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tv   The Beat With Ari Melber  MSNBC  November 19, 2019 3:00pm-4:00pm PST

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base of the republican party and to me. so i believe that he was at with very few defections. that may change, but right now i least affected by those and believed those -- >> and believed they were think that's a correct negative? assessment by the white house, >> believed that they were that they've got the senate tied negative and was conveying them up in a way that will protect to the president. >> so was it problematic that he the president from actually being removed from office. believed they were negative >> i think the two variables, views? >> yes, the whole thing was ned, would, in my guess, drawing problematic. >> ambassador taylor testified on my past sort of in republican that on july 2nd, you told politics, would be public ukrainians that they needed to, quote, cooperate on opinion, should you see attacks investigations, end quote. you're now saying that you don't on colonel vindman inching this recall saying those words; is from 51% support to 53, 54, 55. that correct? >> i don't believe i said the words "cooperate on and the second, more big time investigations." >> did you say "investigations"? statewide electoral defeats in red, red, red parts of the >> i believe i did, yes. >> and what did you mean you me country. >> potentially. investigations? at the same time, though, >> i meant burisma in 2016 was throughout his presidency, in my mind and i wanted to keep donald trump has been talking to it general and that ukraine 30, 35% of the country. being convincing to giuliani and i think as long as that 35% is with him, i think you see them steam forward with this. hopefully also to the president, that they're serious about i agree this is a political fighting corruption, would engage in whatever process. investigations necessary to this is inherently a political cleanup the country. process, it's written in the constitution. >> now, moving to july 10th
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but there are big national ambassador volker sent you a security implications tied to this. just imagine the counterfactual text message. here, imagine is donald trump you sent a text message to had done what he did, and we knew that, the white house giuliani, and i think it's on released this transcript, we knew he was essentially trying the screen now. to sell our foreign policy for and you said mr. mayor could we his own political benefit, and democrats did nothing. that would be a green light. that would signal that this is okay, this is fine to do, go forward, do this with china, do meet for lunch or coffee, i this with any country as you see think i have the opportunity to fit. >> the witnesses, tim morrison, former senior official from the nsc staff who worked for john get what you need. >> that is an accurate text bolton, seated alongside message. >> what did you mean by what you ambassador kurt volker, who was need? >> the people now representing an ambassador in ukraine, zelensky and his team. carrying out a whole lot of the >> later that day you and ambassador sondland met with ukraine officials at the white activities and conduct house. we heard from several witnesses encapsulated in donald trump's pressure campaign against that ambassador sondland told ukraine. let's listen. ukraine they needed to cooperate the quote-unquote investigations in order to get the oval office >> the committee will come to meeting scheduled on the books. order. i'm now going to proceed to a were these investigations a part 15-minute round by either chair of the official u.s. policy towards ukraine? in the majority or ranking member in the minority.
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mr. goldman, you're recognized >> u.s. policy towards ukraine for 15 minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. was about fighting corruption ambassador volker, i do want to and ukraine going after -- just correct the record from the >> but was it specifically about these kinds of investigations? first round. you were right to point out, you you said the investigation was asked if a quote that i burisma -- >> wait. >> okay. represented you made in the >> in order to fight corruption deposition was your words, and i you need to conduct investigations. actually read the wrong part in you need to see what ukrainian the quote. citizens were up to and doing -- what you actually said was, it >> but was that the purpose of creates a problem, again, where that? or was it because the president -- you knew that the all of the things we're trying to do to advance the bilateral president wanted those investigations to be done as a relationship, strengthen our support for ukraine, strengthen condition for them to actually center a meeting with the -- in the positioning against russia, is now getting sucked into a the white house? domestic political debate in the >> well, first off we have to be u.s. clear what we're talking about domestic political narrative in terms of investigations. that overshadows that. we're not talking about vice president biden. so you were right to point that out and i apologize for the we're not talking about -- mistake. >> burisma has nothing to do i want to go back to a couple of things that you said during the with -- >> i'm saying whether ukrainians within the company of burisma minority's round. had acted in a corrupt way. can you repeat again, the readout that you got of the july that's a legitimate thing for ukraine to investigate. 25th call? and if ukraine can make a >> yes. statement about their intentions i received a readout from both
