tv Impeachment Inquiry House Hearings Impeachment Hearing With Amb. Gordon... CSPAN November 20, 2019 10:22pm-12:12am EST
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 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 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 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 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. 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, 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 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 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. 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 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 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 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? >> 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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, 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 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 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 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 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. >> 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 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 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 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 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. 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. 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. 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? >> 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 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 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? >> 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 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 visibility as to what was going on either. i think it had to do more with the aid and why the aid was suspended. >> and ultimately you put a period on that issue by having the september 9th communication with the president, correct? >> that's correct. >> and when you shared that feedback with ambassador taylor, was he satisfied that this issue was now behind him? >> i don't really know because he responded when i said, get ahold of the secretary. he said, i agree. and i never knew whether he reached out to the secretary or not. that was sort of the end of that. >> at one point in your text you said, let's get on the phone, right? you said you're an individual that doesn't like to walk through these issues on text when you can talk about it on the telephone, correct?
>> i say that to everybody when something becomes more substantive than a few lines of text, i say, let's talk. >> did you talk with ambassador taylor? >> i don't recall. i mean, i don't recall whether we spoke right after that, whether he called the secretary. i basically, mr. castor, wanted to get the notion across. you're the ambassador, you need to pick up the ball and run with it at this point. >> okay. just getting back to the irregular channel. did anyone else express any concerns about this so-called irregular channel? >> i don't know how someone could characterize something as an irregular channel when you're talking to the. the of the united states, the secretary of state, the national security adviser, the chief of staff of the white house, the secretary of energy. i don't know how that's irregular. if a bunch of folks that are not in that channel are aggrieved for some reason for not being included, i don't know how they
can consider us to be the irregular channel and they to be the regular channel when it's the leadership that makes the decisions. >> and so the concerns raised were never brought to -- were never brought to a head? >> well, they were never raised. they were never raised. no one said, back off of ukraine, this is dangerous, you're doing something that's untoward. we have concerns. there was a bad phone call on july 25th. there's talk about a drug cocktail or something. no one ever said that to me by phone, by text, by email. i don't remember anybody sounding any alarm bell because, of course, had someone mentioned it, i would have sat up and taken notice. everyone's hair was on fire but no one decided to talk to us.
>> when you talk in your statement about in the absence of any credible explanation for the suspension of aid, i later came to believe, it was your speculation, it was your guess, the resumption of security aid would not occur until there was a public statement from ukraine committing to the investigations of 2016. i believe you said at this point, you believed everyone knew this, is that correct? >> i think once that politico article broke, it started making the rounds that, you know, if you can't get a white house meeting without a statement, what makes you think you're going to get a $400 million check. again, that was my presumption. >> but you had no evidence do prove that, correct? >> that's correct. >> and you stated you haven't been able to access your
records, is that correct? >> not all of them. and there are lots of notes, records, readouts of calls. can't get to them. >> but you've also stated you don't take notes, right? >> i don't take notes but there are lots of others out there. >> and you freely admit that -- i asked in your deposition, we put together a list of all the times you said you don't recall, it's like two pages long. >> is that all? >> you know, on a lot of these questions, there's nuance, ambiguity, we don't have records, we don't have notes and we don't have recollection, correct? >> right. it's situational things that trigger memory, especially when i'm dealing with the european union, i'm dealing with the 28 member countries, i'm dealing with other countries that are not in the european union that are part of my mandate. i'm dealing with the white house
leadership. there's a lot of stuff to juggle. and as i said in my opening statement, a phone call, for me with the president of the united states or the president of fill in the blank country, while people who get a call like that maybe once in a lifetime, a call like that might be very memorable. they might remember every thing about it. i'm doing it all day long. i'm not saying it in a way of beibe ing bragadocia, so some of these meetings, people blend together until someone can show me what we discussed, it comes back. >> we're trying to get to the facts. we're trying to find out what's reliable, what's accurate. bill taylor brought notes. he brought a notebook in his pocket at a deposition and held it up. he said, when i'm not at my desk, i use this notebook. when i'm at my desk, i use this
notebook. george kent said he wrote innumerable notes to the file. katherine croft said he didn't believe george kent's notes would be accurate. so, we have all this backe back and forth, but as we get to the end here, you don't have records, you don't have your notes because you didn't take notes, you don't have a lot of recollections. i mean, this is like the trifecta of unreliability, isn't that true? >> well, what i'm trying to do today is use the limited information i have to be as forthcoming as possible with you and the rest of the committee. and as these recollections have been refreshed by subsequent testimony, by some texts and emails i've now had access to, i think i filled in a lot of blanks. >> but a lot of it is speculation. a lot of it is your guess. we're talking about an impeachment of the president of the united states. so, the evidence here ought to be pretty darn good.
