tv Outnumbered FOX News November 15, 2019 9:00am-10:01am PST
>> bill: welcome back to continuing coverage. and bret baier in washington come along; come martha maccallum. we are following the impeachment inquiry come but first, breaking news. roger stone, former trump confidant and associate convicted on all seven counts, and now faces jail time. we don't know if there will be an appeal or not, but mr. stone is the sixth associate of mr. trump to be convicted on charges stemming from former special counsel robert mueller's investigation. his defense argued that this was all about going after the small fish, because mueller didn't get the big fish. they also lead with that stone was a serial exaggerator.
that defense did not obviously hold up. convicted on seven counts, martha, ending really the last loose and of the mueller investigation with the charges that were brought. the six total associates charged, through that investigation. >> martha: we are hearing that the sentencing is going to be on february 6th at 10:00 a.m. coffee roger stone, who was an advisor to president trump, an outside advisor. sort of a confidant over the course of the campaign. i'm just looking at a report that was in "newsweek" yesterday, that discusses an appeal that was made by roger stone, according to alex jones, who runs the info wars website. and he claimed that roger stone sent a message to him, saying, "alex, barring a miracle, i appeal to god and your listeners for a prayer and for the president to pardon me. to do so would be an action that
would show these corrupt courts that they are not going to get away with persecuting people for their free speech and for the crime of getting the president elected." so he has always maintained that he did nothing wrong, other than helping to support president trump in his election pursuit. just going back, bret, it's interesting to note the emails that went back and forth between he and roger credito. the suggestion that at times he had puffed up his own ability to have contact with these emails, wikileaks, to make these dnc hillary emails appear. the link to that, the direct link, is not what this is about. it's a question of whether or not he lied as part of this investigation, and that is what he's been found guilty of on seven counts this morning. >> bret: we have our panel still with us, andy, this is playing out real time as you get these convictions. next steps here, obviously,
roger stone making no bones about the fact that he would love a pardon. >> well, i think the pardon is his only hope to escape this without having some prison time. he will probably get prison time no matter what. i imagine he will be sentenced in february. i would be very surprised if president trump had pardons on the table before the election. he will be sentenced. it is important to recognize that they turned this offense into seven counts. for that reason, they are talking about the potential of statutorily 50 years in prison. his sentencing guidelines will be significantly lighter than that. the purpose of the sentencing guidelines is to enforce what they call real offense sentencing. the idea is to mitigate the ability of prosecutors to take one or two criminal transactions and turn them into multiple felony counts. so i imagine he will be lurking at something closer to maybe
five years than 50 years. >> we've been hearing a lot during the impeachment and narrative about process. process. the republicans only want to talk about process. what roger stone has been found guilty of our process crimes, and he is going to appeal, apparently. we shall see. when a judge sits in trial with very able lawyers, and they are very able lawyers on both sides, and he properly instructed jury comes in with a unanimous -- the last thing anyone should be talking about is corrupt courts. so i regret that observation. yes, the president, under the constitution, has full power to fire ambassadors and he has full power to pardon. regardless of the merit of the underlying case. it may very well be that out of friendship or whatever the
president will seriously consider this. we know from his past practice that the president does like high visibility pardons. >> martha: what we receive now from the courtroom, judge jackson is releasing roger stone on his own recognizance. they request that stone be remanded to custody. however, she is not releasing him from the gag order. he is still bound by that order is a condition of its release. so it's interesting he is sending out these messages, as i mentioned, yesterday, apparently. but he will be released on his own recognizance. and the february 9th -- excuse me, february 6th sentencing date is in effect. let's go to david spunt, who is outside the courtroom, with a color of what was going on during sentencing. david? >> we are told that roger stone was stoic as the order was red. the gag order has been a contentious point for stone and his team.
