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tv   Good Morning America  ABC  December 9, 2019 7:00am-9:00am PST

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improper personal benefit while ignoring or injuring the national interest or acts in ways that are grossly inconsistent with and undermine the separation of powers that is the foundation of our democratic system. now, these -- this question of whether the president engaged in abuse of power came up before when this congress considered the impeachment of president nixon. after action was taken president nixon said if the president does it it is not illegal. this body rejected that because that's not so. that's goes contrary to what the founders said. president trump has said the same thing in responding to the prior investigation by department of justice and defending his conduct. here's what he said. >> then i have an article ii where i have the right to do whatever i want as president. >> that he has the right to do whatever he wants as president. that is as wrong as when
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president nixon said a similar thing. that is not what the constitution provides. that's not what the country demands. he does not have the right to do whatever he wants. turning to the second concern, the betrayal of the power. the america people suffered when president trump treated military aid that had been approved, tax payer dollars and tried to treat it as his own checkbook to further his own re-election chances. that reflects what the founders were concerned about. finally corruption of our elections. the framers knew that corrupt leaders or leaders acting corruptly concentrate their pow powers to manipulate elections and under cut adversaries. they talked about it frequently.
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that's why the framers thought it was a critical abuse and could support and lead to impeachment. the american people learned last election how dangerous foreign intervention in our elections can be. let me show another clip from candidate trump on the campaign trail. >> russia, if you're listening, i hope you're able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing. i think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press. >> russia was listening. within approximately five hours, five hours, of president trump's invitation to russia to interfere in our election by trying to hack and obtain the emails of his political opponent russia tried to do that for the first time. the very officers indicted by
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the department of justice, they took candidate trump's invitation. now, the american people learned a lesson. president trump unfortunately learned a different lesson. let's look. >> well, i would think that, if they were honest about it, they would start a major investigation into the bidens. it's a simple answer. they should investigate the bidens. >> so this was president trump answering a question about what he wanted president zelensky to do. even after he got caught, he is saying this vulnerable, dependent on u.s. support militarily and otherwise, again, he's telling them what to do. unlike in 2016 when he only had a campaign platform which campa extend the invitation to a foreign power, now he has the levers of government in his control to not only request it
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and invite it, but to pressure that country to do it. that's exactly what he did. you'll hear more about that in the presentation from the house intelligence committee. what's most striking as we come back to this issue, is there a continuing risk of wrong doing, the fact that president trump did this after he was caught shows the risk. shows the risk of what will happen if this body doesn't act. he really does believe he can act as though he were above the law. he believes as evidenced by this conduct that he can put his personal and political interests over the nation's interests, over the nation's national security interest, over the nation's integrity of its elections. so, of course, we have an election coming up.
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that's totnot a reason to postp this discussion. it's a reason we must have this discussion. to make sure this president doesn't do it, to make sure future presidents do not do it. it is the hope that in these discussions we can put aside political rancor, disagreements and have a fair discussion about the facts and this conduct, not just as it relates to president trump, but as to the presidency itself and future presidents. my son, our children, our grandchildren, they will study this moment in history. they will read all of your remarks. they will learn about all your actions. that is in tnot a reason to votr or against impeachment. for that you must vote your conscious. that is a reason for us to have
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a fair debate about what the undisputed facts show. to recognize that it is wrong, it is very wrong and it cannot happen again with this president or any president. it is a reason to talk about whether we want our children and grandchildren to live in a country where the president elected by the people can put his own personal and political interests over the interests of the people who elected them. it is a reason for these debates to, again, fairly focus on the facts and to make sure the presentations we're going to hear will not distort the record, focus on process points, raise extraneous matters that are intended to distract, rather than focus on what the conduct was at issue here. it is a reason to focus on the facts and what is in the
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country's best interest. history, future generations will be the judge. >> thank you mr. berke. mr. castor, you aregn chairman, point of point of ord >> mr. castor is recognized. >> mr. chairman, point of order. >> point of order. >> the witness has violated rule 17. >> point of order. >> the witness used language which impunes the character of the president. >> point of order is not sustained. >> appeal the ruling of the chair. >> the topic of the hearing is the president's misconduct. none of us should find it surprising we're hearing
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testimony that is critical of the president. i do not find the witness' comments are disorderly. i find they're pertinent to the subject matter of the hearing. the witness would be able to continue except his time has expire. >> mr. chairman. >> gentleman -- >> it's not that his rules are -- they violate the rules of the house. this is not about his conduct. he's talking about the motives. >> gentleman will suspend. >> talking about the character of the president of the united states. >> the rule os of >> i appeal the ruling of the chair. >> it's not a ruling. >> it's subject to a vote. >> it's appealed. >> that's a rule. >> the point of order is not sustained. >> appeals to the ruling of the chair. >> i move to table the -- >> the motion made to table the
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ruling -- >> move the motion is made in writing. >> it's not in debate. all in favor of the motion to table say aye. opposed. motion to table. >> she has to put it in writing. then you put it to a vote. >> motion to table is -- >> at least you're following the rule. >> roll call. >> they're going to be having a vote on the chairman's ruling that the objection from the house republican is out of order saying the witness was impugning the reputation of the president. you heard chairman nadler say the house rules apply to members of congress, not witnesses. mary bruce on capitol hill. clearly a strategy from house republicans to make the hearing go as long as possible. >> we're seeing squabbling over the rules. the republicans are trying to
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delay the proceedings. they're using every tool they have to delay. in this case they're insisting the witness has been impugning the character of the president. chairman nadler pointed out this is a hearing about the president and his actions. he says those rules don't apply. they're going through the vote. i suspect they won't be able to pull this off very long. >> one of the rules of the house whoever has the majority generally wins. you see that among republicans and democrats. they'll go through this party line vote democrats and republicans. let me talk to our legal team about the democratic presentation there. basically, dan abrams, a highlight reel of the last couple weeks of hearings. >> yeah. it may feel a little like a letdown because of how powerful the law professors had been the other day. when we started the day
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listening to the law professors, i was thinking that was not going to be particularly interesting. it was far more interesting than expected. i find this to be less interesting than i expected. that's because of the expectations. >> i saw our law professors nodding their heads. the vote is complete. let's go back. >> may i make a -- >> i will not recognize the inquiry. mr. castor is recognized for 30 minutes. >> good morning chairman nadler, member collins, kmi committee. my name is steve castor. for purposes of this investigation i'm a shared staffer with the you additijudi committee. it's not typical for a staffer
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to be presenting. thanks for having me. the purpose of this hearing as we understand it is to discuss whether president donald j. trump conduct fits the parameters of high crimes and misdemeano misdemeanors. it does not. this case comes down to eight lines in a call transcript. let me say clearly that the answer to that question is no. the record in the democrat's impeachment inquiry does not show that president trump abused the power of his office or obstructed congress. to impeach a president who 63 million people voted for over eight lines in a call transcript is baloney. democrats seek to impeach president trump not because they have evidence, but because they disagree with his policies. this impeachment inquiry is not
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the organic outgrowth of serious misconduct. democrats have been searching for facts to impeach president trump since his inauguration on january 20, 2017. just 27 minutes after the president's inauguration the "washington post" ran a story that the campaign to impeach the president has already begun. the article reported democrats and liberal activists mounting broad opposition to trump's agenda and noted that impeachment strategists believe the constitution's 'molment clause would be the vehicle. there were articles of impeachment of president trump on several different basis. idrtles of rd congressman impeachment against the president. representative talib said we're
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going to go in there and impeach the president. may 2019 representative greene said on msnbc if we don't impeach this president he will be reelected. even speaker pelosi who said impeachment is a somber and prayerful exercise has called president trump an imposter and said it is dangerous to allow voters to judge his performance in 2020. the obsession with impeaching the president is reflected in house democrats and they have used the power of their majority in the past 11 months. the democrats first announced witness was michael cohen a disgraced felon who pleaded guilty to lying to congress. when he came before us at the oversight committee he lied again as many as eight times. oversight committee democrats demanded information about the
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president's personal finances and subpoenaed the president's account firm where large swaths of sensitive and personal financial information about the entire trump family. the subpoena was issued over the objection of committee republicans and without a vote. in the ways and means committee democrats demanded the president's personal tax return information. the reason they cited for wanting the president's tax returns they said was to oversee the irs' audit process for presidential tax returns. you can judge that for yourself. in the financial services committee democrats demanded and subpoenaed the president's bank records going back ten years. the financial services committee staff, the republicans tell me, the information demanded would cover every withdraw, credit card swipe, debit card purchase of every member of the trump family. the reasons the democrats gave
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for why they needed the information -- get this -- financial industry compliance with banking statutes and regulations. here in the judiciary committee democrats sent out letters demanding information from people such as the president's children, business partners, employees, campaign, businesses and foundation. of course the main event for the judiciary committee was the report of special counsel mueller which democrats believed would serve as the evidentiary basis for impeaching the president. despite interviewing 500 witnesses, issuing 2,800 subpoenas, executing almost 500 search warrants and spending $25 million the special counsel's 19 attorneys and 40 fbi agents,
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analysts and staff found no conspiracy or coordination between the trump campaign and the russian government. after the trump/russia collusion allegations didn't pan out democrats focussed their efforts on obstruction of justice. they criticized attorney general barr for making that determination when it was perfectly correct for him to make that determination. the democrat's mueller hearing was under whelming to say the least. the intelligence committee was invested in the russian collusion investigation. committee democrats hired former prosecutors to prepare to impeach the president.