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on fighting corruption domestically that is helpful in ukrainian colleague, andriy order to convince president trump ultimately that this is -- yermak, as well as from a u.s. person, i don't now remember >> with all due respect, whether it was my staffer or someone from the embassy, and the readout was that it was a ambassador volker, we heard from two witnesses this morning that good phone call, that it was a those investigations were not official u.s. policy. ambassador volker, i don't know congratulatory phone call for the president's win in the if you understand what you were parliamentary election, that getting yourself into. but sitting here today i trust president zelensky did reiterate you understand that pressuring ukraine to involve itself in his commitment to fighting corruption and advancing reform u.s. domestic policy is just in the ukraine, and that president renewed his invitation simply wrong. i yield back the allowance of my for president zelensky to come to the white house. >> and i believe you said that time. that readout was exactly as you >> mr. turner. expected the call to go, is that >> i yield my time to jim right? >> that's what we were trying to jordan. >> i thank the gentleman. tee up. ambassador volker, you were the >> i just want to show you once again the july 25th text that special representative to ukraine, is that right? you wrote to andriy yermak which >> that is correct. >> and prier to that in your was the message that you were diplomatic service you were relaying to him so that he could ambassador to nato, senate prepare president zelensky. confirmed ambassador to nato in your distinguished diplomatic and you'll recall this, right, career. so it may not bother you when where you said that this was the you're referred to as irregular message, good lunch, thanks, heard from white house, assuming channel, but it bothers
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president z convinces trump he representative turner and bothers me. will investigate, quote, get to you were the special envoy to the bottom of what happened in 2016, we will nail down date for yeah y ukraine, and in that role you said in your opening statement you are the administration's visit to washington. that's what you expected from the call, right? most public figure in calling >> yeah, i expected that out russia's responsibility in president zelensky would be convincing in his, uh, the war, is that right? >> that is correct. statements and comments with >> and in that capacity you president trump, that he was -- strongly advocated for lifting the sale on ban of lethal arms exactly that, that he would investigate, get to the bottom of things that had happened in to ukraine, is that correct? 2016 and that if he was strong >> that is correct. >> and president trump did that, didn't he? >> that is correct. >> but in spite of that in conveying who he is as a person and doing that, that president trump was still skeptical of giving hard earned president trump would be convinced and renew the tax dollars to yeah crane. invitation to the white house. and the reason he's skeptical is >> but you don't mention let's be honest the guy doesn't corruption in this text, do you? >> uh, this is -- like foreign aid. >> that's one reason. and ukraine's history is >> the word "corruption" is not another. >> the third most corrupt on the in this text? >> the word "corruption" is not planet and europe isn't doing there. enough and by the way in the investigating things that president's mind he did think happened in the past that are corrupt would be investigating ukraine was trying to influence corruption. the 2016 election and things >> you say a couple of times in your opening statement and you just said it again, happened. and democrats want to deny it but when the ambassador to the investigating things that happened in the past. you are aware, of course, that
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united states writes an op-ed most investigations relate to criticizing then candidate things that happen in the past, trump, that's certainly trying right? >> yes. to floouninfluence the election. >> sorry? >> yes. >> okay. when a key minister in their so that doesn't really move the needle, whether it's current or government says all kind of negative things about candidate past in terms of the subject of trump, that certainly looks like the investigation. >> yes, the subject of the it's trying to influence the investigation are things that happen in the past. election. >> you also talked a little bit and when he states in the times about the meeting you had on july 26th with president zelensky and ambassador sondland during the campaign the political figures want hillary in kiev, is that right? clinton to win, that probably sticks in the president's mind. >> on the 26th? when people say bad things about us in the course of the we had a meeting with president campaign, we don't necessarily think great things about them. zelensky, yes. >> and i believe you testified but you were convinced zelensky that the topic of investigations was the real deal? did not come up at all, is that right? >> that is correct. >> yeah, i don't recall them coming up. >> because you spent a lot of just the general phone call. time with the guy. >> you didn't take notes of that call, of that meeting, right? and when aid was frozen, what >> no, i did not. did you say, you told the >> because there were staffers there to do that. ukrainians don't worry about it. >> correct. >> and so if there are two well, you said don't be alarmed, staffers who have -- who took notes that have meeting and right? >> that is correct. >> and guess what happened -- testified that the subject of when aid is frozen and when it's either sensitive topics or released all kinds of investigations came up, are we better off taking their word for interactions between president
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it than yours? zelensky and senior u.s. >> i have no reason to doubt their notes, if there were notes officials, right? starts with the call with president trump and president taken contemporaneously at the zelensky. next day you meet with president meeting. >> another witness testified before us, laura cooper, about a zelensky in ukraine and then we meeting that she had with you on have ambassador bolton meeting -- then we have vice july -- on august 20th. do you recall having that president pence meeting with meeting with her? him. then we have u.s. senators because you didn't mention it in your deposition. jaunlsen and murphy meeting with >> yes, i did. him. i did mention that i had been and guess what? in none of those meetings not a making the rounds to weigh in on single one did security lifting the hold on security assistance dollars in exchange assistance to do that with all for an investigation, not once of the interagency players. did they come up? did that conversation come up, >> mm-hmm. is that right? >> that is correct. and she recalled with some >> not once. specificity that meeting, which no discussion of aid for i believe was also based on her investigations and as you notes, that you described the statement that you were trying testified, you never believed to get president zelensky to aid for investigations was ever being talked about either in any make to, and i'll quote what she of these conversations. said, disavow interference in >> that is correct. u.s. elections and commit to the >> but what happened in those prosecution of individuals meetings? they all became convinced of the involved in election interference. and if he were to agree to do same thing you knew. they all saw the same darn that, she testified, then you thing. this guy was the real deal. thought that it might help to he is a legitimate reformer, and
