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tv   Impeachment Inquiry House Hearings Impeachment Hearing With Fiona Hill ...  CSPAN  November 21, 2019 10:01pm-1:23am EST

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the meeting will come to order. chair now recognizes the ranking member or their counsel for the first round of their 45-minute questions. >> i thank the gentleman. i want to get a few basic facts on the table of individuals that
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were involved in the 2016 election just to see who you know and who you have met with. so i will start with you, mr. holmes. have you met with or do you know alexandra chalupa? could you turn your microphone on. >> no. >> do you know nellie ohr? have you met with nellie ohr? >> no. >> bruce ohr? >> no. >> glenn simpson? >> no. >> thank you. same question for you, dr. hill. do you know or have you met with alexandra chalupa? >> no. >> nellie ohr? >> no. >> bruce ohr? >> only in the course of my previous position as a national officer that he presided over
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the meetings i attended. >> a long time ago? >> yes. >> glenn simpson? >> no. >> dr. hill, in your testimony you said that in your deposition, excuse me, that christopher steele was your counterpart at one time. is this correct. >> that is correct, yes. >> you testified that you met with christopher steele in 2016, and i assume that is still correct? >> that is correct, yes. >> and the only thing that we didn't get on that is that do you know about when that was in 2016 and how many times? >> i am afraid i don't. i actually had met with him, and he asked me in the deposition when the most recent time i had met with him in 2016, and he retired from the british intelligence services in 2009. >> i am asking about around 2016? >> i don't recall 2016, but i do remember that i met with him before. >> you don't remember the date? >> i am afraid i don't, no.
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>> and so you stated in the deposition that the colleague had showed you the steele dossier before it was publish and who is that colleague? >> it is one of my colleagues at the brookings institution. >> who was na? >> the brookings institution president burt talbot who had been sent a copy of this. >> and he showed it to you? >> yes, it is a day before it was published in buzzfeed. >> you mentioned in the deposition that you also thought that it was -- and let me get the exact quote that the dossier was a rabbit hole. is that your testimony still? >> that is correct. >> do you know who paid christopher steele to generate this steele dossier for several of them? >> at the time i did not know, but i understand from the media it is through gps fusion, and if that is not correct. >> and you know that there was a law firm involved, but did you
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know the source of the money? >> at the time, no, but i have read it in the "post" and in your colleagues, it is the dnc i am led to believe. >> and the clinton campaign? >> i don't know that for sure. >> okay. mr. castor. >> welcome back. i hope you had a sandwich or something delicious. >> you, too. >> and dr. hill, thank you for your participation on the deposition october 14th, columbus day, and we were with you most of the day and we appreciate that. and mr. holmes, too, and you are the late entrant into this situation, and things sure did escalate quickly. we spoke with you last friday night about a, what we thought was going to be a 30-second vignette about a two-minute phone call, and then it turns out you know, with your 40-minute opener today, you have
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a lot of information to share. so we appreciate your being here. dr. hill, your last day at the national security council was july 19th, is that correct? >> yes. >> you were involved with the july 25th call, and you were not involved with the relevant activity related to the pause in the aid? >> i was not. that is correct. >> and as of july 19th, did you believe that a call was going to be scheduled for the 25th? >> i personally did not believe it would be scheduled that day, no. >> what is the thinking of the nsc as of july 19th about this call? >> well, i have learned from other depositions to be clear here that perhaps there was some awareness that there might be a call. ambassador sondland if you recall shared an exchange with the person taking over for my position, tim morrison that there is going to be a call coming up, but i was not aware of that.
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and there were differences let's say about the understanding of that call. >> were you in favor of the call on the 19th? >> i was not, and did say something about that in the opening part of the sessions today. >> and how about ambassador bolton to your knowledge? >> i know that ambassador sondland said in the e-mail that bolton was in agreement, and to my knowledge, bolton was not in agreement at that juncture to my knowledge. >> and do you know why that was? >> he felt that the call was not properly prepared and as i said earlier, we wanted to make sure that there was a fulsome bilateral agenda discussed in these calls as usual. >> and were you surprised that a call was ultimately scheduled? >> i was when i learned about it, that is right. >> and did you have communications with somebody from your old staff about how that came to be? >> i did not, no. >> you did learn about the pause in the security assistance aid. >> i learned about that on july 18th, the day before i left,
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that is correct. >> and there were several meetings about this, and i believe you testified to. >> i said that i knew that there was going to be a meeting in the time frame and there was one on the schedule the following week and i had left so of course i did not attend that. >> would you say that starts and stops in aid like this sometimes do happen? >> that is correct. >> i believe you testified that there was a freeze put on all kinds of aid and assistance, because it was in the process at that time there were significant reviews going on with foreign assistance. >> yes. >> what can you tell us about that? >> about the foreign assistance review? >> yes. >> as i recall there was a full scale review of the foreign policy ties and the ties of the foreign policy objectives and assistance, and this had been going on for many months, and in the period when i was wrapping up my time, there was more
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scrutiny and specific sets of countries as a result of the overall review. >> and at that time, as well, ambassador volker and ambassador sondland, they had become a little bit more involved with the ukraine policy? >> well, ambassador volker was always involved in the ukraine policy at least since the beginning of the appointment as the special envoy for negotiations towards the wall between ukraine and russia in dom bass. >> what can you tell us about ambassador volker? >> i have worked with him previously, and he is the bio and ambassador to nato, and he has had a number of positions at the state department. i actually know him personally, and so in the truth that we are trying to get and who is knowing who and i know ambassador volker as well and on a personal level. >> he is man of integrity? >> yes.
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>> and always acted in the best interests of the united states? >> yes. >> and when did you first learn of ambassador volker's involvement? >> the ambassador sondland with the ambassador of the eu had perfectly involvement in matters related with the eu and ukraine. the ukrainian dialogue with russia is known in a format of the minsk process which is led by the french and the germans and ambassador volker was trying to find out in the ways he could work with the french and the germans to move along with the resolution of the conflict between ukraine and russia, and obviously, the european union of the umbrella organization in terms of funding and assistance was heavily active in offering financial assistance to the ukrainian government as well as humanitarian assistance in conflict. so it was logical that he would
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play some role as the ambassador to the european union. >> and did he seem to you as somebody who had a major role? >> i did at the time he presented it to me and this is after ambassador yovanovitch had been pushed out of her position, and sit at that juncture that ambassador sondland's role grew larger. >> did you express concerns to him directly? >> i did. >> what were those concerns? >> i asked him bluntly in a meeting that we had in june of the 2019, and this is after the presidential inauguration that i had seen that he started to step up in much more of a proactive role on ukraine, you know, what was his role here, and he said that he was in charge of ukraine. i said, well, who put you in charge, ambassador sondland and he said the president. >> did it surprise you when he told you that? >> it did surprise me. we had no directive and we had
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not been told. this ambassador bolton had never indicated in any way that he felt that ambassador sondland was playing a leading role in ukrai ukraine. >> and i believe you used the term large remit that he had been given a large remit from the president. >> i can't remember what i said remit, but it is portfolio, and these are all synonyms, and he was talking to us about the fact that he had been given a very broad portfolio by the president. he said that his job was to go tout make deals in europe, and you know yourself listening to the testimony as well listening to testimony as i did, and he said that anything that had to do with the european union and the member states was within his portfolio. >> we asked ambassador sondland about that in his deposition and he said that he may have been spinning a little bit when he said that the president specifically gave him that role, and he indicated that his authority was coming a little bit more from the secretary of state. at any point in time, was that
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related to you? >> at different points he talked about talk toing to the chief o staff mulvaney and secretary pompeo, and in fact, there were other people in the room in the meeting in which he asserted to me that it was the president who put him in charge of this. >> were you encouraged as of your last date in the office that u.s. policy towards the ukraine was headed in the right direction? >> i was not. >> and why is that? >> well, i was concerned about two things in particular. one was again the removal of the bams dor and aga ambassador and i will say for the record the president has the right to remove any ambassador for any reason at any time, and i was concerned about the fact that her reputation had been maligned in different places like television and that was
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unnecessary. and if he wanted to remove an ambassador, and that had been done before, and without these kinds of intervention, and i wondered what that message was to be sent there. and on the second front, it was very clear at that point that let's just say a different channel in operation in relations to ukraine and one that was domestic and political in nature and very different the channel or the loop or however you like it that i and my colleagues were in where we were focused on the bilateral relations and the u.s. foreign policy to ukraine and these two things had diverged at this point. >> and in the runup to ambassador yovanovitch's release at the post, did you have any conversations with the state department about your concerns? >> i did. >> who did you relate those concerns to? >> i related those concerns directly to my counterpart who i know that you have spoken to, and also david hale in the context of the larger meetings
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in other issues, and again, i covered a broad portfolio myself, and we often would talk about individual items and i had private discussions with deputy secretary sullivan, and he of course is appeared before the committees here in the course of his nomination to be ambassador the rush sharks and has spoken about that himself. >> and you advocated to all of those officials about your concerns about the information being spread about ambassador yovanovitch? >> i did. that is correct. >> and the trump administration changed courses from the predecessor and provided lethal assistance to ukraine, and were you in favor of arming the ukraine with the javelins? >> i was not before i joined the government and many people in the committee have seen that i vote a piece with the brookings institute in that juncture,
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because i was concerned a at that point in time that the ukrainian military was not in a state to take on sophisticated weapons offensive or defensive, and so i worried that there was not a long-term sustainable plan and given the overwhelming force that the russians could use against ukraine, but when i came phone the government, and you had cooper here yesterday, i realized a lot of work had been done on this, and there was a consistent and furthering plan for the sustainability of the ukrainian military and so i changed my mind. >> and you are in fact, i believe the only witness that we have spoken to that has been able to articulate the opposition to providing the javelin, and as we understand it in the obama administration, the consensus was to provide the javelins, but they did not. were you aware of that? >> yes, it was made on the basis
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that it might provoke the russian, and we were mindful of that when there were discussions internally about the lethal defensive weapons inside of the administrations. >> mr. hoemdlmes, you are on th ground in kiev, and the javelins have been authorized and on the field, and what is your view and the embassy as the effect of the javelins. >> they are a strategic deterrent, and they are not activated in combat right now, but if the russians were to advance substantially with this armor that they would have the capability to do so and deterse them from doing so and thereby sends a symbolic message to the ukrainian military that they have the high end technology and trust them to do it. they have offered to buy some using their own funds.
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the initial tranche was provided through a program to do that, but 234they have offered their money to buy more. >> and mr. kent has testified that this is in fact the consensus of the interagency providing the javelins. is it the, in your experience working with ambassador taylor, was he also an advocate for this? >> yes. >> mr. holmes, i want to go back to some names of americans. now i want to talk about some ukraines, and ukrainian government officials. are you familiar with ser hiy leschen leschenko? >> yes. >> have you met with him? >> yes. a journalist and then in the parliament, and currently in the parliament? >> journalist again.
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>> are you aware that when he was in the parliament that he had provided information to fusion gps operative named nellie ohr? >> i am not aware of nellie ohr or who he provided the information to, but i am aware as a journalist, he has provided information. >> and well, he was in the parliament at the time in the 2016 campaign. he provided widely known as the black ledger and have you heard of the black ledger? >> i have. >> and the black ledger, is that seen as credible information? >> yes. >> the black ledger is credible? >> yes. >> bob mueller did not find it credible for you the dispute what bob mueller's findings were and they did not use it in the prosecution or the report? >> i am not aware that bob mueller did not find it
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credible, because it was evidence in other proceedings and it was credible in those proceedings, but i am not aware of it now. >> so the motivation for leschenko as reported was to go after a trump campaign official, and undermine trump's candidacy and are you aware of that? >> if you mean by the release of the black ledger, i think that leschenko's motivation was the same as he has expressed to expose corruption in ukraine. >> but he has said that his motivation was to partly undermine the trump candidacy that he did not support. >> he did not say that to me, and if he said, that i will take your word for it. >> and you are aware of -- and you heard dr. hill's testimony that the steele dossier that was initially fed to the fbi, and are you aware that the democrats
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had paid for that information? >> sir, i never had any involvement with -- >> i am not accusing you of involvement, and not even if you knew at the time, but you know today that the democrats had paid for that information? >> so i want to be clear that all of that happened before i arrived in ukraine -- >> i am not accusing any involvement of you or the steele dossier. >> i understand, but to be clear. in addition i have read about those issue, but i am not an expert on those. >> but you are not disputing that the democrats and the clinton campaign were the source of funds that funded the steele dossier? >> i would not be in a position to dispute that, sir. >> do you think that it is appropriate for political parties to run operatives in foreign countries to dig up dirt on their opponents? >> no. >> dr. hill, do you think it is appropriate for political parties to pay operatives to dig up dirt on their opponents? >> i do not.
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mr. castor. >> i turn to the president zelensky's inauguration. ambassador volker testified that he was pleased with the size of the delegation, although the vice president was unable to make the trip, and secretary perry, and ambassador volker, and ambassador sondland and i understand that dr. hill, you were involved with some of the logistics of putting the delegations together. >> i was. >> what can you tell us about the vice president's role in attending or not attending? >> well, i know that you have heard the testimony of jennifer williams from the vice president's office and i defer to her being much closer to the decision making of the vice president's attendance. i will say that i and many others had hoped that the vice president would attend. what i know from my perspective, because i was not involved intimately where the vice president or the immediate staff was that there was some
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questions about the schedule. as you all know the president and the vice president cannot be out of the country at the same time. and there was some questions about the presidential travel in the same time frame, and so, there was a quite a bit of the back and forth as to whether it would be feasible for the vice president in that time frame to go, and that is what i was aware of, and i was not aware of the extent of the discussions that ms. williams was involved in. >> and the president was traveling in japan and then to the d-day anniversary, and the four days that ms. williams provided at the end of may, and 30, 31st and then to june 1st. and then as it turned out the ukrainians decided on may 16th, to schedule the inauguration for four days later, and by this point in time, the vice president had been rerouted to
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canada for a trip about the umca. i want to ask you whether, you don't have any evidence that the vice president was encouraged not to attend for any other reason, do you? >> i personally do not. again, i defer to ms. williams. >> the testimony of ms. williams is that she had heard from the chief of staff's assistant that the vice president could not go, and the leap that the reason for that was related to any of these investigations hasn't been fully established. and i wanted to just note from the materials that you provided for your deposition, that there was a discussion whether president urban may have influenced president trump's decision on that may 13th day. do you remember when the meeting was with the president?
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>> i do. >> when was that? >> in may 13th. >> do you remember what time of the day on the 13th? >> to be honest, usually these meetings are around lunchtime, and in that timeframe in the erl throw the mid-part of the day, but i can't speak for sure, and i wanted to be clear that i cannot speak about state engagements. >> and jennifer williams testified that she learned about 11:00 or 11:15 and the president with president urban was not scheduled until later in the afternoon, and your recollection is around 1:45? >> lunchtime, and depending upon when one has lunch, i guess. >> but overall, given the four days' notice, and secretary perry's involvement, and was the delegation a good-sized group? >> i do. and let me also make a point that we don't try to make these delegations large.