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now that the russian collusion allegatio allegati allegations didn't work, the democrats have settled on the ukrainian phone call, eight lines of a phone call with ukrainian president zelensky. the foreign affairs committee wasn't the committee leading the impeachment inquiry or holding the hearings, neither was the oversight committee. the house's chief investigative entity. the judiciary committee was brought back into the mix after fact finding concluded. the impeachment committee was run by the house intelligence committee and the former prosecut prosecutors. the democrats ran the hearing an unclear way. the democrats took advantage of a closed-door process in the capitol basement bunker to
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control access to information. the secrecy effectively weapon iced the investigation allowing misleading public narratives to hold and catch hold with careful leaks. democrats refused to invite republican witnesses and directed witnesses for the democrats not to answer those questions. in the public hearings many of the unfair processes continued. democrats interrupted republican questioning and prevented witnesses from answering republican questions. democrats voted down by a motion to table, with no notice, subpoenas for documents and testimony requested by republicans. i'll note that democrats never brought any of their subpoenas to a vote before the intelligence committee. this unfair process reflected the degree to which democrats are obsessed with impeaching the president. the democrats went searching for
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a set of facts in which to impeach the president. the emoluments clause, the president's financial records, the mueller report, elements of obstruction before landing on the yooukraine phone call. the impeachment inquiry is an effort to upend our political system. according to "politico" the speaker has drafted every step of the impeachment inquiry. democrats have convened focus groups to test which allegations, whether quid pro quo, bribery, extortion, were most compelling to the american public. speaker pelosi said democrats must strike while the iron is hot on impeaching the president. the duration of the impeachment inquiry has been 76 days. as professor turley testified
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last wednesday, this impeachment would stand out among modern impeachments as the shortest proceeding with the thinnest evidentiary record and the narrowest grounds ever used to impeach a president. the artificial and arbitrary political deadline by which democrats are determined to finish impeachment by christmas leads to a rushed process and missed opportunities to obtain relevant information. democrats avoided the accommodations process required by federal courts and disputes between congress and the executive. democrats declined to cooperate with the administration for documents and witnesses. democra sometimes the threat of a
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contempt proceeding gets you a different result. sometimes the witnesses choose to appear when contempt is on the table. democrats withdrew one subpoena to a witness that asked the federal courts to rule. either the democrats didn't want to wait for the judge to rule or didn't like the june, judge leon. democrats told witnesses their refusal to cooperate in full would be used against them and the president. democrats threatened federal employees that their salaries could be withheld for not meeting committee demands. these tactics are fundamentally unfair and counter productive for gathering information. this rushed and take it or leave it approach to investigating is contrary to house successful
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investigations. congressional investigations take time. there's no easy button. in this job you must take the information that's offered, even if you don't like the terms. you should not say no to taking a witness' testimony because you would prefer the agency counsel is not present. if that's the only means of obtaining the testimony, you should take it. your priority must not be on blocking information out. it must be on seeking information. in all recent investigations, for example the investigation into the justice department, the benghazi investigation and fast and furious there has been give and take. in the gaudy investigation it took two months before the first
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interview with department director mccabe. the justice department oonl began producing documents to the committee after many more months of discussions. in none of these investigations did congress get everything it wanted at the beginning, certainly not within 76 days, but with persistence and patience we received enough information to do our work. contrary to talking points, the trump administration has, in fact, cooperated with and facilitated congressional oversight and investigations. for example earlier this year the oversight committee conducted an investigation into security clearances at the white house. the central allegation put forward was that the white house deviated from established procedures to grant clearance to staff.
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t house and the white house were at an impasse. however after a little bit of time, we the republican staff, with the help of mr. jordan, convinced the witness to appear with agency counsel for our own transcribed interview. the democrats came along. the subsequent interviews in the security clearance investigation were conducted with agency counsel. the testimonial lowed ty committee to obtain the evidence to get to what was going on. nobody outside the security office was handing out clearances. certainly not to senior white house staffers. in this impeachment democrats have turned away evidence that could be vital to the investigation. democrats have declined to
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negotiate in good faith with the administration about the scope of document requests. as a result the evidentiary record is incomplete and in many places incoherent. the failure to exhaust all avenues severely risks undermining the legitimacy of any articles of impeachment. as professor turley said to the committee last week, i'm concerned about lowering impeachment standards to fit the evidence and the abundance of anger. this impeachment fails the standard of past impeachments, but would create a dangerous precedent for future impeachments. professor turley elaborated the lack of proof is another reason why this is so damaging for the case of impeachment. the substantive case for
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impeaching president trump as a result of an artificial and arbitra arbitrary political schedule relies on ambiguous facts, presumptions and speculation. turley said it's based on proof, not assumptions. the democrats do not have the proof. now my democrat counter parts are intelligent attorneys. they'll tell you a story about a shadow or irregular foreign policy apparatus and a smear campaign designed extort ukraine for the president's political benefit. they'll tell you about president trump and how he put his political interests ahead of national security by mentioning former vice president joe biden and raising the ukrainian
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influence on the election. they'll try to convince you the trump administration, the same administration democrats accuse of being incompetent, orchestrated an international conspiracy. none of this matches up. the democrats' impeachment inquiry ignores all the evidence that doesn't advance their story. the democrats' narrati narrative has conflicting evidence in a way unflattering to the president. it ignores public statements from senior ukrainian officials that contradict the narrative. as you listen to the democratic presentation, i urge you to keep these points in mind. what evidence has been gathered paints a different picture. i won't provide a detailed
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picture now, but allow me to highlight a few points. the summary of the july 25th phone call never reveals any pressure. president zelensky never exhibited any pressure on the call. president trump was not asking for a favor that would help his re-election. he was asking for assistance in helping our country move forward from the divisiveness of the russia collusion investigation. second, since president trump has declassified and released the call summary 75 days ago, president zelensky has said publicly and repeatedly that he felt no pressure. he said it on september 25th at the united nation general assembly. he said it on october 6th. he said it on october 10th and most recently he said it last
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week in "time" magazine. other officials said there was no pressure. if president trump was truly orchestrating a pressure campaign to force ukraine to investigate former vice president biden, one would think ukraine would have felt some pressure. third, at the time of the july 25th call senior officials in kiev didn't know the security assistance was paused. they didn't know it was paused until it was reported in the u.s. media on august 25th. ambassador volker testified there was no leverage implied. finally president zelensky met with president trump in new york on september 25th at the united nations. shortly thereafter -- shortly before that the security assistance flowed to ukraine.
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both happened without ukraine ever taking actions or investigations. the impeachment record also has s substantial evidence going to the president's state of mind under cutting the democrat's assertion of malicious intent. witnesses testified that president trump has a skepticism of ukraine stemming from its history of corruption. president trump is skeptical of u.s. tax payer funded foreign assistance and believes that our allies should share more of the burden of ukraine's defense. ukrainian politicians openly spoke out against president trump during the 2016 election. these events bared directly on the president's state of mind. president zelensky had run on an anti-corruption platform, but he was an untried politician.