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lift the hold on security sa they all came back. they all came back and told the assistance. is that your recollection of the president. hey, mr. president, this guy's conversation as well? >> not exactly. >> so how does yours differ? real. go ahead and release the dollars. oh, by the way in that same time >> i recall talk aboing about t frame you know what else happened? their parliament, their newly elected parliament as mr. one we discussed earlier, the morrison testified to, stayed up one between myself and rudy all night to pass the reform giuliani and back to yermak. measures, get rid of the prosecutor, put in the i discussed that this is an effort we are doing, that this anti-corruption court, to get could be helpful in getting a rid of this ability that no one reset of the thinking of the president, the negative view of ukraine that he had. in their congress and parliament and if we did that, i thought could ever be hit with a crime. that would also be helpful in that's unbelievable. all that happens and they come back and tell president trump, unblocking whatever hold there was on security assistance, that if there is negative presumption hey guess what? time to release the dollars and about ukraine, getting this he did it, right? >> the dollars were released. stuff on track would be helpful. >> you did your job. >> so that's a different interpretation, but you don't and you've got to put up with doubt that what she testified is all this because the democrats are out to get this president. inaccurate, do you? >> i believe she accurately you did your job just the way reflected what she understood from the conversation. mr. turner described you did your job all these years and the >> okay. democrats put you through this.
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you testified a little bit about you have served our country the june 28th conference call that you had with ambassador well. and here's the saddest, one of sondland, ambassador taylor, i'm the saddest things about all this what the democrats are putting us through, you two guys not sure if deputy secretary kent was on the line. who are here telling it >> i don't believe so. straight, you both decided >> and secretary perry before you're going to step out of you looped in president government because of what these guys are doing. zelensky. am i right about the and that's the sad thing. participants of that, or was people like ambassador volker and tim morrison who have served secretary perry not on it? >> i'm pretty sure that deputy our country so well are now stepping out of government assistant secretary kent was not on it. because of what these guys are i don't remember whether secretary perry was on it. and i don't remember whether i doing. we appreciate -- we appreciate stayed on for president zelensky what you guys did. joining the call or not. i yield back. >> were there any staff members >> mr. carson. or note takers on the call? >> thank you, chairman schiff. >> i don't believe so. ambassador volker, i want to >> why? focus on the press statement >> uh, we were having a call that president trump and rudy among ourselves to talk about giuliani wanted ukraine to make what were the messages wealth we needed to convey. announcing investigations to >> and at that point, we've had benefit president trump. on august 9th, sir, ambassador other testimony from people who did take notes that there was a sondland and you had this discussion about the investigations or what you needed to do, what president exchange. ambassador sondland says,
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zelensky needed to do in order to get the white house meeting. morrison, ready to get dates as do you recall that? >> i recall seeing that in soon as your man confirms. you reply, excellent, how did ambassador taylor's testimony. you sway him? i believe there may have even and ambassador sondland says, been a text message to that not sure i did. i think potus really wants effect. and again, it comes down to what are we talking about in terms of deliverable. deliverable here was a public these investigations. because what i certainly announcement that ukraine was going to conduct investigations understood is we're talking into burisma and alleged 2016 about ukraine looking into and fighting corruption internally and being convincing about this, presenting the new president and election interference by the new team as a change in ukraine. is that correct, sir? ukraine. >> thank you. i understood the deliverable to >> well, you understood that the be the statement that we had been talking about. investigations were burisma and the 2016 election, right? >> on august 13th you and >> yes. >> and you interpreted those to ambassador sondland discussed a be -- you interpreted those to draft statement from ukraine with mr. giuliani. be okay because in theory, they sir, why did you discuss the were looking into ukrainians? draft statement with mr. >> correct. >> but we can agree, can we not, giuliani? >> because the idea of the statement had come up from mr. that the investigations, all the investigations that we're talking about here today were burisma and the 2016 election? >> uh, correct. yermac's meeting with mr. j >> okay. now, what you then amended your giuliani. testimony today to say is, in mr. giuliani said they thought ukraine should make a statement