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this is on the taxpayer's dime. and it is pretty expensive to get people there, and you have to have the military air, and we try to keep them small. if we had a longer lead time, possibly other arrangements, but four days is not a lot of time. >> and secretary perry had been concerned with issues there in ukraine? >> i had suggested that he come. >> and what do you know about his involvement with the ukrainian policy? >> well sh, mr. perry was the secretary of energy and his former governorship, and secretary perry is a very good voice in the energy atmosphere, and also, the achilles' heel of the military advantage with russia is actually energy, and ukraine remains the main point
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for russian oil and gas and pipelines to europe. so this is manipulated repeatedly, and especially since 2006 by the russian government, and in fact, many of you here will remember in the rigan era there was a huge dispute between the united states and europe about, whether it made sense for there to be pipelines from the soviet unions to bring gas to the european markets. >> mr. holmes, what was your view of the delegation? do you think it was the right sized group and the right level of prestige to signal to the zelensky administration that the u.s. stands behind them? >> i think it was fine in that regard. >> since we are on the top tick of ukraine energy, and good way for us to segue into burisma
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which i assume that both of you are familiar with, and you have heard about it for many, many years. you are on the ground there now, mr. holmes, and i know that you were not there at the time, but in september of 2015, then ambassador to ukraine geoffrey pyatt, obama-appointed career ambassador and you know him? >> yes, i do. >> credible? >> yes. >> successful ambassador, i am sure. he called for an investigation into lashevski? >> i did. >> did you have any concerns of vice president biden's son on the board of issues? >> i would defer to ambassador kent.
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>> did you know that burisma had routed $3 million to the account of hunter biden. >> i have heard that. >> were you familiar with that, dr. hill? >> from newspaper reports only. >> and did you know that -- and back to you, mr. holmes. did you know that burisma's legal officials met with the ukrainian officials just days after the vice president forced the firing of the country's chief prosecutor? >> no. >> did you know that burisma's new american lawyers tried to have a meeting the day that shokin was fired? >> no. >> did you know that the president called president poroshenko shortly after the burisma's ceo's home was raided? >> no. >> did you know that there was a
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raid on burisma, and that devon archer and the deputy secretary of state had inquired about burisma? >> no. >> and the same for you, dr. hill? >> i did not know, no. >> and you know that there was meddling in the elections with the ukrainians and you were in there as head of the ukraine desk -- >> right. >> did you raise it up to ambassador bolton with any concerns through 2017 or 2018 that concerned any 2016 election
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meddling or burisma concerns? >> the whole briefing process didn't really work in the way that you are suggesting there. so, if the president had asked about any of the information, it would have been provided for him. and just to be very clear. ukraine was not a top foreign policy issue here in the same way that we could talk about turkey and syria, and there were not that many briefings on ukraine, and the briefings would take place when there was a scheduled meeting, and so as we know there have not been too many of those. >> and so just to as far as you know, you did no briefings, no papers, answered no questions as it relates to the 2016 election or burisma during your time there? >> no, i did not. no no. >> mr. castor. >> you told us in your
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deposition, dr. hill, that there are perceived conflict of interest troubles when the child of a government official is involved with something that the government official has a official policy role in? is that correct? >> i think that any family member of the u.s. congress or senate or government is open to all kinds of optics, and perhaps undue outside influence if they take place in any active they that could be misconstrued with the parent's work, and so as a matter of cause, yes, i think that is the case. >> and you testified that mr. sondland had made a habit of name dropping his interactions with the president. >> yes, that is true. >> and he would when you ran into him in the campus he was there to meet the president, and then you had circled back and learned that is not the case?
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>> yes. >> and he testified that he had some sort of coffee that he had with you on the last day, and i think that when the deposition transcript was released, your counsel indicated that is completely fabricated on ambassador sondland's part, and i wanted to give you an opportunity to address that. >> yes, i mean, unfortunately, this is the federal government and we don't have coffee machines readily in our office. if he had come to the office at this time, i could have best offered you a water. and so the coffee that we shared is that we ran into each other or he rather found out that i was there and asked me to meet him for coffee in jackson hole, wyoming, in january of 2018, and full year before i left. and it is a nice meeting and perhaps he conflated them. the meeting he had come in to
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meet with the director for the european union, and this is my last week in the office. as i was in the office for the same time for a brief period before going into another meeting, and it was my last week in the office, we agreed to sit down with the director of the european union, and with colonel vindman and the assistant ambassador sondland had brought with him from the state department. so there were actually four of us in that meeting. and unfortunately, it was not over coffee. >> and you know, he went on the indicate that you were upset, and upset with the -- >> five of us in the meeting, and i cannot do math, sorry. >> fair enough. he indicated that you were upset, and you were upset with ambassador bolton and upset with the way things were going, and you said that your counsel said that is an outright fabrication? >> well, you might recall in my deposition on october 14th, i had said that i had a unfortunate blowup with ambassador sondland and i had a
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couple of nasty encounters with him. and one of those when i asked who put you in charge of ukraine and it was a little bit rude, and he said the president. and this other meeting that was about 15, 20 minutes exactly as he depicted it was. i was to be honest angry with him. and you know, i hate to say it but often when the women show anger, it is not fully appreciated, but pushed off to the emotional issues or deflected on to other people, and what i was angry about is that he was not coordinating with us, and i realized in the deposition, he was absolutely right, that he was not coordinating with us, because we were not doing the same thing that he was doing. so i was upset with him that he was not fully telling us about all of the meetings that he was having, and he said to me, but i am briefing the president. i am briefing chief of staff mulvaney, i am briefing secretary pompeo and i have
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talked to ambassador bolton and who else do i have to deal with? and the point is that we have a robust agent agency-to-agency p that includes mr. taylor the charge d'affaires, and a number of people, but it struck me yesterday when you put up on the screen ambassador sondland's e-mails and who was on the e-mails and he said these are the people who need to know, but he was absolutely right, because he was being involved in a domestic political errand and we were being involved in national security foreign policy and those two things had just diverged, and so he was correct and i had not put my finger on that at the moment. but i was irritated with him and angry with him that he had not been fully coordinated and i said to him, ambassador gordon sondland, i fear this is all going to blow up, and here we are. and then when i talked to him a
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further half hour more to talk about how to coordinate better and others could coordinate better when i left the office and his feeling was that the national security council was trying to block him. and what we were trying to do is to block us from straying into domestic or the personal politics, and that is precisely what i am trying to do. but ambassador sondland is not wrong that he had been given a different remit than we had been and then it was at that moment that i realized that those things were diverge and i realized that i was not fair to ambassador sondland, because he was carrying out something that he thought that he was constructed out, and we were doing something that is perhapsen more important, but it was not in the same channel. >> dr. hill, if you don't mind. >> sorry. >> dr. hill, i wanted to drill down on this a little bit. the president of the united states, the commander of chief was concerned about the 2016
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elections and burisma. he had his personal attorney working these issues, because he was under investigation by robert mueller's special counsel, and partly beginning with the investigation that started with the steele dossier that we have established that the democrats had paid for and had been fed into the fbi. so, the end of the day, the commander in chief concerned about 2016 election meddling by ukraine sounds like earlier you testified that you were not aware of that, and if that is the concern of the president to try to get to the bottom of it, and it is the concern of the ambassador sondland trying to set up meetings on behalf of to ensure really that meetings occurred and phone calls occurred to strengthen the
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relationship, and i mean i understand that the people at the nsc, and the people at the state department, they had issues with that, but at the end of the day, isn't it the commander in chief who makes those decisions? >> my point, mr. nunes, is that we at the national security council were not told by the president directly or through ambassador bolton that we were to be focused on these issues as a matter of u.s. policy toward ukraine. so when you are talking about the ukraine in 2016, i never personally heard the president say anything specific about 2016 and ukraine. i have heard him say plenty of things publicly, but i was not given a directive. in fact on the 10th i was given a directive to clearly state that i should stay out of politics. >> as of july 19th, they had not engaged with rudy giuliani, and
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you believe by july 19th, they were engaged in those activities? >> we had a conversation with curt volker who had indicated that he had met with rudy giuliani at this point, and ambassador sondland made comments of meeting with rudy giuliani, and in the july 23rd meeting they were instructed to meet with rudy giuliani, and they had give even us every indication that they were meeting with him, and rudy giuliani said on television and that he was closely coordinating with the state department and so it was my belief that he was meeting with them. >> and there is some ambiguity to work with rudy giuliani, and so ambassador volker said that if you want to work on it, go to talk to rudy, and ambassador sondland took that differently, and ambassador volker was primarily the interlockuture.
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>> yes, in fact, he had warned ambassador volker not to meet with rudy giuliani in a meeting. >> mr. morrison told us both in the deposition and at the public hearing that you had related concerns about colonel vindman's judgment? >> i had not relayed it in general terms, but i was somewhat surprised when i heard mr. morrison make that assertion when i read that deposition. and this is a specific point that i made and it is personnel issues and nobody here would like to have their private personnel issues put before the committee, but you asked my about this. and so i have a couple of short transition meetings with mr.
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morrison. and again, mr. morrison did not work in our position, and he took over and i had been working there as the senior director for europe and eurasia for more than two points at that point, and a year with colonel vindman and in the course of one of the meetings, sometime in the june time frame i sat down with mr. morrison and with deputy referred to him in the deposition johnerliff and went through the organizational chart of who was staying and who was rotating out and we talked about everybody's strengths and weaknesses. i always ask my staff to give me upward feedback because i wanted to know what i needed to do as well. so i said that i was concerned about the way that things were trending in the ukraine policy. so colonel vindman is a highly distinguished military officer. he came over to us from the
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chairman's office and the joint chiefs of staff, and we were evaluating and looking at him in the context of what his future positions would be in the context of the u.s. army. i was concerned that for example colonel vindman might decide to leave the military, that perhaps he was not as well suited for something that would be much more political. i did not feel that he had the political antenna to deal with anything that was straying into politic, and not everybody is suited for that. that is not meaning that i was questioning his overall judgment nor was i questioning in any way his substantive expertise. he is excellent on the issues related to ukraine, and belarus, and other diffuse, and he had been involved in the russia campaign and thinking through at the chairman's office and in the pentagon. this is a specific issue. because by june, we saw that the things were diverging, and we
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needed a completely different sensitivity, and some people in my office have worked at the highest levels of advisory positions, and he had come from capitol hill and he knew politics inside out, and we were concerned that colonel vindman did not and if he could manage what was a highly charge and partisan issue which had not been before. >> and colonel vindman said in his deposition that he was subsequently sort of cut out of a lot of the decision making and involvement with the embassy in ukraine. >> not with the embassy in ukraine, but we did pull him back from the meeting in the oval office in may, and subsequently, we were concerned about the political aspects of this, and we did not feel that when july 10th, colonel vindman had sounded the alarm when he had realized that there was a highly political aspect of the
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meet i meeting that we were looking for with president zelensky. >> and mr. holmes, i want to, at the end of august, we understand that ambassador taylor was engaged in obtaining some information for the president about european allies burden sharing in the region as the decision about aid was being debated. >> so, sir, after the hold was placed on the security assistance, many people, i think that they were scrambling to understand why. and i believe it is senator johnson who had said that the president was concerned about burden sharing and perhaps others as well, and so trying to interpret why this might have happened, we were looking into the facts of what the europeans had provided and what we had provided and it is very illuminating what we had learned. the united states has provided combined civilian and military assistance to ukraine since 2014$2014, $300 billion and plu
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three $1 billion loan guarantees that will be paid back largely, and so just over $3 billion. the europeans at the level of the european union and the member states combined since 2014 my understanding had provided a combined $12 billion to ukraine. >> so you were able to communicate that back to the end of august? >> yes, it is done in collaboration with the eu and nato and others. >> do you think that is the information that the white house was looking for? >> we don't know. if the concern was that others were not spending what we were to support ukraine, that showed a different story. >> and aid was subsequently lifted the pause in the aid shortly after? >> yes, mid-september. >> i yield back. >> that connecludes the 45-minu
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rounds. i recognize myself for five minutes, and as a threshold matter, to be cautious when members represent are you aware of this fact or that or so and so testified to this or that, and if you have personal knowledge, that is fine, and i am not saying this is deliberate, but sometimes the members get it wrong, and so let me clear the record on one of the things that was suggested to you that the vice president canceled his trip because of a conflict with canada. and that is not the testimony. i asked why i was told to stop the trip planning and i was told that the vice president would not attend the inauguration. and just off of that caution. dr. hill, i wanted to ask you, because you may be aware of some of attacks on colonel vindman suggesting that he has a dual loyalty and he is not really
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loyal to america and loyal to ukraine. as fellow immigrant what you think of those kinds of accusations when they are leveled against colonel vindman and other americans? >> i think it is unfortunate, because this is a country of immigrants with the exception perhaps of very few people still here. everyone has emigrated to the united states at some point in their history, and this is what makes america great. i am sure that every person here perhaps some people came reluctantly, and others came by choice as i did, but this is for me, this is the essence of america, and why i wanted to be here and why i wanted to stay here. it is unfair to castigate anyone. because everybody has some apelet to them. i am british american or naturalized citizen, but i do not believe that my loyalty is to the united kingdom, but it is to the united states, and this is my country and the country i
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serve. i know that many of my naturalized in my office and across the national security office felt the same way and it is deeply unfair. >> i thank you. you mentioned something in your testimony and i have this right that ambassador sondland told you at one point that his role was to make deals? >> yes, he told other people that as well to be clear. >> i wanted to ask you about one of the deals. the one that mr. bolton described as a drug deal. i had the indication that when you were asked about the july 10th meeting and there were two, one in ambassador bolton's presence and another one in the war room that there was more that you had to say about that, and do you want to walk us through that in more detail. >> the reference that ambassador bolton made is after i had returned from the war room and with relayed what i had heard. there heard. there was a sequencing of
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meetings which i know that there's been some concern about the sequencing here and discrepancy between various depositions. so what happened immediately after the meeting that ambassador bolton called a little short was that he told me to hold back in the room. and he was escorting out the ukrainian visitors along with secretary perry, and ambassador volker and sondland. i guess they wanted to take a quick photograph outside of his office. secretary perry has tweeted out that photograph, and there's a picture standing outside of ambassador bolton's office. this was quick. he came back in, and at that point, i guess they were already moving down to the board room because on the way out of ambassador bolton's office, ambassador sondland had said let's regroup in the board room for, you know, a quick huddle on next steps which was to be honest quite unusual.
