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tv   KPIX 5 News at 6AM  CBS  November 15, 2019 6:00am-7:00am PST

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is your business still settling for slow internet? well time is money. switch to comcast business now and get a great deal when you get fast, reliable internet. with a 30-day money-back guarantee, installation when it works for you, and 24/7 customer support. this is a cbs news special report, the impeachment hearings, i'm nora o'donnell in washington. today we will hear from a career diplomat who says that the president's personal attorney, rudy giuliani staged a smear campaign against her and that led to her being sent home from her post in her campaign. the 30-year public servant says she felt threatened. house members are gathered in the house ways and means committee room. day two follows a dramatic escalation yesterday when we
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heard from the speaker of the house, nancy pelosi, who said president trump's phone call at the heart of this investigation was attempted bribery. that is significant, those choice of words. now this morning we are going to hear from marie yovanovitch. she was the u.s. ambassador to ukraine from august 2016 until president trump recalled her six months ago. yovanovitch says she was removed because she stood in the way of getting ukraine's government to investigate joibd and his son hunter and a conspiracy theory. let's go back inside the hearing room as we watch some of the arrives there in what is expected to be a day of discovery by the house democrats. and we will see the republican strategy. we have got a team of correspondent entz covering this from capitol hill to the white house. margaret brennan joins us here, our host of "face the nation". i know you have been speaking with people close to the ambassador. what is she likely the say
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today? what are we likely to learn? >> it will be a personal story from ambassador yovanovitch. she served the country for 30 years, six presidents, seven different countries she served at post. democrats argue she will show that the president's private interests were undermining and dominating noshl security. that that is what all of this personal attack stems from. she will lay that out.t. she will also try to make a broader case here, which is that for her, as she has said, political targeting, she is the highest example of that but that it is continuing to happen within the state department. >> we are going to hear a lot about rudy giuliani today and
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the two other men. they have been indicted up in new york on several accounts. what was the involvement with rudy giuliani and these two individuals in terms of she a c her? >> this was all very mysterious. and you see that in emails that have since been shared publicly that show state department officials trying to figure out why these posts were appearing first on line in the ukraine, then in the united states and picked up by conservative media smearing the u.s. ambassador and really trying to accuse her of corruption, someone who was cracking down on it. what we now know through reporting that has been uncovered by the "wall street journal" and others that these two others, patternes and fruman who have been indicted here in the united states particularly in regard to election fraud that they had perhaps personal business interests in the ukraine that they also had ties to oligarchs there who might have been on the wrong side of
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her crackdown. this is why democrats will try to use that case, to say that this is about the president and his friends serving themselves rather than serving the public. >> thank you for setting the table in terms of the background information. i think that's going to be key to understanding some of the questions that happen today. let's go to nancy door des. she is outside the hearing room on capitol hill. nancy, we saw the democrats begin to lay out this case about bribery yesterday. what have you learned about what the focus will be today? >> i think you will hear that term bribery a lot more today now that it has officially been sanctioned by the speaker of the house, nancy pelosi. it could be the most emotional of the seven impeachment hearings that are scheduled. democrats hope yovanovitch can put a personal face on this investigation. she became emotional behind closed doors when she was told
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she was recalled back to the united states, told she had done nothing wrong but had lost the confidence of the president of the united states. republicans are going to argue that the president has every right to recall any ambassador at any time for any reason. and so mr. trump didn't do anything wrong. beyond that, they will say she's really not a witness to what democrats are now describing as bribery because she left her post in may and the president didn't freeze military aid to ukraine until july. >> that's an important point nancy as we see ambassador yovanovitch entering now the hearing room. press photographers are snapping pictures as she sets down at the table. i want to go paula reid at thect is trying to draw attention away from what is happening on capitol hill with the release of a transcript from april 21st, which we ha which
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was a good call, described as a short bubbly positive congratulatory call, no big disclosures there, right paula? >> no, none, norah. it appears the white house is trying to draw some attention away from what's going on on the hill with the release of this transcript. the president teesed this during the course of the week. there is no coincidence they are releasing it as this hearing is getting underway. just as people testified, it was bubbly, a congratulatory call. the president described it as quote, perfect. it does appear to be an innocuous call between president trump and the leader of ukraine. the president and some of his supporters here at the white house believe this helps establish a pattern of appropriate communication between the white house and ukraine. one appropriate call does not undermine the testimony of over half a dozen top administration officials who have testified that there was indeed a quid pro
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quo. >> paula reid with the new development there from the whit >> witobjection, the chairuthor same fashion as your first hearing. i will make an opening statement, ranking member nunes will then have an opportunity to make an opening statement. we will turn the our witness for an opening statement and then to questions. audience members we welcome you and respect your business in being here. in turn we ask for your respect as we proceed with today's hearings. it is the intention of the committee to proceed without disruptions. as chairman i will take all necessary and appropriate steps the maintain order and to ensure that the committee is run in accordance with house rules and house resolution 660. with that i now recognize myself to give an opening statement in the impeachment inquiry into donald j. trump, 45th president of the united states.
