tv Outnumbered Overtime With Harris Faulkner FOX News November 21, 2019 10:00am-11:00am PST
see fiona hill come down the hallway. she and david holmes will be seated back at the table in a matter of moments here, and then they will be the republicans' turn to begin their cross-examination. we expect some questions from devin nunes before he hands it off to the republican attorney, and then we will go into 5-minute q&a segments for all the lawmakers, about 22 in total. it's going to go on for a while. let's pause right now for stations across the country. this is fox news coverage of the impeachment hearings come a day 5. i am bill hemmer in new york city. good afternoon, everyone. just a tick past 1:00 in the afternoon, as we watch a gavel to order on day 5 of. fiona hill and david holmes, two of the only witnesses at the table that you will see today. it might be the end of the hearings after today. there has been no announcement for any witnesses after today. to bret baier, my colleague in washington, on what we can expect now. bret? >> bret: bill, democrats are convinced that they have a
circumstantial case that, essentially, it's as clear as the nose on their face that president trump stopped the aid in order to get these investigations on the bidens, burisma, 2016. eric swalwell said, "if you see someone in a rain coat and rain boots and an umbrella dripping, can you assume that it's raining outside?" that was his questioning. republicans without try to shoot holes in all of this, saying there is no direct tie to the aid. it's a question, is it impeachable? is it illegal? is it enough to kick the president out of office in an election year? because that's what we will see. >> sandra: chris, i want to briefly get your thoughts before the hearing begins. chris? >> yeah, it's going to be very interesting to see how the republicans go at these two. i suspect it has been brought up. there will be questions that there may have been policy -- viggo their counsel for the first round of the 45-minute
questions >> i think the gentleman i want to get a few basic facts on the table of individuals that were being involved in the 2016 elections. just to see who you know and who you've met with. i will start with you, mr. holmes. have you met with or do you know alexandra chose but? could you put your microphone on? >> no. >> do you know nellie ohr? have you met with nellie ohr? bruce ohr? >> no. >> glenn simpson? >> no. >> thank you. same question for you, dr. hill. do you know or have you met with alexandra chu by? >> no two nellie ohr? >> no. >> bruce ohr? >> only in the course of my
previous position as a national intelligence officer for russia, where he attended some of the meetings i presided over. >> years ago? >> a long time ago, correct. >> glenn simpson? >> no. >> dr. hill, in her testimony you said that dust in your deposition, excuse me, you said that christopher steele was her counterpart at one time. is this correct? >> that's correct, yes. >> you testified you met with christopher steele in 2016. i assume that is the correct? >> that's correct, yes. >> the only thing we didn't get on that, do you know about when that was in 2016 and how many times? >> i'm afraid i don't. actually i had met with him -- you asked me in the deposition when the most recent time was that i'm out with him in 2016. he retired from the british intelligence services in 2009. >> i'm asking about 2016.
>> in 2016 i don't recall, but i did meet with him some times before 2016. >> but you don't remember the date? >> i don't, i'm afraid, no. >> you stated in your deposition that they colleague had showed you the steele dossier before it was published. who was that calling? >> that was one of my colleagues at the brookings institution. >> and who was not? >> that was the brookings institution president, who have been sent a copy of this. >> and he shared it with you? >> that was the day before it was published in buzzfeed. >> you mentioned also that you thought it was -- let me get the exact quote -- that the dossier was a rabbit hole? is that still your testimony? >> that's correct. >> do you know who paid christopher steele to generate the steele dossier, or several of them? >> at the time, i did not.
i understand from the media that would is through gps fusion. if that's not correct -- >> there was a law firm involved. you know who the source of the money was? >> i didn't have the time. no, i did not. now i have read, and thanks to your colleagues that well, that it was the dnc, as i am meant to believe. >> and the clinton campaign? >> i don't know that for sure. >> mr. castor? >> good afternoon, welcome back from lunch. i hope you had some sandwiches or something delicious. >> i hope you did, too. >> dr. hill, thank you for your service. thank you for your participation in the deposition on october 14th, columbus day. we were with you most of the day so i appreciate that. mr. holmes, thank you, as well. you are a late entrant into this situation, and things sure did escalate quickly. we spoke with you last friday night about what we thought was
going to be a 30-second vignette about a 2-minute phone call, and it turns out with your 40 minute opener today that you have a lot of information to share. so we appreciate you being here. dr. hill, your last day of the national security council was july 19th, is that correct? >> that's correct, yes. >> you were involved with the july 25th call, and you weren't involved with any of the relevant activities related to the pause in the aid? >> i was not, that correct. >> as of july 19th, did you believe that a call was going to be scheduled for the 25th? >> i personally do not believe it was going to be scheduled at that date, no. >> what was the thinking at the nsc as of july 19th about this call? >> i've learned from other depositions, to be clear here, that perhaps there was some awareness that there might be a call. ambassador sondland, as you may
recall, showed an exchange with the person who is taking over for my position, tim morrison, in which he indicated that there would be a call coming up. i was not aware of that. the differences, let's just say, and understanding about their call. >> i did say something about that in the opening part of the sessions today. >> how about ambassador bolton? >> i know that ambassador sondland said in that email that bolton was in agreement. to my knowledge, he was not at that particular juncture. to my knowledge. it was based on the fact that he didn't feel the call had been properly prepared. as i said earlier, we wanted to make sure there was going to be a fulsome bilateral u.s.-ukraine agenda that was discussed, which is usual with these calls. >> were you surprised that a call ultimately was scheduled? >> i was when i learned about it, that's right. >> did you have any communications with anyone back 8-year-old staff about how that came to be? >> i did not, no.