judge amy berman jackson put that gag order in place earlier this year, and has been very serious about it. roger stone is not someone who shies away from cameras or an interview. he was tweeting, she believed he was violating that gag order, she called him back in the court several months ago i told him, "this is your last chance to follow this guy gordon." at this point he has followed it. he has not given any interviews. we do know it's possible he might talk today, but it's unlikely because of what judge jackson just said. we are expecting raja roger stoo leave on his own recognizance, as you mention. he's been walking intentionally by cameras in and out of the courthouse all week. as we are talking, we don't expect to hear that. something else i want to mention, i was in court last week when steve bannon came in, and he was actually subpoenaed to come in and testify as a government witness. he called roger stone and "access point" to begin leaks. those are exact quotes, "an access point." many believe that was a guardedly damaging to stone and
his legal defense, when steve bannon called him an access point. speethree don't ask me to david, thank you very much. we will go back to bret in d.c. is everybody sort of absorbs this latest conviction for somebody in the trump orbit, bret. >> bret: i think he will turn to set up this impeachment inquiry as we look alive inside the hearing. unless chris wallace has any more tattoo news. [laughter] >> let me just say, somebody sent me a picture of it. if you google it you will be able to see it. as judge starr said, it's a very good likeness of richard nixon on roger stone's back. in any case, moving forward. >> but it's not "i am not a coke." it's not that one. [laughter] >> i think the real key to this afternoon -- and this was obviously with the stone conviction and the testimony, the powerful testimony of marie yovanovitch today, the key to this afternoon and the republicans on the trump white house trying to bring this
kind of back a little bit is whether they are able to confront -- and i don't know the answer to this -- but whether they are able to confront marie yovanovitch with facts. the two things that are the main allegations against her in the alleged smear campaign by rudy giuliani and others where, one, that she was about nothing the president. two, for all of her talk about being an anticorruption fighter in ukraine, that in fact she was stopping some of the anticorruption efforts in ukraine. there was not a lot of very persuasive testimony back and forth about that when she spoke for hours behind closed doors and was asked by republicans, including the republican counsel who we are going to hear from, steve castor, there was not a lot of credible testimony. maybe they have something in their back pocket that we will hear. if they are not able to shake the argument that she wasn't this pure, just,
follow-foreign-policy diplomat, if they aren't able to shake that and show that she does have a political agenda, it seems tog testimony for the president. but we will see what the republicans, particularly their lead counsel, steve castor, are able to achieve. >> bret: we spent a lot of time talking about the president's tweet and the fact that adam schiff read that tweet, and all the fallout from that. mark levan, clearly supported, has tweeted "but for schiff reading it out loud to the witness, she wouldn't have known about it in real time. if schiff was in fact worried about intimidation, why did he read it to her?" obviously he read it to her for political impact. you had eric swalwell on, martha, earlier. he was saying it might be about other witnesses that can come forward. the key point is that republicans are saying they are not getting their witnesses. they have three of them, but they are not getting all of the witnesses they've asked for, including the whistleblower. and republicans, andy mccarthy, are saying democrats are in search of a
smoking gun. and this witness, while compelling and sympathetic, is not a smoking gun on the charge of bribery that they are going down. >> no, i don't think she advances the ball on the bribery aat all. she's more political damaging in terms of the transaction they are focused on. but i do think it's important that, if they have alternative facts to challenge her on, they must do that. chris was just mentioning some of the details we've heard, that she hasn't been challenged on yet. one of the things she said in her testimony today was that she was asked by -- i'm sorry, i lost my place. she was asked by giuliani, or she was accused by -- that's what it was, she was accused by this prosecutor of giving this
list, where she was supposed to purge the cases. >> bret: the no prosecution list. >> yes, and in her testimony today she said that didn't happen. rudy's letter that he put out today says that, while he recanted, the prosecutor recanted the part of the testimony of giving her a list, he did communicate to her that there were four cases he want to dismiss. so i think that is the kind of thing they need to challenge her on. >> this raises an interesting question, which is you are cross-examining a woman. she's no shrinking flower, she's a strong, tough, able -- she has spent time and a lot of war zones. war zones he wouldn't find me in. remember, the christine blasey ford testimony. senate republicans on the judiciary committee were so freaked out that this would be a repeat of anita hill, and that they would be seen as browbeating a woman that they ended up bringing in another
woman to question her. a local prosecutor from the midwest, to interrogate her. which didn't go very well. it was not very effective. so they are not going to be doing that with marie yovanovitch, but i do think they will have to be a bit careful if they've got solid evidence that she has misrepresented her record in ukraine. they should absolutely bring it forward. but on the other hand, if they are seen as browbeating her, i think that could be very counterproductive. >> bret: dana perino? >> both sides, and in particular on the democratic side, that they will overreach and overreact to the president's tweet this morning, and the republicans will probably be able to point that out. i think mark legrand's point was that she was in the middle testimony, how could she be intimidated by something she could read? she only heard about it because the chairman decided to tweet it. nevertheless, it's out there and it will get a lot of attention. but you can bet everyone will
overreact and overreach. politico reported earlier that congressman mark meadows, who -- excuse me, yes, we have roger stone leaving the courthouse with his wife. >> guilty on seven counts, as we said, he will be able to go on on his own recognizance onto the usual stipulations, i would expect. that somebody in the situation would be under. no passport, things along those lines. but roger stone has made it clear that he's going to try and appeal this. he put out a plea already for the president to pardon him. he has found guilty of only being helped to elect the president, which is something that has rubbed a lot of people the wrong way. he feels this process against him has been unfair. nonetheless, the jury on the system in the united states of america found him guilty on seven counts, and that so it works. we will see where roger stone goes from here. but he's had a long, storied
political career all the way back to the nixon days, as chris wallace was talking about with regard to the nixon tattoo that he probably has on his back. he has been a warrior and an eccentric character in republican politics for decades. there he is. roger stone, as he heads off to face what is going to happen to him. sentencing, as we said, februar. not a great day in his legacy. >> bret: right. dana, sorry we cut you off there as stone was leaving the courthouse. >> that's okay. if you want to continue to talk about stone, feel free to go back -- >> bret: no, seven counts, we've got it. >> the everything i was going to mention about going back to the impeachment hearing, congress and mark meadows, he's not on the intelligence committee but he was there in the room. the members are allowed to do that. he was quoted by politico, and he said this.