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in april, 2019 the united states ambassador to ukraine marie yovanovitch was in kiev when she was called by a senior state department official and told to get on the next plane back to washington. upon her return to d.c., she was informed by her superiors that although she had done nothing wrong she could no longer serve as ambassador the president. it was a stunning turn of events for this hily regarded career diplomat who had done s remarkable job fighting corruption in ukraine that a short time earlier she had been asked by the state departent to extend her tour. ambassador yovanovitch has been in t and serd much of that time in the former soviet union. her parents had fled stalin and later hitler before settling in the united states. she is an exemplar officer who is widely praised and respected
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by her colleagues. she is known as an anti-corruption champion whose tour in kiev was viewed as very successful. ambassador michael mckinley who had served with her in the foreign service for several decades stated that from the earliest days of her career in the foreign service, she was excellent, serious, committed. i certainly remember her being one of those people who seemed to be destined for greater things. her successor is acting chief of mission ambassador bill taylor described her as very frank. she was very direct. she made points very clearly and she was indeed tough on corruption and she named names. that sometimes is controversial out there but she's a strong person and made those charges. in her time in kiev, ambassador yovanovitch was tough on corruption. too tough on corruption for some, and her principled stance
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made her enemies. as george kent told this committee on wednesday, you can't promote principle to anti-corruption action without pissing off corrupt people. and ambassador yovanovitch did not just piss off corrupt ukrainians, like general leshchenko. but also certain americans, like rudy giuliani and fruman and patternes, leshchenko, giuliani, freeman patternest and don jr. promoted a smear campaign on her based on false allegations. at the state department there was the evident to push back to obtain a statement of statement of support from secretary pompeo but these efforts proved failed when it became clear that president trump wanted her gone.
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some have argued that the president has the ability to nominate or remove any ambassador he wants, that they serve at the pleasure of the president. and that is true. the question before us is not whether dumpl donald trump could recall an american ambassador with a stellar reputation for fighting corruption in ukraine, but why did he want to. why did jean-luc joule want her gone? and why did donald trump? and why would donald trump instruct the new team he put in place, the they amigas, sondland, perry and volley kerr to work with the same man, rudy giuliani, who played such a central role in the smear campaign against her? rudy giuliani has made no secret of his desire to get ukraine to open investigations into the bidens as well as a conspiracy theory of ukrainian interference in the 2016 election. as he said in one interview in may, 2019,er with not meddling in an election. we are meddling in an
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investigation, custom we have a right to do. more recently -- which we have a right to do. more recently he told chris cuomo of course i did when asked if he had pressed ukraine to investigate joe biden. he has never been shy about who he is doing this work for. his client, the president. one powerful ally giuliani had in ukraine to promote theseinve the corrupt former prosecutor general. and one powerful adversaries la searchingo had was a certain ambassador named marie yovanovitch. it is no coincidence that in the now infamous july call with zelensky donald trump brings up a corrupt prosecutor and praises him. he says he was very good and that he was shut down and that's really unfair but the woman known for fighting corruption,
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his own former ambassador, the woman ruthlessly smeared and driven from her post, the president does nothing but disparage. or worse, threaten. well, she's going to go through some things, the president declares. that tells you a lot about the president's priorities and intentions. getting rid of ambassador yovanovitch helped set the stage for an irregular channel that could pursue the two investigations that mattered so much to the president. the 2016 conspiracy theory, and most important an investigation into the 2020 political opponent he apparently feared most, joibd. joe biden. the president's scheme might have worked but for the fact that the man who would succeed yovanovitch, ambassador taylor would discover the effort to press ukraine in conducting these investigations and would
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push back but for the fact that someone also blew the whistle. ambassador yoev vich was serving our nation's interests in fighting corruption in ukraine. but she was considered an obstacle to the furtherance of the president's personal and political agenda. for that she was smeared and cast aside. the powers presidency are immense. but they are not absolute. and they cannot be used for corrupt purpose. the american people expect their president to use the authority they grant him in the service of the nation, not to destroy others to advance his personal or political interests. i know recognize ranking member nunes for his remarks. >> i thank the gentleman. it's unfortunate that for today and for most of next week we will continue engaging in the documents' day-long tv
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spectacles instead of solving the problems we were all sent to washington to address. we now have a major trade agreement with canada and mexico ready for approval a deal that would create jobs and boost your economy. meanwhile, we have not yet approved funding for the government, which expires next week. along with funding for our men and women in uniform. instead, the democrats have convened us once again to advance their operation to topple a duly elected president. i'll note that five -- five democrats on this committee had already voted to impeach this president before the trump/zelensky phone call occurred. in fact, democrats have been vowing to oust president trump since the day he was elected. so americans can rightly suspect that his phone call with president zelensky was used as an excuse for the democrats to