>> i've been very clear as to when i was presuming. and i was presuming on the aid. on the other things, mr. castor, i did some texts i read from. when it comes to those, i'll rely on those texts because i don't have any reason to believe those texts were, you know, falsely sent or there's some b subsubtrifuge. they say what they say. >> thank you. time has expired. it will lead to another round of staff-led round of 30 minutes. you testified in response to my colleagues in the minority something along the lines of a lot of people did not make the connection between burisma and biden. i think a lot of people have real difficulty understanding that. tim morrison testified that, i think, it took him all of doing
a google search to find out, oh, this is the significance of burisma. it involves the bidens. are you saying during all this time up until the call you never made the connection between burisma and the bidens, you just thought the president and rudy giuliani were interested in this one particular ukrainian company? >> again, my role, mr. chairman, was just to get the meeting. >> i understand that. but my question is, are you saying for months and months, and everything rudy giuliani was saying on tv, all the discussion with rudy giuliani, that you never put burisma together with the bidens? >> i didn't. and i wasn't paying attention to what mr. giuliani was saying on tv. we were talking to him directly. >> let me ask you this. ambassador volker testified yesterday to a similar epiphany, for lack of a better word. this is what he said.
in hindsight i now understand others saw the idea of investigating possible investigation involving the ukrainian company burisma as equivalent to investigating former vice president biden. i saw them very different as very different. the latter being unacceptable. in retrospect, i should have seen that connection differently. had i done so, i would have raised my own objections. does that sum up your views as well? >> it does. >> now i think you were asked a question with a bit of an incorrect premise by my colleagues in the minority about fiona hill referring to a drug deal between you and mr. mulvaney. it was ambassador bolton who made the comment that he didn't want to be part of any drug deal that ambassador sondland and mulvaney were cooking up.
no one thinks they're talking about a literal drug deal here or a drug cocktail. the import, i think, of the ambassador's comments is quite clear, that he believed that this bargain -- this quid pro quo, as you've described it, over a meeting, the investigations to get the meeting, was not something he wanted to be a part of. what i want to ask you about, he makes reference in that drug deal to a drug deal cooked up by you and mulvaney. it's the reference to mulvaney that i want to ask you about. you've testified that mulvaney was aware of this quid pro quo, of this condition that the ukrainians had to meet, that is announcing these public investigations to get the white house meeting. is that right? >> yeah. a lot of people were aware of it. >> including mr. mulvaney.
>> correct. >> and including the secretary of state. >> correct. >> now, have you seen the acting chief's of staff press conference in which he acknowledged that the military aid was withheld, in part, because of a desire to get that 2016 investigation you've talked about? >> i don't think i saw it live. i saw it later, yeah. >> so, you saw him acknowledge publicly what you have confirmed, too, that mr. mulvaney understood that two plus two equals four, is that right? >> well, again, i didn't know that the aid was conclusiveely tied. >> he said yes. >> he said, yes, it was. >> mr. goldman. >> thank you, chairman. thank you again, ambassador sondland. we do appreciate your efforts to refresh your recollection through the documents.
we understand -- we share your frustration of not having the documents to help guide this investigation. we do appreciate those efforts. one of the documents that you provided to us goes back to the conversation you and the chairman were having about mr. mulvaney. and you had been trying for some time before the july 25th call to set up that call, is that right? >> to set up the call between president trump and president zelensky, yes. >> yes. i want to show you an email that you reference in your opening statement that is a july 19th email. who is this from? >> is it from me? i don't know. >> that's from you -- >> that's from me to the group. >> now, who is the group?
>> people mentioned on the email, blair, mccormack, pompeo, mulvaney. >> who's robert blair? >> i believe he's a deputy chief of staff or an adviser to the chief of staff. >> you've already told us lisa kenna is the executive secretary for secretary pompeo. who is brian mccormack? >> the chief of staff -- he was the chief of staff for secretary perry. >> and then we see mr. mulvaney, secretary perry and secretary pomp crow. can you read what you wrote on july 19th to this group, please? >>. >> he is prepared to receive potus call. will assure him that he intends to run a fully transparent investigation and will turn over every stone. he would greatly appreciate a call prior to sunday so he can put out some media about a friendly and productive call.
no details. prior to ukraine election on sunday. >> sunday was the 21st, which was the date of the parliamentary elections in ukraine, is that right? >> that's right. >> when you say will assure him that he intends to run a fully transparent investigation and will, quote, turn over every stone, unquote. what do you mean there? >> i'm referring to the burisma and 2016/dnc server investigations. >> later that evening secretary perry responds just to you and breen mccormack, saying, mick just confirmed the call being set up for tomorrow by nsc, rp. and then a little later mr. mulvaney replies to all saying, i asked nsc to set it up for tomorrow. were these the only responses you received to this email? >> i don't know. if i have them, i would show
them. i don't know. >> no one wrote back to you and said, what are you talking about in terms of these investigations and turning over every stone? >> no. there was a chain, and i don't know if it's part of this email or a subsequent email, where i believe ambassador bolton pushed back and said he did not want a call to president zelensky made by president trump until after the parliamentary elections. >> so, that would explain why it was moved from the next day, july 20th, to the 25th, right? >> that's right. >> ambassador bolton is not on this email, is he? >> i don't think he is, no. >> now, you were asked by mr. castor if there are any other key witnesses who might help with our investigation. you mentioned brian mccormack, the chief of staff for secretary perry? >> i did. >> you're aware the committee subpoenaed him, were you not? >> i wasn't aware of that. >> and he refused to come testify. are you also aware that mr. mulvaney was subpoenaed by the committee and refused to
come testimony? >> i did read that in the newspaper, they. >> are you also aware that robert blair was subpoenaed and refused to come testify. >> i think i'm aware of that. >> and that secretary perry was asked to come testify and refused? >> i am aware of that as well. >> so, would you include them as well as secretary pompeo as key witnesses that would be able to provide some additional information on this inquiry? >> i think they would. >> now, the -- this was not the first time, as you indicated, that mr. mulvaney heard about these investigations into burisma and the 2016 election, is that right? >> i don't know what mr. mulvaney heard or didn't hear. i think there's been a huge amount of exaggeration over my contact with mr. mulvaney. it was actually quite limited. >> well, he certainly didn't indicate -- he certainly indicated a familiarity with what you were talking about in
this july 19th email, is that right? >> right. because i think mr. mulvaney was in the may 23rd briefing with president trump. i don't remember because there were people sitting behind us that were coming and going when we were sitting in front of president trump's desk. >> now, you've said that you don't have a recollection of saying -- referencing mulvaney in the july 10th meeting in ambassador bolton's office, is that right? >> i don't recall. >> so when both fiona hill and colonel vindman testified that in response to a question from ukrainian officials at that july 10th meeting about scheduling a white house visit, that you said, well, i spoke with mr. mulvaney and it will be scheduled after they announce these investigations. do you have any reason to dispute that characterization? >> i don't have any reason to agree or dispute.