she said that this was an impeachment of rudy giuliani, and the last time i checked he is not the president. i think giuliani's name, as it continues to be brought up, he is issuing letters. i do think the committee is going to demand to hear from him if they possibly can. the last thing is there was a little bit of a dustup last week. one of the republican congressman said that yovanovitch, in a private testimony, in the closed door -- in the behind-the-scenes transcript that was released, that there is a question of whether she interacted with a democratic congressional staffer. she said she referred the democratic congressional staffer's email to the appropriate office at the state department, and yet apparently there is another email where she did respond directly to that woman at the dash on the hill, saying "i look forward to reconnecting." i think they will try to press her on that. it might be perfectly innocent, but that might be one thing to
look for that the republicans are going to press a-10 on in this next round. >> bret: all right, let's bring in chad pergram up on capitol hill to kind of set the stage for this next moment. we just had a vote, chad, in the house. a series of votes. and now they are getting ready to go back into the impeachment inquiry. >> right. when they start again, the republican time starts. remember, they subdivided this, so democrats get a 45 minute tranche of questions and a charge of 45 minutes for the republicans. adam schiff finished up before the break there, so members could go over to the capital and vote. the republicans, 45 minutes. it's controlled by devin nunes, the top are public and on the committee, but we expect extensive questions from their public and council. remember, he came over from the oversight committee when they installed jim jordan, the republican of ohio, on the oversight committee. they wanted to stop up and have their best team on the field. what is going to be interesting
is to see how republicans handle this after that rather dramatic moment before the break where adam schiff read the president's tweet and asked marie yovanovitch to respond. again, that has been kind of the distilled moment of these one and a half days of hearings that we've had here. i've got to tell you, from a structural standpoint, they are running behind in terms of time. that vote series took a lot longer after they get done with the 45 minute tranche they cut back to other 45 minute trancher both sides, and the news got five-minute windows of questioning for each member, members toggling between the democrats on the republicans. the key is later this afternoon they were supposed to bring in another official here, david holmes. he was a diplomat at the american embassy in ukraine. they want to hear what he might have known about the phone call. supposedly, the bill taylor, acting ambassador to ukraine, overheard the president talking to gordon sondland about
"investigation." he is was a come in at 3:00. you can see where they are pressing up against the time schedule here. this is going to go on for a couple minutes. we thought they might start at 12:15 p.m., it's now 12:17 p.m. in the east. it's going to be at another day here at l. and another close door separatiodeposition tomorrow. there's a key question here about holding up the eight to ukraine and whether or not that was done at the direction of the president and under the office of management and budget. mark sandy is due to come and deliver a rare saturday close door deposition tomorrow. again, the key point is to see what direction republicans go in here. democrats thought they wanted to portray it marie yovanovitch as a sympathetic character. they were concerned about whether republicans would be too aggressive in their questioning. we don't know that yet. as i sat on the air about an hour ago, the president kind of did that for them. i have one source who told me
that they didn't need that. in tennis, this is called an unforced error. back to you. >> bret: [laughs] chad pergram up on the hill. speaking of the president's tweets, he is laying in on the roger stone verdicts and convictions. so they now convict roger stone of lying, and want to jail and for many years to come. well, what about crooked hillary? comay, strzok, paige, mccabe, brandon, clapper, shifty schiff, bruce ohr and nellie ohr, christopher steele at all the others, including even miller himself connected and they like him" as we are preparing to get back into the hearing. obviously we talked about the tweet earlier. he is still tweeting about the news events of the day. martha, you said at the beginning that he wasn't going to watch these hearings. he said he watched -- the white house that he watched the devin nunes statement, and then he was going to do other things. but he is clearly engaged today.