>> this pause in the security assistance aid, i -- >> i learned about on july 18th, the day before i left. >> there were several meetings about this, i believe you testified to. >> i said that i knew there was going to be a meeting in that time frame, and there was one put onto the schedule for the following week. of course, i had left, so i didn't attend that. >> is it fair to say it stops and starts in a like this, that sometimes it does happen? >> that's correct. >> i believe you had 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 of foreign assistance going on? >> that's also correct. >> what else can you tell us about that? >> about the foreign assistance review? >> yeah. >> as i understand, there had been a correct don't like directive of a whole life skill review of our foreign policy assistan
assistance, and the ties between our foreign policy objectives and the assistance. this is been going on for many months. it appeared when i was wrapping up my time there that it had been more scrutiny than specific assistance to specific sets of country. as a result of that overall review. >> at this time, as well, ambassador 18, ambassador sondland, they had become a little bit more involved with ukraine policy? >> ambassador volker was also told mike always involved, at least since the beginning of his appointment as the special envoy for negotiations of the wall. >> what can you tell us about ambassador volker? >> he's an extra nearly a published diplomat. i've were to have him in capacities previously he has been the ambassador to nato, he has had a number of positions of the state departments. actually i know i'm personally. we were trying to get there who
knows who and who has met, i know i'm on a personal level, as well. >> use that he's a man of integrity and always acted in the best interest of the united states? >> absolutely, yeah. >> energy first learned of ambassador sondland involvement? >> it came in different ways. ambassador sondland as the ambassador of the e.u. has a perfectly logical involvement in the ukraine portfolio. we worked very closely with the european union on matters related to ukraine. the ukrainian dialogue with russia was in a format known as the minsk process, led by the french and the germans. ambassador volker was trying to find out ways in which he could work closely with the french and germans to move along on the resolution of the conflict between ukraine and russia. obviously the european union, as the umbrella organization for europe in terms of funding and assistance, was heavily active
in offering financial assistance to the ukrainian government, as well as humanitarian assistant in the conflict. it's perfectly logical that ambassador sondland would play some kind of role as our ambassador to the european union. >> did you have any concerns when he presented himself to you as somebody with a major role? >> i did at the time in which he presented it to me. this was after ambassador yovanovitch have been pushed out of her position. it was at that juncture that ambassador sondland's role seemed to grow larger. >> did you express any concerns to him directly? >> i did express concerns to him directly. >> what were those concerns? >> asked him quite bluntly in a meeting we had in june of 2019 -- this is after the presidential inauguration, when i had seen that he had started to step up and much more of a proactive role in ukraine -- 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, we hadn't been told this. ambassador bolton had never indicated in any way that he thought ambassador sondland was playing a leading role in ukraine. >> i believe d you use the terma large remit?" >> i can't remember that i said remit, but it was a portfolio. these are all synonyms. he was talking to us about the fact that he had been given the very broad portfolio by the president. he said to his job was to out and make deals in europe. as you know, yourself, i listen to his testimony very carefully yesterday, as well. he said anything that has to do with the e.u. itself and the european union member states was within his portfolio. >> we ask ambassador sondland about that in his deposition, at he may have been spending a little bit when
he said the president specifically gave him that role, and he indicated that his authority was coming at least a little bit more from the secretary of state. at any point in time was that related to you? >> at different points you mention talking directly to the chief of staff mulvaney, and he also talked about secretary pompeo. in fact, there were other people in the room in the meeting in which he asserted this to me, that it was the president who had put him in charge of this. >> were you encouraged, as of your last day in the office, but u.s. policy toward the ukraine was headed in the right direction? >> i was not. >> and why was that? >> well, i was concerned about two things in particular. one was, again, the removal of our ambassador. again, i will say for the record that the president has a perfect right to remove any ambassador at any time for any reason. but i was very concerned about the circumstances in which her