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when former vice president pence met with president zelensky in warsaw -- i'm sorry.en met with president zelensky in warsaw he stressed for him the need for reform and stressed burden sharing. in late august, early september after his party took control, ukraine passed historic reforms to fight corruption including removing parliamentary immunity. president trump later lifted the pause of security assistance and met with president zelensky two weeks later. the aid was paused for 55 days. very simply the evidence in the democrats' impeachment inquiry doesn't support the conclusion that president trump abused his power for his own personal
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political benefit. there's no clear evidence that the president acted with malicious intent. indeed there are, and the republican report articulates them, legitimate explanations for these actions that are not nefarious as the democrats allege. the evidence shows that president trump faithfully executed the duties of his office by delivering on what he promised the american voters he would do. democrats may disagree with the president's policy decisions or the manner in which he govern, but those disagreements are not enough to justify the irrevocable action of removing him from office. the democrats hyperbole and histrionics are no good reason to prevent the american people from deciding on their own who is going their next president. this record also does not support a conclusion that
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president trump obstructed congress during the impeachment inquiry. for many of the procedural did he defects i touched ambassador sondland t committee president trump told him to tell the truth. he's also released the two transcripts from the phone calls with president zelensky. president trump said he would like witnesses to testify but he's been forced to resist the unfair, abusive process. i believe strongly in the prognosis t prerogatives of the congress. it's awful to hear the professor turley's testimony when he said to set this unabbreviated
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schedule, demand documents and then impeach because they haven't been turned over is the abuse of power. the impeachment of a duly elected president is the undoing of a national election. democrats released a report that contrary to the chairman's st t statement in 1988 is not undoing an election, i would respond by saying the 63 million americans who voted for president trump in 2016 would agree. by impeaching president trump the house would be nullifying the decision of those americans and the house would be doing it in less than 11 months before the next election. there still is no compelling argument for why democrats in the house must take this decision out of the hands of the voters and do it before christmas. during the clinton impeachment
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in 1998 the chairman said the president's accusers must go beyond hearsay and the president prove his innocence on vague and changing charges. i would submit those words ring as true today as the chairman believed them to be in 1998. the impeachment record is relying on hearsay, in nun do and presumptions. democrats have lobbed vague and ever-changing charges for impeachment going as far back as the president's inauguration. for all these reasons the extraordinary exercise of the house's impeachment and authority is not warranted on the evidentiary record presented. thank you for allowing me to present this information this morning. i yield back. >> that's the first presentation by the republican counsel steven
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castor. >> mr. berke, you are now excused. we'll invite mr. goldman to take his place. >> daniel goldman will now take the seat for the democrats. >> what purpose does the gentleman seek recognition. >> parliamentary inquire. >> state your inquiry. >> the chairman is allowed to administer an oath, not mandate to. it's been the practice of this committee to administer oaths to witnesses. i'm wondering why we have not administered the oath. >> i'm going tois to the two witnesses who are now coming before us to make presentation. the two gentlemen who just testified were not witnesses. they were making opening statements for the committees. we will now administer the oath to mr. castor and mr. goldman. >> we administer oaths before opening statements. >> for witnesses.
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for witnesses. mr. castor we will now -- >> that's something we're going to explain there. >> mr. castor was here with mr. berke presenting the report of the committee. that's the opening statement for this committee. they were not witnesses before this committee. mr. castor now and mr. goldman are witnesses before this committee and i will administer the oath. >> mr. chairman, if they were making -- >> the gentleman is not recognized. >> mr. chairman, point of order. >> we welcome both of our -- >> i want to bring in barbara comstock now. >> mr. chairman, despite our repeated requests for access to the information we received -- >> as counsel to the impeachment committee. barbara, give some commentary what we're seeing from points of order and procedural objections.
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>> well, it's part of the theme to show that this whole process has been unfair. mr. castor went through all the various investigations back to when the president was inaugurated and forward. they're trying to stress it's an unfair process. they'll continue to bring up procedural issues. the chairman has the gavel. so he will prevail in all these. it drags out the process and gives them the opportunity to make those points again. >> you just saw both witnesses take the oath. they represents the democrats and the republicans for the intelligence committee. for the democrats daniel goldman. >> mr. goldman, you may begin. >> mr. chairman, point of order. >> the gentleman will state his point of order. >> my point of order is this in
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the previous point of order issues by mr. johnson you ruled against his point of order because you said that mr. berke was a witness. you have just told us he was not a witness. he was a staffer. as such a staffer must -- >> the gentleman will suspend -- >> will you let him finish his point of order? >> he made his point of order. >> mr. chairman, i haven't completed. the rules require the staff not impune the motivations of the president. you ruled he was a witness. you just said he wasn't a witness. my point of order is you were out of order in your ruling. >> the point of order is not sustained. i ruled on it. he was not a witness. >> i appeal the decision of the chair. >> that is not a --
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>> it most certainly is. >> it's not appealable. >> the point of order is not sustained. >> i appeal the decision of the chair. >> i move to table. >> the appeal to the ruling of the chair is tabled. >> all in favor of the motion to favor say aye. opposed nay. >> roll call vote. >> the clerk will call the rule. >> mr. nadler? >> another vote. those who appeared in the last hour were actually witnesses before the committee. kate shaw, talk about mr mr. castor's presentation. really two separate parts. the first part laying out the different times democrats sought to investigate the president and the point by point rebuttal of the case. >> on the first point a lot of scattered statements by individuals, house democrats suggesting that they were searching for a reason to impeach the president.
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that was a lot of the testimony. he talked for 15 minutes or something about things that were -- that happened far prior to these proceedings making the point this was an impeach in search of a crime. there was this point by point rebuttal that the president's motives were pure. this was about stamping out corruption, getting the country to heal from the divisiveness of the mueller investigation. that was somewhat new. i think that's right -- then there's the this is the unfair process. that is the third argument. this has been too fast, too thin a record. >> i want to break down the summary. he went into great deal about the struggle between the congress and the white house over how to testify, when to testify and that happens all the time. >> that's true. it's a back and forth between the political branches. they usually come to a
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compromise with judicial ent interventi intervention. that hasn't been the cause because the white house has refused to cooperate in a reasonable way. they mentioned fast and furious. the obama white house tried to stop it, but eventually capitulated. >> let's go back to the room. >> the ayes have it. mr. goldman, you may begin. >> thank you, mr. chairman. chairman nadler, ranking member collins, members of the committee, we're here today because donald j. trump, the 45th president of the united states abused the power of his office, the american presidency for his political and personal benefit. president trump directed a months' long campaign to solicit foreign help in his 2020
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re-election efforts. withholding officials acts from the government of ukraine in order to coerce and secure political assistance and interference in our domestic affairs. ad as part of this scheme president trump applied pressure on the president of ukraine to publicly announce two investigations helpful to his personal re-election efforts. he applied this pressure himself and through his agents working within and outside of the u.s. government by conditioning a desperately sought oval office meeting and $391 million in tax payer-funded congressionally,
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assistance. he conditioned that on the announcement of these two political investigations that were helpful to his personal interests. when the president's efforts were discovered, he released the military aid, though it would ultimately take congressional action for the money to be made fully available to ukraine. the oval office meeting still has not happened. when faced with the opening of an official impeachment inquiry into his conduct president trump launched an unprecedented campaign of obstruction of congress. ordering executive branch agencies and government officials to defy subpoenas for documents and testimony. to date, the investigating committees have received no documents from the trump administration pursuant to subpoenas.
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where it not for courageous public servants doing their duty and coming forward and testifying, the president's scheme might still be concealed today. the central moment in this scheme was a telephone call between president trump and ukrainian president zelensky on july 25th of this year. during that call president trump asked president zelensky for a personal favor to initiate the two investigations that president trump hoped could ultimately help his re-election in 2020. the first investigation involved former vice president joe biden and was an effort to smear his reputation as he seeks the democratic nomination in next year's presidential election. the second investigation sought to elevate a debunked conspiracy theory promoted by russian
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president vladimir putin that ukraine interfered in the last election to support the democratic nominee. in truth as has been made clear by ir refutable evidence throughout the government, russia interviewed in the last election to help then candidate trump. the allegations about vice president biden and the 2016 election are patently false. that did not deter president trump during his phone call with the ukrainian president. it does not appear to deter him today. just two days ago president trump stated publicly that he hopes that his personal attorney rudy giuliani will report to the department of justice and congress the results of mr. giuliani's efforts in ukraine last week to pursue these false allegations meant to tarnish vice president biden. president trump's persistent and continuing effort to coerce a foreign country to help him
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cheat to win an election is a clear and present danger to our free and fair elections and to our national security. the overwhelming evidence of this scheme is described in cument entitled the trump ukraine impeachment report formally transported from the house intelligence committee to this committee. it relies on testimony from numerous government officials, the vast majority of whom are nonpartisan career professionals responsible for keeping our nation safe and promoting american values around the globe. the evidence from these witnesses cannot seriously be disputed. the president placed his personal interests above the nation's interests in order to help his own re-election
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efforts. >> before i have highlight the evidence and the findings of this report, i want to take just a moment to introduce myself and discuss today's testimony. i joined the house intelligence committee as seniorenioreniorenr the beginning of this year. i joined the department of justin under the george w. bush administration. the team i led includes other former federal prosecutors, a retired fbi agent, investigators with significant national security expertise. the report that i am presenting today is based entirely on the evidence that we collected in coordination with the oversight and foreign affairs committees that were gathered as part of the impeachment inquiry into
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president trump's actions. nothing more and nothing less. the three investigating committees ran a fair, professional and thorough investigation. we followed the house rules for depositions and public hearings including the rule against agency counsel being present for depositions and members and staff from both parties had equal time to ask questions and there were no substantive questions that were prevented from being asked and an this investigation moved swiftly as all good investigations should. to the extent that other witnesses would be able to provide more context and detail about this scheme, their failure to testify is due solely to the fact that president trump obstructed the inquiry and refused to make them available. nevertheless the extensive evidence that the committees uncovered during this
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investigation led to the following critical findings -- first, president trump used the power of his office to pressure and induce the newly-elected president of ukraine to interfere in the 2020 presidential election for president trump's personal and political benefit. second, in order to increase the pressure on ukraine to announce the politically-motivated investigations that president trump wanted, president trump withheld a coveted oval office meeting and military assistance from ukraine. third, president trump's conduct sought to undermine our free and fair elections and poses an eminent threat to our national security. fourth, faced with the revelation of his pressure campaign against ukraine president trump directed an unprecedented effort to obstruct
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congress' impeachment inquiry into his conduct. with that context in mind, i would like to turn to the evidence of president trump's conduct concerning ukraine. my colleague mr. castor justt vn lines in one call record. that sorely ignores the vast amounts of evidence we collecte directed by the president. i want to start with that july 25th phone call because that is critical evidence of the president's involvement and intent. it was on that day he held his second phone call with the new ukrainian president. the first in april was short and cordial following the ukrainian president's election success. this second call will diverge dramatically from what those listening had expected. just prior to this telephone call president trump spoke to
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gordon sondland, the u.s. ambassador to the european union who donated $1 million to the president's inaugural campaign and who had been directed by the president himself to take on a leading role in ukraine issues. beard sondland relayed the president's message to president zelensky through ambassador kurt volker who had lunch that day with president zelensky's top aid who appears repeatedly through this scheme as president zelensky's right handyman. ambassador volker texted him with president trump's direction. good lunch. thanks. heard from white house. assuming president z. convinces trump he will investigate and get to the bottom of what happened in 2016 we will nail down for a visit to washington. good luck. see you tomorrow, kurt.