>> martha: clearly watching and treating it marie yovanovitch, as we have said. as we get ready to hear the other side of the fence here from devin nunes, going back to what he said initially, he will no doubt sort of try to bring in some of these origin questions with ukraine and also with russia. he claimed in his opening statements that ukraine had participated. here comes marie yovanovitch, walking in for round two after a bit of a break that she got. look for done dominic devin nunes to bring up that he believes the ukraine participated with russia in 2016 meddling. alexandra chalupa, working on behalf of ukraine and dnc. he said the democrats have ignored ukraine meddling and were blind to hunter biden's position. so we are going to hear definitely some of that coming from devin nunes when he gets his next shot at the microphone and the questioning. >> bret: let's head back into
the hearing room, as you see the committee chairman, adam schiff, the ranking member devin nunes, and now ambassador yovanovitch getting settled there at the table. this will be 45 minutes of questioning from the republican side. stephen castor is the g.o.p. questionnaire. there are some who question his questioning yesterday. we will see how he does today. >> thank you, sir. it appears to be counsel has paper copies of the slides that we've used during the questioning. if that's true, does that mean that you and your team have been in coordination with him and/or her with respect to her testimony this morning? if that's true, how does that comport with the fairness that is purportedly associated with that resolution? >> the tv for the witnesses wasn't working, so they were given copies this morning. it is now 45 minutes to ranking member nunes. >> you said the screen in front of them was not working? >> my understanding is the
screen was not working in front of them, so they were given copies so they can read along since they can't see the screen. as soon as >> mr. nunes, your recognize for 40 minutes along with minority counsel. >> i want to submit for the record senator grassley's letter to the department of justice, stated july 20th, 2017. i read a portion of that into the record during my opening statement. >> without objection. >> ambassador, to congratulate you, you've been down in the secret deposition meeting rooms. you've graduated for your performance today. later this afternoon, i should note to the public that we will be back down in the basement of the capital, doing more of the secret depositions.
ambassador, i don't really have very many questions for you. you admitted in your opening statement that you don't have any firsthand knowledge of the issues that we are looking into. but i do want to talk a little bit about senator grassley very briefly. i assume that you know who senator grassley is? >> yes, sir, i do. >> do you believe that senator grassley is a serious and credible elected official? >> i have no reason to think otherwise. >> were you involved in the july phone call, or preparations for the call? >> no, i was not. >> were you involved about the deliberations of the admit comic military sails to ukraine as the president reviewed and newly have an president zelensky's commitment to corruption reforms? >> for the delay? >> for the pause. >> i was not. >> were you involved in the proposed trump-zelensky meetings
in warsaw, poland on september 1st? >> no, i was not. >> did you ever talk to president trump in 2019? >> no, i have not. >> mick, mulvaney? >> no, i have not. >> thank you come ambassador. i'm not exactly sure what the ambassador is doing here today. this is the house intelligence committee that has now turned into the house impeachment committee. this seems more appropriate for the subcommittee on human resources of the foreign affairs committee, if there are issues with employment, disagreements with the administration. it would seem like this is a more appropriate setting, instead of an impeachment hearing where the ambassador is not a material fact witness to any of the accusations that are being hurled at the president for this impeachment inquiry. i have several questions i think mr. castro wants to get to.
i know you had a few quick questions for the ambassador. i yield to you. >> thank you, mr. nunes. ambassador yovanovitch, thank you for being -- >> the gentlewoman will suspend. >> what is the interruption for this time? it is our time. >> you are not recognized. mr. nunes, your minority counsel. >> i just recognize -- >> you are not allowed to yield topics up to minority counsel. >> the member yield time to another member of congress. >> your gagging? >> the gentlewoman will suspend per your but not recognize >> this is the fifth time you have interrupted numbers of congress. >> the gentlewoman will suspend. mr. chair, we control the time. customary to this committee, whoever controls the time can yield to whoever they wish. we have members of congress have a few questions. it seems appropriate that we let her ask a question.
>> mr. nunes, you or minority counsel are recognized. speak all right. mr. castro, your recognize. >> thank you, mr. new meds. ambassador, welcome. thank you for your service. 33 years, an extraordinary career. it really has been a remarkable 10-year for you at the state department. i would also like to thank you for participating here today. this is a crazy environment. this hearing room has turned into a television studio. before today, you spent -- on friday the 11th you are with us early in the morning until i believe 8:00 at night. people missed trains back to new york. it was a complete -- a very complete day, so thank you. you were serving a 3-year
assignment in the ukraine, is that correct? >> yes. >> and it began in 2016, and was scheduled to end in 2019? >> yes, that's correct. >> nobody disputes, except for the president to decide who his envoys are deposed around the world, correct? >> i stated that clearly in my statement. >> you return from the u.k. and on may 20th, 2019? >> that's correct. >> and your return coincide with the inauguration of president zelensky? >> yes. >> and he remained employed by the state department? >> i do. >> after he returned to washington, the deputy secretary john sullivan ask you what you wanted to do next. is that correct? >> yes, that's correct.