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retrospect, if you did not about fighting corruption and realize the purpose for mr. giuliani and president trump to mr. yermac provided me a draft want the burisma investigation was to -- for political benefits statement and i wanted to be in digging up dirt or getting assured that this statement some information on vice would actually correct the president biden, that's what you perception that mr. giuliani had learned subsequently, right? >> it's correct that i learned of ukraine and what they stand for now so that that would also about the president's interest be conveyed to president trump in investigating vice president and solve this problem that i biden from the phone call transcript which came much, much had observed with our may 23rd later. meeting with the president. from giuliani, i didn't know the problem being that he's that he was actively pursuing this. i did know he raised this with getting bad set of information. a statement like this could potentially correct that. >> so was mr. giuliani satisfied me directly and i had published ba with this statement? -- pushed back on it. >> no, he was not. >> you knew that ambassador >> why not? sondland was pursuing this at >> he believed it needed to say the july 25th meeting when he burisma and 2016 specifically or raised this himself. >> again, he didn't specify else it would not be credible, biden. he didn't specify burisma, as i it would not mean anything. recall, either. i understood it to be a generic >> so in fact mr. giuliani comment and something, again, wanted a statement that not appropriate for that referenced burisma and 2016 meeting. >> right. i understand, but biden wasn't elections explicitly. oneha mentioned, but you do agree that
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when investigations are referenced in this context, it is burisma and the 2016 election, no? >> yes, that's what i understand. >> and on that july 10th call, when ambassador sondland raised the investigations, he did that in response to a question from the ukrainians about the white house meeting; isn't that right? >> can you repeat the question? i didn't catch that. >> you said that ambassador sondland mentioned specific investigations at the july 10th meeting in ambassador bolton's office. >> mm-hmm. >> and you said you thought that was inappropriate. >> yes. >> didn't he make that comment in response to a question from the ukrainian officials about when they could schedule the white house meeting? >> that i'm not sure about. i remember the meeting essentially already being over, and then ambassador sondland bringing that up. >> and in the july 2nd or 3rd meeting in toronto that you had with president zelensky, you also mentioned investigations to him, right? >> yes. >> and again, you were referring
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to the burisma -- >> i was thinking about burisma and 2016. >> and you understood that's what the ukrainians interpreted references to investigations to be, related to burisma and the 2016 election? >> i -- i don't know specifically at that time if we had talked to that specifically, burisma, 2016, with president -- that was my assumption, though, that they would have been thinking that too. >> now, mr. morrison, when did you have that conversation with fiona hill about burisma and the parallel track involving -- parallel process, rather, involving ambassador sondland and rudy giuliani, do you recall? >> we had a number of hand-off discussions between 1 july and 15 july. >> so in that period of time, you were certainly aware of this effort to promote this burisma investigation that ambassador sondland and rudy giuliani were going about or at least you had heard about it from dr. hill?
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>> i had heard about it from dr. hill. >> okay. i want to pull up another excerpt from a recent "wall street journal" article that quotes an email from july 13th that ambassador sondland sent to you. and he wrote to you, quote, sole purpose is for zelensky to give potus assurances of new sheriff in town. corruption ending, unbundling moving forward, and any hampered investigations will be allowed to move forward transparently. and you responded, tracking. what did you understand ambassador sondland to mean when he wrote to you, any hampered investigations will be allowed to move forward transparently? >> i don't know that i had any understanding. these are emails -- july 13th emails, i wasn't even in the seat yet. but i knew that among the head of state meetings we were
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tempting attempting to schedule was one between the president and president zelensky. >> right. but it was before this that dr. hill had told you about burisma and ambassador sondland and his desire for this parallel process to investigate burisma, right? >> yes. >> so you had that association when you received his email asking you about investigations, correct? >> not necessarily. >> no? >> no. >> why not? >> because ambassador -- among the discussions i had with dr. hill were about ambassador sondland, i think she might have coined it "the gordon problem." and i decided to keep track of what ambassador sondland was doing. i didn't necessarily always acting on things gordon suggested he believed were important. so he wanted to get a meeting. i understood that the president
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wanted to do and had agreed to a meeting. so i was working -- i was tracking that we needed to schedule a meeting. >> you were not endorsing the notion of president zelensky sending a message about investigations, is that your testimony? >> that is my testimony. >> ambassador volker, i want to jump ahead. after the aid was released, you went to the yes conference, right, in ukraine? and are you aware of that ambassador taylor, who testified based on quite detailed notes, indicated that earlier, a few days before that, ambassador sondland had told him that president trump is a businessman, and so before he writes a check, he likes to see people pay up, something to that effect. you're aware of that? >> i am familiar with that
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testimony. >> uh-huh. and you're also familiar that ambassador taylor said you said something very similar to him when you were in ukraine for the yes conference. do you recall saying that to ambassador taylor? >> yes, i do. i was repeating what gordon sondland had said to me to explain to bill taylor what that understanding was. >> and in what context did ambassador sondland say that to you? >> i think we were talking about the release of the hold on security assistance. and he was saying that the president has -- he's already got a negative view of ukraine, he sees a check on his desk that's going to the ukrainians, not sure about them, he wants to hold on to it until he's assured. >> and the pay-up before he writes the check is to get the investigations he wants, right? >> that was not clear to me. >> what did you think it meant? >> i didn't think there was a pay-up, as you said. the language was similar.