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you don't usually huddle in a room in the white house to discuss next steps with foreign delegationings. we took it to be next steps on setting up the meeting which already as i said ambassador bolton wasn't prepared toot. that's when he gave me the strong instructions, go downstairs, find out what was being discussed and come back and report it to him. as i came into the board room, alex vindman, colonel vindman and ambassador sondland were in an exchange, and colonel vind mandela looked qui-- vindman lod quite alarmed. i watched his testimony. there were some questions about yelling and shouting. i certainly never said there, that's some embellishment that's crept in, perhaps in media descriptions of how people like to tell these things. when i came in, ambassador
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sondland was in an exchange with colonel vindman along the lines, we have an agreement to have this meeting, and i came in and i asked what's going on here, and he said, and this is again the ukrainians are there, ambassador volker was there but at this point i want to stress secretary perry had left. he was not in the board room when i came. as i was coming in, secretary perry and his colleagues were leaving, so secretary perry has no recollection of this meeting because he was not in it. and so when i came in, gordon sondland was basically saying, look, we have a deal here that there will be a meeting. i have a deal here with chief of staff mulvaney, there will be a meeting if the ukrainians open up or announce these investigations into 2016 and burisma and i caught it off immediately there. having heard mr. giuliani over and over again on the television and all of the issues he was
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asserting, by this point, ba residu -- burisma was code for the bidens. he said this is inappropriate with the national security council, we can't be involved in this, and i have learned from mr. holmes' rendition today that colonel vindman has warned the ewe sei ukrainian, president se lzelenso stay out of u.s. politics. ambassador bolton made it clear we can't set up the meeting now. we have to prepare this through the proper process, i know this sounds very boring but we have national security procedures. we really shouldn't be litigating this, talking about this in front of our colleagues from ukraine. it's completely inappropriate for us to be thrashing out in front of them, and he agreed and we asked our ukrainian
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colleagues to move outside the corridor in the board room which is extraordinarily awkward. they shouldn't have been standing around in the corridor in the west wing at this juncture. i pushed back on ambassador sondland and said look, i know there's differences about whether we should have this meeting. we're trying to figure out if we should have it after the ukrainian parliamentary elections, the broader elections which by that point i think had been set for july 21st, it must have been because this is july 10th at this point. and ambassador bolton would like to wait until after that to basically see whether president zelensky gets the majority in the parliament which would enable him to form a cabinet, and then we can move forward. ambassador sondland then said fair enough, he realized he wasn't going to, you know, be able to push this further. ambassador volker didn't say anything at this particular juncture, and he said he had another meeting and they all left.
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and i went back up and relayed this to ambassador bolton, which is when he gave me the specific instruction that we have already been through to go to talk to mr. eisenberg, john eisenberg in the amnesty council's office. >> thank you, mr. nunes. >> i assume we're giving eight minutes. >> i don't cut off a witness in the middle of their answer. you may proceed. >> sorry, that was a long answer. >> mr. jordan. >> mr. holmes, why didn't your boss talk about it? >> what's that, sir? >> why didn't your boss bring up the call you overheard, the reason you're here today, you're their closing witness, the first witness, ambassador taylor didn't even bring it up. when we deposed you, you said this was extremely distinctive experience, one of the most remarkable events of my life. you described it like this, you said after the call happens, i immediately told deputy chief about the call and you went on vacation, told several friends
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and family about the call, then you come back on august 6th and tell ambassador taylor about the call. and then in your deposition statement, you said in your statement today as well, i repeatedly refer to the call in meetings and conversations where the issue of the president's interest in ukraine was relevant. i repeatedly referred to the call in meetings and conversations where the issue of the president's interests in ukraine was relevant. that sounds like government speak for you told everybody. yet their star witness, their first witness, ambassador taylor, when he came here, he related 13 different conversations he had between july 18th when the aid is frozen, september 11th when it's reesed, 13 different conversations, never once mentioning this call, july 19th, dr. hill, colonel vind -- july 20th, sondland told taylor what he told trump. july 28th, morrison tells taylor what happened on the trump
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zelensky call. august 24th, talks to taylor, august 22nd, morrison talks to taylor, august 29th, september 2nd, morrison tells taylor, september 7th morrison tells taylor what sondland told trump, and september 8th, sondland tells taylor what trump told sondland. nowhere is there a holmes tells taylor what the president of the united states told sondland. >> may i answer that question. >> i'll give you a chance in a second, but 13 conversations, 13 conversations from their star witness, you're their closing witness, and he can't remember a call from a guy he works with every single day. why? >> yes, sir. so immediately when i went back to the embassy after this lunch on the 26th, i told my direct supervisor, the deputy chief admission. i would have told ambassador
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taylor immediately except he was on the front lines that afternoon. i then went on as i testified my vacation on saturday, came back the following monday, and on tuesday, i was back in the ambassador's office where i referred to the call. in that week plus that i was away, it was my assumption that the deputy chief admission would have informed other people about the call as well. so my recollection is when i did refer to the call in that meeting that ambassador taylor nodded knowingly as though he had been briefed on it. so i referred to the call and i mentioned some of my take aways from the call, and at the time, the main take away from the call was the president doesn't care about ukraine so we're going to have a tough road ahead to convince him that it's important enough for him to schedule an oval office meeting nor president zelensky and release the hold on security assistance. that was the take away, and that's what i referred to repeatedly in the coming weeks, whenever it became relevant.
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i'll remind you that one more important point, throughout this time, as i testified, we were trying to find a formula, things we could do with yukrainians tht would convince the president they were worth talking to. >> maybe the take away was he thought it was no big deal because he already knew. he didn't remember it because we already had the transcript. he didn't remember. we had the trump zelensky transcript had been out for two months, even though you're repeatedly bringing this conversation up, anytime there's talk about ukraine, you recall this conversation. maybe it was the transcript, the call happened on the july 25th, that's four months ago, the transcript has been out for two months, maybe the ambassador thought this is nothing new here but last week, you come forward with supposedly this new information. there is nothing different in there than what we had on the
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transcript. maybe that's the reason their star witness, their first witness didn't bring it up. but they had to have something so you're they're closing witness because you overheard the president talking to ambassador sondland. >> if i could answer, i see four seconds left on the clock. >> mr. holmes, you may take as long as you need. >> thank you, sir. i believe ambassador taylor did know when i briefed him when i returned from vacation on the 6th. it was not news to him that the president was pressing for a biden investigation. >> that's not what i asked. >> i asked why he didn't share it with us. >> please do not interrupt the witness any further. mr. holmes. his time has expired, yours has not. you may answer the question. >> it's exactly my point. i briefed the call in detail to the deputy chief admission, if we come back, i refer to the call and everyone is nodding, of course that's what's going on. of course the president is pressing for a biden investigation before he'll do these things the ukraines want
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there's nothing agreement. did i go through every word in the call, everyone by that point agreed, it was obvious what the president was pressing for and ambassador taylor had all those other interactions. >> he didn't share it with us. >> but sir, my vivid recollection of an event i was involved with was a touch stone experience that to me validated what -- >> mr. jordan, please, do not interrupt. >> what we believed and ambassador taylor was not in that call. >> and all of a sudden last week -- >> mr. jordan, you will allow the witness to answer the question. >> i'll finish with this. >> thank you. >> he was involved in a number of other interactions as you've outlined that brought him to the same conclusion. it is quite possible that that -- >> he doesn't share with the guy he worked with he doesn't share that one. >> you may not like the witness's answer. >> there wasn't an answer. >> mr. jordan, we will hear the witness's answer. have you concluded mr. holmes. >> i think, thank you.
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>> >> you made a fairly dramatic comment in your opening statement to which the ranking member took exceptionment some appear to believe that russia and security services did not conduct a campaign against our country and perhaps somehow for some reason ukraine did. i'm more interested in the ukraine piece of this, but i want to defend you briefly. i don't know what my colleagues believe but i do have a pretty good sense of what the effects are of creating ambiguity, of lacking clarity and conviction around the russian attack on the election of 2016. in response to your comment, the ranking member offered up a report which varies in material respect from the report that was creating by the 17 agencies of the intelligence community, a day does not go by in which ranking member nunes does not
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speak of the russia hoax and this is an area in which context is pretty important. dr. hill, let me read you a comment by another senior official. why did democratic national committee turn down the dhs offer to protect against tax. it's all a big dem hoax, why did the dnc refuse to turn over the server to the fbi, it's all a big dem scam, dr. hill, do you know who said those things. >> it's the president of the united states, donald j. trump. >> i must have missed that. >> you didn't miss much. >> the point is, ambiguity, a failure to name and shame the russians for the attack in 2016, that is not in the service of our national security, is it. >> it's not, no. >> so let's turn to ukraine. dr. hill, have you seen -- you characterized the idea that ukraine interfered in the
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election as a fictional narrative. have you seen any evidence at all that ukraine interfered in the 2016 election. >> i brought with me two exhibits that i was pointed to by our colleagues during the deposition that i gave on october 14. i'm grateful they pointed me in this direction. i was pointed with two articles or at least two pieces of information. one was an op-ed that the ukrainian ambassador charlie wrote in 2016 in the hill, so this is during the presidential campaign when president trump was then the nominee for the republican party. and this is ambassador charlie who was then, you know, still the ukrainian ambassador to the united states being critical of president trump who was then the nominee for the republican party for making comments about
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ukraine, crimea and russia. >> may i interrupt you. let me be specific about what those comments were. the president when he was a candidate said quote, the people of crimea from what i have heard would rather be with russia than where they were. so ambassador charlie is responding to that in that article, correct? >> that's correct. and he uses this as a peg because to be honest the whole article is actually about ukraine and this is classic standard for anyone who wants to write an op-ed, i've written plenty myself, you pick a peg and proceed to say what you want to say, this is what ambassador charlie does is talks about ukraine's position, v. >> candidate trump has suggested the crimeans would rather be with russia. even if the comments are speculative, they call for
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appeasement of an aggressor and support the violation of a sovereign country east's territ integrity and a breach of law. that's the attack on candidate trump. >> that's correct. >> does that sound like election interference to you. >> i would say that it's probably not the most advisable thing to do for an ambassador because you never know who's going to win, and i think that the second piece that was presented to me at great length and i want to thank mr. custer for making me go back and read it. i did remember the piece, kenneth vogel is a well know and extremely good journalist and i remembered reading this back in the day in january of 2017. but it had been a long time between then and october. and you gave me a copy and i went back and read it again because i think it actually is extraordinarily important. it gets to this issue here. mr. vogel points out that the ukrainian government, again, you know, they wouldn't have done
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very well at the bookies picking up the issue i pointed out in the beginning of today. they bet on the wrong horse. they bet on hillary clinton winning the election. and so, you know, they were trying to curry favor with the clinton campaign. it's quite evident here. and he relates, you know, to some extent, individuals and some ukrainian officials like the interior minister and a number of other people that he names here and that have been named at various points and talks about how they were trying to collect information as ranking member nunes said on mr. manafort and other people as well. i do want to point out that the crux of the article here by mr. vogel is he said there was little evidence of a top down effort by ukraine, and he makes a distinction between the russian effort that was personally directed by russian president putin, and involved the country's military, and foreign intelligence services. now, i don't think that those two things are exactly the same.
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i also mentioned in my deposition of october 14th, that in fact many officials from many countries, including ukraine, bet on the wrong horse. they believed that secretary clinton, former senator clinton, former first lady clinton was going to win, and many said some pretty disparaging and hurtful things about president trump, and i can't blame him for feeling aggrieved about them, and when we were setting visits, i have a portfolio of 50 plus countries and nato and the european union, we thought it prudent to collect as much as possible about comments that people might have said about the president during the campaign when he was either one of the candidates to be the nominee for the republican party or when he was actually the candidate running against hillary clinton, and an awful lot, and perhaps i
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shouldn't name them here because it would have, some senior officials said some pretty hurtful things about the president, and i would also personally take offense at some of the things that were said if i was the president. the difference here however is that that hasn't had any major impact on his feelings towards those countries. not that i have seen. but i've also heard the president say, and he said it in public, so i'm not revealing any kind of executive privilege here that ukraine tried to take me down. what i have seen is some ill advised ukrainian officials, ambassador charlie has been removed as being the ambassador from here, made some pretty, you know, unpleasant statements or some ill advised op-eds, but i could list a whole host of ambassadors from allied countries who tweeted out, who had public comments about the president as well, and it did not affect security assistance, having meetings with them, if it would, there would have been a lot of people he wouldn't have
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met with. >> thank you, dr. hill. mr. chairman, i seek unanimous consent to the add to the record a politico article of december 1st, 2016, entitled russia accuses ukraine of sabotaging trump, it outlines russian senior officials making allegations that there was ukrainian interference in the 2016 election. >> without objection. . >> mr. conway. >> i yield to ms. ratcliff five minutes. >> i want to pick up where my colleague across the aisle, congressman himes left off earlier. he was not defending you. he was defending himself and democrats. i want to make sure the record is very clear. ranking member nunes was correct, he correctly noted in his opening that republicans, not democrats on this committee were the first ones, the first ones to raise the issue of russian interference in the 2016 election. the disagreement wasn't about
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russian meddling, the disagreement was about whether or not president trump conspired with russia, a false allegation peddled by the democrats, generally, and specifically by some democrats on this committee. with that, i want to turn to you and the part of the conversation, your testimony where you said you heard president trump say is he going to do the investigation and ambassador sondland said he's going to do it, he'll do anything you ask him to. is that right? >> yes, sir. >> what did president trump say next? >> he said good, what about sweden. >> he said what? >> i'm sorry. i need to look back where we are in the middle of the conversation here. where are we in the testimony? >> exactly.
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then they turned to the sweden conversation. >> what did president trump say next. >> he said, good, what about sweden. >> good, what about sweden. good, what about sweden. why isn't that in your statement? >> it's not a word for word, every single word in the conversation. >> it's the most important part of the conversation? >> then they turned to sweden. they turned to the other topic. >> respectfully. >> mr. holmes, this impeachment inquiry is based on the call the day before where president trump as part of a bribery scheme, as part of an extortion scheme, as part of the a quid pro quo, according to the democrats, demanded investigations in exchange for either military aid or a white house meeting and the next day you were witness to president trump receiving word that the bribery scheme was successful, the extortion scheme was successful. and his response was good, what
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about sweden? >> yes, sir. the ukraine portion of that conversation was extremely brief. >> what was the first thing the president said on the call? >> you had a clear recollection of this conversation. >> yes, sir. >> please allow mr. holmes to answer. >> sondland greeted the president. >> how? >> he said hello, mr. president, i'm in kiev, and the president said, are you in ukraine. >> you think he said i think you're in ukraine. >> he said are you in ukraine. >> what did you hear president trump say about asap rocky. >> i did not hear president trump's side of the conversation about asap rocky. >> the conversation was loud, and his voice was recognizable to hear, when the conversation
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shifted, i could only hear ambassador sondland's side of the conversation. >> as i have said. the initial part of the call, ambassador sondland, when the president came on the call, he sort of winced and held the phone away from his ear for the initial portion of the call and at some point in the call, he stopped doing that. and i don't know why. i don't know if he turned the volume down. i don't know if the president spoke quietly. i don't know if he got used to the volume. i don't know what changed. >> what did change? it was important. >> i don't know. ambassador sondland stopped moving the phone away from his ear. >> that's what it was? >> yes. >> okay. >> how did the conversation end? >> i only heard ambassador sondland's side of the conversation, and at the end of the conversation, he said -- he was giving the president advice on how to deal with the asap rocky situation and said they should have released him on
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their word, and you can tell the cash da kardashians you tried. >> when president trump received word that president zelensky had agreed to the investigations, he said good. what about sweden. >> yes. >> okay. when exactly did gordon sondland ask president zelensky about the investigations? >> i'm sorry, sir? >> when did he ask about the investigations. >> when did gordon sondland ask zelensky about the investigations? >> yeah. >> in which meeting did he raise the investigations. >> it was raised the day before on the call, and the next day gordon sondland said the answer was he's going to do the investigation. when did he ask about the investigations investigations. >> i appreciate that. i want to make sure the record is clear that yesterday ambassador sondland testified that the topic of conversations did not come up on that day.