>> and then he met with the director general, ambassador perez? >> yes, that's correct. >> to identify meaningful new assignment? >> yes. >> i do know serve at georgetown university as a fellow? >> that's true. >> and this is a rewarding position for you? >> i'm very grateful to be in that position after what happened. >> today is the second big hearing for the democrats' impeachment initiative. but we don't understand -- we do understand that you don't have a lot of facts and information relating to the part of this that we are investigating, and those are the events from may 20th up until septembe september 11th. the release of security assistance funds. is that correct? >> yes, that's correct. >> so you were not part of the
delegation to the inauguration. that was the day he returned. you are not part of the oval office meeting, the 23rd. correct? >> yes, that's correct. >> and you were not part of the decision-making whether there would be a white house meeting with president zelensky? >> that's correct. >> and you were not part of any decision-making in the lead up to the july 25th call? >> that's correct. >> and you first learned about the call on september 25th, is that correct? >> well, i heard about the call, as i indicated in the first deposition, from deputy assistant secretary george kent. >> what did he tell you about the call? >> well, as it turns out, it wasn't correct. but what i recall is that he said that president trump had
asked president zelensky whether he could help him out, which i understood to be these investigations, and that president zelensky had said that he is putting in a new prosecutor general, and that he does not control -- i mean, this is approximately what he said. that that person is an independent individual. >> and you learned about that before the call was made public? >> that's correct. >> you are not involved in any discussions surrounding the security sector assistance funds to ukraine? they were paused for about 55 days, from july 18th to september 11th. >> no discussions. >> in your opening statement on page 9, you stated "although then i know i always understood
i served at the pleasure of the president, i still find it difficult to come brand that foreign and private interests were able to undermine u.s. interests in this way. individuals who felt stymied by efforts to promote seated u.s. policy against corruption, that is to do the mission, were able to successfully conduct a campaign of disinformation against the sitting ambassador using unofficial back channels." do you believe that president trump was aiming to weaponize corruption in ukraine by removing you? >> i don't know that. >> okay. do you believe your removal was part of some scheme to make it easier for elements of the ukrainian establishment to do things counter to u.s. interes interests? >> i think that certainly with the ukrainian establishment hoped. i think in addition there were americans, these two
individuals, who were working with mayor giuliani, who have recently been indicted by the southern district of new york. they indicated that they wanted to change out the ambassador. i think they must have had some reason for that. >> do you think they were seeking a different type of ambassador, that would allow them to achieve some other objectives? >> i don't know what other reason there would be. >> okay. is ambassador taylor the type of person who would facilitate those objectives? >> no. >> so ambassador taylor is a man of high integrity? >> absolutely. >> he is a good pick for the post? >> he is. i would note that he is -- no ambassador, or new candidates, has it been named to the position. >> but he has had a decorated
career serving his country? >> absolutely, a man of the highest integrity. >> you testified that when you first learned mayor giuliani and some of his associates had a concerted campaign against you, when did that first come to your attention? >> we were picking up rumors from ukrainians. i think, kind of in the november or december 2018 time. , and then in january, february, and of course march, it became more obvious. >> is important -- i believe you testified that the minister alerted each of this campaign? >> yes. >> one was that? >> he had a conversation with me
in february of 2019. >> okay. do you remember what he related to you? >> yes, he said that someone was working fruit mayor giuliani for these vigils, mr. parnas and mr. freeman that they basically wanted to remove me from post. and that they were working on that. >> did you have any awareness at that point in time of precisely why they were seeking your ouster? >> i didn't. i didn't understand that at all, because i had never met mr. parnas and mr. fruman. so it was unclear to me why they were interested in doing this. >> were you especially
influential in implementing policies that stymied their interests in ukraine? advocating for some sort of environment or policy that would be adverse to them? >> i think it just the general idea of that, obviously, u.s. ambassadors, u.s. embassies, one of our most important functions is to facilitate u.s. business abroad, right? whether his trade, whether it's commerce. that's one of the things that we do. everything has to be above board, on a level playing ground. we obvious advocate for u.s. business. these two individuals, with hindsight and what we learned later, looking to open up a new energy company exporting liquefied natural gas to the