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even before the phone call with president zelensky took place, president trump ukraine initiate the investigation in order for president zelensky to get the white house visit he desperately coveted. ambassador sondland was clear in his testimony about this quid pro quo.quo. >> frequently framed these complicated issues in the form of a simple question. was there a quid pro quo? as i testified previously with regard to the requested white house call and the white house meeting, the answer is >> during this call with the ukrainian leader president trump
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didn't discuss matters important to the united states such as ukraine's efforts to root out corruption. instead president trump veered quickly into the personal favor that he wanted president zelensky to do. two investigations that would help president trump's re-election effort. witnesses who listened to the call described it as unusual, improp improper, inappropriate and concerning. two of them immediately reported their concerns to white house lawyers. let me take a few minutes walking through that important call step by step because it is evidence that is central to the president's scheme. near the beginning of the call president zelensky said i would also like to thank you for your great support in the area of defense. we are ready to continue to cooperate for the next steps, specifically we're almost ready to buy more javelins from the united states for defense purposes.
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the great support in the area of defense included the nearly $400 million of u.s. military assistance to ukraine which one witness testified was nearly 10% of ukraine's defense budget. this support comes as a result of russia's invasion of ukraine in 2014 when russia illegal annexed nearly 7% of ukraine eastukraine's territory. since then the united states and allies have supported ukraine to fend off russia in the east. yet just a few weeks before the july 25th call, president trump inexplicably placed a hold on military assistance to ukraine without providing any reason to his own cabinet members or national security officials. thevidence the committees collected showed there was unanimous support from the aid from every relevant agency in
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the trump administration. nevertheless, during the call, president trump complained that u.s. support for ukraine was not reciprocal, that somehow ukraine needed to give more to the united states. what did he mean? it became clear. immediately after president zelensky brought up u.s. military support and purchasing javelin weapons president trump responded, i would like you to do us a favor though because our country has been through a lot and ukraine knows a lot about it. the favor that he referenced there included two demands that had nothing to do with official u.s. policy or foreign policy. first, president trump said i would like you to find out what happened with this whole situation with ukraine. they say crowd strike. as you saw yesterday -- i guess you have one of your wealthy people. the server they say ukraine has it. there are a lot of things that went on, the whole situation.
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i think you're surrounding yourself with some of the same people. he went on later -- i would like to have the attorney general call you or your people and i would like you to get to the bottom of it. as you saw yesterday, the whole nonsense ended with a f performance by a man named robert mueller. they say it all started with ukraine. whatever you can do, it's important you do it if that's possible. president trump was referring to the baseless conspiracy theory that the ukrainian government, not russia, was behind the hack of the democratic national committee in 2016. not a single witness in our investigation testified there was any factual support to this allegation. to the contrary. a unanimous assessment of the
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u.s. intelligence committee found it was russia allow. there was testimony before congress that the russian government interfered in the 2016 presidential election in sweeping and systematic fashion. dr. fiona hill an expert on russia and on president putin testified the president was told by his senior advisers including his and although no one in the u.s. government knew of any factual support for this theory, it did have one significant supporter, russian president vladimir putin. in february of 2017, president putin said, second, as we all know, during the presidential campaign in the united states, the ukrainian government adopted a unilateral position in favor of one candidate.
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more than that, certain oligarchs, certainly with the approval of the political leadership funded this candidate or female candidate to be more precise. if there was ever any doubt about who benefits from this unfounded theory put forward by president trump and his associates, president putin made it clear very recently when he said, thank god no one is accusing us anymore of interfering in u.s. elections. now they're accusing ukraine. in the face of clear evidence, not only from intelligence community experts but from his own national security team that russia, not ukraine interfered in the 2016 election for the benefit of donald trump, president trump still pressed the ukrainian government to announce an investigation into this conspiracy theory and why? because it would help o political standing. president trump even sought to withhold an oval office meeting
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from the president of ukraine until he fell in line with president putin's lies. the leader who had actually invaded ukraine. the second demand that president trump made of president zelensky during the july 25th call was to investigate the front-runner for the democratic nomination for president in 2020, former vice president joe biden and his son, hunter. president trump stated, the other thing, there's a lot of talk about biden's son, that biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that. so whatever you can do with the attorney general would be great. biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution, so if you can look into it, it sounds horrible to me. witnesses unanimously testified that there was no factual support for this claim. rather, they noted that vice president biden was acting in support of an international consensus and official u.s.
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policy to clean up the prosecutor general's office in ukraine. ofheul 25th call, mr. giuliani had been publicly advocating for these two investigations for months while also using back channels to press ukrainian officials to initiate them in support of his client, donald trump. ambassador sondland understood mr. giuliani's role very clearly. he testified, mr. giuliani was expressing the desires of the president of the united states, and we knew these investigations were important to the president. to others, mr. giuliani was working at cross purposes with official policy channels toward ukraine even as he was working on behalf of president trump. according to former national security adviser, ambassador john bolton, mr. giuliani was a, quote, hand grenade who was going to blow everybody up, unquote. near the end of the july 25th
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call, president zelensky circled back to the precooked message that ambassador volker had re y relayed to president zelensky's top aide before the call. president zelensky said, i also want to thank you for your invitation to visit the united states, specifically washington, d.c. on the other hand, i also wanted to ensure you that we will be very serious about the case, and we will work on the investigation. in other words, on one hand, it's the white house visit while on the other hand, he agreed to pursue the investigations. this statement shows that president zelensky fully understood at the time of the july 25th call the quid pro quo between these investigations and the white house meeting that president trump required, and that ambassador sondland had testified so clearly about.