i just don't remember. >> if they both remembered it and they both spoke to the nsc legal adviser about it, you would trust that whatever they rela relayed to the nsc legal adviser -- >> i trust they relayed it to the nsc legal adviser. i don't know whether i said it and i don't know which conversation -- again, i've had very, very limited conversations with mr. mulvaney. >> this email indicates that you spoke to president zelensky and were relaying what he said to very senior officials, is that right? >> which email again? >> i'm sorry. the july 19th email. where you say the subject is i talked to zelensky just now. >> yeah, i've got it. >> was there some sort of assurance that president zelensky needed to provide about what he would say to president trump in order just to get the phone call?
>> i think that part was verbal and then there were a lot of communications going around back and forth with the ukrainians. that's when someone, i don't remember who came up with the idea of a draft statement so there would be no misunderstanding about what, in fact, the ukrainians would say and would be willing to say that we could rely on and negotiate something on a piece of paper. >> just to place you in time, we're going to get to that draft statement, which was in august. this is july 19th before the july 25th call. do you remember whether there was a need from any of the white house officials or other national security officials for president zelensky to provide some assurance of what he would say to president trump before a phone call? not the meeting but a phone call was scheduled.
>> there was initially, apparently, a condition, but that condition was obviously dropped because the phone call took place and there was no such statement made. the phone call took place, as you said, on the 25th of july. >> when you say there was no such statement that took place, what do you mean? >> well, the ukrainians never made their public statement prior to the phone call on the 25th of july. >> we're not talking about a public statement. i'm asking whether president zelensky needed to relay to you or the other american officials that he would assure president trump that he would do these investigations in a phone call. that is -- >> well, in my email i obviously had just spoken with him, and he -- he being zelensky, and he said that he was prepared to receive the call and he would make those assurances to president trump on that call,
and then presumably that would lead to the white house meeting. >> and you had been discussing this phone call for quite -- for several weeks now, is that right? >> yes. i think with volker, with perry, with giuliani through volker and perry. >> and right after you sent this email assuring the others that he will discuss the investigations and will turn over every stone, the burisma and 2016 election investigations, mr. mulvaney responded that he asked to set up the call for the next day, is that right? >> that's what it says. >> let's go to that press statement you were discussing in august. you testified, i believe, that you understood that rudy giuliani was representing the president's interests with regard to ukraine, is that right? >> that's what we all understood. >> when you say you all, who do
you mean? >> secretary perry, ambassador volker, myself. >> in august you and ambassador volker were coordinating with andriy yermak, the zelensky aide, about a press statement, and i want to pull up some of the text exchanges that you were referring to, which, as you acknowledge, helps you refresh your recollection, is that right? >> and i think taylor was involved in those initial discussions as well. >> well, he's not on any of these text messages, so perhaps he was. he does not remember that. let's go to the first one. is it working? on august 9th. there's an exchange between ambassador volker and you where you are discussing setting up -- we'll try to bring it up. you're discussing trying to set up a white house meeting -- here
it is. and you say that morrison ready to get dates as soon as yermak confirms. ambassador volker says, excellent, how did you sway him? you said, not sure i did. i think potus really wants the deliverable. what did you mean there? >> the commitment to do the investigations. >> and how did you know the president wanted the deliverable? >> i don't recall. i may have had a conversation with him or i may have heard it from someone else but i don't recall, again, without all these records. >> going to the next exhibit, exhibit 10, where -- august 10th, rather, this is between you and andriy yermak. what did you say initially in this exchange? >> hello, good -- oh, no, that was yermak. how was your conversation? >> and mr. yermak responds, hello, good.