reputation had been maligned repeatedly, on television and in all kinds of exchanges. i felt that was completely unnecessary. the president wanted to remove and ambassador, which he did quite treacly -- there were a number who were removed to or not political but career officials. that was done, but without these kinds of interventions. i wondered what message was being sent. on the second front, it was very clear at this point that there was, let's just say, a different channel in operation in relation to ukraine. when that was domestic and political in nature, and it was very different from the channel or the loop, however you like it, that i and my colleagues were in. we were focused on bilateral relations and u.s. foreign policy toward ukraine. these two things had diverged at this point. >> in the run-up to ambassador yovanovitch separation from post, did you have any communich officials that the state department about your concerns? >> i did. >> who did you relate those concerns to? >> i related those concerns
directly to my counterpart, acting assistant secretary phil reeker, who i've known you spoken to. i also spoke to david hail, and again i covered a broad portfolio myself. we often would talk about individual items. i had private discussions with deputy secretary sullivan, and he of course has appeared before committees here in the course of his he has spoken about about himself. >> you abdicated all those officials about your concerns, about the information being spread about ambassador yovanovitch? >> i did, that's correct. >> the trump administration changed courses from its predecessor and provide lethal defense assistance to the ukraine. were you in favor of arming the ukrainians with the javelins? >> i was not initially in 2015, before i joined the government. i am sure that many people on the committee have seen that i
wrote an opinion piece with a colleague at the brookings institution in that juncture, because i was very worried about particular points in time that the ukrainian military was not in a fit state to really take on broad sophisticated weapons, being a defensive or offensive weapon. i worried that there was not a long-term sustainable plan, given the overwhelming force of the russians could apply against the ukrainians. however, when i came into government in 2017 and started to interact with all of my colleagues in the pentagon, laura cooper was here yesterday, i realized in fact that there had been a lot of work done on this and there was a clear and consistent plan for the sustainability long-term of the ukrainian military. so i change my mind. >> okay. you are in fact i believe the only witness i've spoken to that has been able to articulate the opposition to providing the javelins. as we understand it, during the obama administration, the
interagency consensus was in fact to provide the javelins, but they were not provided. were you aware of the decision back then? >> i was, and i think it was very much made on the political basis about concerns this would provoke the russians, depending on how this was presented. we were very mindful of that, also, when there were the discussions internally about the lethal defensive weapons inside the administration. >> mr. holmes, you are on the ground in the kyiv, and the javelins have now been authorized, provided. what is the view from the field, the u.s. embassy, as to the effectiveness of the javelins? >> they are an important strategic deterrent. they are not actively employed in combat operations right now, but the mere idea that, where the russians to advance substantially using certain kinds of armor, that the ukrainians would have this capability. it deters them from doing so. it also thereby sends a very important symbol, a symbolic
message to the ukrainian military, that they have access to these high-end technologies and that we trust them to do it. i also would add that they have offered to buy some using their own funds. the initial charge was provided through basically programmed to do that, but they have now offered to spend their own money to buy more. so i think it's important. >> important. >> ambassador taylor has testified, mr. kent has testified, that this was in fact the consensus of the interagency of providing the javelins. in your experience, working with ambassador taylor, was he also very much an advocate to this? >> yes. >> mr. holmes, i want to go back and names of americans. i want to talk a little bit about ukrainians, ukrainian government officials. are you familiar with -- have
you met with him? >> i have. >> he was a journalist and he was in the parliament. is he currently in the parliament? >> journalist again. >> journalist again. are you aware that when he was in the parliament that he had provided information to fusion gps operative named nellie ohr? >> i'm not aware of nellie ohr, i'm not aware of who he provided information to. i'm aware that exeter knows he has provided information. >> well, he was in the parliament at the time. this is the 2016 campaign. he provided, widely known as the "black ledger," have you heard of that? >> i have. >> the black letter is seen as couple information? >> yes. >> the black ledger is credible? >> yes. >> bob mueller did not find it credible.