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i had heard from gordon, he sees this check, he's not sure he wants it, he wants to make sure he's a got a deal with the ukrainians. i didn't know the specific formulation. >> mr. chairman, i yield back. >> 15 minutes to ranking member nunes. >> parliamentary inquiry, mr. chair, do we expect more of these magical 15-minute motions that you come up with in the back? >> i don't know how magical they are. they're prescribed by house resolution 660 that we can have successive rounds of up to 45 minutes. this is part of the prescribed procedure ouunder the house resolution. >> do you expect you will have more this evening? >> i do not expect more will be necessary. >> i thank the gentleman. for everyone watching, this is another example of how out of control this process has become, where the democrats just magically give themselves additional minutes, which they're right, in the little
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special rule that they wrote, they can do. but you would at least think they would have the decency to just tell us that you're going to have 15 minutes more. and i would say that you can go four hours, we can go five hours, we'll give you all you want, you can keep digging if you want, the deeper the hole you dig i think the more viewers will turn off because people just aren't buying the drug deal that you guys are trying to sell. i would add that since we are getting into prime time, these are two witnesses that were your witnesses, that you called in to depose. the -- we still ask for witnesses that you did not depose including the whistle-blower who you and others claim not to know, which we still need to get to the bottom of that because it is the most important material fact witness to how this whole mess began in the first place. secondly, we've asked for the
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dnc operatives that were working with ukrainians to dig up dirt for what you call or what the left calls conspiracy theories which they are right, they're conspiracy theories of dirt that they've dug up to spin their own conspiracy theories to attack the trump campaign and the 2016 election. so i have no more questions for these witnesses. i know our members do. mr. castor, you have a little bit of cleanup here. >> thank you, mr. nunes. i'll try to be quick and yield some time back so we don't have to use every last minute. ambassador volker, are you aware of a statement just last week from foreign minister pushtakyo who said, known told the ukrainians, certainly not him, that there was any linkage between the security assistance funds and investigations? >> i saw that statement, yes. >> and do you know the foreign minister? >> i do. >> and during times relevant, did you ever have any discussions with him about investigations and links to -- >> not about investigations with
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him. i believe i kept that discussion to being with mr. yermak and we did discuss with foreign minister pushtakia security assistance after it was raised on august 29th. i did discuss that with him. >> the primary person you worked with was mr. yermak? >> yes. >> and mr. yermak also had some meetings with ambassador sondland. did he ever -- did mr. yermak ever give you any feedback from his interactions with ambassador sondland? >> i can't say whether he did or didn't. we were in frequent contact and we were just talking about the issues as we went along. >> the episode at warsaw where apparently ambassador sondland pulled mr. yermak aside, did mr. yermak give you any feedback on that meeting? >> i did not get anything specific after that. this was around i believe september 1st or 2nd.
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and it was at that time that i had been i think texted by mr. yermak and was subsequently in touch with him and pushtakia where i told them both and the defense minister, told them all, don't worry, we know about this, we're trying to fix it. i think i left the conversation at that. >> and those are ukrainian officials, to the best of your knowledge, they trusted you? >> very much so. we had a very close relationship. >> so when you made statements like that to them, do you think they believed you? >> i think they believed me. i think they would also have other conversations and they would hear things from other people. but i also think that they knew i was sincere with them. >> and they also trusted ambassador taylor? >> yes. >> i would just like to demystify a little bit of the whole mayor giuliani role here. you met with him i believe one time? >> that's correct. >> and you had some -- you exchanged some text messages with him, correct? >> yes. between it was i guess it was the 10th of july and around the 13th of august.
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>> and during your deposition, we sort of did an accounting of your communications with mr. giuliani and it wasn't that -- there weren't that many. we sort of accounted for them all. and then ambassador sondland, when he came in, he didn't have -- you know, he didn't have any one-on-one meetings to mayor giuliani to your knowledge; is that correct? >> i don't believe he did but i don't know. >> i think in fact ambassador sondland testified that there were a couple of conference calls that, you know, he may have been on with you. >> that is true. >> okay. just getting back to the, umm, irregular channel that ambassador taylor coined in his deposition testimony, did you ever have an opportunity to sort of close the loop with him about any concerns whatsoever or was it all just these specific instances raised in the text?
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>> it's only those specific instances. >> do you think ambassador taylor in your communications with him believed that mr. giuliani was in far greater communication with yourself, secretary perry, and ambassador sondland? >> i don't know what he thought. >> okay. i think that's all i have, mr. nunes. >> i have nothing more. will the gentleman allow us to use our magic minutes to yield to one of our members who would like to go? >> the house rules don't permit that, mr. nunes. >> i yield back. >> we'll now go to five-minute member questions. i recognize myself for five minutes. ambassador volker, i want to ask you about something in your opening statement with respect to the july 10th meeting. you testified, i participated in the july 10 meeting between bolton and the ukrainian chairman of the security council. the meeting was essentially over when ambassador sondland made a
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generic comment about investigations. i think all of us thought it was inappropriate. the conversation did not continue and the meeting concluded. ambassador volker, we asked you about that meeting during your deposition. and you told us nothing about this. i believe we asked you about why the meeting came to an end and why you had earlier indicated i think to ambassador taylor that it did not go well. and your answer was that danliuk was in the weeds about national security policy. why didn't you tell us about this? >> because that's what i remembered from the meeting, what i provided in my october 3rd statement. as i said, i learned other things, including seeing the statements from alex vindman and from fiona hill, and that reminded me that yes, at the very end of that meeting, as it was recounted in colonel vindman's statement, i did remember that, yes, that's right, gordon did bring that up, and that was it.