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i yield back. >> time is expired. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i would like to thank both of our witnesses for being here today. i would like to turn our discussion to the campaign to remove career diplomat ambassador yovanovitch. both of you in your various capacities had to work with her, and both of you witnessed what i would call a smear campaign. i wanted to know your thoughts, dr. hill. what was your view of ambassador yovanovitch's experience and quality of her work in the ukraine, and do you consider it to be a smear campaign? >> i had the highest regard for ambassador yovanovitch, both in terms of her integrity and the high standards of work that she was carrying out as ambassador in ukraine, and because of her whole career. i do believe that there was a smear campaign, and i just want to say, again for the record
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that i think it was unnecessary. if there was a decision to have a political ambassador put in place in ukraine, that would be perfectly acceptable. it's exactly the right of the president to be able to do that. i just did not see why it was necessary to malign ambassador yovanovitch to such an extent. >> mr. holmes, would you agree with that, and can you talk about the character, integrity, and performance of ambassador yovanovitch, both in ukraine. >> yes, ma'am. she was extremely professional, respected in ukraine, by ukrainians, i think also by visiting american senior officials, including members of this committee and congress who came to visit. she is extremely dedicated, hard working. >> did you see it as a smear campaign as well? >> i did, yes. >> and what was the effect that it had on the morale of other professionals you worked with in ukraine. >> it was a very confusing time
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as i said before, the president has the right to remove an ambassador for any or no reason at all. it was not clear to us why this was happening or why people weren't standing up for her. >> i'd like to now turn dr. hill to your boss. your boss was ambassador bolton, right? >> that's correct, yes. >> did your boss, ambassador bolton tell you that giuliani was quote a hand grenade. >> he did, yes. >> what do you think he meant by his characterization of giuliani as a hand grenade? >> what he meant by this was pretty clear to me in the context of all the statements that mr. giuliani was making publicly that the investigations that he was promoting, that the story line he was promoting, the narrative he was promoting was going to backfire. i think it has backfired. >> was that narrative also inclusive of falsehoods about ambassador yovanovitch? >> at the particular juncture that ambassador bolton made that comment, absolutely because that was in the context of my
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discussions with him about what was happening to ambassador yovanovitch. >> i was particularly struck by your testimony, dr. hill, about receiving hateful calls and being accused of being a source, mole in the white house. are you a never trumper or have you been true to your profession and remain nonpartisan. >> i honestly don't know what the definition of a never trumper is, as i think many of my colleagues are feeling the same way. it's a puzzling term to be applied to career or nonpartisan officials. and i chose to come into the administration. i could easily have said no when i was approached. >> yes, but you didn't sign up to have hateful calls and the like. >> i guess, unfortunately, where we are today in america, that's coming with the territory. they're continuing honestly, we're constantly having to block twitter posts of my name and address on the internet. we have been doing this over the
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last couple of days. and as i said in my deposition, this could happen to any single person this this room be it members of the press, be it members of congress, and be it the staff. and i think we have to find ways of combatting this, and again, this gets back certainly to things that our adversaries can also exploit. >> exactly. i think you would agree with me that this shouldn't become the new normal, would you agree. >> this should not. >> i also think that this kind of behavior, instead of keeping you down, would make you undeterred, are you more determined to continue to do your work and to do it professionally? >> i am, and i think all of my colleagues are as well. just as you said, we can't let this stand, and i don't think anyone here wants to let this stand. i actually don't believe this is a partisan issue, i don't think anyone wants to come under personal attack. >> i think this has become a new norm, and we're being led by the very top of the food chain, which is our president, which is unfortunate. i'm especially disheartened by his treatment of women and i think that the fact of the matter is that there's a long
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line of strong, talented women who have been smeared and victimized by this president, and we can either choose to ignore or do something about it. and frankly, i think that whether you voted for him or whether you supported him or not, that doing so is wrong. you could simply just remove someone. you don't have to smear them. thank you, and i yield back my time. >> mr. turner. >> right. i want to echo that sentiment and lament the attacks that have been levied against our colleague, lee stephonic on this panel which has been vile and hateful. for those of you keeping score at home, the effort to accuse our president of coercion, extortion or bribery with these witnesses as we come to the closing session of this basically break down as follows, we have kent and ambassador taylor who spoke of hearsay, their hearsay of matters they said they heard were all
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statements that they had heard from others who have also testified in front of us, so there's no one that's missing. there's no one that's out there. kent and taylor basically said they had heard it from morrison and sondland, morrison indicated he heard it from sondland, sondland testified he had heard it from no one on the planet. vindman and morrison have direct testimony of the phone call with the president of the united states. beyond that, they only had contact with sondland, and again, sondland indicated he had contact with no one on the planet. volker testified that he did have direct contact, both with the ukrainians and the president of the united states, and indicated that the president of the united states did not condition either a phone call, a meeting or aid upon ukraine undertaking investigations, and also testified that the ukrainians did not believe that either. we also have the direct statements from the president of ukraine and the foreign minister that they did not feel any pressure to undertake investigations and we also have the evidence that we're all very
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much aware of which is they did not undertake any investigations. we also yovanovitch and dr. hill. yovanovitch obviously left before the time period. dr. hill, we appreciate you being with us today. and mr. holmes. dr. hill, you have provided me probably the greatest piece of evidence that's before us to illustrate the problem with hearsay. so you said based on questions and statements i have heard some of you on this committee, that would be us appear to believe that russia and its security services did not conduct a campaign against our country. and perhaps somehow for some reason it was ukraine. this evidence was held up by devin nunes as the report of active measures voted on by all of us, it begins in this sentence, in 2015, russia began engaging in a covert influence campaign, aimed at the u.s. presidential election. every one of us, small effort on your part, dr. hill, and you would have known, what you just
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said was not true, what you had heard but you felt the need to put it in your eight-page statement before you went on to tell us other things that you heard about other people no matter how convinced you were of also which were not necessarily true, one of which was that you said that ambassador sondland met with giuliani, actually, ambassador sondland testified that he had not as ambassador met with giuliani, he briefly met him in his lifetime, and giuliani issued a statement they had never met either. no matter how convinced we are, dr. hill, no matter how much we believe we know that what we've heard is true, it is still just what we've heard. but so far, in this hearing, in these series of hearings, the only thing that we have is volker saying i spoke to the president and i've spoke to the ukrainians, neither of which believe aid was conditioned, neither of which believed that the president was requiring it. and ambassador sondland, which said no one on the planet told
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him that that was the case. that's the sole evidence. ambassador sondland believed a meeting was conditioned upon investigations, ambassador volker who i think is a man of very significant integrity said that was not the case. even if ambassador sondland is correct, that somebody and dr. hill, you testified, and again it's hearsay, you don't know, that supposedly mulvaney told him that, because he didn't testify to that, but let's say somebody besides the president told him that, you guys want to be the laughing stock of history to impeach a president of the united states because he didn't take a meeting. oh, please, dear god. please undertake that. now, mr. holmes, i got to tell you. is there a question for dr. hill? >> mr. holmes, in your testimony, you said that sondland said he loves your ass,
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and also said he'll do anything that you want. mr. holmes, that information had nothing whatsoever to do with the subject matter of any of these hearings. it was anecdotal, it was extraneous, your statements that your interests are protecting ukraine, are very dubious when you embarrass president zelensky by making those statements that you didn't have to make. who cares that ambassador sondland said that, and you didn't embarrass ambassador sondland, you embarrassed zelensky because you know he got asked this question in his own country and people are hearing that statement as if it is true, and it's -- >> thank you, chairman, both for your service. dr. hill, i would like to talk a little bit more in-depth about chief of staff mick mulvaney's role in the events under investigation. you testified, ma'am, that mr. mulvaney, and ambassador sondland were both involved with a letter president trump sent to the ukrainian president on may 29th, congratulationing hng him
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inauguration. do you recall that, ma'am? >> i did, yes. >> and towards the end of that letter, president trump closed with quote, i would like to invite you to meet me at the white house in washington, d.c. as soon as we can find a mutually convenient time end quote. dr. hill, was this congratulatory letter drafted through the normal procedures at the nfc that the nfc uses to send foreign letters to heads of state. >> the first part of it was, except the last paragraph. >> you also testified that ambassador sondland told you that he had dictated that line to the president and that mr. mulvaney, you told mr. mulvaney to add that to the letter, is that correct, ma'am. >> that's correct. >> you said that you were nervous about that. why were you nervous, dr. hill? >> because at this juncture, it had become quite apparent that the president wasn't very keen on having a meeting with mr. zelensky for all the reasons that we have been trying to lay out today.
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and once one puts in a letter like that, you raise the expectation of an invitation coming shortly. >> dr. hill, you also testified, ma'am, that ambassador sondland was frequently meeting with mr. mulvaney. mr. giuliani's campaign of lies ultimately led to ambassador yovanovitch being recalled from her post in april of 2019. you've also testified, ma'am, that her removal was pretty disspiriting, and a turning point for you. can you explain to us why, ma'am. >> again, as we have all made clear, ambassador yovanovitch and you saw for yourself in her deposition is a person of great integrity. she's one of our finest foreign service officers, career foreign service officers and if there had been a decision to remove her to replace her with a political appointee, again, that was perfectly within the rights of the president. sometimes it's highly advisable, in fact, to emphasize to a country just exactly how close
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the relationship is likely to be to have an appointee who is close to the president, if it's an important relationship, but what was disspiriting was all of the accusations that were being fired at ambassador yovanovitch leading her to be tweeted, including by members of the president's family. we all firmly believe that mr. giuliani and others including the people who were recently indicted, the ukrainian american gentleman had for some reason decided that ambassador yovanovitch was some kind of personal problem for them and that they had then decided to engage in just the kind of things we were discussing. and she was an easy target as a woman. and i'm sorry to hear about what has happened to congress stefanik, and this illustrates the point and problem we're dealing with today. >> certainly. i was struck by your testimony that you were the target of false accusations during your time in the trump
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administration. you testified, ma'am, about receiving hateful calls and being accused of being quote a mole in the white house. you testified about death threats and calls at your home, is that right? >> that's correct. that was in 2017. >> i'm sorry you've had to go through all of this ma'am. you don't strike me as a woman who is easily deterred. you're not easily deterred, are you, dr. hill. >> i'm not, no. thank you both for your service. >> thank you, sir. >> i thank the gentleman for yielding, just another fact check and my caution that representations about what prior witnesses said or what you have even said may not be consistent with the facts. this was from ambassador sondland's opening statement, after the zelensky meeting, i also met with zelensky's senior aid, andre yermach, i believe the issue of investigations was probably a part of the agenda or meeting. now recognize dr. winstrop.
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>> thank you, mr. chairman x thank you both for being here. you know in 1998, i voluntarily joined the united states army reserve because i saw our country under attack time and time again. bill clinton was the president. i didn't vote for bill clinton. but he was my commander in chief. it didn't matter that i didn't vote for him. i was grateful to live in a country that gets to legitimately elect our leaders. and i have been to places where people don't get to. and it's not pretty, and i respect our system and i accept the results that are determined by the american people. i deployed to iraq, 2005, 2006 as an army surgeon with soldiers from many backgrounds. the most important thing was we were all americans. that was first and foremost. in our mission, we treated our troops, we treated the enemy, winning over the hearts and minds of people that never knew us because of their dictator, saddam hussein, who told them that we were responsible for all
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their problems and that was his narrative. and speaking of narratives, dr. hill, i'm sorry, i have to say this, you said based on statements, some in the committee did not conduct a campaign against this country is false. that's mr. schiff's narrative. that's where you've heard it. we did a whole report on it. and we agree that russia has done this since the soviet union, and they have actually gotten better at it. that's a problem. but at the same time, certain ukrainians did work against candidate trump. some with the dnc, and if that's debunked why is it mr. schiff has denied dnc operative to testify and come forward and debunk it. was it good for the country for the dnc and clinton campaign to pay pay christopher steele to dig up dirt on their political rival. was it good for america to claim
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having evidence of the president colluding with russians when he did not. costing the taxpayer millions, and being debunked by special counsel. i'd say the false narrative got caught. was it good for the country for americans and foreigners alike to attempt to entrap members of a united states presidential campaign, specifically the trump campaign, sadly, i have come to believe through all of this that some in power do think it's good. they think it's okay. can now we're here if an impeachment proceeding, certainly a right that congress has and apparently even with very partisan rules. but i'm curious, the impeachment inquiry was announced by the speaker before the whistleblower complaint was even out. i'm curious why the lawyer for the whistleblower announced that the coup to impeach the president, that he announced that right after trump won. that's pretty damming. i know it hurts after losing an
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election, especially as americans. we usually get over it. and i imagine it would hurt even more if you were promised a position in the next administration and lost. and your hopes and your dreams are dashed. i've seen hatred for political reasons. specifically on june 14th, 2017, at a ball field in virginia, and i have seen hatred in war. and i know that hatred blinds people. i've been in war, and i've studied war and coups create division. and it's time for this phase of the publicly announced and proclaimed democrat coup to end. thank you for your service. thanks for being here, and i yield back. >> could i actually say something because we have had three -- >> i was going it ask you if you would like respond.