do you dispute what bob mueller's findings were? that they didn't use it in the prosecution of the report. >> are not aware that he did not find it credible. i think it was evidence and other criminal proceedings. its credibility was not a question those proceedings. >> so the motivation for lutsenko was reported -- was to go after a trump campaign official, and undermine trump's candidacy. are you aware of that? >> if you mean by the release of the black ledger, i think lutsenko's motivation was the same motivation he has always expressed, which is to expose corruption in ukraine. >> right, but he has admitted motivation was to, partly, at least, undermine the trump candidacy he did not support. >> he did not say that to me. if he said that to you, i will take your word for it. >> and you are aware -- you heard dr. hill's testimony, but
the steele dossier, that contained that initial information that was fed into the fbi, were you aware of the democrats had paid for that information? >> i never had any involvement directly -- >> i'm not accusing you of involvement. but even if you knew at the time. but you now know today that the democrats had paid for that information? >> i do want to be clear that all that happened before i arrived in ukraine, so i don't have any first-hand -- >> i'm not accusing any involvement of you in the steele dossier i. >> understood, but i want to be clear about that. in addition, i have read about those issues but i'm not an expert on. >> but you're not disputing that the democrats and the clinton campaign where the source of funds that funded the steele dossier? >> i wouldn't be in a position to dispute that, sir. >> do you think 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's appropriate for political parties to pay operatives to dig up dirt on their opponents? >> i do not. >> mr. castor? >> we will turn to president zelensky's inauguration. ambassador volker testified that he was very pleased with the size of the delegation, although the vice president was unable to make the trip. secretary perry and ambassador volker and ambassador sondland. i understand, dr. hill, you are involved with some of the logistics and putting the delegation together. what can you tell us about the vice president's role in attending or not attending? >> well, i know you've had the testimony of jennifer williams, from the vice president's office, and i defer to her as being much closer to the decision-making about the vice president's attendance. i will also say that i and many
others hoped the vice president would be able to attend, although i know from my perspective because i was not involved intimately in million discussions with the vice president for his immediate staff, was that there was questions about the schedule. as you all know, the president and vice president cannot be out of the country at the same time, and there were some questions about presidential travel in the same time frame. there was quite a bit of back-and-forth as to whether it would be really feasible for the vice president in that time frame to go. so that's what i was aware of. i was going to the extent of the discussions that obviously ms. williams was involved in. >> right, the president was traveling in japan and then headed to europe for the d-day anniversary. the vice president's office, according to ms. williams, provided four days of the end of may, the 29th or 30th, 31st, june 1st. as it turned out, the ukrainians decided -- i believe it is on may 16th -- to schedule the inauguration for four days
later. by this point in time, the vice president had been rerouted for a trip to canada about the usmca. you don't have any evidence of the vice president was encouraged not to attend for any of the reason, do you? >> i do not, but again, i referred to ms. >> ms. williams testimony was that she heard from the chief of staff's assistant that the vice president was not able to go. the leap that the reason for that was related to any of these investigations has not been fully established. i want to just note from the materials you provided for your deposition that there was a discussion whether president or bond may have influenced
president trump's decision on that may 13th day, do you remember when the meeting was with president orban? >> i do. it was in may. >> do you remember what time of day it was on the 15th? >> to be honest, usually these meetings are around lunch time. sometime in that time frame. in the kind of early to mid part of the day. but i can't speak for sure. i want to be very clear that i cannot speak about head of state engagements. >> okay. jennifer williams testified that she learned about 11:00 or 11:15 a.m. that the meeting was not scheduled until later in the afternoon. according to your schedule, it was right around 145. is not consistent with the recollection? >> the lunchtime time frame, yes. depending on when you want to have lunch, i guess. stick overall, given the four days notice, given secretary perry's involvement,
do you think the delegation was a good sized group? >> i do. let me also make a point that we don't try to make these delegations large. this is on the taxpayer's dime, and it's pretty expensive getting people there if you have to get military air. we tried to keep them small. if you had a longer lead time, perhaps he would have made an arrangement. four days is not a lot of time to make an arrangement. >> secretary perry have been become interested in some of the energy-related issues in ukraine? >> i recommended that secretary perry -- >> what can you tell us about some of his involvement in the ukrainian policy? >> well, secretary perry's engagement made perfect sense given his role as secretary of energy. it also has deep knowledge of the energy industry, his former governorship. secretary perry himself is an extra nearly good advocate of u.s. interest, particularly in
the energy sphere. crane's achilles' heel, in addition to its military disadvantage with russia, is in fact energy. ukraine remains for now the main transit point for russian oil and gas and pipelines to europe. this has been manipulated repeatedly, especially since 2006, by the russian government. in fact, many of you remember that in the reagan era there was a huge dispute between the united states and europe about whether it made sense for europe to build pipelines from the zen soviet union to bring gas to european markets >> mr. holmes, what was your view of the delegation? do you think it was the right size group, the right level of prestige to signal to the incoming zelensky administration that the u.s. stands behind them? >> i think it was fine.