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>> so at the time we deposed you, and i think we were there for six, seven, eight hours, and we were asking you specifically about what you knew about these investigations, you didn't remember that gordon sondland had brought this up in the july 10th meeting with ukrainians and ambassador bolton called an end to the meeting, ambassador bolton described that meeting as some drug deal that sondland and mulvaney cooked up, you had no recollection of that? >> right. so in terms of gordon bringing it up, no, i did not remember that at the time of my october 3rd testimony. i read the account by alex and that jogged my memory, i said yes, that's right, that did happen. i do not still to this point being an abrupt end to the meeting. the meeting was essentially over, and we got up, we went out to the little circle in front of the white house, we took a photograph. it did not strike me as abrupt. >> ambassador volker, you said in your written testimony today, i think all of us thought it was
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inappropriate. now, if as you say, ambassador sondland only mentioned investigations in the bolton meeting, and you don't recall hearing him be more specific although others have testified that he was in the ward room, why did you think it was inappropriate? >> yeah, i thought it was -- i'll put it this way, something of an eye roll moment, where you have a meeting, you're trying to advance the substance of the bilateral relationship. we have the head of the national security and defense council. it was a disappointing meeting because i don't think that the ukrainians got as much out of that in terms of their presentation as they could have. and then this comes up at the very end of the meeting, it's like, this is not what we should be talking about. >> you've said you think it was appropriate to ask the ukrainians to do investigations of 2016 and burisma as long as burisma didn't mean the bidens. >> right. >> something you have now i
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think understand you should have seen otherwise. but nonetheless, if it was appropriate, why are you saying today that all of us thought it was inappropriate? >> because it was not the place or the time to bring up that. this was a meeting between the national security adviser and the chairman of the national security and defense council, first high level meeting we're having between ukraine and the united states after president zelensky's election. >> is part of the reason it was inappropriate also that it was brought up in the context of trying to get the white house meeting? >> umm, possibly, although i don't recall that being -- i know this was, umm, the counsel's question, i don't remember the exact context of when that came up. i viewed the meeting as essentially having ended. >> i think you said in your updated testimony that you do think it's inappropriate and objectionable to seek to get a foreign government to investigate a political rival,
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am i right? >> to investigate the vice president of the united states or someone who is a u.s. official. i don't think we should be asking foreign governments to do that. i would also say that's true of a political rival. >> and you recognized when you got the call record, when you finally did see the call record, that's what took place in that call, correct? >> that's correct. >> mr. morrison, ambassador volker thinks it's inappropriate to ask a foreign head of state to investigate a u.s. person let alone a political rival. but you said you had no concern with that. do you think that's appropriate? >> as a hypothetical matter, i do not. >> well, i'm not talking about a hypothetical matter. read the transcript. in that transcript, does the president not ask zelensky to look into the bidens? >> mr. chairman, i can only tell you what i was thinking at the time. that is not what i understood the president to be doing. >> but nonetheless, this was the
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first and only time where you went from listening to a presidential call directly to the national security lawyer, is it not? >> yes, that's correct. >> and i think you've said that your concern was not that it was unlawful but that it might leak, is that right? >> that is correct. >> now, the problem with the leaking is that what would be leaking is a president asking a foreign head of state to investigate mr. biden, isn't that the problem? >> i -- i -- i believe i stated i had sort of three concerns about what the impact of the call leaking might be. >> if it was a perfect call, would you have had a concern of it leaking? >> no. well -- no, i would still have a concern about it leaking. >> okay. would you have thought it was appropriate if president trump had asked zelensky to investigate john kasich or to investigate nancy pelosi or to
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investigate ambassador volker? would that be appropriate? >> in those hypothetical cases, no, not appropriate. >> but you're not sure about joe biden? >> sir, again, i can only speak to what i understood at the time and why i acted the way i did at the time. >> finally, my colleagues asked about, well, doesn't aid get held up for all kinds of reasons. ambassador volker, have you ever seen military aid held up because the president wanted his rival investigated? >> no, i was not seen that. >> have you ever seen that, mr. williams? mr. morrison, i'm sorry. >> no, chairman. >> i yield to the ranking member. >> so you took two additional minutes. are you giving our side seven minutes? >> of course. >> i recognize mr. turner.