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numerous witnesses testified about the importance of a white house meeting with the president of the united states, specifically a meeting in the oval office, an official act by president trump. as david holmes, senior official and u.s. embassy in ukraine said, it is important to understand that a white house visit was critical to president zelensky. president zelensky, needed to show u.s. support at the highest levels in order to demonstrate to russian president vladimir putin that he had u.s. backing as well as to advance his ambitious anti-corruption reform agenda at home. in other words, the white house visit would help zelensky's anti-corruption reforms, and that support remains critical as president zelensky meets today with president putin to try to resolve the conflict in the east. now the day after this phone call, president trump sought to
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ensure that president zelensky got the message. on july 26th, u.s. officials met with president zelensky and other ukrainian officials in kyiv, and president zelensky brought up trump had brought up some, quote, very sensitive issues, unquote. after that meeting, ambassador sondland had a private one-on-one meting with andre yermak. during which they said they probably discussed the issue of investigations. after lunch right after that with mr. holmes and two other state department officers, ambassador sondland pulled out a cell phone and called president trump. somewhat shocked, mr. holmes recounted the conversation that followed. i heard ambassador sondland greet the president and explain he was calling from kyiv. i heard president trump then clarify that ambassador sondland was in ukraine. ambassador sondland replied, yes, he was in ukraine and went on to state that president
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zelensky, quote, loves your ass, unquote. i then heard president trump ask, so he's going to do the investigation? ambassador sondland replied that he is going to do it adding, that president zelensky will do anything you ask him to do. after the call, ambassador sondland told mr. holmes that president trump did not give a bleep about ukraine and only cares about the big stuff that benefits the president himself like the biden investigation that mr. giuliani was pushing. to repeat, and this is very important, ambassador sondland spoke to president trump before the july 25th call with president zelensky and relayed to ukrainian officials president trump's requirement of political investigations in exchange for a white house meeting. and during that call, president trump asked for the favor of these two political investigations immediately after
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the ukrainian president brought up u.s. military support for ukraine which president trump had recently suspended or put on hold. at the end of the call, president zelensky made a point of acknowledging the link between the investigations that president trump requested and the white house meeting that prid zelensky desperately wanted. then the following day, ambassador sondland confirmed to president trump on the telephone in person that the ukrainians would indeed initiate the investigations discussed on the call which were the only -- which was the only thing about ukraine that president trump cared about. now it's very important to understand that this investigation revealed that the july 25th call was neither the start nor the end of president trump's efforts to use the powers of his office for personal or political gain. and you have to look at all of the evidence in context as a
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whole. prior to the call, the president had removed the former ambassador marie yovanovitch to clear the way for his three hand-picked agents to spearhead his corrupt agenda in ukraine. secretary perry, ambassador sondland and ambassador volker, all of whom attended president zelensky's inauguration on may 20th. all political appointees, they proved to be more than willing to engage in what dr. hill later described as an improper domestic political errand for the president. on april 21st, president zelensky won the ukrainian election with 73% of the vote, and he had two primary platforms, to resolve the war in the east with russia and to root out corruption. that same day, president trump called to congratulate him on his win. even though the white house press release following the call stated that president trump expressed his shared commitment to, quote, root out corruption,
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unquote, president trump, in fact, did not mention corruption at all on this call just like he did not mention corruption on the july 25th call. shortly after this call, president trump asked vice president mike pence to attend zelensky's inauguration, but then trump did an aboutface, and directed vice president pence not to attend. an adviser to vice president pence testified that the inauguration had not yet. scheduled and therefore the abrupt change of plans was not related to any scheduling issues. so what had happened in the three weeks between april 21st and may 13th when vice president pence was originally invited and then disinvited or removed from the delegation? a few things. first, on april 25th, vice president biden formally announced his bid for the democratic nomination for president. then about a week later on may 3rd, president trump spoke with
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president putin on the telephone. one senior state department official testified that the conversation between president trump and president putin included a discussion of ukraine. third, on may 9th, mr. giuliani told "the new york times" that he intended to travel to ukraine on behalf of his client, president trump in order to, quote, meddle in an investigation, unquote, but after public backlash and apparent pushback from the ukrainians, mr. giuliani canceled his trip the next day claiming that president zelensky was surrounded by enemies of president trump. at a critical may 23rd meeting at the oval office, president trump said that ukraine was corrupt and tried to take him down in 2016. the same false narrative pushed by president putin and mr. giuliani. in order for the white house meeting to occur, president trump told the delegation they must talk to rudy to get the
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visit scheduled. these comments from president trump were the first of many subsequent indications that in his mind, corruption equals investigations. in the weeks and months following, mr. giuliani relayed to both ukrainian officials and the government officials that president trump had designated at the may 23rd meeting to take -- to take a lead on ukraine policy. the directive from president trump that a white house meeting would not occur until ukraine announced the two political investigations that president trump required, and well before the july 25th call, ambassador sondland and volker also relayed this quid pro quo to the ukrainians, including to president sellzelensky himself. ambassador volker relayed the message to the president in july urging him to reference in investigations associated with the giuliani factor with
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president trump. in meeting at the white house on july 10th, ambassador sondland told other u.s. officials and two of president zelensky's advisers including mr. yermak that he had an acting chief of staff, mick mulvanemulvaney, th house visit would be scheduled if ukraine announced the investigations. one witness testified that during the second of the meetings, ambassador sondland began to review what the deliverable would be in order to get the meeting, referring to an investigation of the bidens. the witness told the committee that the request was explicit. there was no ambiguity, and they also mentioned burisma, a major ukrainian energy company that hunter biden sat on the board of. to the witnesses that testified before the committee, references to burisma were shorthand for an investigation into the bidens. ambassador bolton as well as his
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staff objected to this meeting for investigations trade, and ambassador bolton told dr. hill, you go and tell eisenberg -- john eisenberg, the legal adviser for the national security council, that i am not part of any drug deal that sondland and mulvaney are cooking up on this, and you go ahead and tell them what i have said. yet this was not a rogue operation by mr. giuliani and ambassador sondland and volker. as ambassador sondland testified, everyone was in the loop including mr. mulvaney, secretary pompeo, secretary perry and their top advisers. on july 19th, ambassador sondland emailed mr. mulvaney, secretary perry, secretary pompeo and others after speaking with president zelensky. the subject was, i talked to zelensky just now.
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ambassador sondland wrote, he is prepared to receive potus' call. potus, president of the united states. will assure him he intends to run a fully transparent investigation and will, quote, turn over every stone, unquote. both secretary perry and chief of staff mulvaney quickly responded to the email noting that given that conversation, a date would soon be set to schedule the white house telephone call. the evidence also unambiguously shows that the ukrainians understood this quid pro quo and had serious reservations, particularly because president zelensky had won the election on an anti-corruption platform. in fact, a few days before the july 25th call, ambassador william taylor, the acting u.s. ambassador to ukraine and former xted ambsadodld and volker. rather he stated in his
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testimony, on july 20th, i had a phone conversation with mr. dan danyliuk during which he conveyed to me that president zelensky did not want to be used as a pawn in a u.s. re-election campaign. but he did not relent. just four days later, president zelensky received that message via kurt volker he needed to convince president trump he would do the investigations in order to get that white house meeting. as i have described, president zelensky tried to do exactly that on the july 25th call with president trump. in the weeks following the july 25th call, president zelensky heeded president trump's request, sending his top aide, mr. yermak, to madrid to meet with mr. giuliani. in coordination with mr. giuliani and president trump's hand-picked representatives, they continued this pressure campaign to secure a public
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announcement of the investigatio investigations. now according to ambassador sondland, and this is very important, president trump did not require that ukraine actually conduct the investigations as a rekwprerecqe for the white house meetings, just that they announce them. it was not the investigations themselves or any corruption that the investigations might have entailed, but the political ben f benefit that president trump would enjoy from the announcement of investigations into his 2020 political rival and against a unanimous assessment that showed that he received foreign support not 2016 election. for that reason, the facts didn't actually matter to president trump because he only cared about the personal and political benefit from the announcement of the investigation. over the next couple of weeks,
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ambassador sondland and volker worked with mr. yermak to draft a statement for president zelensky to issue. when the aide proposed a statement that did not include specific references to the investigations that president trump wanted, the burisma/biden investigation and the 2016 election investigation, mr. giuliani relayed that would not be good enough to get a white house meeting, and here you can see a comparison on the left of the original statement draft bid mr. yermak, the top aide to president zelensky, and on the right, a revised statement with mr. giuliani's requirements. it says, we intend to initiate and complete a transparent and unbiased investigation of all available facts and episodes, and here's the critical difference. including, those involving burisma and the 2016 u.s. elections, which in turn will prevent the recurrence of this problem in the future. the only difference in the statement that giuliani required
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and the statement that the ukrainians had drafted was this reference to the two investigations that president trump wanted and told president zelensky about on the july 25th call. now ultimately, president zelensky's administration temporarily shelved this announcement though efforts to press ukraine would remain ongoing. by mid-august ukraine did not make a public announcement of the investigations that president trump required and as a result, no white house meeting was scheduled. but by this time, the president was pushing on another pressure point to coerce ukraine to announce the investigations, the hold on the vital military assistance that the president had put in place for more than a month still without any explanation to any of the policy experts. our investigation revealed that a number of ukrainian officials had made quiet inquiries to various u.s. officials about the aid as early as july 25th, the
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day of the phone call. inquiries by ukrainian officials continued in the weeks that followed until the hold was revealed until the end of august, but this is important. it was important for the ukrainian officials to keep it quiet because if it became public, then russia would know that the u.s. support for ukraine might be on ice. so by the end of that month, the evidence revealed several facts. one, the president demanded that ukraine publicly announce two politically motivated investigations to benefit his re-election. two, a coveted white house meeting was expresley conditioned on those white house conditions. three, president trump placed a hold on vital military assistance to ukraine without any explanation, and not withstanding the u.s. support or assistance from veteran federal
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agencies and congress. ambassador taylor testified that this quid pro quo between the investigations president trump wanted and the security assistance that president trump needed was crazy, and he told ambassador sondland, as i said on the phone, i think it's crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign. now in an effort to move the white house meeting and the military aid along, ambassador sondland wrote an email to secretary pompeo on august 22nd. he wrote, mike, shall we block time in warsaw for potus to meet zelensky? i would ask zelensky to look him in the eye and tell him that once ukraine's new justice folks are in place, parentheses, mid september, z, president zelensky, should be able to move forward publicly and with confidence on those issues of importance to potus and to the u.s. hopefully that will break the
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logjam. ambassador sondland testified this was in reference to the political investigations that president trump discussed on the july 25th call, which secretary pompeo ultimately admitted to, that he listened to in realtime. ambassador sondland hoped that this would help lift the logjam which he meant, the hold on critical security assistance to ukraine in the white house meeting. what was secretary pompeo's response three minutes later? yes. after the hold on military assistance became public on august 28th, senior ukrainian officials expressed grave concern, deeply worried of course, about the practical impact on their efforts to fight russian aggression, but also and this goes back to why it remained confidential, also about message that it sent to the russian government. on september 1st at a pre-briefing with vice president pence before he met with president zelensky, ambassador
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sondland raised the issue of the hold on security assistance. he said, i mentioned to vice president pence before the meetings with the ukrainians that i had concerns that the delay in aid had become tied to the issue of investigations. vice president pence simply nodded in response expressing neither surprise nor dismay at the linkage between the two. following vice president pence's meeting with president zelensky, ambassador sondland went over to mr. yermak again, president zelensky's top aide and pulled him aside to explain that the hold on security assistance was also now conditioned on the public announcement of the burisma/biden and the 2016 election interference investigations. ambassador sondland then explained to ambassador taylor that he had tli uaian officials that whi hous meeting wason onfiorent tr.