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fulfill their watergate fantasies. but i'm glad that on wednesday, after the democrats staged six weeks of secret depositions in the basement of the capital, like some kind of strange cult, the american people finally got to see this farce for themselves. they saw us sit through hours of haers testimony about conversations from diplomats heard secondhand third hand and fourth hand from other people. in other words, rumors. the problem of trying to overthrow a president based on this typedence i obvious.t their whole case relies on, beginning with secondhand and third hand information cited by the whistle-blower. that's why on wednesday the democrats were forced to make the absurd argument that hearsay
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can be much better evidence than direct evidence. and just when you thought the spectacle couldn't get more bizarre, committee members received memos threatening if we out the whistle-blower. none of the republicans here know the whistle-blower's identity because the whistle-blower only met with democrats not with republican. chairman schiff said he does not know who he is, and blocked us from asking questions his or her identity. how is it possible for the chairman to block questions about a person or about an identity he claims not to know? the american people may be seeing these ab durdities for the officers time, but republicans on this di yas are
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used to them. until they secretly met with the whistle-blower, democrats showed little interest for the last three years in any topic aside from the ridiculous conspiracy theories that president trump is a russian agent. when you find yourself on the phone like the democrats did with russian pranksters offering you nude pictures of trump and afterward you order your staff to follow up and get the photos as the democrats also did, then it might be time to ask yourself if you have begun out too far on a limb. even as they were accusing republicans of colluding with russians, the democrats themselves were colluding with russians by funding the steele dossier which was base on russian and ukrainian sources. meanwhile they turned a blind eye to ukrainians meddling in our elections because the democrats were cooperating with
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this operation. this was the subject of a july 20th, 2017 letter sent by senator grassley to then deputy attorney general rod rosenstein. the letter raised concerns about the activities of alexander cha lupe, a contractor for the democratic national committee who worked with ukrainian national officials to spread dirt on the trump campaign. as senator grassley wrote, quote, cha lupe's actions appear to show she was simultaneously working on behalf of a foreign government, ukraine, and on behalf of the dnc and i an effoo influence not only the u.s. voting population, but u.s. government officials, unquote. after touting the steele dossier and defending the fbi's russia investigation, which are now being investigated by inspector general horowitz and attorney general barr, democrats on this committee ignore ukrainian election meddling even though
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cha lupe publicly admitted to the democrats' scheme. likewise they are blind to the blaring signs of corruption surrounding hunter biden's well-paid position on the board of a corrupt ukrainian company while his father served as vice president and point man for ukraine issues in the obama administration. but the democrats' media hacks only cared about that issue briefly, when they were trying to stop joe biden were running against hillary clinton in 2015. as i previously stated, these hearings should not be occurring at all until we get the answers to three crucial questions the democrats refuse to ask. first, what is the full extent of the democrats' prior coordination with the whistle-blower and who else did the whistle-blower coordinate this effort with? second, what is the full excontinued tent of ukraine's election meddling against the
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trump campaign? and third, why did burse ma hire hunder biden, what did he do for them? did his actions affect any government actions under the obama administration? -- add that to their ever-growing list of broken promises and destructive deceptions. in closing, mr. chair, the president of the united states released his transcript right before the hearing began. i think it is important i read this into the record so there is no confusion over this first phone call that occurred on april 21st with president-elect zelensky. i would like to read it. the president: i would like to
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congratulate you on a job well done and congratulations on a fantastic election. zelensky: good to hear from you. thank you so very much. it's nice to hear from you and i appreciate the congratulations. the president: that was an incredible election. zelensky: then, thank you so very much. as you can see, we tried very hard to do our best. we had you as a great example. the president: i think you will do a great job. i have many friends in ukraine who know you and like you. i have many friend from ukraine, and frankly eecte t and it is ry an you have done. i guess in a way, i did something similar. we are making tremendous progress in the u.s. we have the most tremendous economy ever. i just wanted to congratulate you. i have no doubt you will be a fantastic president. zelensky: first of all, thank you so very much, again, for the
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congratulations. we in you crayon are an independent country, an independent ukraine. we are going to do everything for the people. you are, as i said, a great example. we are hoping we can expand on our jobs as you did. you will also be a great example for many. you are a great example for our new managers. i would also like to invite you, if possible, to the inauguration. i know how busy you are, but if it is possible for you to come to the inauguration ceremony, that would be great, great for you to do to be with us on that day. the president: that's very nice. i'll look into that. and give us a date. at the very minimum, we will have a great representative or more from the united states will be with you on that great day. we will have somebody at a minimum at a very, very high level and will be with you, for an incredible day for an incredible achievement. zelensky, again, thank you.