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>> thank you. ambassador volker, mr. morrison, good to see you again. i appreciate your service to your question and your service in government. our country is safer today because of the work of both of you men. i want you to know that during all the testimony that we've had, no one has ever alleged that either of you have done anything inappropriate or improper. and everybody has spoken of both of you as having a high level of professionalism and a high degree of ethical standards. ambassador volker, i appreciated in your opening statement your comments of your work to focus on russia as an invasion of ukraine and an occupation and your work on legal defensive arms. that would include the javelins, would it not, ambassador volker? >> yes, that's right. >> and that made a big difference to ukraine? >> a very big difference. >> tell us about your military service. >> mr. turner, i'm a u.s. naval reserve officer. i'm an intelligence officer. >> and where did you go to law
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school? >> george washington university. >> now, gentlemen, there's been a lot of talk about a lot of people, and we're going to have to pick up the pace here because these are like short periods of time that we have now for this portion of questions. a lot of people talking about their perceptions, their beliefs, their feelings, even, what they heard and their understandings and their thoughts. ambassador taylor, mr. kent, ambassador yovanovitch, lieutenant colonel vindman, all had conversations with each other and other people and all had a whole bunch of hearsay. but i can assure you this boils down to just one thing. this is an impeachment inquiry concerning the president of the united states. so the only thing that matters besides all these people talk to each other and all their feelings and thoughts and understandings, it really comes down to what did the president of the united states intend and what did he say and what did the ukrainians understand or hear. ambassador volker, you're one of the first people we've had in these open testimonies that's
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had conversations with both. so i get to ask you, you had a meeting with the president of the united states and you believe the policy issues he raised concerning ukraine were valid, correct? >> yes. >> did the president of the united states ever say to you that he was not going to allow aid to the united states to go to the ukraine unless there were investigations into burisma, the bidens, or the 2016 elections? >> no, he did not. >> did the ukrainians ever tell you that they understood they would not get a meeting with the president of the united states, phone call with the president of the united states, military aid or foreign aid from the united states unless they undertook investigations of burisma, the bidens, or the 2016 elections? >> no, they did not. >> pretty much, ambassador volker, you just took apart their entire case. i mean, if the president of the united states doesn't believe or intend it and the ukrainians don't understand it, you're the only one that stands in between them, the three amigo thing or
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whatever they're trying to disparage you with, you're not part of an irregular channel, right, ambassador volker, aren't you the official channel? >> that is correct. >> explain that, how you're the official channel. >> i was appointed by the secretary of state, secretary tillerson in july of 2017 to be the u.s. special representative for ukraine negotiations. that's a role that's different from assistant secretary of state or different from ambassador in ukraine. that role is particularly focused on the diplomatic activities surrounding the efforts to reverse russia's invasion and occupation of ukraine. it is minsk agreement implementation, the normandy process with france and germany, support for nato, support for the european union, it's the efforts of individual allies like poland, like the uk, like canada, that are supporting ukraine. it is work at a senior level in the interagency with -- >> excellent. i'm going to cut you off there.
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ambassador volker, you are one of the few people who has actually spoken to giuliani, the so-called irregular channel, again, all these people had feelings and understanding about what giuliani was doing. did giuliani ever tell you that united states aid or a meeting with the president of the united states would not occur for the ukrainians until they agreed to an investigation of burisma, the bidens, or the 2016 election? >> everything i heard from giuliani i took to be his opinion. >> excellent. so i would assume that the ukrainians never told you that giuliani had told them that in order to get a meeting with the president, a phone call with the president, military aid, or foreign aid from the united states, that they would have to do these investigations? >> no. >> great. okay. mr. morrison, you testified that you spoke to, umm, ambassador sondland and he told you about a conversation he had with the president of the united states. on page 128 of his testimony he
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relates the content of a conversation that he had with the president. and he was asked about it. it's the only one he relates. and he said -- and he said, umm, he was asked whether or not there was a quid pro quo. he said, i didn't frame the question basically to the president that way as a link. i did not frame the question that way. i asked the open-ended question what dew poio you want, this is sondland in his testimony. this is what he reports to the president of the united states. he said, i want nothing. i don't want to give them anything. i don't want anything from them. i want zelensky to do the right thing. that's what he, and he kept repeating, no quid pro quo, over and over again. mr. morrison, do you have any reason to believe that mr. sondland is not telling the truth as to the content of his conversation with the president of the united states? >> no, congressman. >> do either of you have any information or evidence that anyone who has testified before the committee either in the secret dungeon testimonies that
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have been released or if these open testimonies has perjured themselves or lied to this committee? >> no, sir. >> lieutenant colonel vindman reported to you; is that correct? >> he did, sir. >> now, you have a legal background. he said that he listened to the phone call, a phone call when you said you saw nothing that had occurred illegally, and he said he believed the president of the united states demanded to president zelensky that these investigations move forward. do you believe, because he only was telling us his opinion, do you believe in your opinion that the president of the united states demanded that president zelensky undertake these investigations? >> no, sir. >> to both of you, the ukraine is an aspireant to the eu. ambassador sondland is the ambassador to the eu. is yukraine in the ambassador's