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>> i yielded back. i didn't ask a question. >> dr. hill, you may respond. >> no, i think that what dr. winstrop said was very powerful about the importance of overcoming hatred and certainly partisan division, and it's unfortunate that congressmans turner and ratcliff have both left as well because i think all of us who came here under legal obligations thought we had a moral obligation to do so, we came as fact witnesses. when i was referring to questions that i'd heard, it was in the context of the deposition that i gave on october 14th because i was very worried about the turn in which some of the questions were taking. and i understand that the point is being made about individuals, as you have just said, dr dr. winstrop and that these articles lay out, taking definite positions in our
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elections. i don't think there should be any interference in our election, i think it was unfair for people to already call the election, and make attacks also on candidate trump and president trump, and i know that this has put a huge cloud over this presidency and also over our whole democratic system. that's actually why as a nonpartisan person, and as an expert on russia and an expert on vladimir putin and on the russian security service, i wanted to come in to serve the country to try to see if i could help. i heard president trump said that he wanted to improve the relations with russia. i believe we have to. we can't be in this unending confrontation with russia. we have to find a way to stabilize our relationship and to professionalize our relationship as well as to stop them from doing what they did in 2016 again in 2020. this is really the crux of the issue that i and others are trying to put across, and i think that you have put across very eloquently. the other matters related to
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this inquiry, we're here just to provide what we know, and what we have heard. i understand that for many members this may be hearsay. i have talked about things i heard with my own ears. i understand that ambassador sondland has said a lot of things. i have told you what he told me, and what others told me. a lot of other people have said things to me, again, as well, and also to mr. holmes and we're hear to relate to you what we heard, what we saw, and what we did. and to be of some help to all of you in really making a very momentous decision here. we are not the people who make that decision. and i do, again, want to underscore what you said here, dr. winstrop, it was very eloquent and very moving about your service, and trying to bring us all together as americans. we need to be together again in 2020 so the american people can make a choice about the future and make their vote in a presidential election without
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any fear that this is being interfered by, from any quarter whatsoever, so i just want to thank you for making what i think was also a very elegant and eloquent and heartfelt defense. >> thank you, dr. hill. ms. spear. >> mr. chairman, thank you, and dr. hill, mr. holmes, thank you both for being fact witnesses. we are here as fact finders, and we appreciate very much your presentations. dr. hill, i want to verify this story, and i understand that when you were 11 years old, there was a schoolboy who set your pigtails on fire and you were taking a test, you turned around and with your hands snuffed out the fire and then proceeded to finish your test. is that a true story? >> it is a true story. i was a bit surprised to see that pop up today. it's one of the stories i occasionally tell because it had unfortunate consequences afterwards, my mother gave me a
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bowl haircut so for the school photograph later in that week, i look like richard aiii. >> i think it underscores the fact that you speak truth, that you are steely, and i truly respect that. let me move to your testimony in your deposition. you had indicated you were deeply troubled by ambassador yovanovitch's, the attacks on her, and you underscored again today that all ambassadors serve at the pleasure of the president, and certainly in the case of ambassador yovanovitch, she could have just asked her to come home. but that didn't happen. in fact, there was a systematic character assassination that went on. and went on from 2018, if i'm not mistaken. but you say, and the most obvious explanation at this point, it has to be said, seemed to be business dealings of individuals who wants to improve
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their investment positions inside of ukraine itself. you were then asked who do you understand was responsible for her removal? and you said, i understand this to be the result of the campaign that mr. giuliani had set in motion in conjunction with people who were writing articles and you know, publications that i have expected better of, and also, you know, just the constant drum beat of these accusations that he was making on the television. so rudy giuliani was playing fast and furious in ukraine, it would appear, is that correct? >> that's correct. >> and he had no official tasking within the administration, is that correct. >> not that i had been told of. >> but he frequently met with ukrainian officials to request they open an investigation? >> so i was led to understand, yes. >> you testified that mr. giuliani's involvement was quote
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a massive complication in terms of our engagement with ukraine. >> that's correct. >> would you like to explain that? >> i think i already laid that out in the earlier part of response to some of the questions. we were actually conducting which, you know, for a lot of the american people might seem to be a rather boring, standard bilateral policy toward ukraine, pushing them on issues of reform in the energy sector, and more broadly, we were concerned obviously about corruption in ukraine. we were trying to help ukraine regain its sovereignty after the attacks by russia. >> how did mr. giuliani's involvement affect? >> we basically had worked out over the course of two years in conjunction, close conjunction with the embassy in kiev, an interagency agreed action plan, and these are things that in fact colonel vindman were working on, moving forward on
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the various issues on the list of items. clearly rudy giuliani and other people didn't care at all about this. ambassador sondland wasn't particularly interested in it either. it was quite boring, wouldn't make for good copy in the press and the kind of thing everybody moves routine forward on. >> mr. holmes, you talked about the extraordinary power russia tries to assert against ukraine, so since president zelensky never got his white house meeting, doesn't that make ukraine look weak, and doesn't that benefit russia? >> absolutely, it does. >> all right. so promoting putin's false claim of ukraine intervention into the u.s. election also benefits russia, doesn't it? >> it does. >> so when president trump meets privately with vladimir putin at the g20 summit, who does that benefit? >> it doesn't help ukraine. >> it doesn't help ukraine.
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and by president trump calling ukraine corrupt and not north korea, for instance, does that accrue to russia's benefit. >> again, doesn't help ukraine. >> all right. i thank you and mr. chairman, i'll yield the rest of my time to you. >> you're yielding me three seconds, not even i can make use of three seconds, mr. stewart. >> thank you. dr. hill, mr. holmes, thank you for being here. i don't have any questions that haven't been asked or made any points that haven't already been made. i guess i'll conclude by something i have said before, this impeach palooza, finally comes to an end. a year of resistance. two and a half years of these absurd accusations against the president of russian collusion. we have gone from quid pro quo to bribery to extortion, seven weeks of hearings, 16 secret closed door sessions, 12 public hearings, now of which you are
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the last. hundreds of hours of testimony, and i really think that for those who hate the president, they haven't changed their minds but there's a lot of americans who look at this and think is that it, really, you're going to impeach and remove a president for this. now, like i said, if you don't like the president, you have already come to that conclusion, many people wanted this three years ago. but for a lot of americans, they look at that, and they can see this, no evidence, zero evidence of any bribery. zero evidence of extortion. zero evidence, firsthand of any quid pro quo. and yet, impeachment is almost inevitable, and why because the leadership of this committee has been unfair and dishonest, and i know we hear these crocodile tears from some of my colleagues who are heartbroken because they finally have to impeach this president. and we know that's absurd, there's no heartbroken, there's no prayerful tears over this.
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they are giddy over there, and there's not a person in the country who doesn't know that. everyone knows what they're going to do next. they're going to impeach the president and they're going to send it on to the senate, but that is the good news. that's good news. you know, we have all been to a concert. you got the warm up band, and then you got the main act, and what we have seen here is the warm up band. this is kind of like the sioux city crooners, this is a band that no one's ever heard of but the warm up band is over, and now we're going on to the main event and that's in the u.s. senate, and in the u.s. senate there won't be secret testimony. there's not going to be a chairman that refuses to let us ask appropriate questions or deny a defense. where in the world, where this the country do you have a trial where the prosecution presents their case and the defense isn't able to. so we'll finally be able to get to the truth. so i'm talking to my colleagues in the senate, these are some of the witnesses that you need to call and these are some of the
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questions that you need to ask. first, you have to hear from the whistleblower. now, they can choose to do that in closed session if they want to. i leave that up to them. but you can't initiate an impeachment of the president of the united states and not have to answer some questions. who did he get his information from? did he have the classification and the clearances to get that information. what's his relationship with vice president biden. who has he shared that information with, including some members of the committee here. i think our own chairman needs to be called. what interactions did he or his staff have with the whistleblower? did they help to coordinate or in any way facilitate the complaint? did they coordinate and facilitate council, what about hunter biden, how did he get his job? what did he do to earn his salary, and here's the key to this, look if he goes there and makes money, knock yourself out.
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i don't care, but i want to know did he have officials or conversations with government officials and was government policy changed at a particularly high level because of some of those? devin archer, former board member from burisma, alexandria cha li , provided anti-trump information to the dnc and hardship, nelly orr from fusion gps who helped create the ridiculous steele dossier the american people expect a lot in politics. they understand the tussle, the fight, the debate, but they also expect basic fairness, and these proceedings have been anything but fair. the senate has an opportunity to fix that. i am confident they will. and i look forward to them completing the job that we could have done here. and with that, i will yield back. >> mr. quigley. >> thank you mr. chairman, thank you both for being here.
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dr. hill, when we last left july 109th, i believe ambassador bolton said to you you go and tell eisenberg that i'm not part of whatever drug deal sondland and mulvaney are cooking up on this, and tell him what you have heard and what i said. that's correct, is that right? >> that's correct. >> and john eisenberg, the chief lawyer for the national security council correct. he is, yes. >> and you went to see him. >> i did. >> what did you say. >> i gave him the same summary i have given to you on the 10th of ju july. >> of what took place. >> of what took place, including some of the details i shared with you as well, the sequencing and what transpired as i was walking in. >> now, did i have one or two meetings with him about that? >> he did not have a great deal of time on the 10th, and i gave him the quick summary, and we agreed that we would meet again on the 11th, on july 11th, the next day, and i also wanted to bring in with me my colleague,
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wells griffith, senior director for energy who had been sitting with me on the sofa for the first portion of the meeting. and i also suggested that he speak to colonel vindman separately as well because colonel vindman was in the board room when i arrived and obviously had been engaged in discussion before i got there because as i got into the room, they were clearly in the course of, sorry with the microphone, clearly within the course of conversation and i thought it was important for john eisenberg to hear from colonel vindman himself what his recollections of the meetings were. >> did you raise the concerns that ambassador bolton had raised to you to mr. eisenberg. >> i certainly did. the first thing i related to him was exactly and precisely what ambassador bolton had asked me to. >> in the course of the two meetings, what was mr. eisenberg's response. >> mr. eisenberg took it all very seriously. he said, for example, that colonel vindman should feel free, he said this to this to mn
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future to go and bring any concerns to him about these- these meetings. slrly, myself and any others if there was any subsequent follow-up in terms of these issues being raised again with any of the parties in the future. >> he didn't say anything in response about how he took that meeting or how he would describe it or if he had any -- did he raise any concerns about what you told him that took place? >> no, he did not. he listened very carefully to all the information we imparted. >> now back to that july 0th meeting, the second meeting in the ward room, correct. >> that's correct. >> who is in that meeting besides yourself, the two ukrainians? >> mr. donalup mr. yermak. mr. yerm's aide. ambassador volker and ambassador sondland. and a couple of people from the state department. i wonder if one of secretary perry's group had been there too. i can't remember. >> but ambassador volker was there during the entire time.
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>> he didn't actually speak very much during the meeting. and and i heard his deposition and i read his deposition where he didn't really recall that encounter the again, he didn't really speck. it was mostly ambassador sondland. >> itching you described it -- ambassador sonld sondland was talking about a meeting with chief mulvaney if they were going forward with the investigations. while this was taking place and afterwards, how were the ukrainians reacting to what was being said. >> at the time mr. yermak was quite impassive. i said he had an aide with him and his aide was next to him in the original meeting with ambassador bolton and was from time to time actually on this side whispering to him. i wasn't sure myself. because i had not met mr. yermak before about how good his fwlish was. i wane sure perhaps mr. holmes might be able to reflect on that whether he was having points of clarification from the aide.
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>> he understood what was happening squloo joo. >> i wasn't sure if he was following all of the back and forth. mr. luko who speaks good english was alarmed. i think he was more alarmed at the back and forth between could colonel vindman and ambassador sondland. and here are some u.s. officials arguing about the meeting in front of him. and that was obviously very uncomfortable for him. >> did you have any follow up to that, sir? >> i just added donuluk speaks perfect english but yermak often asks for clarifications. >> given the time i would yield back. >> miss staffenic. before i turn to the witnesses i want to say to the democratic colleagues not a single republican member of in committee has said that russia did not meddle in the elections. we published a report focused on russian active measures in 2016
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with policy recommendations as to how we strengthen our cyber resiliency and election security to counter russia. i worked with member of this committeen the issue but also on the house armed services committee. to have our democratic colleagues say the untruthful statements wreaks of political desperation in the continued obsession to manipulate maritimes media coverage. but the good news people understand this has been a partisan process from the start. the democratic coordination with the whistle-blower, the incestant and astounding leaks, the unprecedented closed door process, closed to the majority of members, closed to press, the people. starting this inquiry without taking a vote, and then when finally forced to take a vote the vote was with bipartisan opposition. now with four minutes left i turn to the two witnesses thank you both for your service. thank you, dr. hill for comments on the personal attacks. i wanted to ask you each fact-wasted questions. dr. hill, you testified that you
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handed over your duties on the nsc to tim morrison on july 15th and that you physically left the white house on july 19th, correct. >> that is correct, yes. >> that means by the time of the july 25th call with president trump and president zelensky you were no longer on the nsc correct. >> actually i was still technically on the payroll of the nsc until the end of august. august 30th of 2019. but i was not physically in the building and i handed over my duties to mr. morrison. >> and you were not on the call. >> i was not on the call. that is absolutely correct. >> and also correct that you did not participate in the preparation of talking points or the specific coordination of setting up the call. >> not for that call but say for the record there had been a long anticipation that eventually there would be a call. so there was a call package prepared in advance. i can't say how much of that call package that had perhaps been prepared since, for example, the inauguration of
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president zelensky was used as the basic material for the call. i did take part in the preparation of the standard call package. but i did not take part in preparation for the specific call on july 25th. >> the first time you read the transcript of the call was when it was released to the public squloo. >> nacre. >> mr. holmes, i wanted to turn to you. good to see you again. thank you for mentioning the bipartisan delegation that i led on behalf of the house armed services committee with my friend representative anthony brown are from maryland. we do have an exception the informative visit where we highlighted the bipartisan congressional support for ukraine, in particular the importance of countering russian aggression. and we discussed in the discuss briefing at the embassy the importance of lethal aid in the form of javelins which you stated is an important deterrent to russia. i wanted to highlight on the record i know it's been asked pb the javelin were provided by the trump administration and not the
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obama administration, correct. >> that's correct. and i would say i think we discussed the importance of all security assistance not just the javelins. >> all of the security assistance which i strongly support. thank you for hosting that. dr. hill turning back to you, there's been discussion about the process of scheduling the meeting between president zelensky and president trump. -on testified that there was hesitancy to schedule the meeting until after the ukrainian parliamentary elections. is that correct? >> that is correct, yes. >> and that's because there was speculation in all analytical circles in ukraine and outside the ukraine that zelensky might not be able to get the marmt that he needed to form a cabinet, correct. >> that's correct. >> and you also testified that another aspect of the nsc scheduling of the meeting was based on broader concerns related to zelensky's ability to glemt anti-corruption reforms in specifics recommendation to ukrainian oligarchs who basically were the owner of the
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tv company that mr. zelensky's program had been part of, is that correct. >> turck that's correct. >> just distilling this down to key facts i wanted to ask both of you, three key questions, so the fact of the matter is ukraine ultimately did receive the aid, correct, mr. holmes. >> ultimately. >> yes and dr. hill. >> correct, ultimately. >> >> and there was no investigation into the bidens, correct, mr. holmes. >> they did not open a new investigation of the bidens. >> correct. >> and dr. hill. >> correct. >> and there was in fact a meeting between president trump and president zelensky ultimate ily at the u.n., that is correct. >> the president invited zelensky to the oval office at a date undetermined that hasn't happened. >> the meeting at the u.n., president trump and president zelensky met at the u.n. >> at the not the oval. >> and dr. hill. >> yes. >> thank you, i yield back. >> mr. swalwell. >> dr. hill, yesterday injury a
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lot of americans were scratching their heads as ambassador sondland testified that on september 9 he calls the president of the united states and just says broadly, what do you want from ukraine? >> and the president says there is no quid pro quo. there is no quid pro quo. like being pulled over for speeding and being asked do you know how fast you are going and saying, i didn't rob the bank. i didn't rob the bank. but your testimony today is that on july 10 of in year, you told one of the president's lawyers that you had concerns that a white house meeting was linked to investigations. is that correct? >> that's correct based on what ambassador sondland said in the ward room. >> and so as early as july 10 the president's lawyers had knowledge that there was at least concern by a presidential employee about a linkage. is that right? >> that's correct. >> dr. hill, just like you, we are trying to account for all the president's men.