>> since we are on the topic of ukraine energy, i think it's a good place for us to segue into burisma, which i assume both of you have been familiar with. you've heard about it for many years. you are on the ground there now, mr. holmes, i know you weren't there at the time, but in september 2015, then ambassador to ukraine jeffrey piatt, obama-pointed career investor. i'm sure you know i'm. >> i do. >> credible? >> yes. >> a successful investor, i'm sure. he called for an investigation into the owner of burisma, the president of burisma. are you familiar with that? >> yes. >> did you know about deputy assistant secretary of state kent's concerns about the potential conflict of interest with hunter biden sitting on the board of burisma? >> i would defer to george to k,
who was involved at the time of those issues. >> as you know, the financial records show that this ukrainian natural gas company, burisma, rerouted more than $3 million to the american accounts of hunter biden? >> i've heard that. >> are you familiar with outcome must be dr. hill? >> only from newspaper reports. >> this is back to you, mr. holmes. do you know that burisma's legal representative met with ukrainian officials just days after the vice president forced the firing of the country's chief prosecutor? >> no. >> did you know that burisma's american lawyers tried to secure a meeting with the new state prosecutor the same day the predecessor, viktor shokin's, firing was announced? >> no. >> did you know that the president called ukrainian president after the president
and owner of burisma's home was raided by the state prosecutor's office? >> no. >> did you know that devon archer and hunter biden reached out to the deputy secretary of state shortly after the raid on burisma? >> no. >> dr. phil, did you know -- i don't want to go through and ask all those questions over again. >> i also did not know. >> you did not know about this? >> no. >> okay. so, you obviously know that the president had concerns about burisma. concerns about the 2016 election meddling by the ukrainians. when you were in their as head of the ukraine desk, did you ever raise any of these -- did you ever brief the president or
raise it up to ambassador bolton about any concerns through 2017 and '18, that concern the 2016 election meddling or burisma concerns? >> the old briefing process didn't really work in the way that you are suggesting there. if the president had asked about any of this information, it would have been provided for him. just to be very clear, ukraine was not a top foreign policy priority in this. back in the same way many of us issues we could talk about, from syria and turkey and others, where. there weren't that many briefings on ukraine. they would take place when there was a scheduled meeting with ukrainian out-of-state. as we know, there haven't been too many of those. >> so as far as you know, he did know briefings, no papers, answered no questions as it relates to the 2016 election or burisma during your time there?
>> i did not, no. >> mr. custer? >> dr., he told us during your deposition that, indeed, there are perceived conflicts do not conflict of interest troubles when the child of a government official is involved with something that government official has official policy role in, correct? >> i think any family member of any member of the u.s. government congress or the senate is open to all kinds of questions about optics and out flick if they take part in any activity that could be misconstrued as related to their parent of the family members work. so matter of course, yes, i do think that's the case. >> back to ambassador sondland, you said that every now and then he made a habit of name dropping his interactions with the president? >> that's correct. >> i believe you also told us there were instances where you would run into him on the campus and he would say, "i'm here to
see the president, i've been in to see the president." and he had an occasion to circle back and found out that wasn't the case? >> that's correct. >> i want to give you an opportunity -- he testified about some sort of coffee he had with you, on your last day? i think when the deposition transcript was released your counsel indicated that that was completely fabricated, on the investor to sondland's part. i want to give you an opportunity to address that. >> yes, unfortunately this is the federal government and we don't have coffee machines readily in our office. if you come to my office, the best i could have offered you was a cup of water from the water fountain outside of my office. so the coffee that ambassador sondland and i shared, was actually that we ran into each other. or rather, he found out i was going to be there, and asked me to meet him for coffee in jackson hole, wyoming, in 2018 in august. so this is a full year before he
left. that was a very nice coffee, so perhaps he conflated those two meetings together. the meeting he was referring to, he had come in to meet with our director for the european union. this was in my last week in the office. as i was in the office at 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, colonel vindman, and the assistance that ambassador sondland had brought with him from the state department. so they were actually four of us in that meeting. unfortunately it was not over coffee. >> he went on to indicate that you were upset, you are upset with -- >> i can't do math, sorry. >> fair enough. >> he indicated you were upset with ambassador bolton, upset with the way things are going. i believe your counsel so that was an outright fabrication? >> you might recall in my
deposition on october 14th i said that i unfortunately had a bit of a blow up with ambassador sondland. i had a couple of testy encounters with him. one of those were in june 18 when i said to him, "who put them in charge of ukraine," i admit i was a bit rude. that's when he told me the president, which shut me up. this other meeting, it was about 15 or 20 minutes exactly as he depicted it was. to be honest, i was angry with him. hate to say it, but often when women show anger it is not fully appreciated. it's often pushed onto emotional issues, perhaps, or deflected onto other people. he wasn't coordinating with us. i realize, having listened to his deposition, that he was absolutely right. that he wasn't coordinating with us because we weren't doing the same thing that he was doing. so i was upset with him that he wasn't fully telling us about all the meetings that he was
having, and he said to me that, "i am briefing the president, i'm briefing chief of staff mulvaney, i briefing secretary pompeo, and i've talked to ambassador bolton. who else to have to deal with?" the point is we have an airbus interagency process that usually if with can. includes mr. holmes, ambassador taylor, the whole amount of other peop people. it struck me the other day when you put up on the screen ambassador sondland's emails and he was on these emails. he said, these were the people who needed to know. he's 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 have just diverged. so he was correct, and i had not put my finger on that at the moment, but i was irritated with him and angry that he wasn't fully coordinating. i did say to him, "ambassador sondland, gordon, i think this is all going to blow up," and
