pending zelensky announcing these investigations. correct? >> that was my presumption my personal presumption based on the facts at the time, nothing was moving. in fact, you had a discussion, communication with the secretary of state in which you said that logjam over aid could be lifted
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if zelensky announced his investigations, right? >> i did not, i don't recall saying the logjam over aid. i recall saying the logjam. >> that's what you meant, right, am bassor? >> i meant that whatever was holding up the meeting nev, whar was holding up our deal with ukraine i was trying to break. again i was presuming -- >> here's what you said in your testimony a moment ago page 18. "but my goal at the time was to do what was necessary to get the aid released to break the logjam." that's still your testimony, right? >> yes. this is $400 million of u.s. taxpayer money, is it not? >> absolutely. >> there was a logjam in which the president would not write
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that u.s. check you believed until ukraine announced two investigations the president wanted, correct? >> that was my belief. >> mr. goldman? >> thank you, mr. chairman. in your opening statement, ambassador sondland, you detaildetai detailed the benefits that you have gained from obtaining some additional documents over the past few weeks. thart? is that right? >> in terms of refreshing my recollection. >> because reviewing the documents has helped you to remember the events that we're asking about, that is correct? >> correct. because you acknowledge when you can place a document in a date and a context it helps to jog your memory >> that's correct. >> and so you would agree in a, for people unlike yourself who take notes that that is very helpful to their own recollection of events. right?
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>> i think you asked your question backwards. are you saying people that take notes it's helpful to have those documents or don't take notes it's helpful to have the documents? >> you are not a note taker. >> not a note taker, never have been. >> you aagree people who take contemporaneous notes are more able to remember things than people who don't? >> some, yes. >> there are additional documents you've been unable to obtain, thart? >> that's correct. >> i think you said in your opening statement that the state department prevented you and your staff from trying to gather more documents? is that correct? >> certain documents, yes. >> which documents? >> documents that i didn't have immediate access to. >> and who at the state department prevented you from doing that >> you have to ask my counsel. he was dealing with them. >> certainly based on the additional memory that you have gained over the past few weeks from reading the testimony of others based on their notes, and
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reviewing your own documents, you have remembered a lot more than you did when you were deposed, is that right? >> that's correct. >> one of the things you now remember is the discussion you had with president trump on july 26 in the that restaurant in kiev, right? >> what triggered my memory was someone's reference to asap rocky which was i believe the primary purpose of the phone call. >> certainly. so that's one way memory works, isn't it? and you were sitting in a restaurant with david holmes in kiev, right, having lunch? >> i think i took the whole team out to lunch after the meeting, yes. >> and it was a meeting one on one meeting you had with andre yermak? >> again, trying to reconstruct a very busy day without the benefit but if someone said i had a meeting and i went to the meeting, i'm not fwhg going to
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dispute that. >> particularly if that person took notes at the meeting. >> correct. >> or sat outside the door when you didn't let them in? >> i have no control over who goes into a meeting in the ukraine. that was the ukrainians that didn't let him in. >> you met with president zelensky among others that day, tha is that right? that's correct. >> you called president trump from your cell phone, from the restaurant, is that right? >> that's right. >> and this was not a secure line, was it? >> no, it was an open line. >> did you worry that a foreign government may be listening to your phone call with the president of the united states? >> well, i have unclassified conversations all the time from land lines that are unsecured in cell phones. if the topic is not classified and it's up to the president to decide what's classified and not classified. he was aware it was an open line as well. >> and you don't recall the specifics of holding your phone
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far away from your ear as mr. holmes testified but you have no reason to question his recollection of that, do you? >> i mean it seems a little strange i would hold my phone here. i probably had my phone close to my ear and he claims to have overheard part of the conversation and i'm not going to dispute what he did or didn't hear. >> he also testified that you confirmed to president trump you were in ukraine at the time and that president zelensky "loves your ass." do you recall saying that? >> sunds liounds like somethingd say. that's how president trump and i communicate, a lot of four-letter words. in this case, three-letter. >> holmes then said that he heard president trump ask, "is he" mean zelensky, "going to do the investigation," to which you replied "he's gonna do it" and
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you added that "president zelensky will do anything that you" meaning president trump "ask him to." do you recall that? >> i probably said something to the effect because i remember meeting president zelensky was very solicitous is not a good word. he was just very willing to work with the united states and was being very amicable and so putting it in trump speak, by saying he loves your ass, he'll do whatever you want, meant that he would really work with us on a whole host of issues >> he was not only willing, he was very eager, right? >> that's fair. >> because ukraine depends on the united states as its most significant ally, isn't that correct? >> one of its most, absolutely. >> so just so we understand, you were in kiev the day after president trump spoke to president zelensky on the phone,
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and you now know from reading the call record that in that phone call he requested a favor for president zelensky to do investigations related to the bidens, and the 2016 election. right? >> i do now know that, yes. >> and you met with president zelensky and his aides on the day after that phone call and you had a conversation with president trump from your cell phone from a restaurant terrace, and he asked you whether president zelensky will do the investigations and you responded that he's going to do them or it and that president zelensky will do anything you ask him to do. is that an accurate recitation of what happened there? >> it could have been words to that. i don't remember my exact response. >> but you don't have any reason to dispute mr. holmes' recollection, correct? >> i won't dispute it but again, i don't recall. >> after you hung up with the president, mr. holmes testified about a conversation that you