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we are looking forward to your visit of a high level delegation. there are no words that can describe our wonderful country, how nice warm our people are how tasty and delicious or food is and how wonderful ukraine is. words cannot describe our country. so it would be best for you to see it yourself. so if you can come that would be great. again i invite you to come. the president: i agree with you about your country, i look forward to it. when i owned miss universe, they had great people. ukraine was always very well represented. when you are settled in and ready, i would like to invite you to the white house. we will have a lot of things to talk about. but we are with you all the way. zelensky: thank you for the invitation. we accept the invitation and look forward to the visit. thank you again. the whole team and i are looking forward to the visit. thank you for the congratulations. and think it will still be great if you could come and be with us on this important day. the results are incredible: they
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are very impressive for us. so it will be absolutely fantastic if you could come on that day. >> the president: very good. we will let you know very soon. and we will see you very, very soon regardless. congratulations, and please say hello to the ukrainian people and your family. let them know i send my best zele well thank you. you have a safe flight and see you soon. the president: take care of yourself and give a great speech today. you take care of yourself and i will see you soon sclnz. . thank you very much. it is difficult for me but i will practice english and i will meet in english. thank you very much. the president laughing: oh, that's good to hear. i could not do it in your language. thank you very much. slnz: thank you very much. the president: thank you, good
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day. good luck. i was able to read that into the record so the american people know about the first call that the president had with zelensky. >> mr. chairman, i have a parliamentary inquiry. >> gentle woman is not recognized. >> mr. chairman, i have a point of order under h rest 6 0. >> state your point of order. >> will the chairman continue to prohibit republicans from answering questions. >> that's not a proper point of order. >> mr. mayor than. >> the jar is not recognized. >> i have a point of order. >> the gentlemen gentleman is not recognized. >> i have a point of order. >> the gentleman is not recognized. >> there have been transcripts that have not been released. >> the gentleman is not recognized. >> holy cow. >>ber allowed to exceed the opening statement. i was happy to allow him to do so. i do want to sfont to the call
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record. first of all i am grateful that the president has released the call record. i would now ask the president to release the thousands of other records that he has instructed the state department not the release, including ambassador taylor's notes, including ambassador taylor's cable, including george kent's memo, including documents from the office of management budget about why the military aide was withheld. >> i want you to release the four transcripts of depositions. that's my point of order. >> the gentleman will suspend. we would ask the president to stop obstructing the kbng. while we are grateful he released a single document he has nonetheless obstructed witnesses and their testimony and the production of thousands and thousands of other records. finally i would say this, mr. president, i hope you will explain to the country today the the vice president was making plans to attend the inauguration that you instructed the vice president not to attend
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zelensky's inauguration. >> mr. chairman i have a point of order. mr. chairman i have a point of order. >> the gentle woman is not recognized. >> we know clear you are going to interrupts us throughout this hearing. >> chairman i have a -- >> no, the gentleman is not recognized. >> i have a -- request. >> the gentleman is not recognized. today we are joined by marie yovanovitch. immigrated to america at 3, became a naturalized american at 18 and entered the u.s. foreign service in 1986. she has served as u.s. ambassador three times and been nominated by presidents of both parties, george w. bush nominated her to be ambassador to the kir ghiss republic from 2005 to 2008, president obama nominated her to be ambassador to armenia from 2008 until 2011 and u.s. ambassador to you crane
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from 2016 until she was recalled to washington by president trump this may. beyond these posts she has held pneumorouse other senior positions at the state state department clurg european and your asian affairs. she taught national security strategy at the defense university. she also previously served as u.s. embassies in kiev, moscow, london, and mogadishu. the ambassador has received multiple-ors from the department for her work including the presidential's distinguished service awards and diplomacy and human rights award. two points before our witness is sworn. all open hearings will be held at the unclassified level. any information that may touch on classified information will be addressed separately. second, congress will not tolerate any reprisal, threat of
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reprisal or attempt to retaliate against any government official for testifying before congress including you or any of your colleagues if you would please rise and raise your right hand i will begin by swearing you. do you swear or affirm that the testimony you are about to give is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you god let the record show that the witness has answered in the affirmative. thank you, and please be seated. without objection, your written statement will be made part of the record. with that, ambassador marie yovanovitch you are recognized for your opening statement. >> mr. chairman, ranking member nunes and other members of the committee. >> ambassador, you will need to speak very close to the microphone. >> okay. thank you for the opportunity to start with this statement. to reintroduce myself to the committee, and to highlight parts of my biography and experience. i come before you as an american citizen who has devoted the majority of my life, 33 years,