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in everhi,he w house m the vital security assistance to ukraine was now conditioned on the public announcement. president trump wanted president zelensky in a public box, a private commitment was not good enough. nearly one week later on september 7th, the hold remained, and president trump and ambassador sondland spoke on the phone. the president immediately told ambassador sondland that there was no quid pro quo, but, and this is very important, president zelensky would still be required to announce the investigations in order for the hold on security assistance to be lifted and he should want to do it. in effect, this is the equivalent of saying there is no quid pro quo. no this for that. before then demanding precisely that quid pro quo.
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immediately after this phone call with presidenttrump, this was the precise message that ambassador sondland passed directly to president zelensky. according to ambassador taylor, ambassador sondland also said that he had talked to president zelensky and mr. yermak and had told them that although this was not a quid pro quo, if president zelensky did not clear things up in public, we would be at a stalemate, and i understood a stalemate to mean that ukraine would not receive the much-needed military assistance. needing the military assistance and hoping for the white house meeting, president zelensky timely time finally relented to president trump's pressure campaign, and arrangements were made for ukrainians to make a statement during an interview on cnn where he would make a public announcement of the two investigations that president trump wanted. in order for president zelensky
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to secure the white house meeting and to obtain that much needed military assistance. although there is no doubt that president trump ordered the military aid held up until the ukrainians committed to the investigations, on october 17th acting chief of staff mick mulvaney confirmed in public that there was such a quid pro q quo. let's watch what he said. >> those were the driving factors. did he also mention to me in the past that corruption related to the dnc server? no question. absolu absolutely. that's it. that's why we held up the money. >> so an investigation into the democrats was part of the reason he wanted to withhold funding to ukraine? >> the look back to what happened in 2016 certainly was part of the thing he was worried about in corruption with that nation. that is absolutely appropriate. >> there you have it. by early september, the president's scheme was
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unraveling. on september 9th, the intelligence oversight and foreign affairs committee announced investigation into mr. trump and giuliani's efforts into ukraine, and later that same day, the intelligence committee learned that a whistle-blower had filed a complaint nearly a month earlier related to some unknown issue, by which the president and the white house knew was related to ukraine and had been circulating among them for some time. then two days later on september 11th in the face of growing public and congressional scrutiny, president trump lifted the hold on security assistance to ukraine. as with the implementation of the hold, no reason was provided, but simply president trump got caught, so he released the aid. but even since this investigation began, the president has demonstrated no contrition or acknowledgment that his demand for a foreign country to interfere in our election is wrong. in fact, he has repeatedly called on ukraine to investigate
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vice president biden, his rival. these and other actions by the president and his associates demonstrate that his determination to solicit foreign interference in our election continues today. it did not end with russia's support for trump in 2016 which president trump invited by asking for his opponent to be hacked by russia, and it did not end when his ukrainian scheme was exposed in september of this year. president trump also engaged once this investigation began in an unprecedented effort to about instruct the inquiry. i look forward to answering your questions about that unprecedented obstruction. but in conclusion, i want to say that the intelligence committee has produced to you a nearly 300-page report, and i'm grateful you have offered me the opportunity today to walk you through some of the evidence underlying it. admittedly it is a lot to digest, but let me just say
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this. the president's scheme is actually quite simple, and the facts are not seriously in dispute. it could be boiled down to four key takeaways. first that president trump directed a scheme to pressure ukraine into opening two investigations that would benefit his 2020 re-election campaign, and not the u.s. national interest. second, president trump used his official office and the official tools of u.s. foreign policy, the with joholding of an oval office and withholding the military assistance. third, everyone was in the loop. the chief of staff, the secretary of state and vice president, and fourth, despite the public discovery of this scheme which prompted the president to release the aid, he has not given up. he and his ctinue t solicit ukrainian interference in our election, causing an imminent threat to our elections and our national security.
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members of the committee, president trump's -- >> regular order, mr. chairman. the time has elapsed. >> your time has expired. mr. deutch? >> i have a motion. the committee shall be in rec s recess. >> i move to table. i move to table the motion. >> it is not debatable. all those in favor? >> i seek a recorded vote. >> say aye. aye opposed to nay. >> aye. >> the ayes have it. the committee -- call the role. >> what you are having there is they're voting on whether or not to take a recess. this is the first time this has happened during the series of the house intelligence committee, but it's a sign of what we have been going through today. mary bruce up there on capitol hill. we have now gotten through the major presentations of the democrats. daniel goldman now echoing what we have heard from chairman nadler saying the president abused his office for political and personal benefit. >> reporter: you can see him
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going systematically through their president, also playing clips from the president and other witnesses making this argument trying to explain why they feel the president abused his office by urging ukraine to investigate these things. they say for an advantage in the 2020 election. we are continuing to hear from republicans who say those aren't facts. they say that's simply hearsay for much of this witness testimony, and we have heard a lot from republicans about the process. they are saying that this is going too quickly, that it's too rushed. of course, democrats say part of the reason they're moving so fast is because one, a lot of the witnesses they want to talk tor to, the white house won't let them talk with, and they say because the president is inviting democrats' foreign interference in our election, there is a teenage adanger, and to move forward with this process. they are moving very quickly, can we could see articles of impeachment, and a vote on them before the week.
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they could impeach the president before christmas. >> jon karl, you made a little bit of an appearance there in the presentation by daniel goldman. that questioning you had of mick mulvaney of whether or not the conditioning of the military aid was in part because of these investigations. in general, the evidence presented for withholding the white house meeting from the investigations is more extensive than it is for withholding the military aid, but that direct question of mick mulvaney is something the white house has tried to walk away from. >> reporter: yeah, and that was an incredible moment in the white house briefing room because i asked him directly the question which i think is at the center of all of this which is why was the aid withheld? the rehr asons, and aying that that one of those reasons was the president's desire to see the investigation -- the investigation into the 2016 elections, not the investigation into biden, but one of those two investigations into democrats
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was part of the reason the president directed him, and mulvaney was directed by the president to hold -- to withhold that aid, and that included the demand for that investigation. that was a moment, of course, mulvaney himself, about six hours after that exchange -- effectively denied he said what he said in front of the cameras, but it was an explicit statement. >> he's not appearing under oath. david muir, what are some of the key things we see at issue during the presentations so far? was the president pursuing an anti-corruption agenda in ukraine or investigating his opponents? >> a stark contrast today. the republicans have been so criticized for pointing to the process, arguing the time line, saying we haven't had our own witnesses even though the white house has blocked many of those witnesses. what we heard from stephen castor this morning, he within the to the phone call. this is fairly rare in defense of the president, but he said, when it comes to that phone
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call, it causes no pressure. president zelensky didn't voice any discomfort. he wasn't asking for a favor, but assistance in helping our country move forward from the divisiveness of the collusion investigation. we heard daniel goldman, and you want to put this paragraph nef next to that one. he said, president trump did not discuss matters of importance to the united states such as rooting out corruption. he quickly veered into the personal favor ept hadded frhe zelensky, to help his re-election, and some people describe it as unusual, improper, inappropriate and concerning. two very different realities. >> you made this point when we were off the air. president trump had two phone calls, and president zelensky never mentioned the word corruption. as you pointed out, not a fact witness has been able to document the president saying anti-corruption. >> or they believe that the
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reason the aid or the white house meeting was held up was because the president had broader concerns about corruption in ukraine. not all these witnesses are called by democrats. morrison was called by the republicans. three witnesses were called by the republicans. you had jonathan turley called by the republicans. you don't have a single one who's saying that was the motivation here. it was this broader concern about corruption. so i think you have to look at that very skeptically when republicans are saying, well, you know, this was just -- that's the argument they're making, but there's no evidence. there's no witnesses to back it up, and on the flip side of that, i would say when democrats overstate their case, and they say there's a constitutional duty to impeach, you have to be careful about that as well because there is no such thing as a constitutional duty to impeach. they believe it's their it's ti theirg,ndasn't aboutroer