ukraine, never actually came to the embassy. which is unusual, because that would usually be a first stop. going to be american chamber of commerce, going to the u.s. embassy, get the lay of the land, see how we can provide assistance. >> was that a source of frustration ever express to you, or did you learn that separately? >> source of frustration, what do you mean? on whose part? >> on fruman and parnas. >> i don't know that they were frustrated. frustrated by what? >> you mentioned they had business interests. i ask you whether they had been stymied by anything in particular that you had advocated for, or that you were a roadblock to them being successful. i wondered if there was any connection. >> i had never met them. when i heard those names for the first time, which was in february of 2019, i asked my team, the econ and commercial
sections would usually meet with american businessma businessmen. nobody had heard of them. so all i could conclude was that it was the general u.s. policies that we were implementing that might have been of concern to them. >> at any point did you ever tried to reach out to the prosecutor general, salute to mr. lutsenko, and find out why he was part is betting that campaign? >> no. >> why didn't you do that? >> i didn't think there was a purpose to it. >> why not? >> he clearly had, i would say, and animus for doing this. and he was working with americans. so i reached out to the american side, and in this case the state department, to try and find out what was going on. >> when did you first realize
that your relationship with lutsenko had reached an adversarial point? >> probably around that time. maybe a little bit earlier. >> and this is march? >> yeah. i would say adversarial is a really strong word. we at the u.s. embassy are visiting key people from the state department and other agencies. we were pushing the ukrainians, including mr. lutsenko, to do what they said they were going to do. and mr. lutsenko entered office, that he was going to clean up tt he was going to bring justice to what they call the heavenly hundred, the people who died in the revolution of dignity in 2016. he was going to prosecute cases to repatriate the approximately $48 billion, it's believed, the
former president and his cronies fled the country with. he didn't do any of that. we kept on trying to encourage him to do the right thing. that's with you cleaning people wanted them to do. we thought it was a good plan and that he should do it. >> and he mentioned he contacted the state department in late march. doewas that undersecretary hale >> contacted about what? >> about the concerns you have about the campaign against you. >> i contacted the state department much earlier than that. it was an ongoing sort of discussion that makes it sound very formal. we have many ways of going back and forth with washington. on phone calls, we would have this discussion. >> what did you realize -- >> if i could just amplify my answer, we had the discussion
because we were concerned that ukrainian policymakers, ukrainian leaders, were hearing that i was going to be leaving. that there was maybe somebody else waiting in the wings, et cetera. and that undermined not only my position, but our u.s. position. the ukrainians didn't know what to think. and we need to be out there all the time, firing on all cylinders, to promote our national security. so it was a concern. >> why did you realize this concerted campaign against he was a real threat? >> a threat to -- >> to your ability to do the job in tf? >> i would say when you go into a meeting with somebody and they ask, "are you going to be leaving?" that is concerning.
i don't know when exactly that started happening, but in that time frame. >> did you undertake any efforts to push back on this narrative, either inside the state department or publicly? >> certainly with the ukrainia ukrainians. i said, "there is nothing to this, this is a distraction and we are focused on the job. our policy remains the same." yes, we had discussions in the state department about this. >> in hindsight, do you think you did enough inside the state department to elect them to this mounting campaign against you? >> i did what i could. >> and what was that? >> reached out to the european bureau. i think you also heard that dr. fiona hill was aware of this, as well. the msc. and they had other discussions with more senior people. >> did you get any feedback from
your chain of command? did you engage ambassador rieger undersecretary hale? >> yes. >> did you develop a game plan to push back against allegations? >> there are different time frames we are talking about. fast forwarding to march, i did, when undersecretary hale, ask if i would consider extending, i did raise. i wasn't sure he was aware of it. i wanted to make sure he knew that mayor giuliani had been out there saying things about me. untrue things. i want him to be aware of that. he said he understood. he was still hoping i could extend for another year. that was early march. fast-forward to late march. the discussions continued, but
once it became a public political story here in the united states, the tenor of everything changed. i think the state department felt that it wasn't manageable anymore. and the more prudent thing would be for me to come back in july. >> do you think there's anything you could have done different lead to get out of the story and will be the secretary and is counseled that there was a concerted campaign against you? that you didn't believe the allegations lodged were accurate? and needed their assistance? >> sure, maybe i could have done that. but i think they were aware. as i subsidenc subsequently leam deputy secretary sullivan, the secretary of state had been where well of this well aware of thissince the sum. >> corruption is endemic in the country of ukraine, right?