my proposal, we receive date and then make general statement with discussed things. once we have a date will call for a press briefing, announcing upcoming visit and outlining vision for the reboot of u.s./ukraine relationship, including among other things burisma and election meddling in investigations. you responded, got it. that's what you understood this statement to satisfy rudy giuliani? >> yes. >> and satisfy the potus deliverable? >> yes. >> the next day you write an email to ulrich brechbuhl and lisa kenna. are you able to see that -- >> yeah, i can see it on the screen. >> what is the subject of the email? >> ukraine. >> can you read what you wrote there? >> mike, and i'm referring to secretary pompeo, kurt and i
negotiated a statement from zelensky to be delivered for our review in a day or two. the contents will hopefully make the boss happy enough to authorize an invitation. zelensky plans to have a big presser on the openness subject, including specifics, next week. >> and in your opening statement you said the specifics -- what did the specifics represent? >> the 2016 and the burisma. >> when you say the boss, who do you mean by that? >> president trump. >> and the invitation is what this is. >> to the white house meeting. >> and lisa kenna responds, gordon, i'll pass to s. and "s" is secretary pompeo? >>y ekt. >> thank you, lisa. now, two days later you have a text exchange with ambassador volker again and this is at the end of it, but the earlier text,
which we don't have here, you may recall includes the press statement, the revised press statement that includes burisma and the 2016 election. do you recall that? >> yes. if i could see it, that would be helpful, yes. >> but you ultimately remembered that after your conversation with mr. giuliani, you did pass along a statement to the ukrainians that included burisma and the 2016 elections, is that right? >> i think there were statements being passed back and forth between volker, the ukrainians and others to try to negotiate acceptable language. >> ultimately that statement was not issued, was it. >> correct. >> and the white house meeting -- >> still hasn't occurred. >> still hasn't occurred. but you understood certainly at that time, did you not that, it was the president's direction and instruction that a white house meeting with president zelensky would not occur until
president zelensky announced publicly the investigations that the president wanted. is that right? >> that's correct. >> you now know the investigations the president wanted was an investigation into the bidens and an investigation into the 2016 election. >> i know that now, yes. >> i'm going to move ahead to august 22nd and wrote an email to secretary pompeo. directly to secretary pompeo, cc lisa kenna with the subject of zelensky. could you please read what you wrote to secretary pompeo. >> mike, should we block time in warsaw for short pull-aside for potus to meet zelensky. i would ask zelensky to look him
in the eye and tell him that once ukraine's new justice folks are in place, mid-september, zelensky should be able to move forward publicly with confidence on those issues of importance to potus and to the u.s. hopefully that will break the logjam. and mike pompeo responded three minutes later, yes. once the new justice folks are in place, what did you mean by that? >> the new prosecutor that was going to be working for president zelensky. the old prosecutor, i believe, his term was up or he was being let go. he was the leschenko prosecutor and zelensky wanted his new person to be in place. >> once that new prosecutor was in place, then z should be able to move forward publicly and with confidence on those issues of importance to potus. what did you mean by that?
>> again, the 2016 election and burisma investigation. >> were you aware at this time that secretary pompeo had listened into the july 25th phone call? >> i was not. >> if he had, do you believe he would fully understand what the issues of importance to potus related to ukraine would be? >> i mean, i can't characterize his state of mind. he listened in on the phone call and he concluded what he concluded. >> but now that you've read the phone call, it's quite clear what the issues of importance to potusr are -- >> yes. >> biden investigation and 2016 elections issue. >> that's correct. >> it says hopefully that will break the logjam. now, by this point you were aware that security assistance had been on hold for about five weeks, is that right? >> i became aware on the 18th of july. >> you understood there was a lot of activity within the state department and elsewhere to try to get that hold lifted, is that
right? >> that's right. >> just about everybody in the interagency, meaning the national security apparatus, wanted to lift the hold and wanted the aid to go to ukraine? >> correct. >> so, what did you mean here when you said logjam? >> well, as i said to chairman schiff, i meant inclusively anything that was holding up moving forward on the meeting and the ukraine/u.s. relationship. >> what was hoepg holding it up? >> at that point it was the statements about burisma and the 2016 elections. >> but what was being held up? >> the aid was being held up, obviously. >> four days later you said in your opening statement that you sent rudy giuliani's contact information to john bolton, is that right? >> i did. >> did you know why he asked for that? >> no idea. >> did you know that he was going to ukraine the next day? >> i knew he was about to go to ukraine. i didn't know exactly when his
trip was. i thought it was kind of an odd request given the white house can pretty much get anyone's phone number they want. >> in this email to secretary pompeo you reference a trip to warsaw. ultimately the vice president went on that trip. >> that's correct. >> and that was the conversation that you talked about, you testified earlier to, that where you said that we really need to get these investigations from ukraine in order to release the aid in the premeeting? >> that's right. >> and vice president pence just nodded? >> he heard what i said. >> and didn't respond in any way. >> i don't recall any substantive response. >> but you never specifically reference the bidens or burisma in that meeting, did you? >> i don't remember ever mentioning the bidens. i may have mentioned burisma. >> in that meeting was with a group, you were not alone with vice president pence, is that
right? >> that's correct. >> and you know that at that bilateral meeting with president zelensky, i believe you testified earlier, that vice president pence did not mention these investigations at all, right? >> i don't recall him mentioning the investigations. >> so, your testimony is simply in a premeeting with a group of americans before the bilateral meeting, you reference the fact that ukraine needed to do these investigations in order to lift the aid. >> i didn't say ukraine had to do the investigations. i think i said we heard from mr. giuliani that that was the case. >> so, that helps inform your presumption, correct? >> correct. >> it wasn't really a presumption, you heard from mr. giuliani. >> well, i didn't hear from mr. giuliani about the aid. i heard about the burisma and 2016. >> you understood at that point, we discussed before, two plus two equals four, the aid was
there before. >> that's the problem. no one told me directly the aid was tied to anything. i was presuming it was. >> well, i want to go ahead to -- i want to go back on september 1st -- or i'm going to jump actually ahead to september 7th. when we discussed those text messages where you said there were multiple convos with president zelensky and potus. do you recall that? >> do you have the email by any chance? >> we could try to pull it up in a second. you don't remember? i showed it to you -- >> yeah, go ahead with your question. >> and you confirmed that that likely meant, as you said it did, that you spoke with president trump, is that right? >> again, if my email said i spoke with president trump, presumably i did. >> you are relying pretty heavily on your text and emails that you were able to review, is that right? >> that's right. >> so, certainly if someone else
had contemporaneous texts, emails or notes, you would presume that what they were saying was accurate, is that correct? >> well, if they texts or emails, i would. if they had notes, i don't know. some people's notes are great, some people's aren't. >> certainly it would be a helpful refresher to anyone's memory. >> including my own. >> you had a conversation on september 7th, according to both ambassador taylor and tim morrison, with tim morrison, where you told mr. morrison that president trump told you that he was not asking for a quid pro quo, but that he did insist president zelensky go to a microphone and say he is opening investigations of biden and 2016 election interference and president zelensky should want to do this himself. you don't have any reason to dispute both ambassador taylor's and mr. morrison's recollection
about that conversation, do you? >> no. >> on september 8th you then had a discussion directly with ambassador taylor about this same phone call where ambassador taylor said that you confirmed that you spoke to president trump as he had suggested earlier to you and that president trump was add mont that president zelensky himself, meaning not the prosecutor general, had to, quote, clear things up and do it in public, unquote. do you recall -- you don't have any reason to think ambassador taylor's testimony based on his contemporaneous notes was -- >> i don't know if i got that from president trump or i got it from giuliani. that's the part i'm not clear on. >> ambassador taylor is quite clear you said president trump. mr. morrison is very clear you said president trump. you don't have any reason to dispute their recollection, do you? >> no, if they have notes and they recall it, i don't dispute.