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coupti iukrain this was about a personal favor, what's the remedy? should the punishment be removal from office? >> the other thing is that mary, let me bring this to you, is you saw chairman nadler do it in his opening statement. what do the oaths of office for the president and members of congress require? >> i should push back, and the constitution does not prescribe a duty to impeach, but each of those members of congress, the senators, all of those officers take an oath to uphold the constitution. if the constitution means anything, it certainly means upholding the machinery and apparatus of democratic government including the election process. >> that is an opinion and analysis of what their duty should be, right? of how they should interpret their own duty. >> that's the whole constitution, an interpretation. >> right. but it's specific. when you say constitutional duty, it's a nonsensical statement because it doesn't mean anything. there is no such thing as a constitutional duty to do anything. there's an interpretation of what they view as their role here, and i think that the
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democrats have to be very careful. they have to be saying, look. we think this is bad enough. we think this is so terrible that the framers would have said, this is exactly what they invisi envisioned, et cetera, but there is no constitutional duty to impeach. >> that is what they are saying. every democratic so far, especially the law professors, they are saying this is so grave. it warrants impeachment. >> their opinion is that it reaches that level. >> i mean, that's all constitutional interpretation. >> right. but therefore there's no constitutional duty. there's no such thing because the constitution is about interpretation. when we refer to duty, i think of it as, like, there's a statute that says, if you do this, this is the punishment, et cetera. there's no such thing here. it's all about analysis and interpretation. >> i think one thing we do know is the constitution prescribes some apparatus in how we participate as citizens in the electoral process and at the it
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machinery. >> that gets to the right of whether the president gets to ignore a process of impeachment. i was struck by in both democratic presentations this morning, there actually was no mention of the mueller report. they seem to be honing in on a tailored approach. >> we said at the outset we would be looking at how broad or narrow they were going. they're probably going to go narrow. not one phone call narrow, but basically the scheme to induce this assistance from ukraine in exchange for military assistance, white house meeting, white house phone call, and that the 2016 russian interference and the campaign's welcoming of that, even if there's no provable conspiracy will i think form the backdrop, but it seems to me as though it's unlikely to constitute a separate article of impeachment. mueller won't be a stand alone article at this point, i don't
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think. >> the democrats seem to be going beyond the scope of the phone call, and the testimony of the witnesses, you saw the clips of president trump calling on china to investigate the bidens. a lot of focus on the president's personal lawyer former mayor rudy giuliani, who they pointed out was actually in ukraine again ralast week tryin to drum up investigations into the bidens. >> which ended up upsetting many of the president's own allies, that he would have the audacity to go to ukraine in the middle of this impeachment, which his relationship with ukraine is at the heart of it, and the president said he's one of the greatest crime fighters in the last few years, sticking to his attorney's defense, but you mentioned the president -- his own words, and i expect at some point, we will very much hear his comments to you in the oval office during that interview when he said he would be willing to accept aid if a foreign u offered it in advance of another
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election. you hear that being played out in the past couple of years with the president. when, in fact, they have refused to participate in this. they're relying on this historical record rather than anybody from the white house in that room. >> it shows how we're all frogs in a pot of water and the temperature keeps rising. when the president said he might be willing to accept information, there was rightfully outrage from democrats and republicans alike on capitol hill. now we're talking about the president not accepting, but asking for this information. republicans in lockstep behind him. >> right. i think that's one of the most important things to note. you hear sometimes republicans say, what's the matter with the president asking ukraine to assist in an investigation? the problem is there was no investigation. i mean, what the president was doing was he was asking them to open an investigation. he was asking them to announce an investigation, and that's very different than saying for example, the attorney general, barr, reaching out to the
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prosecutor general of ukraine and saying, look. we have an ongoing investigation. we are seeking your cooperation. that's very different than what you have here. >> and mary bruce, one of the other things you're hearing this morning is that democrats and republicans were actually in charge, and republicans had majority of control in congress when the activities of hunter biden were public sized and they chose not to investigate it at all? you heard from mr. collins coming out during the recess? >> reporter: democrats are speaking out. collins came out just before and spoke with all of us. he continues the insist they're not learning anything new today. he joked he ut t wakevebody up, and he was continuing to hammer at this fact that chairman schiff isn't here speaking out directly. chairman schiff isn't required to come and present the evidence that his committee gathered, and that has become a talking point for republicans here on the hill, and also for the president because let's be honest. they want to take a stab at chairman schiff. they want to have a chance to
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really push him on this investigation that he has been running, and interestingly collins continued to talk about the pace of this investigation. remember republicans are arguing that this is going too quickly, and they need to slow down. that's not what the president has been saying. the president has been saying they need to just move quickly here in the house, and get this over with because he's already looking ahead to a trial in the republican-controlled senate where he feels he will be given more favorable treatment, and i asked congressman collins about this sort of difference here. do they want to go quickly or slowly, and republicans continued to insist that the president isn't being treated fairly here even though he is refusing to send any counsel here or representation to this hearing here today. they say the house judiciary is anybody. stamp, and it'sfair be' >> let's go to barbara comstock. the president is looking ahead to that senate trial, and we would expect to have much more
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white house involvement in that process. they clearly have said they want to be able to call witnesses as well, but that's going to mean holding 51 republican votes on every ll s, and what they white house is that the democrat house managers are going to be able to call witnesses also. so there may be at that point, an opportunity for them to call somebody like mick mulvaney or john bolton, and then you would have to get the vote at 51 people which would mean for republicans which may not be that difficult to get. so i know the president and the white house is focused on their defense, but the house managers first got to present, and those rules need to be dtecided upon y the house, senate and democrats together. they agreed on those rules pretty much unanimously, and that hasn't been hammered out yet. >> how confident is the white house that they have -- they're quite confident right now that there aren't 67 votes to convict
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president trump on any articles of impeachment, but how confident are they that ty ca a all these motions on every article? >> reporter: well, if you would look at what the president himself has had to say about this, it seems as if he is making the assumption that because republicans control the senate, the republicans will control this process. he's talked about how the trial will be a fair one, therefore he would be willing to have his advisers testify, but as you well know, george, the senate doesn't operate the way the house does. the democrats are very much in charge of what happens procedurely in terms of this house hearing. when it goes to the senate, as barbara pointed out, this becomes a question of consensus, and in terms of holding those votes, talking to some of the president's advisers, there is an awareness that they don't have the votes for instance to get a motion to dismiss. i mean, one of the earlier strategies they talked about was
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let's get to the senate and have a trial that lasts, you know, all of one day. simply introducing a motion to dismiss, get 51 republicans to support that, and we're done. well, there isn't that support because you do have -- >> before you move onto that because i agree with that. i was wondering though, has there been any talk of kind of a compromise strategy inside the republican party? they know they don't have votes for an immediate motion to dismiss, but do they think they can go for a week or ten days and then get the 51 votes to dismiss? >> reporter: they hope to see a brief trial. they haven't set on a specific period of time. i have seen the idea of two weeks floated and i have run it by people very much running the strategy for the white house on this. they say there's no consensus that that will work, but that is the hope here. is that they can come to some kind of an agreement that it sets the parameters for the hearing. there is -- look. there is interest here, george, on both the part of the democratic leadership and the republican leadership in the senate of not seeing this trial
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go too long. so the assumption is there will be some period of time likely in the range of two weeks to be agreed to, and they would be able to move to either a final vote on convict or not convict, or a motion to dismiss. >> final question on the witnesses. we have heard the president say many times he wants to testify on this. rudy giuliani says he wants to testify. is there any prospect we're going to see the president saying to republicans, yes, you can vote to call these witnesses? >> reporter: well, the president has said that, but in terms of a realistic chance that would happen, i would call your attention to the mueller report. not once, not twice, but over a dozen times, he said he would be willing to testify under oath to the special counsel, and it never happened. so i would take the statements on this very much with a grain of salt, but they are statements from the president that he would like to see his own top people
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testify, and he has named some of them. he has named mick mulvaney. he has named rick perry, mick mulvaney as somebody he would like to see testify. whether it comes to that, i would be highly skeptical, and as for the president himself testifying, that would be an incredible moment in the chamber of the united states senate, but again, he never took that opportunity when it came to the special counsel. >> don't hold your breath on that. barbara comstock, i'm told you were shaking your head when i asked that question. >> reporter: i don't think you're going to see the president testify, and i think if chuck schumer wanted to play a little, he might say, hey. we'll get the whistle-blower, the bidens if you give us, you know, bolton and mulvaney and, you know, others that haven't testified. i think that would probably shorten the trial and they would just move along. >> biden has made it very clear he doesn't want to testify. as we talk about the trial, let's talk about the role of the chief justice. chief justice john roberts.