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you had that same concern when you saw mr. sondland's emails and you saw people outside the channels that you had been working on. so i want to walk you through something you told us earlier. you said you have evidence that as recently as this year president trump believes someone named cash was the ukraine director, that is correct. >> it's not really evidence. i want to be clear about this. i was asked a question about in in my deposition. i did not raise it. to be honest i was surprised that i was asked the question. >> with you you heard that that name cash, that is right. >> i did. but, again, in passing and i explained the circumstances in which that came up. but i was asked a question in the course of my deposition about it. >> and the only person at the time who worked at the national security kwounl was cash patel. >> that is correct. >> that was the only person i could think. >> and working at national security councils from 2017 to 2018 worked for ranking member nunes. >> i found that out after the
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fact. because i wondered why i asked was asked about him and i looked it up. >> you cautions members of in committee perhaps peddling any ukrainian conspiracy theories that could benefit russia. and i want to ask you if you have heard the name lev parnas of ukraine, someone in this investigation who was influencing president trump and rudy giuliani about some of the debunked conspiracy theories you referenced earlier. >> i have heard his name yes. >> are you aware mr. parnas was indicted october 10 for making foreign contributions to republicans in u.s. elections. >> i'm aware. >> are you aware of the daifl beast story reporting the lev parnas has been working with ranking member mr. dmunz and his overseas investigations. >> i'm not aware. >> i ask unanimous consent to put into the record the report from the daily beast from yesterday. first two appraises reading lev
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parnas an indicted associate of rudy giuliani helped arrange meetings and calls in europe for representative devin nunes in 2018. his lawyer told the daily beast. derrick harvey participated in the meetings, which were arranged to help nunes's investigative work. mcman didn't specify what the investigations entailed. >> without objection. >> mr. chairman you have been falsely accused by the ranking member as being a fact witness. now, if this story is correct, the rankening member may have been projecting and in fact he may be the fact witness if he is working with indicted individuals around our investigation. but i want to go to what this is really all about. first, it's your credibility, mr. holmes. and can you tell us and confirm that in 140u you received the william rivkin constructive dissent award from the obama
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kplrgs state department. >> that's correct. >> that's for a policy you brought up against the administration policy. >> that's right. >> what we are here about is what we are working on ukraine. i want to look at the picture who do you see in the foreground of that photo. >> president zelensky. >> that's a photograph in may 2019 where newly elected president zelensky visited the luhanska region in eastern ukraine, the first visit to the front lines of donbas as president. can you tell tax paying americans why it's so important that our hard earned tax paying dollars help president zelensky and the men standing beside him fight russia in this hot war? >> absolutely, sir. president zelensky was elected on overwhelming majority to defend ukrainian interests.
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this is at a time when ukrainians are defending their sovereignty, territorial integrity on ukrainian soil from russian-backed soldiers who are attacking them. they said 14,000 ukraining lives lost in the war so far. a few already this week already. and this is a hot war. this is in the a frozen conflict. people are shooting at each other and dying, injured every single week. and despite the ongoing war they are still trying to pursue peace. president zelensky is trying to pursue a summit meeting with president putin in order to tray to bring this war to a conclusion so that they can move on with all the difficult things they need to do in terms of building the economy and reforming the judiciary and whatnot. i want to add one other thing, sir if i may. mr. turner had suggested earlier that it somehow embarrasses embarrassed president zelensky. i have the deepest expect as for
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president zelensky tp he is from a jewish the brktd from post soviet industrial suburb into southern ukraine made himself one of the most popular entertainers in the country and got elected president and he is not missing the opportunity. this is a ukrainian patriot, a tough guy. and frankly he with stood a lot of pressure for a long time. and he didn't give that interview. i have the deepest respect for him. the ukraine. in' people have deep respect for him they chose him to help deliver the full measure of promise of the revolution of dignity i think he merits all our respect. >> mr. chairman, i ask ask unanimous consent to enter the photo on the screen into the record. >> without objection, mr. hurd. >> thank you, dr. hill, mr. holmes for your years of service to this country. and i appreciate y'all being here today. throughout this process i have said that i want to learn the facts so we can get to the truth. so why are we here? because of two things that
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occurred during the president's july 25th phone call with ukrainian president zelensky. the use of the phrase, do us a favor, though, in reference to the 2016 presidential election and the mention of the word biden. i believe both statements were inappropriate, misguided foreign policy. and it's certainly not how the executive current or in the future should handle such a call. over the course of the hearings, the american people have learned about a series of events that in my view have undermined our national security and undercut ukraine, a key partner on the front lines against russian aggression. we have heard of u.s. officials carrying uncoordinated confusing and conflicting messages creating doubt and uncertainty in kyiv at a time when a new reformist administration has just taken office and was ready to fight corruption and work with us to advance other u.s. object he was. i disagree with this sort of bunkling foreign policy. but through the hearings many of
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my colleagues have unwittingly undermined the ukraineening government by suggesting it's subservient to the united states and without the united states they wouldn't be able to function. the ukrainians as you stated mr. holmes is in a hot war with russia and they are holding their own. we could benefit from the experience of the ukrainians, not the other way around. while i thought the intelligence committee would actually be engaged in oversight of the intelligence and national security communities, unfortunately we are not. we are here talking about one of the most serious constitutional duties we have as members of congress, the impeachment and removal of a president of the united states. over the past weeks, we have learned a few things. the officials on the july 25th call have many different opinions on whether the cull was concerning or not and just because vice president biden is running for president does not mean that corruption related to burisma, ukraine's largest natural gas companies a and american ties to it are not
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kerpg. there is a lot we do don't know. we have not heard from rudy giuliani. haven't heard from hunter biden. i'd like to know more about both activities. why they talked to who and to whom. despite promising from chairman schiff we have not heard from the whistle-blower. something that can occur in a closed setting without violating his or her anonymity. we need to understand the motivations and level of coordination that happened prior to his or her submission of the complaint. over the past few weeks and even today it's been reited in 2017 about. the trump administration maid the decision to provide lethal aid to ukraine after the obama refused. president zelensky has yun tande significant anti-corruption efforts including eliminating the parliamentary immunity from prosecution. and again, mr. holmes, you mechanicsed today, under president zelensky's leadership we have finally seen progress this fall towards ending the russian occupation of eastern ukraine. so where does this leave us?
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an impeachable offense should be compelling, overwhelmingly clear and unambiguous. and it's not something to be rushed or taken lightly. i have not heard evidence proving the president committed bribery or extortion. i also reject the notion that holding this view means supporting all the foreign policy choices we have been hearing about over the last few weeks. to paraphrase tim morrison's testimony this week every day the national conversation is focused on impeachment not the illegal occupation of crimea not the need for reforms in ukraine government and economy. it's a day where we are not focused on shared national security interest with kyiv. i hope we went let the partisan process keep us from agreeing on how a free and prospersous ukraine is important to the security of the ukrainian people, the united states of america, and the rest of the world. mr. chairman, before i yield back my time i'd like to make a
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statement for the record that has this committee been given proper notice as required by house rule 11 claus 23 g at a business meeting was follow ha had the conway point of order been properly recognized i would have retire voted no on the committee's first notion to table last night during the imprompt ewe meeting and i yield back the balance of pie my time. >> thank you mr. kmarm. thank you both for year testimony today. i want to say because it shouldn't go unmentioned that the characterization just a few minutes ago which one of my republican colleagues of the proceeding, i think is vile, irresponsible, and dangerous. and i want to -- i want to remind us why we are here. because somebody in government, a whistle-blower felt it was important enough to get other people in government's attention that the president may have committed a wrong act. we have now heard and seen substantial evidence that the
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president in fact tried to trade a political favor for official government resources. the most damning words come from no one else but the president himself. on that phone call with the ukrainian president. where he asked for a favor, mentions investigations, mentions the bidens and burisma. however, as mr. hoechls has testified, mr. holmes also overheard the president speaking to his hand-picked ambassador, ambassador sondland about investigations. mr. hoechls has also said that in the office everybody knew or many people knew at least that there was an -- the president wanted an investigation of the bidens. in addition, although mick mulvaney and rudy giuliani have not come before this committee, mick mulvaney and rudy giuliani have spoken publicly on the issue of investigations. mick mulvaney, the president's chief of staff, the person who usually works with the president the most, day in and day out,
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went in front of the white house press corps and basically gheited an investigation had something to do withholding up the aid and that this -- admitted the process was politicized. rudy giuliani, the president's personal lawyer, also essentially admitted that these investigations were at issue. he said that he thinks he did nothing wrong because he was working at the direction of the president. so we have seen substantial evidence and heard substantial evidence of wrong doing by the president of the united states. and this congress will have to continue to take up this very important issue to the american people. my concern today is also i feel as though the cancer of wrong doing may have spread beyond the president and into others of the executive branch. and i want to ask you a few questions about that. before i do i'd like chairman to
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enter two articles into the record if i could. one of them is headlined after boost from perry backers got huge gas deal in ukraine. the other one is titled ""wall street journal"" federal prosecutorers probe julie links to ukrainian energy projects. mr. holmes. >> without without objection. >> thank you, chairman. you indicated secretary perry when in yourng had private meetings with ukrainians. before he had the private meetings, in a meeting with others, including yourself, i believe, he had presented a list of american advisers for the ukraine energy sector. do you know who was on that list? >> sir, i didn't see the names on the list myself. >> do you know if alex cranberg were on the list and michael blaiser. >> i have heard michael blazer
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was on the list. >> would to be correct secretary perry we also heard before ambassador sondland had a private meeting with somebody. how unusual was it before these guys showed up for folks, diplomats so to speak, or u.s. government officials, to have private meetings where they insist that nobody else be in the room? >> very rare, almost never. >> okay. and i want to ask you also, about the precedent we set. i know you're here as fact witnesses but also public servants for the country. the precedent in congress would set putting aside donald trump for a second, if the congress allows a president of the united states now or later to ask a foreign government, head of state to investigate a political
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rival, what precedent does that set for american diplomacy, for the safety of americans overseas and for the future of our country? >> that's a very bad precedent. >> very bad precedent and going forward if that were ever the case i would raise objections. >> thank you both. i yield back, chair. >> mr. ratcliffe. >> i want to yield to my colleague congressman conway. >> dr. hill i don't think there is a lot of questions that one of putin's primary object he was in the united states is to fomt unrest in our nation, cause us to have -- lose confidence in elections and the results of the elections those kind of things. there is tension, though in conducting our business the way we should. and you know playing into putin's hand. as an example, while i disagree with what we're doing here today it's under our constitution and my colleagues on the other side
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of the aisle believe they are functioning under that constitution. these hearings in issue has been very advicive within our country. and is continuing to push that way. i think it plays into putin he is a hands inadvertently maybe nothing we can do about that. but there are certain things we can do as individuals that wouldn't play into his hands. one of them would be that the looser in the 2016 election has for three years continued to argue that because she won the popular vote as she and her friends -- she won the popular vote that somehow the election was inappropriate and that we shouldn't trust it, that the electoral college victory which was resounding shouldn't be trusted. does that help putin or play into the narrative that he would like for us to, that our elections are swhou rigged and shouldn't be trusted in. >> yes, it does. >> so the r.t., putin's -- would you agree with me r.t. is putin's propaganda machine in the united states. >> i would agree with you, yes.
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>> is it appropriate for the t.r.t. to be used to affect public policy in our nation, for example, a long series of advertisements or programs on r.t. going against fracturing saying it's bad and trying to affect public policy in the united states? and see appropriate use -- should americans be paying attention to that? >> in the tense that americans should be paying attention to r.t. and other outlets used to prototyping this information absolutely. i wasn't sure what you meant. >> fraking is a controversial issue in our nation if we did away with fraks the united states wouldn't be in a position today to dominate oil production in the world and play into strengthenings ut put putin's hands. >> that's correct i'd like to point out in november 2011 i sat next to vladimir putin at a conference in which he made precise that point. . it was the first time he had done so. to a group of american journalists and experts who were brought to something called the
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discussion club. he started in 2011 making it clear he saw american fraking as a great threat to russian interests. we were all struck by how much he stressed this issue. and it's since 2011 and since that particular juncture that putin made a of this. >> they said americans paying attention to r.t. and misguided by whatever propaganda he is going is not in hour nation's best interests. mr. holmes, in your role, you are privileged a awful lot of stuff. official things. and things that are best kept between you and the official folks that you deal with. is there an expect appendix among the principles that you represent that you will exercise discretion in what you share with others about what goes on? >> yes, sir. >> in your public -- in your testimony -- your deposition you maid -- first off we had a hard time pinning down the number of people you had the conversation with about the conversation that you yefr heard. now, our ambassador had no expectation of privacy.
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he is blustering around what he has done. but we couldn't figure out how many people you actually shared that information with. and i would argue that the information is unflattering to the president, unflattering to the ambassador. and that that your discretion is to -- at odds here. i mean, your testimony, your deposition said you shared that with folks who you thought would find it interesting. well i'd argue everybody on the back row would find it interesting. but i don't know that necessarily the criteria. on a go forward basis can you articulate in the future when you are privileged to certain circumstances that -- that would be embarrassing to the principal that if it's official you shared with the ambassador that's fine. but folks outside the embassy or even within the embassy that don't have a need to know that you wouldn't regail them with your recounting the instances. >> i think it was gordon sondland showing indiscretion by having the conversation that's the person -- second thing. >> excuse me, mr. holmes.