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to service to the country that all of us love. like my colleagues, i entered the foreign service understanding that my job was to implement the foreign policy interests of this nation as defined by the president and congress, and to do so regardless of which person or party was inwer. i had no agenda other than to pursue our stated foreign policy goals. my service is an expression of gratitude for all that this country has given me and to my family. my late parents did not have the good fortunate to come of age in a free society. by father fled the soviets before ultimately finding refuge in the united states. my mother grew up stateless in nazi germany before also eventually making her way to the
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united states. their personal histories, my personal history, gave me both deep gratitude towards the united states and great empathy for others like the ukrainian people who want to be free. i joined the foreign service during the reagan administration, and subsequently served three other republican presidents as well as two democratic presidents. it was my great honor to be appointed to serve as an ambassador three times, twice by george w. bush and once by barack obama. there is a perception that diplomats lead a comfortable life, throwing dinner parties in fancy homes. been i have moved 13 times and served in seven different countries, five of them hardship increasi dangerous place as that country's civil war kept
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grinding on and the government was weakening. the military took over policing functions in a particularly brutal way, and basic services disappeared. several years later, after the soviet union collapsed, i helped open our embassy in uzbekistan. as we were establishing relations with a new country, our small embassy was attacked by a gunman who sprayed the embassy building with gunfire. i later served in moscow. in 1993, during the attempted coupe in russia he was caught in crossfire between presidential and parliamentary forces. it took us three tries, me without a helmet or body armor to get into a vehicle to go to the embassy. we went because the ambassador asked us to come. and we went because it was our duty. from august 2016 until may 2019, i served as the u.s. ambassador
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to ukraine. during my tenure in ukraine i went to the front line approximately ten times. during a hot war. to show the american flag, to hear what was going on, sometimes literally as we heard the impact of artillery, and to see how our assistance dollars were being put the use. i worked to advance u.s. policy, fully embraced by democrats and republicans alike, to help ukraine become a stable and independent democratic state with a market economy competent grated into europe. a secure democratic and free ukraine serves not just the ukrainian people but the american people as well. that's why it was our policy, continues to be our policy, to help the ukrainians achieve their objectives. they match our objectives. the u.s. is the most powerful country in the history of the
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world in large part because of our values. and our values have made possible the network of alliances and partnerships that buttresses our own strength. ukraine was an enormous landmass and enormous population has the potential to be a significant commercial and political partner for the united states as well as a force multiplier on the security side. we see the potential in ukraine. russia sees -- by contrast, sees the risk. the history is not written yet. but ukraine could move out of prust russia's orbit. and now ukraine is a battleground with a hot war for the control of territory and a hybrid war to control you crepe's leadership. the u.s. has provided significant security assistance since the onset of the war against russia in 2014. and the trump administration
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strengthened our policy by approving the provision to ukraine of anti-tank missiles known as javelins. supporting ukraine is the right thing to do. it is also the smart thing to do. if russia prevails andne falls to russian dominion, we can expect to see other attempts by russia to expand its territory and its influence. as critical as the war against russia is, ukraine's struggling democracy has an equally important challenge, battling the soviet legacy of corruption which has pervaded ukraine's government. corruption makes ukraine's leaders vulnerable to russia and the ukrainians understand that. that's why they demanded to be a part of europe, demanding transformation of the system, demanding to live under the rule of law. ukrainians wanted the law to apply equally to all people
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whether the individual in question is the president or any other citizen. it was a question of fairness, of dignity. here again, there is a coincidence of interests. corrupt leaders are inherently less trustworthy while an honest and accountable ukrainian leadership makes a u.s./ukrainian partnership more reliable to the united states. a level playing field in this strategically located country bordering four nato allies creates an environment in which u.s. business can more easily trade, invest, and profit. corruption is also a security issue. because corrupt officials are vulnerable to moscow. in short, it is in america's national security interests to help ukraine transform into a country where the rule of law governs, and corruption is held in check. it was and remains a top u.s. priority to help ukraine fight corruption. and significant progress has
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been made since the 2014 revolution of dignity. unfortunately, as the past couple of months have underlined, not all ukrainians embraced our anti-corruption work. thus perhaps it was not surprising that when our anti-corruption efforts got in the way of a desire for profit or power, ukrainians who prefer to play by the old corrupt rules sought to remove me. what continues to amaze me is that they found americans willing to partner with them and working together they apparently succeeded in orchestrating the removal of a u.s. ambassador. how could our system fail like this? how is it that foreign corruption interests can manipulate our government? which country's interests are served when the very corrupt behavior we have been criticizing is allowed to prevail? such conduct undermines the u.s., exposes our friends, and