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and he had where he says that you told mr. holmes that the president does not care about ukraine, but the president used the more colorful language including a four-letter word that you just referenced. do you recall saying that to mr. holmes? >> again, i don't recall my exact words, but clearly the president beginning on may 23rd when we met with him in the oval office, was not a big fan. >> but he was a big fan of the investigations? >> apparently so. >> and in fact, mr. holmes said that you said that president trump only cares about the "big stuff that benefits himself." is that something that you would have said at the time? >> i don't think i would have said that. i would have honestly said that he was not a big fan of ukraine and he wants the investigations
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that we had been talking about for quite some time to move forward. that's what i would have said because that's the fact. >> mr. holmes also remembers that you told him, giving an example of the big stuff, the biden investigation that rudy giuliani was pushing, do you recall that? >> i don't. i recall barisma, not biden. >> but do you recall saying at least referring to an investigation that rudy giuliani was pushing, is that something that you likely would have said? >> i would have, yes. >> now, even if you don't recall specifically mentioning the biden investigation to david holmes, we know that it was certainly on president trump's mind, because just the day before in his call with president zelensky, he mentions specifically the biden investigation. and i want to show you that exhibit or that excerpt from the
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call, on july 25th, where president trump says, "the other thing, there's a lot of talk about biden's son, that biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that, so whatever you can do with the attorney general would be great. biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution, so if you can look into it, it sounds horrible to me." president zelensky then responds with a reference to the company that he's referring to, and two witnesses yesterday said that when president zelensky actually said the company, he said barisma. so you would agree that regardless of whether you knew about the connection to the bidens, at the very least, that you now know that that's what president trump wanted at the time through the barisma investigation. >> i now know it all, of course. >> and at this time, you were aware of the president's desire
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along with rudy giuliani to do these investigations, including the 2016 election interference investigation, is that right? >> that's correct. >> and you said president trump had directed you to talk, you and the others to talk to rudy giuliani at the oval office on may 23rd, is that right? >> if we wanted to get anything done with ukraine, it was apparent to us we needed to talk to rudy. >> right, you understood mr. giuliani spoke for the president, correct? >> that's correct. >> and in fact, president trump also made that clear to president zelensky in that same july 25th phone call, he said "mr. giuliani is a highly respected man. he was the mayor of new york city, a great mayor, and i would like him to call you. i will ask him to call you along with the attorney general. rudy very much knows what's happening and he is a very capable guy."
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after this president trump mentioned mr. giuliani twice more in that call. now, from mr. giuliani, by this point, you understood that in order to get that white house meeting that you wanted president zelensky to have, and this president zelensky desperately wanted to have, that ukraine would have to initiate these two investigations, is that right? >> well, they would have to announce that they were going to do it. >> right, because giuliani and president trump didn't actually care if they did them, right? >> i never heard mr. goldman, anyone say that the investigations had to start or had to be completed. the only thing i heard from mr. giuliani or otherwise was that they had to be announced in some form, and that form kept changing. >> announced nnounced publicly. >> you recognized there would be political benefits to a public announcement as opposed to a private confirmation, right? >> the way it was expressed to
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me was the ukrainians this a long history of committing to things privately and never following through. so president trump presumably again communicated through mr. giuliani, wanted the ukrainians on record publicly that they were going to do these investigations. that's the reason that was given to me. >> but you never heard anyone say that they really wanted them to do the investigations? just that they wanted to announce them? >> i didn't hear either way. i didn't hear either way. >> now, your july 26th call with the president was not the only time that you spoke to the president surrounding that ukraine trip, was it? >> i believe i spoke to him before his call. >> and that's, so that would be on july 25th, the day before? >> yes, i think i was flying to ukraine, and i spoke with him, if i recall correctly, just before i got on the plane. >> so that's two private telephone calls with president trump in the span of two days, is that right?
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>> correct. >> you had direct access then to president trump, correct? >> i had occasional access when he choese to take my calls. sometimes he would. sometimes he wouldn't. >> well, he certainly took your call twice as it related to ukraine on these two days, is that right? >> he did. >> now the morning of july 25th, you texted ambassador volker, and we could bring up the next text exchange, at 7:54 a.m., and you said, "call asap." ambassador volker did not respond to you for another hour and a half. "hi gordon, got your message. this h a great lunch with yermak and passed your message to him. he will think everything in place." volker an hour before that and half hour before the phone call had texted andre yermak a top aide for president zelensky and wrote "good lunch, thanks. heard from white house, assuming
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president z. convinces trump he will investigate, get to the bottom of what happened in 2016 we will nail down date for a visit to washington. good luck, see you tomorrow." ambassador sondland, was this message that kurt volker passed to andre yermak the message you left for kurt volker on that voice mail he referenced? >> i don't remember, mr. goldman but it very well could have been. >> you don't have any reason to think it wasn't? >> i on honestly, honestly don't remember but seems largical to me. >> if ambassador volker testified he did get that message from you, you have no reason to doubt that. >> if he testified he got that message from me i won kur that. >> this message you received from president trump and the phone call? >> again if he testified to that, to refresh my own memory then yes, likely i would have received that from president trump. >> the sequence certainly makes sense, right? >> it does. >> you talked to president trump, told kurt volker to call you. you left a message for kurt
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volker. kurt volker sent this text message to andre yermak to president zelensky and president trump had a phone call where plt zelensky spoke similar to this text message, right? >> right. >> you agree the message is that president zelensky needs to convince trump that he will do the investigations in order to nail down the tate for a visit to washington, d.c., is that correct? >> that's correct. >> now, i'm going to move ahead in time to the end of august and early september, when you came to believe, i believe as you testified, that it wasn't just the white house meeting that was contingent on the announcement of these investigations, that the president wanted but security assistance as well. you testified that in the absence of any credible explanation for the hold on