>> i would say corruption is a serious issue everywhere in the former soviet union. it is a post-soviet legacy, and we talk about it a lot in ukraine because there is actually an opportunity to do something. to help the ukrainians tackle the issue. they want to tackle the issue. in other countries like russia, you can't even talk about it. so i think it is a post-soviet legacy and it's important to do with it. >> you testified rampant corruption has long permeated ukraine's political and economic systems? >> yes, that's a fair statement. >> and is your belief that you don't like it should be the u.s. foreign policy to help curb its corruption problem? >> yes, because it's good for the ukrainians but is also in our interest. >> anticorruption efforts, you mentioned the survey national security purpose? >> i believe that to be true. >> are oligarchs a big part of
the problem in ukraine? >> probably, because so much wealth is concentrated in the hands of very few -- six or seven -- individuals. they also have political power and control of the media. >> and a lot of their power has been acquired through what we here in the u.s. would consider improper ways? >> yeah, i think that's a fair comment. >> the head of burisma, are you familiar with him? >> i don't know him, but i know you're talking about. >> george kent testified a couple days ago that he was investigating its first healing millions and tons of dollars, some of which had been applied by the u.s. and great britain, subject to an investigation. trying to get the money back,
that was a big part of mr. kent's initiative when he was there. that a bribe was. tto the prosecutors, and zlochevsky was let off the hook. this was in 2014. is this something you're familiar with? >> i've heard about it. this was before my arrival. i would just say my understanding -- please correct me if i'm wrong -- is that the u.s. money that you are referring to was the money that we used to fund an fbi team that was embedded with the prosecutor general's office to go after -- not to go after, but to do the investigation of burisma and zlochevsky. >> mr. kent testified that this bribe was paid, that prosecution
went away, and essentially nothing has been forever done with regard to burisma. during your tenure in ukraine, has there ever been any focus on re-examining allegations to mark it's at burisma or other powerful interests, like zlochevsky, re-examining? >> is not on the part of the ukrainian government, is that what you're talking about? >> yeah, trying to lean on the various prosecutors general to clean up the oligarchical syst system. >> yes, i think there have been some efforts. as i mentioned earlier in my testimony, the u.s. was welcoming. mr. lutsenko's nomination to the position of prosecutor general. we were hoping he would clean that up. that, in fact, is not what
happened. it's kind of hard to explain to a u.s. audience, but in ukraine and in the former soviet union more broadly, including in russia, the justice system -- whether it's cops on the beat, whether it's investigators, whether it's prosecutors, whether it's judges -- are used as a tool of the political system to be used against your political adversaries. i think, going back to your question about burisma and zlochevsky, my understanding -- this was, as i told you earlier, in the previous deposition, this did not loom large when i arrived. i arrived in 2016, august 2016. but over time my understanding was that the case was basically sort of on a pause.
it wasn't an active case, but it also was not fully closed. that is a way, as i mentioned before, for those in power to keep a little hook into burisma and mr. zlochevsky. >> right around the time the bribe was paid, burisma undertook an effort to spruce up their board, the president of poland and some other luminaries? are you familiar with that? >> i don't exactly know what the timing of all this was. >> okay. >> but yes, to the elements. >> one of the folks they added to the board was the vice president's son, hunter biden, which raises questions. is he a genius on the corporate governance front? is he a genius with the ukrainian oligarchical systems and cleaning that up? or was he just added to the board because he is the vice president son? was that ever a concern, or at
least the perception of that concern, address? >> as i said, i arrived in august of 2016. several months before the election and that several months before president trump took office. it was not the focus of what i was doing in that six month period. >> was the issue ever raise that all? >> you know, not -- >> i think he was still on the board of the time. >> my understanding from newspaper accounts is that he just recently left in 2019. i never met him, never talked to him. i'm sorry, what was your question? >> he was still on the board when you arrived at post, and i was just wondering. at least the perception problem was brought to your attention, as ambassador. >> i was aware of it because, as i told you before and the
deposition, there had been -- in terms of the preparation for my senate confirmation hearing for ukraine, there was a question about that, and a select answer. so i was aware of it. >> okay. in her deposition you acknowledge that the president has long-standing concerns about corruption in ukraine. is that true? >> that's what he said. >> we are going back to -- there was a meeting with president in 2017 the oval office, and i believe you testified that he expressed his concern then. >> yes, he said a friend of has has told him that ukraine was the most corrupt country in the world. >> several witnesses have testified that the president has concerns that there are certain
elements of the ukrainian establishment of that, during 2016, were out to get him. is that something you are aware of at any point in time? >> well, i'm certainly aware of it now. obviously there's been a lot of press attention on that. it was not brought to my attention during the 2.5 years that i served on the president trump as our ambassador to ukraine. >> we've gone through the deposition, some of these elements -- maybe they loom larger now, but in hindsight, was there any discussion at the embassy that there were these indications of ukrainians trying to at least advocate against the knife and candidate trump? >> actually, they there weren't. we didn't really see it that way. >> were you aware of -- i know
mr. nunes mentioned this earlier, the consultant, alexandra chalupa, had reportedly -- at least according to her and according to ken vogel at politico -- was trying to work with ukrainian embassy in d.c. to trade information, share leads of that sort of thing? >> as of the article. i didn't have any further information about that. >> did you see the article at the time, or did you only dusted only come to your attention subsequently? >> it has certainly been brought to my attention subsequently. i think i did see something to that effect at the time, as well. >> you the ambassador in-country at this point. did you aim to get to the bottom of that? if the reporting is true, if what what ms. chalupa told mr. vogel is accurate, that would be concerning, correct? >> i was the ambassador in
ukraine starting in august of 2016. what you are describing, if true, as you said, what you are describing took place in the united states. if there were concerns about what ms. chalupa was doing, i think that would have been handled here. >> do you know ms. chalupa? >> i don't believe so. >> have you ever met her? >> i don't think so. if you worked for the ukrainian embassy, it's possible i met her in a large group or something, but i don't believe i know her. >> are you aware of the role that investigative journalist mr. lish and go played in publicizing the black letters >> yes. >> he publicizing information in a pretty grand way. in august of 2016, and almost immediately coincide with mr.