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widens the playing field for autocrats like president putin. our leadership depends on the power of examp and theistencf o question. with that background in mind, i would like to briefly address some of the factual issues i expect you may want to ask me about starting with my time line in ukraine and the events about which i do and do not have firsthand knowledge. i arrived in ukraine on august 22nd, 2016, and left ukraine permanently on may 20th, 2019. there are a number of events you are investigating to which i cannot bring any firsthand knowledge. the events that predated my ukraine service include the release of the so-called black ledger and mr. manafort's subsequent resignation from president trump's campaign. and the departure from office of
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former prosecutor general victor showhan. several other events occurred after i returned from ukraine. these include president trump's july 25th, 2019 call with president zelensky. the discussions surrounding that phone call. and any discussions surrounding the delay of security assistance to ukraine in the summer of 2019. as for events during my tenure in ukraine, i want to reiterate first that the allegation that i disseminated a do not prosecute list is a fabrication. mr. leshchenko the former ukrainian prosecutor general who made that allegation acknowledged that the list never existed. i did not tell him or other ukrainian officials who they should or should not prosecute. instead i advocated the u.s. position that rule of law should prevail.
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ukraine land law enforcement prosecutors and judges should stop wielding their power selectively as a political weapon against their adversaries and start deal with all consistently and according to the law. also untrue are unsourced allegations that i told unidentified embassy employ yes, sir or ukrainian official that president trump's orders should be ignored because he was going to be impeached or for any other reason. i did not. and i would not say such a thing. such statements would be inconsistent with my training as a foreign service officer and my role as an ambassador. the obama administration did not ask me to help the clinic campaign or harm the trump campaign. nor would i have taken any such steps if they had. partisanship of this type is not compatible with role of a career foreign service officer.
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i have never met hunter biden. nor have i had any direct or indirect conversations with him. although i have met former vice president biden several times over the course of our many years in government service neither he nor the previous administration ever raised the issue of either burrisma or hunter biden to he moo. with respect to rudy giuliani i have had only minimal contact with him. a total of three. none related to the events at issue. i do not understand mr. giuliani's motives for attacking me, nor can i offer an opinion on whether he believed the allegations he spread about me. clearly, no one at the state department did. what i can say is that mr. giuliani should have known those claims were suspect, coming as they reportedly did, from individuals with questionable motive asks with reason to believe that their little and financial ambitions would be stymied by our anti-corruption .
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after being asked by the undersecretary of state for political affairs in early march 2019 to extend my tour until 2020, the smear campaign against me entered a new public phase in the united states. in the wake of the negative press, state department officials suggested an earlier departure and we agreed upon july 2019. i was then abruptly told just weeks later in late april to come back to washington from ukraine on the next plane. at the time i departed ukraine had just concluded game-changing presidential elections. it was a sensitive period with much at stake for the united states and called for all the experience and expertise we could muster. when i returned to the united states, deputy secretary of state sullivan told me there had been a concerted campaign against me that the president no
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longer wished me to serve as ambassador to ukraine and that in fact the president had been pushing for my removal since the prior summer. as mr. sullivan recently recounted during his senate confirmation hearing neither he nor anyone else ever sought to explain for justify the president's concerns about me nor did anyone in the department justify my early departure by suggesting i had done something wrong. i appreciate that mr. sullivan publicly affirmed at his hearings that i had served capably and admirably. although then and now i have always always understood that i served at the press your of tle president i still find it difficult to comprehend that foreign and private interests were able to undermine u.s. interests in this way. individuals who apparently felt stymied by our efforts to promote stated u.s. policy against corruption, that is to do our mission, were able to successfully conduct a campaign
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of disinformation against a sitting ambassador using unofficial back channels. as various witnesses have recounted they shared baseless allegations with the president and convinced him to remove his ambassador despite the fact in a the state department fully understood in a the allegations were false and the sources highly suspect. these events should concern everyone in this room. ambassadors are the symbol of the united states abroad. they are the personal representative of the president. they should always act and speak with full authority to advocate for u.s. policies. if our chief representative is knee capped, it limits our effectiveness to safeguard the vital national security interests united states. this is especially important now when the international landscape is more complicated and more competitive than it has been since the dissolution of the soviet union.