it. >> you also told ambassador taylor in that same conversation that if president zelensky darin rather, you told president zelensky and andriy yermak that although this was not a quid pro quo, as the president had very clearly told you, it was, however, required for president zelensky to clear things up in public or there would be a stalemate. you don't have any reason to dispute ambassador taylor's recollection of that conversation you had with president zelensky, do you? >> no. >> and that you understood the stalemate referenced the aid, is that correct? >> at that point, yes. >> ambassador taylor also described a comment you made where you were trying to explain what president trump's view of this was. and you said that president trump is a businessman. when a businessman is about to
sign a check to someone who owes him something, the businessman asks the person to pay up before signing the check. do you recall saying that to ambassador taylor? >> i don't recall it specifically, but i may have. >> and ambassador volker also said that you did. >> okay. >> just to summarize here, by the end of the first week of september, before president aid had been released, you had expressed twice to the ukrainians that you understood that the aid -- that the investigations needed to be publicly announced on cnn in order for the aid to be released. do you recall that? >> i didn't say that they had to be announced on cnn. the ukrainians said to me or to ambassador volker or both of us that they had planned to do an interview anyway on cnn and they would use that occasion to mention these items. >> and that even though at some point you had calculated two plus two to equal four and,
therefore, you believed that the aid was conditioned on the investigations, but you had a phone call with president trump that you relayed to both tim morrison and ambassador taylor, whose accounts of that conversation you do not dispute, where president trump confirmed that president zelensky needed to publicly announce the investigations or otherwise the obvious implication of the stalemate would be that the aid would not be released. is that correct? >> again, the implication. i did not hear directly from president trump that the aid would be held up until the statement was made. i did not hear those words. >> but you agree that with whatever mr. morrison and ambassador taylor testified to about the conversation, you had with president trump, is that right? >> remind me again. i don't want to misspeak. >> you just said you have no reason to dispute their accounts based on their detailed notes. >> were they saying i told them that president trump said that the aid would not be released
until the statements were made? because i said repeatedly, i don't recall president trump ever saying that to me. >> okay. >> i think what they said, if i can finish this line of questioning, was that president trump was adamant that president zelensky himself had to clear things up -- quote, clear things up and do it in public, unquote. so what they related was although president trump claimed there was no quid pro quo, he also made it clear to you in that call that president zelensky had to, quote, clear things up and do it in public. you don't have any reason to dispute -- >> i don't have any reason to dispute the clear things up and do it in public. what i'm trying to be very clear about is president trump never told me directly that the aid was tied to that statement. >> in that same conversation you had with him about the aid, about the quid pro quo, he told you that president zelensky had to, quote, clear things up and
do it in public, correct? >> i did not have a conversation with him about the aid. i had a conversation with him as referenced in my text about quid pro quo. >> well, the quid pro quo you were discussing was over the aid, correct? >> no. president trump when i asked him the open-ended question, as i testified previously, what do you want from ukraine? his answer was, i want nothing. i want no quid pro quo. tell zelensky to do the right thing. that's all i got from president trump. >> did you also get from president trump, as reflected by ambassador taylor, that he said he was add mont that president zelensky had to, quote, clear things up and do it in public? >> that part i can agree to, yes. >> time is now with the minority for 20 minutes -- i'm sorry, 33 minutes. >> 33 minutes. thank you, mr. chairman. >> ambassador, you've been in business for a long time. >> i have.
>> so if you want to get to the bottom of something, somebody that's running a department or one of your buildings or something, who do you go to? >> the boss. >> the manager of whatever company it is? >> exactly. >> right? >> correct. >> so, if you want to get to the bottom of foreign aid, probably go to the people in charge of foreign aid here in this town, wouldn't you? because you're not in charge of foreign aid. >> i'm not in charge of foreign aid. >> and you had to testify that you've presumed foreign aid was this or that and you're guessing that this was tied to foreign aid. but there are people in this town who are in charge of the foreign aid. in fact, i don't think it's very fair to you at all or to us or to the american people, you might be surprised, that we had that person here, in the capitol, in a secret deposition, in the basement, last saturday. now, that testimony might be
pretty important to you before you're here to testify if you could have read that, your lawyers could have went through that because it may have clarified some more things about your recollection about the foreign aid. earlier we heard about the -- we had the chair looking at the cameras, telling the american people, telling people about watergate, their watergate fantasies, i guess they fantasize about this at night and then they come here and talk about obstruction of justice because they're not giving you documents you think you should have. so, now they've laid out their clear watergate argument for articles of impeachment. i just have to remind the gentleman -- know we're not in a court of law because you wrote the rules, the chair here did, but i would think it's obstruction of justice to not give the american people and give the ambassador the right to
look at the transcript of the man who's in charge of the foreign aid in this town. now, i could get into what he said and the chair could release what he said, and we're not even allowed to call that witness here today. so, let's talk about things we do know are facts. as best as i think you and i and most people know them. president trump does not like foreign aid to start with, is that correct, ambassador? >> i've heard that, yes. >> and you've testified that watching over the eu, you have 28 countries, you have neighboring countries you work with, one of his biggest complaints is the lack of participation that those countries participate in programs around the world, isn't that correct? >> that's correct.