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security assistance, you came to the conclusion that, like the white house visit, the aide was conditioned on the investigation that president trump wanted. is that what you said in your opening statement? >> it is. >> so let me break this down with you. by this time, you and many top officials knew that that coveted white house meeting for president zelensky was conditioned on these investigations, right? >> the announcement of the investigations, correct. >> thank you. and that included secretary pompeo, right? >> many people. >> secretary pam pompeo? >> yes. >> and acting chief of staff mulvaney. >> yes. >> you testified this was a quid pro quo? >> i did. >> at this point, by the end of august, knew that the aid had been held up for at least six weeks, is that correct? >> i believe i found out through ambassador taylor that the aid had been held up around july 18th, is when i heard originally. >> and even though you searched
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for reasons, you never were given a credible explanation, is that right? >> that's right. >> and no one you spoke to thought that the aid should be held, to your knowledge, thart? >> i never heard anyone advocate for holding the aide. end of august it went public and the ukrainians knew about it, right? >> i believe there was some press reports, you know, presuming or, who knows, but i think at that point it became common knowledge that everything might be tied together. >> and in fact president zell echsky brought it up at that meeting with vice president pence? >> i don't know if he brought it up but asked where the aid was. i i this he sort of asked again very vague recollection because i don't have a read out of the bilateral meeting, but, why don't i have my check, essentially. >> and you understood the
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ukrainians received no credibility explanation, is that right? >> i certainly couldn't give them one. >> so is this kind of a two plus two equals four conclusion that you reached? >> pretty much. >> the only logical conclusion to you given all the factors that the aid was part of this quid pro quo? >> yep. >>, now, i want to go back to that conversation that you had with vice president pence right before that meeting in warsaw. and you indicated that you set to him that you were concerned that the delay in the aid was tied to the issue in investigations, is that right? >> i don't know exactly what i said to him. this was a briefing attended by many people, and i was invited at the very last minute. i wasn't scheduled to be there. you about i think i spoke up at some point late in the meeting and said i think it looks like everything is being held up until these statements are
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getting made and that's my personal belief. >> and vice president pence just nodded his head? >> i don't recall my exchange or he asked me any questions. i think he -- it was sort of a dually noted? >> he didn't say, gordon, what are you talking about? >> no, he did not. >> he didn't say, what investigations? >> he did not. >> now, after this meeting you discussed this pull aside with mr. yermak where you relayed your belief that they needed to announce these investigations prior to the aid being released, is that right? >> i said i didn't know exactly why, but this could be a reason. >> and oeblsz you had been speaking with mr. yermak for quite awhile about a public announcement of these investigations? >> we had all been working on that, yes. >> you indicated that in
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addition, security aid was now also involved in that? >> as i said, i said it could have been involved, yes. >> now, i'm going to show you another text exchange you had on september 1st, where ambassador taylor said to you, are we now saying that security assistance and white house meeting are conditioned on investigations? and you respond, call me. ambassador taylor recalls that he did call you and you did have a conversation. and in that conversation, you told ambassador taylor that the announcement of these investigations by president zelensky needed to be public and that that announcement was conditioned on -- that announcement would ultimately release the aid. do you recall that conversation with ambassador taylor? >> again, my conversation with ambassador taylor, my conversation with senator johnson, were all my personal belief just based on, as you
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put, two plus two equals four. >> well in his testimony, ambassador taylor says that you said that president trump had told you that he wanted president zelensky to state publicly, as of september 1st. do you have any reason to doubt ambassador taylor's testimony, which he said was based on his meticulous contemporaneous notes? >> president trump never told me directly that the aid was conditioned on the meetings. the only thing we got directly from giuliani was that the burisma in 2016 elections were conditioned on the white house meeting. the aid was my own personal, you know, guess based again on your analogy, two plus two equals four. >> so you didn't talk to president trump when ambassador taylor tells you? >> i never heard from president trump that aid was conditioned
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on an announcement of elections. >> so you never heard those specific words? >> correct, never heard those words. >> well, let's move ahead, because you have another conversation in a little bit later that both tim morrison and ambassador taylor recount. but in this september 1st conversation, ambassador taylor also testified under oath that you said that president trump wanted zelensky in awe public box. do you recall using that expression? >> yeah. it goes back to my earlier comment that again coming from the giuliani source, because we can't discuss this specifically with president trump, that they wanted whatever commitments ukraine made to be made publicly so that they would be on the record and be held more accountable, whatever those commitments were. >> you also tr -- or ambassador taylor testified that you told him that you ha made a mistake
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in teg the ukrainians that only the white house meeting was conditioned on the announcement of the investigations, and that in fact everything was, including the security assistance. do you remember saying that? >> when i referenced a mistake, what i recall was i thought that a statement made by the new ukrainian prosecutor that these investigations would be started up again or commenced, would be sufficient to satisfy mr. giuliani/president trump. as i recall, my mistake was, someone came back through volker otherwise and said no, it's not going to do if the prosecutor makes these statements. the president wants to hear it from zelensky directly. that's the mistake i think i made. >> do you have any reason to question ambassador taylor's testimony based on his meticulous and careful contemporaneous notes? >> i'm not going to question or not question. i'm just telling what you i believe i was referring to.