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our ukraine policy has been thrown into disarray and shady interests the world over have learned how little it takes to remove an american ambassador who does not give them what they want. after these events, what foreign official, corrupt or not, could be blamed for wondering whether the u.s. ambassador represents the president's views? and what u.s. ambassador could be blamed for harboring the fear that they can't count on our government to support them as they implement stated u.s. policy and protect and defend u.s. interests? i would like to comment on one other matter before taking your questions. at the closed deposition, i expressed grave concerns about the degradation of the foreign service over the past few years and the failure of state department leadership to push back as foreign and corrupt interests apparently hijacked our ukraine policy. i remain disappointed that the department's leadership and
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others have declined to acknowledge that the attacks against me and others are dangerously wrong. this is about far far more than me or a couple of individuals. as foreign service professionals are being denigrated and undermined the institution is also being degraded. this will soon cause real harm if it hasn't already. the state department as a tool of foreign policy often doesn't get the same kind of attention or even respect as the military might of the pentagon. but we are, as they say, the pointy end of the spear. if we lose our edge, the u.s. will inevitably have to use other tools even more than it does today. and those other tools are blunter, more expensive, and not universally effective. moreover, the attacks are leading to a crisis in the state department as the policy process is visibly unraveling.
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leadership vacancies go unfilled and senior and mid-level officers ponder an uncertain future. the crisis has moved from the impact on individuals to an impact on the institution itself. the state department is being hellooed out from within at competitive and complex time on the world stage. this is not a time to undercut our diplomats. it is the responsibility of the department's leaders to stand up for the institution and the individuals who make that institution still today the most effective diplomatic force in the world. and congress has a responsibility to reinvest in our diplomacy. that's an investment in our national security. it is an investment in our future. in our children's future. as i close, let me be clear on who we are and how we serve this country. we are professionals. we are public servants who by vocation and training pursue the
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policies. president regardfuls who holds that office or what party they affiliate with. we handle american citizen services, facilitate trade and commerce, work security issues, represent the u.s., and report to and advise washington, to mention just some of our functions. and we make a difference every day. we are people who repeat lead uproot our lives who risk and sometimes give our lives for this country. we are the 52 americans who 40 years ago this month began 444 days of deprivation, torture, and captivity in tehran. we are the dozens of americans stationed at our embassy in cuba and consulates in china who mysteriously and dangerously and in some cases even permanently were injured and attacked from unknown sources several years
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ago. and we are ambassador chris stevens, shawn patrick smith, ty woods, and glen dougherty, people rightly called heroes for their ultimate sacrifice for this nation's foreign policy interests in libya eight years ago. we honor these individuals. they represent each one of you here, and every american. these courageous individuals were attacked because they symbolized america. what you need to know, what americans need to know, is that while thankfully most of us answer the call to duty in far less dramatic ways, every foreign service officer runs the same risks, and very often so do our families. they serve, too, as individuals, as a community, we answer the call to duty to advance and protect the interests of the united states. we take our oath seriously. the same oath that each one of you take, to support and defend
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the constitution of the united states against all enemies, foreign and domestic, and to bear trueallegiance to the same. i count myself lucky to be a foreign service officer, fortunate to serve with the best america has to offer. blessed to serve the american people for the last 33 years. i thank you for your attention. i welcome your questions. >> thank you ambassador, we count ourselves lucky to have you serve the country as you have for decades. we will now move to the 45-minute rounds. i recognize myself and majority counsel for 45 minutes. ms. yovanovitching thank you again for appearing today. all americans are deeply in your department. before i hand it over to mr. goalman, our staff counsel i want to ask you about a few of the pivotal events of interest to the country. first of all, was fighting corruption in ukraine a key element of u.s. policy and one
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on which you placed the highest priority? >> yes, it was. >> can you explain why. >> it was important, and it was actually stated in our policy and in our strategy. it was important because corruption was undermining the integrity of the governance system in ukraine. as i noted in my statement, countries that have leaders that are honest and trustworthy make better partners for us. countries where there is a level playing field for our u.s. business makes it easier for our companies to do business there, to trade, and to profit in those countries. and what had been happening since the soviet union -- this is very much a soviet legacy, is that corrupt interests were
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undermining in the only the governance but also the economy of ukraine. we see enormous potential in ukraine and would like to have a more capable, more trust worthy partner there. >> i know this may be awkward for you to answer since it is a question about yourself and your reputation, but is it fair to say that you earned a reputation of being a champion of anti-corruption efforts in ukraine? >> yes, yes. >> i don't know if you had a chance to watch george kent's testimony yesterday. but would you agree with his rather frank assessment that co going to piss off some corrupt people? >> yes. >> and in your efforts fighting corruption to advance u.s. policy interests do you anger some of the corrupt leaders in ukraine? >> yes. >> was one of those corrupt people prosecutor general leshchenko? >> yes, i believe so. >> was another one of those corrupt people his predecessor, victor shokin?