>> especially nato, is that right? >> right. >> when you go down the list of the jobs that -- when you get directions from the white house, when you first became ambassador, probably one of the number one things, i don't want to put words on your mouth, but at the top of the list was making sure countries pay their fair share, especially with nato? >> yeah. and we have a very capable ambassador to nato so i'm not going to take her lane. >> but you who, with those countries. >> yes. >> it's one of the issues you bring you were in your meetings, correct? >> it is. >> you weren't on the july 25th phone call, but one of the first things the president of the united states brings up is germany's lack of participation, i think he names the president of germany directly, that they're not participating in helping out ukraine, who's one of their neighbors. is that what you read in the transcript? >> i've heard that, yes.
>> the whole idea the president -- starting out with he doesn't like foreign aid. he doesn't think countries can pay their fair share. that's looking out for the taxpayer. but there's more. we talked about this in your deposition. we talked about how we have requiremen requirements. congress writes requirements into the law that require you and all the diplomats to carry out the foreign policy of this country for the president of the united states before the president can certify foreign aid and send foreign aid, there has to be certification that there's no corruption. you're aware of that now. >> i am now, yes. >> so, being that you learned about that in your deposition, now looking back at clearly the challenges and concerns the president had with the involvement of high-level ukrainian government official it is, including the ambassador here in the united states that
attacked him during his presidential campaign, the concerns of leaks that were leaks or just made up stories or conspiracy theories that were spun in the steele dossier, that the democrats on this committee own, they paid for it, other dnc operatives that were working with the ukrainian ambassador here in washington, d.c. to dirty up your boss, the president of the united states. we're not going to hear from those witnesses. just like we're not going to hear from the person we deposed on saturday. we're not going to hear about what the real reason the person who's in charge of making sure that foreign aid is delivered, we're not going to hear about what actually happened with the foreign aid. wouldn't that have made it a lot easier to testify instead of guessing and doing little funny math problems up here, two plus two equals four? it's great for all the viewers to hear that. wouldn't it be easier if you
just knew exactly why the foreign aid wasn't given? >> it would have been easier to testimo testify if i had totality of the record. >> would you trust the person who's in charge of cutting the checks for foreign aid, the top career dip -- or the top career official? >> i'd have no reason not to. >> thank you. ambassador, i don't know if we'll get to speak again, if we have some more magical minutes, but i -- i'm done with questions with you. i know the rest of our members have more questions, and let me turn to -- i know mr. castor has some more questions. >> hello again, ambassador. >> hi. >> we'll try not to use all the time as a courtesy to you. just want to go through some distinctions between your opener and your deposition and some other witnesses. in your opening statement today
is president trump directed us to talk with rudy, correct? >> correct. >> but then you and i had a little bit of a back and forth about the president just said, talk to rudy. i believe, correct me if i'm wrong, you took that to mean if we wanted to move forward, rudy was the place to go? >> rudy was the guy. >> but president trump didn't direct you to talk to rudy, correct? >> it wasn't an order. it was, if you want to work on this, this is the guy you've got to talk to. >> ambassador volker in his deposition said, i didn't take it as an instruction but just as a comment, talk to rudy. you know, he knows these things and you've got some bad people around him. referring to the ukrainian. so, ambassador volker hasn't testified there's any sort of order or direction, talk to rudy. >> i don't know what he testified. it became very clear to all
three of us that if we wanted to move the relationship forward, president trump was not really interested in engaging. he wanted rudy to handle it. as i said in my opening statement, secretary perry took the lead and made the initial contact with rudy and that's when we began working with him. >> as to the question of whether mr. giuliani was expressing the desire specifically of the president of the united states, in your deposition, you said, i don't know. i don't know if this was coming out of rudy giuliani irrespective of the president, correct? >> i'm -- yeah, i'm not going to dispute what i said in my deposition. that's true, yeah. >> we walked through all of your communications with rudy giuliani, and there's not a lot, right? >> correct. >> ambassador volker in his deposition on the same question said i did not have that impression. i believe mr. giuliani was doing his own communication. and, you know, granted, mr. giuliani had business in ukraine, correct?