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>> let me fast forward a week and show you another text exchange which may help ref fresh your recollection. on september 8th you had a text to ambassador taylor and volker. >> guys, multiple con voez with zelensky, potus. let's talk. >> this was september 8th at 11:20 in the morning. ambassador taylor responds, immediately. that's fine with me. ambassador taylor says 20 minutes later, gordon and i just spoke. i can brief you if you and gordon don't connect. then ambassador taylor an hour later says the nightmare is they give the interview and don't give the security assistance.the russians love it and i quit. you would agree in this text message after you had spoken earlier an hour earlier with ambassador taylor, that he is linking the security assistance
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to this interview, public announcement by president zelensky, is that right? >> absolutely. >> and in fact ambassador taylor testified that you did have a conversation with him at that point, and he did -- and that you told him that just as your text message indicates, you did have a conversation with president trump prior to that text message. does that help to ref fresh your recollection that you in fact spoke to president trump at that time? >> again, i don't recall president trump ever talking to me about any security assistance, ever. what this tells me refreshing my memory is that by the 8th of september, it was abundantly clear to everyone that there was a link and that we were discussing the chicken and egg issue of, should the ukrainians go out on a ledge and make the statement that president trump wanted them to make, and then they still don't get their white
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house visit and their aid? that would be really bad for our credibility. i think that's what he's referring to. >> so you do acknowledge other you spoke to president trump as you indicated in that text, right? >> if i said i did i did. >> and that after that conversation, you were still under the impression that the aide was contingent on these public announcements? >> i did not get that from president trump but i was under the impression that absolutely it was. >> you weren't dissuaded then, right because you still thought it was conditioned on the public announcement, after speaking to president trump? >> by september 8th, i was absolutely convinced it was. >> and president trump did not dissuade you on that in the conversation you had with him? >> i don't ever recall -- because that would have changed my cal cue laus. if he had told me directly? >> that's not what i'm asking. you still believe that the security assistance was conditioned on the investigation after you spoke to president
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trump? yes or no? >> from a timeframe standpoint, yes. >> now, ambassador taylor also testified that -- and mr. morrison, both of them testified, that you told them that president trump said there was no quid pro quo, which you also included that that text message that you referred, but then you went on and they had slight variations as to what you told them. but then you said that to ambassador taylor that president zelensky himself, nots prosecutor general, needed to clear things up in public or there would be a stalemate. and mr. morrison recounted something similar. you don't have any reason that both of their very similar recollections that they had with you? >> let me break that down. the text i said about the no quid pro quo was my effort to respond to amourespond to ambasr
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taylor's concerns to go to president trump. apparently ambassador taylor had access to secretary pompeo, not president trump. so i made the phone call. i said what do you want? president trump responded with what i put in the text. and then i strongly encouraged ambassador taylor to take it up with the secretary. and he responded, a agree. when i said that. as far as the other part of your question relating to whether or not the prosecutor could make the statement or zelensky could make the statement, i don't recall who told me whether it was volker, whether it was giuliani, or whether it was president trump, it's got to be zelensky, it can't be the prosecutor. but that's what i relayed. whoever i got that information from, i relayed that to i believe both mr. -- or excuse me ambassador taylor and to mr. morrison. >> but as of september 9th, you understood, did you not, that president trump either himself
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or through his agents required that president zelensky make a public announcement of the two investigation that's president trump cared about in order to get both the white house meeting and to release the security assistance, is that correct? >> i believe that is correct. >> mr. chairman, i yield back. >> that concludes our 45 minutes. i now recognize mr. nunes. >> no. >> why don't we take a five- or ten-minute break. >> thank you.
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>> house committee here in a short break, according to the chair adam schiff. statement from
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the chair and the ranking member. following those statements, you gordon sondland for around 42 minutes in an opening tatement and then it was 45 minutes by the majority, democratic counsel and adam chiff leading the question of ambassador sondland. when they come back from this break, it will be the minority's turn. nunes, the top republican on the committee, will resumably ask some questions followed by the republican counsel for the next 45 minutes nd then you'll hear five minutes from each member of this house intelligence committee, if that ollow the procedures they have done in the past previous hearings. continues here on c-span3. we'll bring you any lawmakers' what they heard this morning if we see them come to the microphone during this break. reaction to what they've heard this morning if we see them come to the microphones during this break.
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this conditioning of the white house meeting of the security as mr. schiff: these two quid cal -- was a basic
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pro quo. it was the conditioning of for something of great value to the president, these political investigations. it goes right to the heart of issue of bribery as well as other potential high crimes or misdemeanors. heart of the issue of bribery as well as other potential high crimes or misdemeanors. but we also have heard for the first time that knowledge of this scheme was pervasive. the secretary of state was aware of it. the acting chief of staff mulvaney was aware of it. and of course at the very top, donald trump through his personal lawyer and others was implementing it. and so this i think only goes to underscore just how significant the president's obstruction of this investigation has been. we now can see, the veneer has been torn away, just why
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president trump did not want these documents showed to congress. apafrmtly they show that the knowledge of this scheme to condition official acts, a white house meeting and 400 million in secure assistance to an ally at war with russia, was conditioned on political favors the president wanted for his re-election. so i think a very important moment in the history of this inquiry.
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house intelligence committee continues to where break. we heard from gordon sondland under questioning from the democrats. the majority up next. then the mi nooert will get their turn for 45 minutes and then five-minute rounds from the rest of the committee. live coverage continues here on c-span3.
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come to order. i now recognize ranking member nunes and minority counsel for 45 minutes of questions. >> thank you the gentlemen and for those of you watching at
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home. that was not a bathroom break. that was a chance for the democrats to go out and hold a press conference for all the supposed bomb shells that were in your opening testimony. i want to get back to the facts of the matter here. and the thing that the democrats have been unwilling to accept is that their operatives got campaign dirt from ukrainians in the 2016 election. now, they know it. they know it's true. because we have financial records that show it. so they were democrats were heavily involved working with ukrainians to dirty up the trump campaign in 2016. so ambassador, i want to go through just a few of the incidents that we know. i know you may not know all about them. you may know about them now. but i want to walk through some of those examples of why the president may be very upset with ukraine and think that they're a
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country that's out to get him, as i think both you've said that and ambassador volker have said that, from that may 23rd meeting. the first question i have is, were you aware of the anti-trump efforts by dnc operative alexandra chalupa? >> i am not aware of it. >> so in 20 -- there's a 2017 article that also quotes ukrainian parliamentarian art doe mink koe, saying, quote, it was clear that they were supporting, meaning ukraine, supporting hillary clinton's candidacy and they did everything from organizing meetings with the clinton team to publicly supporting her to criticizing trump. i think that they simply didn't meet with the trump campaign because they thought hillary would win. did you know that ukrainian
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official by any chance that stated that? >> i don't. >> were you aware that then ukrainian ambassador to the u.s. chalet wrote an op said during the 2016 presidential campaign criticizing then-candidate trump? >> not aware. >> but you know that now after the last few months? >> correct. >> so probably one of the more disturbing ones is the ukraine internal affairs minister, avau kofb, mocked and dispairmgd then candidate trump on facebook and twitter. were you aware that serhy lesh ej koe admitted that part of his sprayeding of the information in the so-called black ledger, purporting to report corruption was to undermine the trump candidacy? >> i wasn't aware. >> so you may be familiar. the black ledger was used in the 2016 election to dirty up a
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campaign associate, and later mueller didn't use that as evidence in his report on election meddling. so knowing all these facts from high ranking ukrainian officials, ambassador, probably makes a little more sense now as to why the president may think that there is problems with ukraine and that ukraine was out to get him. is that correct? >> i understand your -- i understand your point, yes, chairman. >> because you said in your deposition, i'm just going make sure this was your -- just read it back to you. on page 279 for your legal team, quote, they are all corrupt. this is your -- this is what you said about your conversation with the president. so this is your words about what the president told you. >> this is the may 23rd meeting? >> that's correct. they are all corrupt.