mr. manafort leaving the trump campaign. was there anything about that issue when it was occurring that concerned you? >> i certainly noticed it, because i was a week or so away from arriving in ukraine. i think from a ukrainian perspective i realize that we are looking at this from an american perspective. from the ukrainian perspective, i think that what mr. lushenko and others looking into the black ledger was concerned about was not actually mr. manna for it, but former president and his poetical party and the amount of money that they allegedly stole. and where it went, and so forth. i think there's a difference in perspective depending on which country you are in. >> but you can understand the president, at least from his perspective, looking at these facts certainly it's reasonable can to
to conclude that they areadvocas point in time. correct? >> speaking about mr. lushenko, he's i in and investigated journalist, as you said. he got access to the black ledger and he publish it, as i think journals would do. i'm not -- i don't have any information to suggest that was targeting president trump. >> but the way the events unfolded, mr. manafort was subsequently that she left the campaign, and it certainly did begin a period of interest in manafort's ties to russia and so forth. >> i think, again, that may have been the effect here in the united states.
obviously it was of interest to journalists and others here, that mr. manafort was the former president's political advisor, and he was the political advisor head of a campaign here. so we all know that there have been court cases and so forth where mr. manafort was found guilty of certain actions. at the end of the day, president trump won the election. >> with mr. lushenko's reporting, there has been a question of whether all the information that he published was authentic, correct? >> i'm sorry, could you repeat that? >> there's been some question whether the information mr. lushenko published was all correct. or whether it was doctored. >> i wasn't aware of that. >> okay. during the august time frame, ambassador wrote an op-ed in "the hill" taking issue with than i have a candidate trump. were you aware of that when it
occurred? >> yes. >> did you have any commute conditions with the ambassador to express concerns? >> no. >> how frequently did you can indicate with the ambassador? obviously you are in different posts in different countries. >> i didn't actually see him. >> you weren't in frequent medication? >> no. >> can you see her writing an op-ed -- we've discussed the substance of it -- that there is sensitivities. but the simple fact of writing an op-ed, the ukraine ambassador to the u.s., might create a perception that there are elements of ukrainian establishment they were advocating against the then-candidate trump? >> my recollection of that op-ed was that he was critical of a policy position that president trump had with regard to crimea, and whether crimea
was a part of ukraine or a part of russia. that is a tremendous sensitive issue in ukraine. recollection is that was the ambassador was writing about. >> do you know what the ambassador anyone from the embassy tried to make contact with the trump campaign to talk about their concerns before lodging an op-ed? >> i don't know. >> during the same time. of the run-up to the the election, the minister avakov had sent some especially candid things about the then-candidate trump on some very cynical media platforms. are you aware of that? >> yes, as a result of the previous deposition. >> but during the relevant time period when it was happening, you are not aware of that? >> you know, i don't recall it. >> he is one of the more
influential individuals in ukraine, correct? >> correct. >> i think is one of the few that fan both the poroshenko administration and the zelensky administration. >> yes, that's correct. >> looking back on his comments in hindsight, do you see how that might create a perception that a very influential ukrainian was advocating against then candidate trump? >> that he was doing what, i'm sorry? >> he was out to get him. he said some real nasty things. >> well, sometimes that happens on social media. [laughter] are you asking you whether it's appropriate? probably not. but i would say that minister avakov, as well as others, both in president poroshenko's administration as well