>> now i understand he did. i didn't know that at the time. >> with parnas and lester? >> correct. >> and you never met with those folks? >> no. >> now n your september 9th conversation with the president, that was a striking moment when you walked us through your telephone call with president trump on september 9th. >> by the way, i still cannot find a record of that call because the state department and the white house cannot locate it, but i'm pretty sure i had the call on that day. >> whether it was the 9th or the 8th, you had this call. it was extremely memorable, right? >> it was. >> and you've been very honest and we're not trying to give you a hard time all the times you don't recall, we're just trying to say there's a lot of are a lot of the important events that the committee has
asked you about and you said that you don't recall. but the call with president trump you recall it vividly? >> i recall it vividly, because it is keyed by the frantic e-mails from ambassador taylor. i had, again, prior to that call had all kinds of theories as to why things were not moving, why there is no white house meeting, why there was no aid or why there is no this or that and i was tired of going around in circles, frankly, and so i asked the open ended question, what do you want from ukraine? that is when i got the question. >> he was unequivocal, nothing. >> what i said in the text is what i heard. >> is that the opening vignette of what you said today? >> i don't think so. >> how come? that is so memorable, so striking. >> i don't know. it was in my previous testimony, and i assumed that if people had
questions, i would bring it up. >> and this is an example that a lot of the witnesses have dealt with ambiguities and put them in a least favorable way against the president time and time again and this is an exculpatory fact shedding light on the president's state of mind about the situation of the -- >> i am happy to discuss it. >> so i am wondering why you didn't mention it in the opener? >> there are so many things that i wanted to include in the opening, and my opening is already 45 minutes or something, and it would have been an hour and a half. there are a lot of things that i would have liked to mention. >> okay. but you only had a couple of conversations with the president, and we are trying to evaluate -- >> it was not purposeful, trust me. >> and talking about striking conversation, and mr. holmes when he came here last friday in the basement, he, i will tell
you that he thought that your conversation that you were having with the president was the like the most memorable thing that he has ever experienced. >> how many conversations has he had with the president? >> probably hasn't had any. but he was energized, enthusiastic about telling us about this conversation. >> and so not only did i buy him lunch, but i provided entertainment? >> and i mean, he conferred with us that he regaled anyone that he came across with this story. and that is i guess a discussion for thursday. but other than the colorful language and he was definitely moved by the color. but he was unequivocal that you brought up the bidens in the post-call discussion. and he said something to the effect that the president is
only interested in big things, and mr. holmes said there are a few big things going on in ukraine like a war, and they are under attack from the east, like russia. and he put words in your mouth and said, no, the president only cares about investigations like rudy is pitching about the bidens. and what is important about this, and this is the day after the 7/25 call, and what is reported by mr. holmes and you, because you have confirmed it isn't anything that is different than happened on the 7/25 call with the president? >> with 20/20 hindsight and now that we have had the transcript of the call, the bidens were clearly mentioned on the call, but i was not making the connection with the bidens. >> right, but, we are guard to the president, it is just mentioning investigations. >> that is all he said on the phone is investigations.
>> but you told us time and time again that you never realized that the bidens were part of any of this, that the burisma and you talked about a continuum, and you never came to understand that until maybe as late as september 25th. >> i don't know the exact date, but it was pretty late. >> and ambassador volker said that the bidens never came up after his one breakfast meeting with mayor giuliani and he testified that he tried to disabuse the mayor of anything relating to the bidens. >> i think that secretary perry publicly stated that he never heard biden either until the end. so. >> so when you testify here today that you have no recollection of mentioning the bidens to mr. holmes, that is not just a recollection, that is based on your state of mind at that point in time, and your state of mind up to september 25th? >> i was not into investigating the bidens. >> and so it is surprising to
you that he would mention that, right? >> it was very surprising to me. >> i want to go back to a couple of things in your statement. this july 26th zelensky, and during your lunch that you had, and during that time, in the lunch, did any of the parties discuss what came up on the telephone call? >> i don't think so. >> so president zelensky did not refer to the contents of the call. >> all i heard was that it is a good call and friendly, and everybody was happy and i was delighted to hear that so that we could move to the next phase which was the meeting. >> so you can tell us with certainty that nobody talked about demands in that meeting or fulfilling the president's demands?
>> i don't remember exactly, and again, this is a great example, mr. castor, where i would have loved to have seen the notes from the meeting. i didn't take any notes, but i know that there were notes taken, but i don't remember any heated conversation in the meeting. i remember it being a really, really good, friendly meeting and that is why i said what i did to the president the next day which was, you know, zelensky is going to do whatever you want. he is very happy. >> you don't remember any discussion of the president zelensky of how he had to navigate this difficult situation? >> i know that is in the whistle-blower complaint and something about navigating something -- >> it was. >> i didn't remember anything like that. >> i wanted to get back to -- >> the gentleman yield a second. >> of course. >> which would be another helpful thing, ambassador, if we
had heard from the whistle-blower, and we had testimony of the whistle-blower. then you wouldn't have to be up here speculating as much and guessing, because you would have a source that would have been interviewed, and we have the complaint and we could have matched it up with your testimonial long with the people of omb that would have made it easy for you the testify, and you wouldn't have to remember this stuff and chase the conspiracy theories around that the democrats have been trying to laid out from the last six weeks of quid pro quo to extortion to bribery and where we are at today, obstruction of justice to back to the quid pro quo and we wouldn't have had to do that if the whistle-blower testify and only what the whistle-blower only had in his or her complaint that nobody seems to know. moving back to mr. castor. >> thank you, mr. nunes.