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>> please let. >> let me clarify the question. >> mr. holmes. >> excuse me. >> let him answer your question, sir. >> it's my question. you're right and i get to clarify nigh question to get the answer and i'm hopeful i get a few more seconds because of the interruption from the chairman his patience is growing thin. i was working hard not to err at this time tate him again i failed again. the question of up mr. holmes where, your discretion. gordon sondland did not expect the privacy -- i got that. but you're going to be in rooms for -- you've been in rooms 17 years aware where people trust whatever went on in the room and left that you kept to official channels didn't share the information with other folks. i'm asking you to -- to argue for your -- on your behalf, that interesting is not some sort of cite yan onthat you would use when you share information from meetings simple straightforward question. >> sir, i shared the information i need to share with the right people who needed to know it. i did not share any information with people that didn't need to know. >> but you did use the word
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interesting mr. conway. >> it certainly was interesting. and i would hate to think that what i brought before this -- this process i shouldn't have done that. i have come here because you have subpoenaed me to share what i know and i've done that. >> mr. holmes you were cut off talking about mr. sondland's discretion. did you want to finish that answer. >> i think -- >> mr. chairman that is patently unfair. >> as you have been through the entire investigation. >> mr. can't way to. >> you're certainly willing to interrupt me and to my interrupt my five minutes only on the person with unlimited time absolutely unlimited time you have abused that power and kipting to do that. >> mr. conway the gentlemen will cease. we allow those witnesses answering the question if you don't want to hear the answer. >> that does that reply to you as well. >> yes. >> much use has been made about the irregular or foreign service channels. my reading of history is that american presidents have on occasion used irregular channels
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would you generally agree. >> yes, sir. >> and my reading of history is that generally speaking however the irregular channels have either been closely coordinated with the regular ones or at least in furtherance of american foreign policy and our national security interests. would you agree? >> that's right, zblier and do you believe, sir that mr. giuliani's efforts were closely coordinated with the regular channels such as the ambassador to the ukraine? >> no, they weren't. >> and were they in furtherance of american foreign policy as you understood it. >> no, sir. >> mr. holmes, if left unchecked do you think that russia would either by means of force or other malign means subjugate ukraine taept to rendter a client state if not occupy it. >> absolutely. it's been said that without ukraine russia is just a country but with it it's an empire. >> i feel like i've been treated to a gatling gun fire of myth
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propagation. reminds me of the expression about the big lie if you repeat the big lie often enough people will believe it. i think we've been subjected to some of that. here is a sample, the president didn't solicit campaign assistance from ukraine in a clear violation of federal law. yes, he did. the president didn't withhold vital military assistance in furtherance of a subjective to obtain that campaign assistance. yes, he did. rudy giuliani was acting just on his own, kind of as a rogue. no, he wasn't. that all in is business as usual. this happens all the time and stems from a principled interest. no, it isn't. and no it wasn't. and thats okay to attack
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patriotic diplomats in public service if they stand in your way and have the courage to speak up. and no, it isn't. those are just some of the big lies. but here is the big truth. the president did it. he did it. we all just came from the floor. and it's a majestic chamber. in the front of the chamber there are only two portraits. on the left looking forward is my favorite president, george washington. and on the right is the marquis dela fayett. and without his help we wouldn't have gotten off the ground and that assistance from many other countries who are helping us create something that had never
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been created before. it was an audacious idea, the notion of of a democracy of seven governance. freemds such as press, religion, expression. and assembly. and most of us rooted in the premise of the rule of law, not monarchs, not military strongmen, but the rule of law. others helped us get here. and we wouldn't be here without them. and i frankly feel like we're almost in a little bit of a pay it forward moment. so when the president did it he put at risk the security of ukraine, a strategic ally and a nascent democracy with their masses yearning to breathe free. who six years ago this day when
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they said they are not signing the memorandum of agreement with european union rose up and took to the streets, because they wanted frankly what we have. and when the president did it he put our own national security at risk. but what he did most importantly was put at risk that idea that makes us exceptional, because i do believe america is truly exceptional. we are a country rooted in something that nobody has ever tried before, rule of law. he put that at risk when he did what he did. the president did it. and the only question that remains is, what will we do? i yield back, mr. chairman. >> mr. jordan. >> thank you, mr. chairman. dr. hill, during -- during your deposition i asked you was
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christopher steele's dossier a rabbit hole. do you remember -- do you remember the answer you gave to that question. >> yes i thought it was a rabbit hole. >> and you also said a couple pages later in the deposition or in the transcript that i have here of your deposition that you thought he got played. is that fair? >> that is fair, yes. >> i was struck by a number of things you said in your statement. a number of things i thought were on target. one on page 7. you said this, president putin at russian security services weaponize our own political opposition research. and that is exactly what happened in 2016. exactly what happened. you called it. you knew it. you saw it. the dnc hired perkins kuy, who hired fusion gps who hired christopher steele who talked to russians who gave him a burcham of dirt, national eninquire err garbage that he compiled in a dossier and you're fbi used it.
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they used it as part of their investigation that they opened in july of 2016 where any spied on two american citizens associated with the presidential campaign. my guess is that's probably never happened in american history. and exactly what dr. hill talked about is what happened in 2016. exactly what she talked about. and for ten months jim comey and his team did an investigation. and after ten months they had nothing. because we deposed mr. comey. and he told us after ten months we didn't have a thing. but that didn't matter. that didn't matter. we got the mueller investigation. $32 million, 19 lawyers. 40 fbi agents. 500 search warrants, 2,800 subpoenas and they came back this spring and what did they tell news no collusion, no conspiracy, no coordination. but the guys on the other side don't care. they don't care. they're doing what dr. hill said
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a number of important things in her opening statement. they're doing exactly what dr. hill talked about. the impact of a successful 2016 russian campaign remains evident today. our nation is being torn apart. torn apart. i've never seen it this divided. and it's not healthy, not healthy for our culture, country ob our nation np that's what these guys are doing. no conspiracy, no coordination, no collusion, but they don't care. now this. this whole impeachment thing as the witness said yesterday, the witness said yesterday, without an announcement from zelensky about an investigation they weren't getting a call with the president, weren't getting a meeting with the president and weren't getting aid from the united states. but guess what. ukraine they got the call, any got the meeting. and they got the money. and there was never an announcement of any type of investigation.
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this is -- but timothy don't care. they're moving forward. there is going to be some kind of report. they'll they're going to send something to the judiciary committee and the process is going forward and there will be a tril in the senate all based on some aanonymous whistle-blower who came forward with no firsthand knowledge, whose biased against the president, who worked with joe biden. now all of this. now all of this. this is -- dr. hill isright. she said it. we got to stop this. but they're not going to. and they're doing it all 11 and a half months before the next election. i think the most telling thing is what the speaker of the house said sunday. speak speaker of the house said sunday. this is scary. speaker of the house said sunday, national sunday morning tv show. she said the president is an impost-er. the guy that 63 million voted for who won the electoral college landslide. the speaker of the house called
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the president of the united states an impost-er. it's sad what the country is going threw. i wish it would stop process but unfortunately i don't think it is. i yield back. >> mr. welch. >> i want to use my time to speak trektly to my colleagues and to the american people. today's witnesses and the ones we have been privileged before the committee over the last two weeks have provided an invaluable service to our country. not just in all your careers but in having the courage and the patriotism to share your facts with the american people. and you do so at considerable risk to yourselves. but you've clearly stepped forward for the simple fact you believe it's your duty. in all your testimony reaffirms a central fact. president trump conditioned our foreign policy and national security on getting a valuable political benefit from ukraine. he wanted ukraine's new president to create ethical
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questions about joe biden by publicly announcing investigations. and to pressure president zelensky to take that action that would benefit his personal political interests he withheld vital military aid to ukraine and refused to meet with president zelensky in the oval office. and as we heard from mr. holmes and dr. hill today, that meeting was extraordinarily important to ukraine and extraordinarily important in sending a message to russia about our -- our unyielding support. the witnesses have made it absolutely clear what the president did. and it's equally clear that president trump has launched a cover-up and disinformation campaign to hide this abuse of power from the american people. that's why the administration refuses to provide documents to this committee. and it's why the white house has taken the unprecedented position
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that senior officials could ignore congressional subpoenas and refused to testify. that's why acting chief of staff mulvaney, secretary of state pompeo and others have not testified. now the president and even some members of the committee are pretending this is normal. it is not. it must never be. no other president has betrayed his office like this by putting his own small political interest above our national interests and our national security. you know, i asked some of our witnesses, what would happen in any american city or town if the mayor stopped funding the police department until the chief of police launched a investigation into the political rival and members of congress did that. the answer was clear. it would be wrong eyeball illegal and not tolerated. it would violate the public trust in public officials if it
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mapped happened with a military officials a court martial would fired. a ceo would be fired. we know it's wrong but the president continues to say it isn't. he says it's perfect and he would do it again tomorrow. the same rules apply to mayors, governs, members of congress, ceos and everyone else in america. they reply to the president too. whether you are republican or democrat, you like msnbc or fox, i think every american believes in one of our nation's founding principles. no person is before the law, not even the president. july 24th director mueller testified about russian state sponsored systematic interference in our 2016 election. he expressed apprehension this could be the new normal. the day after on july 25th, president trump spoke to president zelensky and asked a favor. that favor was that ukraine
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interfere in our 2020 election. if we allow this to stand, to become the new normal, it will be the standard for all future presidents. in good conscience none of us can do that. it corrupts our democracy, corrupts how our country conducts foreign policy. threatens our national security and the security of all americans. and it is in my view a clear betrail of the president's oath of office. i yield back. >> mr. maloney. >> two quick housekeeping matters. ask unanimous consent to entered into the record. the abc news story sbiemgtsed 70% of american's say trump's actions tide to ukraine were wrong dated november 19th 2019. >> without objection.
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>> and a new yorker story entitled the invention of the conspiracy theory on biden and ukraine how a conservative dark money group that targeted hillary clinton in 2016 spread the discredited story that may lead to donald trump's impeachment jane meyer october, 2019. >> without objection. >> goorn. thank you for being here. dr. hill, first of all i thought that was some epic man explaining you were forced to endure by my colleague fl turner. i want you to know some of it think it was inappropriate. i appreciate your forbearens. let me ask something. i'm fast nature by the meeting- two meetings on july 10th. you have the meeting in mr. bolton's office. sondland says this thing about investigations. bolton ends the meeting. photo. follow on meeting in the ward room.
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assert that the meeting is going to happen if there is these investigations. is that what is going on? >> that's right, yes. what i want to understand is you disagree, right? >> that's correct. excuse me? >> i'm sorry, yes. >> you or for that matter the national security adviser mr. bolton, right? >> yes. >> that's not why he sent you down there to see how the meetings go. >> correct. >> i self instructed a couple times. that is the first time i was instructed to go. >> and why did he send you to report this to the lawyer?
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>> well, he clearly wanted to have himself on the record as not being part of what was basically an agreement to have a meeting in return for investigations. and i wanted to make sure that i and colonel vindman were also not part of this as well. remember, there was a -- not getting involved in domestic politics. >> i understand. >> did you conquer with this concern that mr. bolton had? >> i did. because july 10th is really the first time that it crystallized for me that the world's basically a different channel going on here. >> and i think -- >> policy channel and a domestic policy channel. >> and you felt it was improper what was occurring by mr.
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sondland in the war room? >> it was improper and inappropriate. we sthaed in real time. >> and here's my point. if it was improper and you went so far as to report to the lawyers, what was the nature of the disagreement with mr. sondland who said he had no idea that burisma meant bidens until much, much later? and he and ambassador volker had a blizzard of interactions with mr. giuliani. they were amending statements. and qulet, how it is you have this disagreement in front of the ukrainians and send them out into the hallway at some point did he ask you, know, i'm just talking abo
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talking about. he made it clear we have an objection. you had an argument about it. didn't he say -- >> he was oblivious -- >> it is not credible to me he was oblivious. he didn't say bidens. he said burisma and he said 2016 as well as burisma. >> i want to thank you for your
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appearance here today. thank you. >> thank you so much, dr. hill and mr. holmes for your service. i have no doubt after today that we're a better nation because of it. we all know by now that in july of this year president trump sent an order to the office of management and budget that congressionally approved military aid to ukraine be put on hold. both of you have expressed that ukraine is the front -- the first line of defense against russian aggression and expansion into europe. that russia's priority is to undermine the united states. is that right, dr. hill? >> that's correct. >> would you agree with that, mr. holmes? >> yes, dr. hill in, your professional opinion, is it in the national security interest of the united states to support ukraine with the much talked
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about military aid? >> yes. >> mr. hole snmes? >> yes. >> already said it several times today and you already testified that ukraine is in war. right now. with russia. isn't it true, mr. holmes, that even though the security assistance was eventually delivered to ukraine had, the fact that it was delayed to a country that is actively in war signalled to russia that perhaps the bond between ukraine and the united states was weakening? >> absolutely. >> and it could act in a more aggressive way. >> that's correct. >> you also testified that was a unanimous view of the ukraine
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policy community that the aid should be released because supporting ukraine is in our national security interest. dr. hill, why do you believe that the entire ukraine policy community were unanimously in agreement? >> well, we had this experience before and i just want you to indulge me for a moment. in 2008, russia also attacked the country of georgia. i was the national intelligence officer at that particular juncture and we warned to the highest level of government that we believe there was a real risk of conflict between ukraine -- sorry, georgia and russia. and, in fact, we also believed at that point that russia might attack ukraine. this was in 2008 when both georgia and ukraine sought membership action plan in nato. and russia threatened them
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openly and proceeded with requests for nato membership that there would be consequences. in the wake of the attack on georgia, president putin made it clear that this was related to me at the highest levels of the georgia january governme georgian government said to putin that your west allies promised a great deal. they didn't deliver. i threatened, i delivered. we had made all kinds of promises to georgia and ukraine in that time frame and we didn't come through. >> he threatened ukraine in 200 # and it wasn't until 2014 when
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ukraine tried to conclude an association agreement with the european union he struck. he was threatening this for the whole period since 2008. >> thank you so much, dr. hill. what message does it send to other members of the united states when military holds for assistance or imposed with no absolutely explanation? what message does it send to our allies in terms of the good faith and good relationship with the u.s.? thank you both for being two of those who protect our nation. >> good afternoon. thank you so much for coming in. thank you for your service. dr. hill had, you stated in you
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deposition that you have been accused of being a mole for george suros in the white house, correct? you said in your deposition that a conspiracy was launched against you by roger stone on info wars. >> he wasn't a convicted felon the time this was launched. i didn't use those words. it was roger stone in 2017. just more recently, before mr. stone was at trial, they were at it again. >> and they said i'll quote what they said about you. "we here at info wars first identified fiona hill, the globalist leftist george suros
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insider that infill straighted mcmaster's staff." he said that on may 31st, 2017. i presume you're not a leftist jornl suros. >> i think my colleagues would be surprised to hear about this. the left in europe is a bit different than left here. >> i agree. >> interestingly, you stated in your deposition that a similar conspiracy theory had actually been launched against marie yovanovitch. >> that's correct. >> and you said specifically when i saw this happening to ambassador yovanovitch, again, i was furious because this is again just this whipping up of what is frankly an anti-semitic conspiracy theory. >> i did say that.
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there are other partisan career officials. we had lieutenant colonel alex there is criticism of the president. would you say that and he spun in part. >> that's what they do. it is the 1900s. that actually can you still obtain on the internet and you can buy it sometimes in book shops in russia and elsewhere. this is the longest running
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anti-semitic troeb anti-semit anti-semitic trobe we have in hist rich. it was also kreb krocreated for purposes. it was intended to write sbhg this before i was actually invited to come into the administration because it's an absolute outrage. >> i'm sorry you've been wrapped up in these crack pot conspiracy theories. let me turn to rudy giuliani. you became increasingly concerned about rudy giuliani's increasing role in ukraine between january and march of 2019, correct? >> that's correct. >> and i know you serve in the bush and the obama administrations. i presume that george bush's personal lawyer and president obama's personal lawyers were never, you know, directing or heavily influencing ukraine policy. the. >> i'm not even sure i know who they were. so the answer is no.
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and the concern for having someone like rudy giuliani, having such a strong influence on american policy is basically, that policy may be operated no the in best interest of america but perhaps in the best interest of rudy giuliani or his clients or business associates, right? >> i think that's correct. i said in my deposition that frankly that's what i thought it was at the very beginning when i first herd m first heard mr. giuliani making the negotiations. we have an interesting character in chicago who is now been indicted. his name is mr. fertash. he's been indicted for federal bribery charges and other associate of giuliani, sfligt. >> i do know him, correct. i know of him from my work, that's correct. >> and qut he that we're all asking is whether american foreign policy in ukraine is potentially being run in their interests and not our own.