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they are all terrible people and you know i don't want to spend any time with that. and he also said they tried to take me down. >> that's correct. >> now, when they tried to take him down, i think any logical person that wants to do two plus two equals four games would say that that was in the 2016 election, wasn't it? >> i believe that's what he was referring to, yes, right. >> so during all this time, and remember, in the spring, the democrats russia hoax witch hunt is still ongoing. they're still claiming that president trump is a russian agent. they're out to get -- they're out to get president trump at the time. his personal attorney is then interested in trying to figure out, okay, who were these ukrainians that are trying to get to my candidate. as those of us, the republicans on the committee who are also trying to get to the bottom of,
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who were the sources in the steele dossier that's been paid for? the house republicans wanted to know that through the spring and summer and even as of today, we'd still like to know. that's why we've subpoenaed the dnc operatives they subpoenaed. i doubt we'll see that. we want to know, get to the bottom, who were these operatives dirtying up the trump campaign in 2016? they just can't get over that the president would send his personal attorney over there to try to get to the bottom of that. and ambassador, you had very few dealings with rudy giuliani, a few text messages? >> a few text messages and a few phone calls. >> so the whistle-blower, trying to put together with their timeline, they seem to have a timeline problem, because the blower only they know who they only won't subpoena who vindman knows who they blocked testimony
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from yesterday, would not allow mr. vipdman to answer our questions, that whistle-blower says on july 25th that there were all these promises being made. yet the -- i forget what they call it, the drug deal that the three amigos were cooking up, seems to be their latest. you're part of the three amigos and the drug deal, ambassador. were you aware of any drug deal on july 25th when the phone call actually occurred? >> i don't know about any drug deal. >> right. and did you know you were a part of the three amigos? >> i am. i'm a proud part. >> and that's the same thing ambassador volker said yesterday. because by the time the phone call that supposedly the whistle-blower claims was the original reason -- the original quid pro quo, has now got down to where we're now a month
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later, you're involved and their quid pro quo has gotten down to -- down to the low level of, well, they want a statement. and you didn't even know about anything to do with on july 25th, you knew nothing about military aid being withheld? >> i knew military aid was withheld beginning i believe on july 18th when ambassador taylor told both of us that that was the case. >> but you don't know about -- you were not on the july 25th call? >> i was not. >> where the aid doesn't come up at all? >> again, i just the readout when everyone else did. >> everybody has testified it was on the july 25th call, that there was no aid discussed on the july 25th call. so then you're in the process, you have no idea that this is tied to burisma or anybody else. you say you don't realize that until the end of august. >> i didn't realize that aid was tied.
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the burisma in 2016 piece was much earlier, ranking member -- >> i'm glad you bring up burisma because this is another issue the democrats don't want to go into. they refuse to call in hunter biden. he could get to the bottom of all thf. he could talk about whether or not it was appropriate for him to receive over $50,000 a month while his dad was vice president, and when they actually were able to stop and get an investigator fired. they could call on hunter biden but they don't want to do it. but let's talk about burisma, ambassador. i know you're the ambassador to the eu and i think some of the members later will get into whether or not it was appropriate for you to be in ukraine or not. i believe it was. i believe you have a clear mandate to do it. but you wouldn't actually be the first to be interested in
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burisma. did you know that in september 2015, then ambassador to ukraine, geoffrey pyatt, publicly called for an investigation into sloefbisky, the president of burisma? this was the ukrainian ambassador, appointed by president obama, in ukraine. >> i wasn't aware of that, no. >> you were not aware of it? >> no. >> so you would not be the first one to be mentioning that investigations should be done on burisma because it happened during the obama administration. did you know that financial records show burisma routed more than $3 million to the american accounts tied to hunter bind? >> i did not know that. >> did you know the burisma lawyers tried to secure a meeting the same day the predecessor, victor shokin who the vice president wanted fired, was announced? >> did not know that. >> we're not going to get to the
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answer to many of these answers because the witnesses that need to come in and clarify exactly what the democrats were doing in 2016, we're not going to be able to visit with those witnesses. and so it's an inconvenient truth that the democrats don't want to admit. their operatives that were dirtying up the trump campaign using ukrainian sources in 2016, and they do not want us to get to the bottom it. they don't want you to. they don't want the president's personal attorney, even though he's under a special counsel investigation, that they fed into the fbi, that we've dealt with for over three years, they don't want to get to the bottom of that, ambassador. i think mr. castor has some questions. >> thank you. good morning, ambassador. how are you? >> good morning. >> welcome back. you're here all day on the 17th, late into the night, so thank
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you for your cooperation with the investigation. did the president ever tell you personally about any preconditions for anything? >> no. >> okay. so the president never told you about any preconditions for the aid to be released? >> no. >> the president never told you about any preconditions for a white house meeting? >> personally, no. >> the -- you said you didn't have your records or or documents from the state department, but if you did there wouldn't be any document or record that ties president trump personally to any of this, correct? >> i don't want to speculate. >> your documents or records? >> i don't recall anything like that, no. >> okay. it happens. okay. you testified mr. giuliani's requests or a quid pro quo for the white house meeting -- and you indicated that you believe that was -- he was evincing president trump's interests, correct?