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he'll go in and preside at that trial. more or less in the senate. >> there's very little in the constitution about the senate trial, but the chief justice has to preside. that's in the constitution, but what his role looks like is, you know, not in the constitution, and sort of as i think we're mostly looking like, to understand what it's likely to be, and he'll preside in a president of the senate type capaci capacity. in theory, he could make substantive theories, and in practice, that's almost sure not the happen. i think a majority of the body of the senate is likely to have to make all of those calls and i think it's right that the fact that the republicans control the chamber does not mean -- it's not -- the senate is not strictly majority body. it's always been a body that worked more on compromise, and the clinton trial at least at the outset looked like that. the rules were unanimously adopted and i think the chief justice will give some guidance
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if there are sticking points where they can't get to con sen sun -- consensus, and he'll keep his head down. >> he has been so concerned with representing the constitution of the court, and even though yeah. he was chosen by george w. bush, republican president trying to, insulated a bit from partisan politics. >> that has been his modus operandi. in a recent biography of the chief, he has noted that associate justice john roberts would have been very different. as chief justice, it's been preoccupied pied primarily with legitimacy of the court, and keeping that out of this. >> with the clinton impeachment, he had that very showy -- >> custom made. >> the robe. he was willing to step out a little further. >> i think if you study john roberts and exactly what we heard is that he's not going to want to be the story. he makes himself the story by
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making big substantive rulings, and so i think that some particularly democrats who are hoping that john roberts is going to be sort of their hero here, and that he's going to make rulings to demand people to testify, et cetera, that's a pipe dream because as a practical matter, a majority of the senate can overrule anything that roberts decides to do. so in effect, the senate has all the power, and roberts knows that and doesn't want to be in the position of being the one out front or getting overruled or -- i think he just wants to play a largely administrative role here. >> and as so often happens, mary bruce, the balance of power will be held by those three, four or five senators willing perhaps to break party lines. a couple of democrats that republicans are looking toward, a handful of republicans democrats looking forward. >> reporter: they have been watching what's going on over here in the house very carefully. there will be a lot of pressure on them, and many of them had said they want a longer process here. they want to carefully go over
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all of this with a fine tooth comb. it's part of argument for so -- some of the arguments beingad calli f lonr process her is it would give an opportunity for some of the senators, especially the key mod it ras -- moderates, to say, look. they're taking a look at this. others are saying, do this quickly and get it over with. >> let's talk about the schedule in the house. this appears to be the final hearing. we'll see if chairman nadler gives the republicans a minority day of hearings. it seems he's required to by the rules, but they intend to move to drafting these articles of impeachment by the end of the week? >> reporter: they have been preparing for these articles all weekend long. there have been a lot of long hours here over the weekend. a lot of pizza being eaten by members of the committee. they are moving very quickly here. we are likely to see these articles, see the charges at some point in the coming day that it seems they will vote them out of the committee before the end of the week, and that sets you up for the full house to have a vote sometime next
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week right before christmas, but of course, the big x-factor remains. how broad are the charges? what will be the scope of the articles of impeachment? as we have been discussing, it looks likely there may be abuse of power or obstruction, and it includes obstruction of the mueller report which has notably been getting a lot of discussion so far this morning. some say there is a pattern of behavior here that absolutely has to be addressed. other members that i have talked to are, like, look. you don't want this to become a kitchen sink where everything is thrown in, keep it narrow and keep it focused. all of this will come down to speaker pelosi who is keeping a tight control over this, and she has to juggle back and forth between the legal and the political here. she has to rise to the level of impeachment, and also try to satisfy all of the varying views of her members, especially again, those key moderates. >> and mary, one of the other ways both she and the white house are trying to deal with that, is show at least for
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speaker pelosi, progress on other issues and there are some reports they might be coming close to an agreement, the white house and the democrats on this u.s./mexico free trade agreement which i presume speaker pelosi would like to vote on even perhaps after the impeachment to show they are making progress on big issues. >> reporter: democrats are going to show they are not just focused on impeachment, that they can be laser focused on this issue, while also getting things done for the american public, and it seems we are possibly likely to see bipartisanship, and members actually coming together. a word we don't often say up on the hill these days but both sides of pennsylvania avenue have a lot of interest in getting something done on this trade deal, and it seems like they are making some progress. >> cecilia vega, one of the things we saw from the president in that series of more than 100 tweets yesterday kointconsisten hitting the democrats as the do nothing democrats, and you saw the republican witnesses saying, listen. the economy is doing well. the democrats are not. don't want to be talking about that. they want to obstruct this
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president. >> that's something they're hoping they can sell the room on, and also the public watching for sure. not just to republicans, but democrats as well. kellyanne conway before this hearing started said something in the white house that really got at the heart of the argument inside the white house right now. she said, why should we show up and play on your turf if we don't even know what sport you're playing? they are trying to sell this as the president is doing a great job outside of this impeachment discussion, but they have major issues with the way this is going down, and they're got going to let up on it, and the white house and their talking points that they have been putting out today said the democrats have made up their mind. why should we participate in this? there you have it. >> the president won't change his communication strategy through this process. >> not at all, and look at the headline on friday, the jobs report. that's something they pushed on friday as well. mef e numbers were baked into that number, but it came out much higher than economists were predicting and there's this
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calculation going on about whether or not to do a slightly longer senate trial or a is a quicker trial more helpful for both republicans and democrats with the iowa caucus getting closer, the new hampshire primary getting closer, and as we know, senators will have to be presiding over this at the same time. the president talking about impeachment, being a bad word, but knowing his base is rallying around him, and he has to try to keep that base, and that economic headline on friday is one prime example of what they can point to to say, this is what matters, not this impeachment. >> raising a fair amount of money on it as well, and jon karl, as we're sitting here at the outset, the president awaiting the release of the report from the inspector general on whether or not the fbi was legitimately opening the investigation into the trump campaign back in 2016. we now know it's been transmitted to capitol hill. >> reporter: yes. this is the investigation by the department of justice inspector general, and the president has been kind of previewing this thing saying it's knigoing to s
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the investigation was started illegitimately, the investigation into russian interference. our understanding is this report does not say that. the report does not say what the president has been accusing from the start although we'll have some things that will be uncomfortable for democrats, uncomfortable for the president's enemies, things that the white house about politization, and things like that. these are things the white house has been teasing at for some time. >> the president has often said he believes he was a victim of illegal spying by the fbi. pretty clear that's not what the ig found. >> reporter: that's not the conclusion of this investigation. >> and at the highest levels, right? the president's supporters keep distinguishing between the people making the decisions and the rank and file, right? they keep trying to position themselves not to bericik dilag
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people who were in charge. if the ig report determines that the people in charge were not making decisions based on political biases, then that really does undermine the heart of the argument. when focusing on this ig report, we need to focus on the big picture. it's sort of like in a criminal trial. when defense attorneys focus on errors in a warrant, right? they make legitimate arguments about problems there were that existed in a warrant. had this should have existed and that should have existed and prosecutors respond, but okay. but in the end, the warrant was still valid, and you have to sort of remove yourself and view it that way which is look at the big picture here, and ask yourself, does the ig report say that the entirety of the warrants was effectively invalid because the political bias was so strong or are they saying, in the end, the fundamental applications here, the fundamental investigation was valid, and there were some problems?
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>> of course, kate shaw, this goes back to three weeks into the presidency. the president put out that tweet on a saturday morning saying president obama illegally wiretapped him. a charge he repeated to me this summer when i was in the oval office. it is so clear at this point that the ig did not find anything close to that. >> yeah, and we'll see how the president responds. he's clearly so fixated on the origins of the investigation, the mueller investigation in 2016 in general, and i think it's not helpful some of the moderates were thinking ahead to the senate trial. to move onto those events, and also i think to move back from a position that this phone call was perfect, right? the phone call with the president of ukraine, you know, one of the themes we were hearing today back to the hearing was at least from the democrats, this is ongoing. this will reoccur if there is no strong message of condemnation sent, and if the president continues the say there was
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nothing done wrong, the message seems to be there would be nothing wrong with doing it again. he is aiding that martinarrativ >> that gets to the point whether at some point in the senate not only do they have votes to dismiss, but start to call for a fallback. even lindsey graham mentioned this, over conviction. >> the democrats have talked about the slippery slope, and republicans have talked about it also. we will weaponize impeachment going forward, and this will just be deployed, but the democrats are saying this needs to be a case of deterrence not just to this president, but to all future presidents and they cannot put their personal priorities ahead of the national interest, and you could stop short, but still accomplish that. it's not the same as removal, but it does send a strong message whether or not this president or future presidents would heed that message is an op open question. >> i was talking to cecilia about this moments ago. you saw the president react to
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rudy giuliani's trip. he said he was working as the president's agent in the ukraine. the president did not want to criticize giuliani at all, but some republicans over the weekend were made uncomfortable by the fact that it's full steam >> you've seen republicans in the house make that point publicly and privately. you see people saying they're uncomfortable with what giuliani is doing. the president endorses it. he says giuliani is the greatest crime fighter over and over. >> we just heard the gavel again. let's go back to the hearing room. >> the committee will reconvene. when we recessed, we were about to hear from mr. castor.
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mr. castor, you're recognized for 45 minutes. >> good afternoon chairman, member collins, members of the committee, members of the staff. thank you again for having me back and giving me the opportunity to testify about the evidence gathered during our impeachment inquiry. at the outset let me say that the evidence does not support the allegations that my democratic colleagues have made. i don't believe the evidence leads to the conclusions they suggest. i'm hopeful to add some important perspective and context to the facts under discussion today. the chief allegation of the democra democrats' impeachment inquiry is this, whether president trump abused the power of his office through a quid pro quo, bribery,


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