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>> it certainly is pears it's being used, that this is a subversion of american foreign policy to push these people's he personal interests. >> thank you so much. >> that concludes the member questioning. we'll now go to closing statements. mr. nunes, do you have any closing remarks? >> thank you. i stress in these hearings that the whistle-blower complaint was a pretext for donald trump's political opponents to do what they've been trying to do since he was elected, oust the president from office. the brief time line will illustrate the wide range of extraordinary attacks as the administration faced. i'm going to start in june of 2016 when donald trump was just a candidate. on behalf of the democratic national committee and the hillary clinton campaign, gps hires christopher steel to write the steel dossiers, false allegations attributed to russians sources saying that donald trump is a russian agent. fast forward to january 6, 2017.
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fbi director james comey briefs president-elect trump on the steel dossier. it is leaked to cnn and soon afterwards buzz feed publishes the dossier. january 20th, president trump's inauguration day, "the washington post" runs a story head lined, "the campaign to impeach donald trump has begun." january 30th, ten days later, whistle-blower's current lawyer tweets, #krfrmecouphouse starte. march 22nd, democrats on this committee falsely declare on national tv that they have more than circumstantial evidence that the trump campaign colluded with russia. july 12th, an article of impeachment is filed against president trump and the house of representatives. november 15th, democrats file
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additional articles of impeachment against president trump. as you see, this was just in president trump's first year in office. he was subject to a coordinated spear operation designed to falsely portray him as a russian agent and attempts to impeach him. this all occurred before his now infamous call with president zelenskyy. in 2018, the attacks continued. often from executive branch officials charged with implementing the policies. rendz release a memo saying that fbi used fabrications and steel dossier to get a warrant to spy on a trump campaign associate. september 5th, "new york times"
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prints a column by an anonymous trump administration official who explains that he and other senior officials are working diligently from within to frustrate parts of trump's agenda. december 7 it, james comey admits to congress the steel dossier was unverified before and after the fbi used it to get a warrant to speak on trump campaign associate. the russia hoax continues to be the main focus of attacks going into 2019. bhut that entire operation collapsed, a new impeachment pretext had to be found. may 4, 2019, on national television, a democratic congressman proclaims i'm concerned if we don't impeach this president, he'll get re-elected. july 24 of this year, special
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counsel robert mueller testifies to congress about his report which debunct the conspiracy theory that trump campaign associates conspired with russia to hack the 2016 election. july 25, just the very next day, a new anti-trump operation begins as someone listens to the president's phone call with ukrainian president zelenskyy. and leaks the contents to the so-called whistle-blower. september 13th, democrats on this committee take the extraordinary step of issuing a press release related to the whistle bh whist whist whistle blow blower's complaint. it is revealed that democratic staff on this committee had contact with the whistle-blower before he submitted his complaint to the inspector general. contradicting democrat denials that such contact had occurred.
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october 31st, halloween, probably the most appropriate day, democrats in the house of representatives vote to open an official impeachment inquiry against president trump. what you've sneen this room over the past two weeks is a show trial. the plan result of three years of political operations and dirty tricks. campaigns waged against this president. like any good show trial, the verdict was decided before the trial ever began. after all, after denouncing the president for years as a russian agent and a threat to democracy, how could the democrats not impeach him? if they don't have to -- if they don't move to overthrow him, it would indicate they don't really believe their own dire warnings about the threat he poses.
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the democrats only need aid pretext when the russian dossiers and investigations failed to do the job, they move to plan two, the ukraine hoax. this spectacle with the secret depositions and mid hearing press conferences is not meant to discover the facts, it was designed to produce a specific story line to be pushed forward by the democrats and the supporters in the media. ladies and gentlemen, as we approach thanksgiving, speaker pelosi has just made clear just today u.s. mca with a deal with canada and mexico will boost our economy won't be silent this year. so i hope mr. schiff will clarify how much longer we'll waste on this effort and what other vital legislation he's willing to sacrifice for this impeachment per se.
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will there be even more secret depositions accompanied by the flood of democratic leaks? will we have more public hearings with democrat witnesses but not ours? my minority are in the dark about what this committee will be doing when we return so is america. james madison warned us about the danger posed by the tyranny of the majority. to avoid that threat, our founders created a constitutional republic. but is there a better example of the tyranny of majority than the way this impeachment process has been run in the house of representatives? the process that is grossly unfair can only stem from a cynical majority that is willing to break long established precedence, tramples on minority concerns and impose their absolute will on this body through shear force of numbers.
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exploiting the intelligence committee as a venue for impeachment has been one of the grossest abuses in the process filled with cynical manipulations, large and small. but this farce will soon move to the judiciary committee where impeachment rightfully belongs. i wish my republican colleagues well in fighting this travesty and defending the idea. this which at one time received bipartisan support not long ago. the american people's vote actually means something. i yield back. >> i want to thank the gentleman. i want to thank you for your testimony. i want to thank you for your long years of service to the country. you're not democratic witnesses or republican witnesses, you're nonpartisan witnesses and you have stuck to the facts and that is as it should be.
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first i want to make a couple observations about the hearing today. and dr. hill, you were criticized several times by my colleagues for your opening statement. i'm glad did you want back down from it. you're much more diplomatic than i am, i have to say. anyone watching the proceedings, anyone reading the deposition transcripts would have the same impression that you evidently had had from hearing my colleagues talk about the russia hoax. that the whole idea that russia had gotten involved in the 2016 election was a hoax. put out by the democrats. and, of course, they're not alone in pushing out this idea that is trumpeted by no one other than the president of the united states who almost on a daily basis at times would comment and tweet and propagate the idea that russia's interference in our election was a hoax. and, of course, we all remember that debacle in helsinki when the president stood next to
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putin and questioned his own intelligence agencies. i wish i had heard just some of the righteous indignation we heard in the committee today when the president questioned that fundamental conclusion of our intelligence agencies but, of course, they were silent when the president said that t they'll show indignation today but they will cower when they hear the president questioning the very conclusions that our intelligence community has reached. my colleagues sought to use you drshgs hill, to besmer much the character of colonel vindman. i thought this was very interesting. certainly wasn't unexpected. it is very interesting for this reason. they didn't really question anything colonel vindman said. what he said is what you said. he was in that july 10th meeting. he heard the same quid pro quo.
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the same comments by sondland if you want this meeting, ukrainians, we have an agreement about this, you got to announce you're going to do the investigations. they heard the same quid pro quo that did you. so why are they smearing him? mr. holmes, you testified just as vindman said, colonel vindman said that he warned zelenskyy about getting involved in u.s. politics. you don't question that. they didn't take issue with that. . so why smear this purple heart recipient just like the smear of ambassador yovanovitch. it's gratuitous. i calls the president on an insecure line in a country known for russian telecommunications and eavesdropping, that is moran
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indiscretion. that is a security risk. but why attack you, mr. holmes? they didn't question anything you said. they didn't question what conversation you overheard ambassador sondland indeed didn't question what you said. he acknowledged that the one thing the president wanted to know the day after that conversation was is he going to do the investigations? they don't question that. so why attack you? they didn't question your testimony when you said -- and i you this you asked ambassador sondland, does president trump give a blank about ukraine? he said, he doesn't give a blank about ukraine. he only cares about the big
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stuff. he cares about the big stuff that matters to him. his personal interests like the biden investigation that giuliani wants. i mean one question posed by your testimony, mr. holmes is what do we care about? do we care about the big stuff like the constitution, like an oath of office or do we only care now about party? what do we care about? what do we know about the depositions, the secret depositions. people watching at home may not know in the secret depositions, which apparently no one else is allowed to hear, no members are allowed to participate. just secret, apparently. sound like it's just me and the witness. only over 100 members of congress are able to participate
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in those secret depositions. and the minority is just so unable to participate. they got the same time they got in these open hearings. so what have we learned through the depositions and testimony? so much of this is undisputed. we learned that a dedicated public servant named marie yovanovitch known for fighting corruption, why do we expect throughout the diplomatic core was ruthlessly smeared by rudy giuliani, by the president's own son, by their friends on fox prime time and a whole host of other characters. her reputation was sullied so they could get her out of the way which they did. and you're right. it was gratuitous.
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the president could have gotten rid of her any time he wanted. but that's not enough for this president. no. he has to smear and destroy those that get in his way. and someone fighting corruption in ukraine is getting in his way. so she's gone. she's gone. and this makes way almost immediately thereafter, she leaves the three amigos come in. the three amowiigos, two of who didn't make the connection that burisma means biden. but in all the companies in all the world that rudy giuliani just happened to be fld this one? that's absurd. the interest, of course, was in an investigation of donald trump's rival. the one that he apparently feared the most. and they were willing to do whatever was necessary to get ukraine to do that dirty work,
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to do that political investigation. and so it began. we're not going to set up a phone call until you make certain commitments. that was ambassador sondland's testimony. the first quid pro quo is just getting on the phone with president trump. then there was the quid pro quo involving the white house meeting. and witness after witness and no none of my colleagues can attest to this talked about just how important that meeting was to the president of ukraine and why they're at war with russia. and the most important ally is the united states and the most important person in the united states for that relationship is the president of the united states. and if president zelenskyy can show he has a good relationship with the president of the united states, it means to his people that this new president has the support of their most important patron and it means to the russians that we have their back. this president, this new president who is negotiating with the far superior power that
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has invaded his country is going into negotiation with putin over how to resolve this conflict whether he has good leverage or lousy leverage depends on whether the russians think he has a relationship with the president. and the president wouldn't give him that. not without getting something in return. an official act for something of clear value and something very important. the big stuff as sondland explained you to, mr. holmes. to help his campaign. now we also heard abundant testimony about the other quid pro quo. the withholding of security assistance which no one can explain. there is no debate among my colleagues. everyone in the nsc and the
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state department, defense department, everyone supported this. everyone. all the reviews that needed to be done to make sure that ukraine was meeting its anti-corruption standards had been done and they had found to meet the criteria. the aid should have been released but withheld and no one could understand or get a clear explanation for why until it game clear to everyone it's all about the investigations. it's all about the leverage. if there is any doubt about it, the man closest to the president who meets with him every day mick mulvaney erased all doubt. you're darn right. yes. we talked about the 2016 election investigation.
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that's the way we roll. yeah, there's going to be politics and just get over it. well, if we care about the big stuff, we xcan't just get over it. now my colleagues have had a lot of defenses to all this evidence which piled up day after day after day. it was clear that the security system was being withheld. p was clear to all of the americans and it was clear to ukrainians. you testified the ukrainians felt pressure. they still fear fooel frupressu. the next defense is it's all hearsay. it's all hearsay. now, i guess my colleagues are not lawyers. lawyers out there understand just how yong wrong they are about what hearsay is.
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but let's just discuss this in terms that all people can understand. the impression they would have you take it's all hearsay is because we in this committee were not in that board room with you. we were not in that meeting with dr. bolton. we're not in the room. it's all hearsay. after all, you're relaying what you heard and saying it. so it must be hearsay and therefore, you don't really have to think about it, do we. you don't have to understand that you have direct evidence that this meeting is withheld because he wants the investigations. we can't accept that. the if that were true, can you never present any evidence in court unless the jury was also in the room. that is absurd. they don't accept all the text
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messages aquid pro quos and that's crazy and my worst nightmare is the russians get in, they don't accept the documents. the few document that's we have from the state department that weren't produced by the way by the state department. sondland communicates directly with the secretary of state about this investigative interest of the president and they don't accept the documents either. i guess the documents are also hearsay. now might be a little more convincing if it they were joining us in demanding that the documents were produced. but, of course, they're not. the documents are like that one saw on the screen. they implicate others including secretary pompeo. of course donald trump and pompeo don't want us to see the documents. but parentally it's all hearsay. even when you actually hear the president, that's hearsay. we can't rely on people saying what the president said. apparently we can only rely on
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what the president says and there we shouldn't even rely on that either. we should imagine he said something about fighting corruption. instead of what actually said is i want you to do us a favor though. i want you to look into this 2016 crown strike conspiracy theory and i want you to look into the bidens. i guess we're not going to rely on that because that is hearsay. well, that's absurd. that would be like saying you can't rely on the testimony of the burglars during watergate was it's only hearsay or you can't consider the fact that they tried to break in because they got caught. that's absurd.
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but the other defense besides it failed, the scheme failed, they got caught, the other defense is the president denies it. i guess that's case closed. he says spontaneously, not as if he was asked this way, no quid pro quo. what do you want from craig? no quid pro quo. this is the i'm not a crook defense. you say it. i guess that's the end of it. the only thing we can say is that it's not so much the situation is different in terms of mixon's conduct and trump's conduct. we're seeing here is far more serious than a third rate
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burglary of the democratic headquarters. what we're talking about here is withholding of recognition and that white house meeting and the withholding of military aid to an ally at war. this is beyond anything nixon did. that is the difference between that congress and this one. so we're asking where is howard baker? where is howard baker? where are the people who are willing to go beyond their party to look to their duty? i was struck by kircolonel vindman's testimony because he said he acted out of duty. what is our duty here?
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that's what we need to be asking, not using metaphors about balls and strikes and our team and your team. i heard my colleagues use the metaphors. what is our duty? we are the independencible nation. we still r people look to us from all over the world. journalists from their jail cells in turkey, victims of mass killing in the philippines, people who gathered in square wanting a representative government, people in china who are in ukraine that want a better future. they look to us. they're not going to look to the russians. they're not going to look to the chinese. they can't look to europe with all their problems. they still look to us and
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increasingly they don't recognize what they see. because what they see is americans saying don't engage in political prosecutions. what they say back is, oh, you mean like the bidens and the clintons that you want us to investigate? think see. they don't recognize. and that is a terrible tragedy for us but it's a greater tragedy for the rest of the world. i think when the founders provided the mechanism for impeachment they were worried about what might has been if someone unethical took the office in the land and use the it for personal gain and not because of deep care about the big things that should matter. like our national security and
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our defense and allies and what the country stands for. i think that's why they put that remedy in the constitution. and i think we need to consult our conscience and our constituents and decide whether that remedy is appropriate here. whether that remedy is necessary here and as you know, notwithstanding, my colleagues said i resist going down this path for a long time. but i will tell you why i could resist no more. and it came down to this. it came down to actually came down to timing. it came down to the fact that the day after bob mueller testified, the day after bob mueller testified that donald trump invited russian interference, russia, if you're listening, come get hillary's e-mails and later that day they tried to hack her server.
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the day after he testified that not only did trump invite that interference, but that he welcomed the help in the campaign. they made full use of it. they lied about it. they obstructed the investigation into it. and all this in his testimony and his report, the day after that donald trump is back on the phone asking another nation to involve itself in another u.s. election. that says to me this president believes he is above the law. beyond accountability. and in my view there is nothing nor dangerous than an unethical president that believes their above the law. and i would just say to people watching here at home and around the world, in the
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