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>> my contact with mr. giuliani began as i said very late in the process, after august 1st when i was first introduced to him via text from ambassador volker. so we had already begun those discussions i believe with the ukrainians prior to august 1st, so everything was being funneled through others including mr. volker. >> okay. but you testified that mr. giuliani was expressing the desires of the president, correct? >> that's our understanding, yes. >> how did you know that? who told you? >> well, when the president says, talk to my personal attorney, and then mr. giuliani as his personal attorney makes certain requests or demands, we assume it's coming from the president. i don't -- i don't -- i'm not testifying that i heard the president tell mr. giuliani to tell us. so if that's your question. >> at your deposition you said the question was that the may 23rd meeting when the president said go talk to rudy, you responded, he didn't even say go
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talk. he said, talk to rudy. you subsequently said it was sort of like, i don't want to talk about this. so it wasn't an order or direction to go talk with mr. giuliani, correct? >> our conclusion, and the conclusion of the three of us was that if we did not talk to rudy, nothing would move forward on ukraine. >> okay. but that was may 23rd and you never had any personal communications with giuliani until august, right? >> that's correct. >> and volker was handling, ambassador volker, was he the primary -- >> volker, perry and others. >> okay. ambassador volker, you testified he's a professional diplomat, correct? >> yes he is. >> and you had a great relationship with him? >> i do. >> you said he was a very smart guy? >> yes. >> ambassador yovanovitch said he's a brilliant diplomat? >> he's pretty smart. >> you stated he's one of those
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people i'd hand my wallet to? >> i would. >> and so did you hear his testimony yesterday? >> i did not. >> okay. because he didn't -- >> i was busy getting ready for you. >> he didn't have any -- he didn't have any evidence of any of these preconditions. and he was the one most engaged with the ukrainians, wasn't he? >> yes. >> okay. you testified, you know, this was his full-time job, although he was doing it for free. >> he was the special envoy. >> you testified you came in and out of the events, correct? >> that was correct. >> okay. all right. your deposition, we asked you about your communications with the president. and we asked you whether there were so many that it would be impossible to chronicle. and you said no, it wasn't that many. and we went down the path of building a list of communications you remember with the president, right? >> correct. >> and we talked about may 23rd
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in the oval office? >> yes. >> you mentioned on july 25th before you went to ukraine, you called the president. but there was no material information on the 25th call, correct? >> not that i recall. >> okay. then the last friday, mr. holmes came in and i guess his testimony ref freshd your recollection? >> yeah when he mentioned asap rocky, then al of a sudden it came back to me. >> and talking about mr. zelensky loving the president and so forth? >> the whole thing after he mentioned asap racky. >> and then the next time we tried to unpack this. the neck time you talked with the president was on the telephone was september 9th, according to your deposition, right? >> i may have even spoken to him on september 6th. but again i don't have all the records. i wish i could get them then i could answer your questions very easily. >> but on september 9th at least
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at your deposition you were extremely clear. you call the president, said he was cranky? >> he seemed cranky. >> and you said in no uncertain terms and this is on the heels of the bill taylor text, right? >> right. >> and why don't you tell us, what did the president say to you on september 9th that you remember? >> well, words to the effect, i decided to ask the president the question in an open-ended fashion, because there were so many different scenarios floating around as to what was going on with ukraine. so rather than ask the president nine different questions, is it this, is it this, is it that? i said what do you want from ukraine? i may have even used a four-letter word. and he said i want nothing. i want no quid pro quo. i just want zelensky to do the right thing, what he ran on, or words to that effect. and that gave me the empe tus to ambassador taylor with the text i sent as i said to plo goldman
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it was not an artfully written text, i should have been more specific, put it in quotes, something like that. but basically i wanted mr. taylor, ambassador taylor to pick up the ball and take it from there. i had gone as far as i could go. >> and you believed the president, correct? >> you know what? i'm not going to characterize whether i believed or didn't believe. i was just trying to convey what he said on the phone. >> and at that point in time, the pause in the aid, the aid was paused for 55 days, there was a news art cal in "politico" on august 28th talking about it. by that point in time the president had been receiving calls from senators, getting pressure to lift the aid, correct? >> that's what i understand, yes. >> i want to turn back to your opener on page five under -- when you talk about, in the
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absence of any credible explanation for the suspension of aid, i later came to believe that the resumption of security aid would not occur until there was a public statement from ukraine committing to the investigations. correct? >> correct. >> and you acknowledge that this is speculation, right? >> it was a presumption. >> okay. but you -- it was a guess, in fact, i think you even said this morning? >> well, i want to say that it goes back to mr. goldman's point or chairman schiff's, two plus two kwaeld four in my mind. >> you didn't have any evidence other than that? >> other than the aid wasn't being relaced. >> did ambassador volker clue you in that that was the issue? this is a pretty high -- i mean, this is a pretty serious conclusion eve reached without precise evidence? >>. well i send that email to secretary pompeo to set up a
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potential meeting between president trump and president zelensky in warsaw. and when i referred to the logjam, i referred to the logjam in a very inclusive way. everything was jammed up at that point. and secretary pompeo essentially gave me the green light to brief president zelensky about making those announcements. >> okay. we can -- we can turn to that. that was your email dated -- what date? >> do you have the page there? >> well, your email to secretary pompeo, was that august 11th? 16. >> august 22nd. >> okay so you're asking
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secretary pompeo whether we should block time. is there any discussion of specific investigations? is there any discussion of biden or burisma or anything linking to aid in this email that you sent to pompeo, secretary pompeo? >> no. this was a proposed briefing that i was going to give president zelensky. and i was going to call president zelensky and ask him to say what is in this email. and i was asking essentially president pompeo's permission to do that. >> right. >> which he said, yes. >> but at that point in time, we're talking about investigations into the origins of the 2016 election. we're not talking about anything to do with joe biden? >> joe biden did not come up. >> okay. stepping baai stepping back a page to your email to the state department on august 11th, you emailed secretary pompeo, and you say,