here we are. after i left to my next meeting, our director for the european union talk to them much further for a full half hour or more later, trying to ask him about how we could coordinate better. how we could coordinate better after i had left the office. his feeling was at the national security council was always trying to block him. what we were trying to do was block us from straying into domestic or personal politics, and that was precisely what i was trying to do. but ambassador sondland is not wrong that he had been given a different remit than we had been. it was at that moment that i started to realize how those things have diverge. i realized in fact that i wasn't really being fair to ambassador sondland, because he was carrying out what he thought he had been instructed to carry out, and be redoing something that we thought was just as, or perhaps even more, important. but it wasn't in the same channel. >> dr. hill, i just want to
drill down on this a little bit. the president of the united states, the commander in chief, was concerned about the 2016 elections and burisma. he had his personal attorney working these issues because he was under investigation by robert mueller's special counsel, partly beginning with an investigation that started with the steele dossier that we've already established the democrats had paid for and then fed into the fbi. so, at the end of the day, the commander in chief, concerned about 2016 election meddling by ukraine, you earlier testified that you weren't aware of that. but if that was the concern of the president, to try to get to the bottom of it, and if the concern of ambassador sondland, who was trying to set up
meetings on behalf -- to ensure, really, that meetings occurred and phone calls occurred, to strengthen the relationship, i understand the people at the nsc and the state department had issues with that. at the end of the day, isn't it the commander in chief who makes those decisions? >> my point, mr. nunes, is that we have a national security counsel were not told, either by the president directly or through ambassador bolton, that we were to be focused on these issues as a matter of u.s. foreign policy toward ukraine. when you're talking about ukraine in 2016, i never personally heard the president say anything specific about 2016 and ukraine. i have seen him say plenty of things publicly, but i was not given a directive. in fact, i was given a directive on july 10th by ambassador bolton, very clearly, to stay out of domestic politics. >> just for the sake of the timeline, i think as of jul
of july 19th, they hadn't even engage with rudy giuliani yet. i don't believe that happened until a little bit later. so you believe that by july 19th they were already engaged in those types of activities can back >> we had already had a discussion with kurt volker, it was his assistant who indicated he had met with rudy giuliani at this point. in the vestry sondland made comments about meeting with giuliani. and as we know, in the may 23rd meeting, they have been instructed to meet with giuliani. they give us every impression that they were meeting with rudy giuliani at this point, and rudy giuliani said on the television, and has said subsequently, he was closely correlating with the state department. so it's my belief that they were meeting with him. >> okay. there is some ambiguity in the direction to recruit through giuliani. ambassador volker said the president dismissed ukraine and said, "if you work don might want to talk on it, go to talk
to judy." and ambassador sondland took that a little bit to family. i ambassador volker was primarily the interlocutor with mr. giuliani, and that was happened -- that didn't start until the end of july. >> i only learned that subsequently from ambassador volker's deposition. so i just wanted to tell you, in that particular time frame, i was not aware of that. in fact, gordon sondland did refer to rudy giuliani. again, ambassador bolton had warned ambassador volker not to meet with rudy giuliani in a meeting. >> mr. morrison, i told him both in his deposition and public hearing, that you had relayed concerns about colonel vindman's judgment. >> i didn't in general terms about colonel vindman's judgment. i was somewhat surprised when i heard mr. morrison make that assertion, and when i read his deposition. it was a very specific point that was made, and again, these are personnel issues. i'm sure nobody here would like
to have their private personnel issues put before a committee, but you've asked me about this. so i had a couple of very short transition meetings with mr. morrison. again, mr. morrison did not work in our -- he was taking over the position which he held for three months. i had worked as the director, the senior director, for europe and eurasia, it was at the time, for more than two months at this point. and i've been working for a year with colonel vindman. in the course of one of the meetings, sometime i in the june time frame, i sat down with mr. morrison and with the deputy referred to in his deposition, who was also working. we met through all organizational charts. we went through who was staying, was rotating out and leaving in the summer, and we talked about everybody's strengths and weaknesses. i always asked my staff to do upward feedback, as well come to talk about what i was doing. i said i was concerned about the way things were trending and
ukraine policy. colonel vindman is a highly distinguished, decorated military officer. he came over to us from the chairman's office in the joint chiefs of staff. 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 if, for example, colonel vindman might decide to leave the military, that perhaps he wasn't as well-suited for something that would be much more political. i did not feel he had the political antenna to deal with something that was straying into domestic politics. not everyone is suited for that. that does mean in any way that i was questioning his overall judgment. nor was i questioning in any way his expertise. he is excellent on issues related to ukraine, belarus, and moldova, russian defense issues. he had been in charge of the russia campaign, thinking
through at the chairman's office and in the pentagon. this is a very specific issue. because by june we saw that things were diverging, and needed to complete a different sensitivity. some people in my office have worked in the highest levels of advisory positions, and mr. morrison had come from capitol hill. he knew politics inside out, and we said that colonel zinman did not and we were concerned about how he would manage what was becoming highly charged and potentially partisan issue, which it had not been before. >> colonel vindman related to us during his deposition that he subsequently was sort of cut out a lot of the decision-making and involvements with the embassy in the ukraine. was that something you recommended? >> not with the embassy and ukraine. we did put him back from the meeting in may in the oval office, and a subsequently we were very concerned about these political aspects of this. we did not feel -- july 10th,