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>> apparently so, although i have never met him. >> at some point did you come to learn that both men were in touch with rudy giuliani, president trump's lawyer and representative? >> yes. >> in fact, did rudy giuliani try to overturn a decision that you participated in to deny shokin a visa? >> yes, that is what i was told. >> and denial was businessed on mr. shokin's corruption? >> yes, that's true. >> all right. and was it mr. leshchenko among others who coordinated with mr. giuliani to peddle false accusations against you as well as the bidens? >> yes, that is my understanding. >> and were these smears also amplified by the president's done, dump jr. as well as certain hosts on fox? >> yes -- yes, that is the case. >> in the first of this smear campaign did colleagues a the state department try to get a statement of support for you
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from secretary pompeo? >> yes. >> were they successful? >> no. >> did you come to learn that they couldn't issue such a statement because they feared it would be undercut by the president? >> yes. >> and then were you told that though you had done nothing wrong you did not enjoy the confidence of the president and could no longer serve as ambassador? >> yes, that is correct. >> in fact, you flew home from kiev on the same day as the inauguration of ukraine's new president? >> that's true. >> that inauguration was attended by the three who have become known as the three amigos, ambassador somd, volley kerr and perry was it. >> yes >> and three days after that inauguration, in a meeting with president trump are you aware that the president designated these three amigos to coordinate ukraine policy with rudy giuliani? >> since then i have become aware of that. >> this is the same giuliani who
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orchestrated the smear campaign against you. >> yes >> and the same rudy giuliani who during the now infamous july 25th 2019 phone call the president recommended to zelensky in reference to the investigation the president wanted in the 2016 election and the boyd ebs? >> yes. >> in that july 25th phone call, the president praises one of these former krupp ukrainian prosecutors and says they were treated unfearly. they were treated unfair lee, not you, who was smeared and recalled but one of them. what message does that send to your colleagues in the u.s. embassy in kiev? >> i'm not sure what the basis for that kind of a statement would be. certainly not from our reporting over the years. >> did you have concern, though, do you have concern today about
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what message the president's action sends to the people who are still in ukraine representing the united states when a well respected ambassador can be smeared out of her post with the participation and acquiescence of the president of the united states? >> well, it's i think a big hit for morale both at u.s. embassy kiev and also more broadly in the state department. >> is it fair to say that other ambassadors and others of lesser rank who serve the united states in embassies around the world might look at this and think if i take on corrupt people in these countries, that could happen to me? >> i think that's a fair statement, yes. >> mr. goldman. >> thank you mr. chairman. ambassador yovanovitch, on april 24th of this year at ebola
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approximately 10:00 p.m. you received a telephone call while you were at the embassy in kiev from the director general at the state department. this was just three days after president zelensky's election and the call between president trump and president zlngz thele that we just heard from ranking member nunes. at the time that this call came in what were you in the middle of doing? >> i was hosting an even in honor of an anti-corruption activist -- was an anti-corruption activist in ukraine. we had given her the woman of courage award from ukraine. in fact the worldwide woman of courage event at the worldwide woman of courage even in washington, d.c., secretary pompeo singled her out for her
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amazing work in ukraine to fight corrupt interests in the south of ukraine. she very tragically died because she was attacked by acid and several months later died a very, very painful death. we thought it was important that justice be done for her and for others who fight corruption in ukraine. because this is -- it's not a -- you know, kind of a tabletop exercise there. lives are in the balance. so we wanted to bring attention to this. we held an event and gave her father, who of course is still mourning her, that award, at the woman of courage event. >> her woman of courage award stemmed from her anti-corruption efforts in ukraine? >> yes, that is true. >> was it ever determine who had threw the acid and killed her?
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>> there have been investigations but whilethe lower-ranking individuals that were involved in this have been arrested, those who ordered this have not yet been apprehended. >> after you stepped away from this anti-corruption event to take the call, what did the general tell you? >> she said there was great concern on the seventh floor of the state department. there was great concern. they were worried. she wanted to give me a heads up about this. and, you know, things seemed to be going on. she just wanted to give me a heads up. i -- you know, hard to know how to react to something like that. i asked her what it was about. what did she think it was about? she said she didn't know. she was going to try to find ou


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