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kurt and i negotiated a statement from zelensky to be delivered for our review in a day or two. the question i have here is that, i mean, that statement never was issued. and in fact ambassador volker has testified that he didn't think it was a good idea and ultimately the ukrainians didn't think it was a good idea. the statement never reached a finalized state? >> that's correct. >> but even if it had, it doesn't talk about bidens or burisma or anything insidious, correct? >> well, the statement as i recall, would have mentioned the 2016 election/dnc server and burisma. it would not have mentioned the bidens. >> and have you heard ambassador volker, how he talks about what might be an investigation into burisma? >> no. >> okay. he has said that if there were ukrainians engaged in violations of ukrainian law, then the
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prosecutor general with the new administration ought to investigate that. did ambassador volker ever relate that to you? >> no. we just talked in generic terms about, quote, investigating burisma. >> okay. but it had nothing to do with vice president biden? >> i had never heard vice president biden come up until very late in the game. >> when? >> i don't recall the exact date but when it all came together. maybe after the transcript of the july 25th call. i don't know the exact date when i made the connection. apparently allot of people did not make the connection. >> okay. i want to turn to the letter from senator johnson. he -- when he heard about some of these issues in the halt of the aid, he called the president. he called the president on august 31st. it's page six of his letter. senator johnson states or writes with, i asked him, the president, whether there was
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some kind of arrangement where ukraine would take some action and the hold would be lifted. without hesitation, president trump immediately denied such an arrangement existed. senator johnson quotes the president as saying, no. and he prefaced it with a different word. no way. i would never do that. who told you that? i have senator johnson says i have accurately characterized his reaction as adamant, veemt and angry. the phone call wasn't a public event. it was capturing a genuine, you know, moment with the president. and he had at this point in time on august 31st, he was adamant, vee hemt and angry that there was no connections to aid, there were no preconditions. >> i had my meeting with senator johnson where again i had made
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the presumption that i had made to both mr. yermak and the email i had sent to secretary pompeo. and we were sort of ruminating about what was going on. and senator johnson i believe said i'm going to call president trump, you know, and find out. and then he obviously had that phone call. i wasn't involved in that phone call. >> okay. but you have no reason to disbelieve that wasn't the way it went down, right? >> no reason to disbelieve senator johnson. >> and now that you've had some time since your deposition and you submitted an addendum relating to the warsaw get-together with mr. yermak, as you sit here today, are we missing a lot of your communications with the president? >> i haven't had that many with the president and in fact a bunch of the call records i had had access to just the short period of time on the call indicates i never got through. in other words i was put on hold
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for one or two minutes and the call never connected. so i can't give you an accurate call of how many. plus i've had a lot of conversations with the president about completely unrelated matters that have nothing to do with ukraine. >> you don't think we're missing any material conversations that you had with the president? >> i don't recall any material conversations today as i'm sitting here. >> or with rudy giuliani? >> yeah, my memory about the conversations with rudy giuliani, whether they were direct, whether they were conference calls with ambassador volker or secretary perry, is really vague without seeing the -- why noyou know, the call >> are there any other key fact witnesses that would help us to the get to the bottom as to whether there were any -- >> maybe brian cure mak who was involved in and out as well.
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>> okay. now, the aid was ultimately lifted on september 11th, correct? >> i believe that's correct. >> okay. and senator johnson in his letter on page six quotes the president on august 31st, ron, i understand your position. we're reviewing it now and you'll probably like my final decision. so even on august 31st, and this is before any congressional investigation started, the president was signaling to senator johnson that he was going to lift the aid. >> sounds like it. >> okay. and most of the other witnesses we talked to, whether it's from the department of defense or omb or -- have told us that all along during this 55-day period, they genuinely believed the hold would be lifted. was that your feeling too at the time? >> i didn't know because every
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time i asked about the hold i was never given a straight answer as to why it had been put in place to begin with. >> what do you know about the ukrainians' knowledge of the hold? >> oh, that's very vague. i don't know if the "politico" article triggered it. i don't know if they were told by mr. giuliani. it would be pure, you know, guesswork on my part, speculation. i don't know. >> okay. during your deposition, you testified that you did not believe the ukrainians believed the -- were aware of the hold until the "politico" article? >> yeah, again, i think i testified that i was not clear on the exact dates of when these things -- when the light went on. there were a lot of conversations going on with the ukrainians by a lot of people. so i don't know who communecated what to them. >> we have testimony from several witnesses that the president was concerned about foreign aid generally. and so he had an appetite to put
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holds on aid because he was trying to be a good steward of u.s. taxpayer dollars. do you agree with that? >> i'm aware that that's been his position on aid and other matters, yes. >> and are you aware that he was also interested in better understanding the contributions of our european allies? >> that i'm definitely aware of. >> and there was some back-and-forth between the state department officials trying to better understand that information for the president? >> yes, that's correct. >> how do you know that wasn't the reason for the hold? >> i don't. >> but yet you speculate that there was, you know, a link to the -- this announcement. >> i presumed it, yes. >> okay. i want to turn quickly to the july 10th meeting. the july 10th meeting in
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ambassador bolton's office involving ambassador volker, mr. danylyuk, mr. yermak, has been the subject of some controversy. ambassador volker testified yesterday it wasn't until the end of the meeting, mr. danylyuk he said he was going through some real detailed information about some of the plans he had. but it wasn't until the end of the meeting ambassador volker rec lekts that you mentioned something general about investigations. what do you remember from that meeting? recollection, particularly if he had notes. i know the desire to have the 2016 election dnc server and burisma were already being discussed by them. again, i had no direct contact with mr. giuliani on july 10th, but through ambassador volker
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and, i probably mentioned that this needs to happen in order to move the process forward. that seemed to be the conventional wisdom at the time. i don't recall any abrupt ending of the meeting or people storming out or anything like that. that would have been very memorable if someone had stormed out of a meeting based on something i said. >> and nobody accused you at that point in time of being involved with some sort of drug deal? >> no. >> did dr. hill ever relate to you her concerns about you being involved in a drug deal? >> never. >> you were surprised when testimony emerged she thoughts there was a drug deal going on? >> i was shocked. >> in fact, after the meeting you went out, you took a picture, right? >> yeah. ambassador bolton or his assistant indicated that he was out of time. he needed -- he had another meeting to attend and we all walked out of the white house.