colonel vindman was justifiably alarmed when he realized that there was this highly-political aspect of the meeting that we were looking for eventually 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 burdened-sharing in the region, as the decision about aid was being debated. >> sarah come after the hold was placed on the security assistance , many people were scrambling to try and understand why. i believe it was senator johnson who had said that the president was concerned about burden-sharing, and perhaps others, as well. trying to interpret why this might've happened, we were looking into the facts of what the europeans have provided and what we've provided. it's very illuminating what we
learned. the united states has provided combined civilian and military assistance to ukraine since 2014 about $3 billion, plus $21 billion guarantees. those get paid back, largely just over $3 billion. the europeans, the level of the european union plus the member states combined, since 2014, my understanding is that that provided a combined total billion dollars to ukraine. >> you were able to communicate that information back of the end of august? >> i believe so. this was done in collaboration with missions. to the e.u., nato, and others. >> do you think that was information the white house was looking for? >> we don't know. others weren't spending as much as we were for ukraine, then that information should a different story. >> and the aide was subsequently lifted? the pause in the aid was lifted shortly thereafter? >> yes, in mid-september.
>> i yield back. >> that concludes the 45 minute rounds. we will now go to member questioning. i will recognize myself for 5 minutes. first, as a threshold, i want to say to the witnesses to be a bit cautious when members represent, "are you aware of this fact, are you aware of that fact? you know so-and-so testified to this were about?" if you have personal knowledge of it, that's fine. sometimes numbers get it wrong, so let me just 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 a trip to canada. that was not ms. williams' testimony. her testimony was, "i asked my colleague why we should stop trip planning and why the vice president would not be attending, and i was informed that the president had decided vice president would not attend the inauguration." so just off of that caution,
dr. hill, i want to ask you -- you maybe aware of some of the attacks on colonel vindman, suggested that he has a dual loyalty. that he's not really loyal to america, that he's loyal to ukraine. i want to ask you, as a fellow immigrant, what you think of those kinds of accusations when they are leveled against colonel vindman or other americans. >> i think it's very unfortunate. this is a country of immigrants. with the exception, perhaps, very few people still here, everyone immigrated to the united states at some point in their family history. this is what, for me, really does make america great. i'm sure that every single person here, some people perhaps came reluctantly, others came by choice, as i did. but this for me is the essence of america, and that's why i wanted to be here and why i wanted to stay here. i think it's unfair to castigate anyone. everyone has -- i'm in anglo-american, perhaps.
the british and american, naturalized citizen. i do not believe my loyalty is to the united kingdom. my lucy is here to the united states. this is my country in the country and serve. i know for fact that every single one of my colleagues -- and there were many naturalized citizens in my office and across the national security council -- i think it's deeply unfair. >> i think you. you mentioned something in your testimony, and i might not have this exactly right, that i think ambassador sondland once told you that his role was to make deals connect is not right? >> that's correct. he told other people that, as well, to be clear. >> i want to ask you about one of those deals. the one that ambassador bolton described as a "drug deal." i had the suggestion of the indication, rather, would mr. goldman was asking questions about the july 10th meeting of the fact there were two meetings -- one in ambassador bolton's presence and another in the war room -- that there was more you had to say about that. do you want to walk us through gotten a a little more detail?
>> the reference ambassador bolton made was after i return from the boardroom and related to him what i had heard. there was the sequencing of meetings, which i know there's been some concern about the sequencing here, discrepancies between various depositions. so, what happened immediately after the meeting, that ambassador bolton called a little short, was he told me to hold back in the room. he was escorting out the ukrainian visitors, along with secretary perry and ambassadors. i guess they want to take a quick photograph outside of his office. i know secretary perry and others have treated out that photograph, but good beautiful sunny day," and there's a picture of them standing to set to set aside ambassador sondland's office. he very quickly came back in, and at that point i guess they were already moving down to the boardroom. on the way out of ambassador
bolton's office, ambassador sondland said, "let's regroup for a quick huddle and next steps." to be honest, that's quite unusual. you don't usually huddle in a room and the white house, to discuss next steps with foreign delegations. we took it to be next steps on setting up the meeting, which already, as i've said, ambassador bolton was not prepared to do. when ambassador bolton came back into the office, that's when he gave me the very strong instruction to go on downstairs, front it was going on, and come back and reported to him. as i came into the boardroom, alex vindman, colonel vindman, and ambassador sondland were in an exchange pair that's when i noticed colonel vindman looked quite alarmed. i know ambassador sondland was asked yesterday -- because i watched all of his testimony and i watched it very carefully -- that there were some questions about yelling and shouting. i certainly never said that, and there was no yelling and shouting. that's some embellishment that
has crept in, perhaps in media depictions, or how people like to retell the stories and add things to them. when i came in, ambassador sondland was in an exchange with colonel vindman, along the lines of, "well, we have an agreement to have this meeting." i came in and asked, "what's going on here?" and he said -- again, the ukrainians are there, ambassador bolton is there. at this point i want to stress that secretary perry had left. he was not in the 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. when i came in, gordon sondland was saying, "i have a deal here with the chief of staff mulvaney. there will be a meeting, if the ukrainians open up or announce these investigations into 2016 and burisma." i cut it off immediately vary.