>> i wanted to turn to a couple of times in your opener that you said that everyone was in loop. i wanted to, you know, these televised proceedings sometimes, we lose track of things, and, you know, everybody was not in the loop with your speculation or guess with the absence off any credible suspension of the aid, i later came to believe that the presumption of security aid would come without public statement of the meeting with ukraine and you were not, but the secretary was, but that is because i sent the e-mails. looking at the e-mails. there are two that you sent to the secretary, right?
august 22nd and august 11th. so the august 11th e-mail, and sorry to go through this again, and we went through it before, and you said to the secretary, kurt and i negotiated a statement from z to be reviewed in a day or two, and the contents will make the boss happy enough to make an author saishgs and z is going to have a presser on the openness presser next week. this is only relating to the white house meeting, correct? >> yes, i believe so. >> and this is only, and this is just investigations generally making a public statement of openness, generally? >> well, i think that by august 11th, mr. castor, we were talking about the 2016 and burisma, and the invest gagigat generally were early. >> yes, but do we know that
secretary pompeo knows that? >> i think so. >> why? >> because secretary brechbuhl was briefed on all of these things. >> by who? >> by ambassador volker and myself -- >> that is not what he testified to. did you -- >> counselor brechbuhl testified? i didn't know he had. >> no, ambassador volker. he did not testify that he briefed mr. brechbuhl, and this e-mail to the secretary is talk about this statement which is by the way, you said that kurt and i negotiated a statement, and the statement never went -- >> it didn't go anywhere. >> and ambassador volker said it was not a good idea, and mr. yermak said it was not a good idea, but here, you have what is relating to agen jennegeneric o? >> yes, but the secretary was on
the july 25th call which obviously i was not on. >> and you used this e-mail to suggest that everybody was in on the loop, and that the secretary assistance was tied to some act by the ukrainians? >> no, no. i don't think that i said that the assistance involved here. i think that i was -- >> okay. what was never the loop about then? >> the secretary was in the loop that we had negotiated a statement. i'm fairly comfortable that the secretary knows that where the statement was at that point. in other words, the 2016 and burisma. >> okay. >> and that, lisa passed that along to him, and kept him informed. >> so we can agree that at this point in time that the secretary was not in the loop, and there was a conditional ti of the secretary of assistance? >> hold on a second. are you asking about july 19th,
exhibit 4. >> i was asking about your e-mail to the secretary on august 11th. >> oh. okay. well, on july 19th, which the secretary was on, i talked about fully transparent investigation and turn over every stone. and the secretary was on that. >> okay. but you testified at the deposition that on july 19th in this continuum that you talked about, at that point in the continuum, it was just a are generic investigation. it wasn't anything involving, i think that it went again -- >> again, i am not trying to put words there but it went from the original generic from may 23rd when we left the oval office to talking about corruption and oligarchs until mr. giuliani started to become involved, and then it transitioned into the burisma and -- >> you had not talked toed to
giuliani by then? >> please use the mic. >> will you allow him to finish the answer? >> of course, i apologize. >> we were communicating with mr. giuliani through secretary perry and ambassador volker. i was not talking to mr. giuliani directly until after august 1st. >> but as of july 19th, weren't we still on the generic part of the continuum? >> i don't know. i believe that by then we were talking about burisma and 2016 to be candid. >> but not biden? >> no, not biden, no. >> and then turning to the e-mail of august 11th. >> yeah, got it. >> sorry, we just dealt with that. august 22nd. >> 22nd. >> it is page 23 of the opener. >> yeah, i got it.
a >> and this is where you were requesting a pull aside for the president, and this is when the president -- >> he was going to go. >> this is before the hurricane bumped that off of his schedule. and i would ask zelensky to look him in the eye and once the new ukraine justice folks are in place, zelensky should be able to move pub lekly an confidently with the importance of issues of the president and the united states, and that is going to hopefully break the logjam, but at this point in time, the issues of importance to the president of the united states were what? >> that the two investigations. >> but nothing to do with vice president biden, right? >> again, i didn't make the connection there.
>> i want to pivot briefly to the president's concerns about foreign assistance. undersecretary hale who will be with us here later today testified that during this relevant time frame, there was a real focus to re-examine all of the federal aid programs. are you aware of the interest of the president? >> i am aware of the president's skepticism of foreign aid and conditioning it on certain things. i am generally aware of that, yes. >> and ambassador hale testified and his testimony has been public. almost a zero-based concept. each assistance program, and each country that receives the
assistance is evaluated. we avoid nation-building and not provide assistance to countries that are lost to us in terms of the policy, whether it is because corruption or you know another reason. is that something that you were aware of at the time? >> generally, yes. >> and you were aware that the president is concerned about the european allies contributions to the region? >> exactly why i was involved. >> so as we are getting down to september 11th, andare advocating that the pause be lifted? >> i didn't believe that the pause should ever have been put in place. >> and as we getting down to september 11th, and speaking with senator johnson and so forth, you don't know with genuine certainly the reason that the president was implementing the pause and it was not because of his concerns about the allies or the concerns
about the foreign assistance generally or that he was not just trying to hold the aid as long as he could to see what he could, you know, what type of information he could get about those two subjects? >> fair enough. >> okay. i am trying to finish up so i can yield some time back. anything else? >> i have nothing else. >> thank you. i yield back. >> gentleman yields back. >> let's take a 30-minute recess to allow ambassador sondland to get a bite to eat, and the members of the committee might like to have a bite to eat, and we will resume with the member rounds of questioning of five minutes, and if we could allow
the witnesses to have the opportunity to leave the room first first. >> mr. chairman, ambassador sondland intended to fly back to brussels to resume his duties at the end of the day, and so it would be a great convenience to us if we could have a shorter break now and resume with the members' questions in time that he might be able to make his flight. >> i appreciate that, counsel. we all have a busy schedule these days, and the amount of questions should take slightly less than two hours so you should be good depending upon the fligtime of your flight, bu will endeavor to make the break as short as possible. if you would like to excuse yourself from the room before the rest of the crowd.