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everyone was smiling, everyone was happy and we took a picture on the lawn on a nice, sunny day. >> did you retire to the war room? >> i think secretary perry asked to use the ward room to continue the conversation. and the real subject that was under debate, and it wasn't an angry debate. it was a debate. should the call from president trump to president zelensky be made prior to the parliamentary elections in ukraine or after the parliamentary elections. and there was good reason for both. we felt it would help president zelensky to have president trump speak to him prior to the parliamentary elections because it would give president zelensky more credibility and ultimately he would do better with his people in the parliamentary elections. others, i believe, pushed back and said, no, it's not appropriate to be done before.
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it should be done after. and ultimately it was done after. >> there was no mention of vice president biden in the ward room? >> not that i remember, no. >> or any specific investigation? >> just the generic investigations. >> when, again, did the -- vice president biden nexus come to your attention? >> very late. i can't remember when the light bulb went on. it could have been when the transcript went out. it was always burisma to me. i diplomat know the connection between burisma and biden. >> you never understood anyone was asking yoouk yoouks to investigate u.s. persons? >> ukrainians to investigate u.s. persons? >> no. >> okay.
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to be clear here, ultimately the aid was lifted on september 11th. there was never any announcement by the uk uks about any investigations they were going to do, correct? >> correct. >> the ukrainians never, to your knowledge, started any of these investigations, correct? >> not to my knowledge. >> and, consequently, these allegations that there was a quid pro quo that had to be enforced before the aid was released, that never came to frugs, right? >> i don't believe so. >> i want to step back a little bit and verify with you that the president had some genuinely deep-rooted concerns about corruption in ukraine, correct?
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>> that's what he expressed to us, yes. >> and you believed him, given his business dealings in the region? >> when we had the conversation, i did. >> and when you first started discussing the concerns the president had with corruption, burisma wasn't the only company that was mentioned, right? >> it was a generic -- as i think i testified to chairman schiff, it was a generic corruption, oligarchs, just bad stuff going on in ukraine. >> but other companies came up, didn't they? >> i don't know if they were mentioned specifically. it might have been naftogaz because we were working with them on another situation. >> at one point i believe you said naftogaz comes up in every
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conversation. >> i believe so. dr. hill related to you the terminology that the president has given you a large remit. >> i didn't understand what she was talking about. >> okay. but you have, and we got into this a little bit in your deposition, you said the president gave you a special assignment with regard to ukraine, correct? >> well, when the president appointed me to the -- as the u.s. ambassador to the european union, ukraine was part of my portfolio. what made my assignment larger than just being part of my portfolio were the unique circumstances were there were no current sitting ambassador in ukraine and there was a new president in ukraine. and the discussions we had, the three amigos, perry, volker and
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i, is that ukraine needed extraordinary, as high level support as it could get from the united states during this period, which we cleared with both ambassador bolton and chief of staff mulvaney to continue working on it. so by extension, yes, if the national security adviser and the chief of staff approve your remit, it really is coming from the president. >> we asked you that at the deposition. you said, i was spinning a little bit. >> i was spinning about something else, i think, in the interview in kiev. >> and you further testified, so when i say the president gave me an assignment, it wasn't really the president, it was his secretary through the president. and that's where i received my direction, correct? >> correct. >> did ambassador taylor ever bring any concerns to your attention about the so-called -- the channel he dubbed irregular?
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>> no. in fact, the opposite. when he came to post, i think -- i know i called him or he called me. i think he spoke with secretary perry and ambassador volker separately. and in the course of the first few weeks, he was highly appreciative that a new ambassador coming to post like himself was getting the kind of support he was getting from all three of us. having a cabinet member, a special envoy, and a fellow ambassador all helping to raise the profile of ukraine. he was highly appreciative and highly complimentary. >> and you maintained an open line with him, correct? >> correct. i think there are a number of texts, some of which i have, some of which i don't, where he is reaching out constantly to me and to the others for advice and help. >> we had, i think, tried to count them up. there's 215 or something text messages between you, volker and
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ambassador taylor, you know, during the early august time frame. does that make sense to you? is that -- >> yeah. i think taylor started in late june or early july, is when he first took post. and i think we began communicating fairly shortly thereafter. >> he never communicated any concerns to you during this time frame that he had issues with what was going on? >> what do you mean by what was going on? >> this request for some sort of investigation. >> not in the early stages. you know, as is -- as time went on, his emails began to be a little more pointed and frantic. that's when we had very little vi >> you can continue watching this impeachment inquiry live on network c-span3. also on our website nd with the free c-span radio app. we'll leave it here as the u.s. house is about to gavel in.
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