by this point, having heard mr. giuliani over and over again on the television and all of the issues that he was asserting, by this point it was clear that burisma was code for the bidens, because giuliani was laying it out there. i could see why colonel vindman was alarmed, and he said, "this is inappropriate, we are the national security council, we can't be involved in this." i have learned since for mr. holmes' rendition here today that colonel vindman had already warned the ukrainians, president zelensky, stay out of american politics. domestic politics. i cut it off and i said to investors sondland, "look, we need procedures here. ambassador bolton made it clear we can't set the meeting right now. have to properly prepare this through the proper process." i know it all sounds reborn and, who have national security procedures to do this. i said, "we shouldn't be you talking about this in front of
our colleagues from ukraine. it's completely inappropriate for us to be flushing this out in front of them." he agreed and we asked our ukrainian colleagues to move into the corridor outside the room, and i explained this in the deposition. which is also externally awkward, because they shouldn't have been standing around in a corridor in the west wing at this particular juncture. that's when i push back on ambassador sondland said, "look, there are differences about when we should have this meeting. we are trying to figure out whether we should have after the ukrainian parliamentary elections, the rada elections, which at that point have been set for july 21st. it must have been, because this was july 10th at this point. and ambassador bolton would have liked to wait 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 could move forward. and esther someone said fair enough, he would be able to push
this further. ambassador volker didn't say anything at this particular juncture. he said he had another meeting, and they all left. i went back and relate this to ambassador bolton, which is when he gave me the very specific instruction that we've already been through, to go and talk to mr. eisenberg, john eisenberg, in the nse council office. >> thank you. mr. nunes? >> i assume we are at 8 minutes, there? >> i don't cut off a witness in the middle of the 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? >> i didn't your boss bring up the call that you overheard? the reason you are here today? you are there closing witness. yet their star witness, their 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 your life. you described it like this.
"after that call happened, i told others at the embassy about that call." then he said he went on vacation i told several friends and family about the call. then you come back on august 6 then you tell ambassador taylor about the call. the new art deposition, you said nursing today as well, "i repeatedly referred t to the calling meetings and confirmations, conversations with the president's interest in ukraine was relative. i referred to issues with the president's interest in ukraine was relevant." that sounds like government speak for you told everybody. and yet, their star witness, their first witness, ambassador taylor, when he came here, he related 13 conversations he had between july 18th when the aid is frozen, september 11th when it's released, 13 different conversations. never once mentioning this call. dr. hill and colonel vindman told sondland what they told them. sondland told july twentieth, sondland told taylor
what july 20th, morrison tells taylor what happened on the trump-call august 21st, brechbuhl talked to taylor. yermak , he talks to taylor september 2nd, morrison tells taylor, september 7th, morrison tells taylor what sondland told trump, september 18th, sondland tells taylor what trump told sondland. nowhere is there a "holmes tells taylor with the president of the united states told sondland." >> may i answer that question? >> i'll get to you, i will give you a chance in a second. 13 conversations from from their star witness. you are their closing witness, and he can't remember a call from a guy he works with every single day?
maybe, mr. holmes, the take away was that 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 the -- we had the trump zelensky transcript had been out for two months. >> sir, i believe that when i. >> you are repeatedly bringing this conversation up as you said to everybody when any time there is a talk about ukraine you recall this conversation. maybe it was the transcript -- the call happened on 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, shazam, last week, you come forward with supposedly this new information? there is nothing different in there than what we had on the 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 are their closing witness because you overheard the president talking to ambassador sondland. >> sir, if i can answer. i see four seconds left on the clock. >> mr. holmes, you may take as long as you need. >> thank you, sir. i believe that ambassador taylor did already 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 bide investigation. >> that's not what i asked. i asked why he didn't share with us. >> mr. jordan, please do not interrupt the witness any further. mr. holmes your time expired yours has not. you may answer the question. >> it's exactly my point. i briefed the call in detail deputy chief commission. come back, referred to the call and everyone is nodding, of course that's what's
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