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portfolio? >> yes, because the eu sanctions on ukraine are incredibly important. >> mr. morrison? >> i agree, sir. >> i yield back. >> mr. himes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you, gentlemen, for you testimony today. president trump has described his july 25th phone call with president zelensky as, quote, perfect. and i think he's done that on twitter not once, not twice, but by my count, 11 times. it feels to me like this characterization of "perfect" is of a piece that we hear in president trump's defense of his actions with the ukrainians, normal course of business of pursuing corruption. i've been concerned from the start that it's in fact about aiming corruption at the vice president. mr. morrison, you listened in on the call in the white house situation room. did you hear the president mention the company crowdstrike
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and the server? >> i believe so, yes, sir. >> did you hear president trump mention the bidens? >> yes, sir. >> did you hear president trump in the length of that phone call use the word "corruption"? >> no, sir. uh -- sir, i don't believe he did. >> was the request that ukraine investigate crowdstrike and the bidens consistent with what you understood to be official u.s. policy towards combatting corruption in ukraine? >> it's the first i heard of much of this. >> in fact in your deposition, you testified that you wanted to stay away from what you described as this, quote, bucket of investigations. why did you want to stay away from those issues? >> that was what i was advised by dr. hill. >> you also testified that the president's call was not, and i'm quoting you here, the first
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throated endorsement of the ukraine reform agenda that i was hoping to hear. what did you mean by that? >> sir, what we, myself, colonel vindman, others, what we prepared in the package we provided the president was background on president zelensky, background on his positions about reforming ukraine, reforming its institutions, rooting out corruption. we were hoping, we recommended the president very clearly support what president zelensky had run on in his own election and what his servant of the people party had run on in its election where it received a majority mandate. >> but that didn't come up in the call, did it? >> no, sir. >> are you aware of any other discussion in which the president actually raised those things with the new ukrainian president? >> corruption reform? >> yes. >> sir, it's been some time since i refreshed myself on the discussion that took place at the u.n. general assembly, so i
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hesitate to say did he ever raise it. but he did not raise it at the time of the 25 july phone call. >> okay. switching gears a little bit, you strike me as a process guy. and it's nagging at me because you characterized the ambassador sondland's linking, in whatever way it happened, of aid to an investigation as the gordon problem, you said it caused you to roll your eyes. ambassador volker said everybody in the july 10th meeting thought it was inappropriate. john bolton characterizes this as the drug deal. it seems like everybody in the room understands there's a huge problem here. my understanding is it would be normal course of business, when you have an ambassador out there going rogue as apparently there was consensus ambassador sondland was doing, that either the national security adviser john bolton or the secretary of
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state might rein them in. why didn't that happen? >> sir, i can't speak to that. but i would generally agree that ambassadors work for the secretary of state and the president. >> do you have -- you don't have any idea -- you worked for him. you don't have any idea why john bolton would characterize what the ambassador was doing as a drug deal but not rein him in? >> ambassadors don't work for the national security adviser. >> no, but john bolton presumably spends time with the secretary of state. i'm puzzled, everybody in the room is characterizing this as the gordon problem, a drug deal, and the secretary of state does nothing? >> sir, i'm sorry, was there a question? >> you don't have any insight into that? >> no, sir. >> ambassador volker, you testified that you were troubled once you read the record of the president's july 25th call. you testified, quote, that asking the president of ukraine to work together with the attorney general to look into this, you can see this becomes
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explosive in our domestic politics. and in your new testimony, you call this unacceptable. what specifically in that call to the ukraine president do you find unacceptable or troubling? >> it is the reference to vice president biden. >> thank you. i yield back the balance of my time. >> mr. conaway. >> thank you, mr. chairman. this morning we heard much about july 25th call in which the president asked for a favor. at least in lieutenant colonel vindman's mind that was equivalent to a demand, an order, a requirement. and yet in the last part of the conversation between the two heads of state, president trump talks about a prosecutor he is particularly in favor of and he would like to see stay there. zelensky says, mr. president, no, we won the absolute majority in the parliament, the next prosecutor general will be absolutely in my cabinet. does that sound like a head of state that's been cowed or
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bullied or under the thumb of the president of the united states? >> not at all, no, sir. >> the impact on the pause that occurred, the 55-day pause in lethal assistance or security assistance, none of us have really understood exactly what happened during that time frame. no one knew about it other than internal u.s. folks until late august. so the russians would not necessarily have known about it. the potential impact i agree with russia's interpretation for our support of ukraine wasn't known until those last 14 days. but the impact on the lethal aid that they already had, should russia had tried to move the line of contact further west with their tanks, would the lethal assistance we had already given them be available to them to push back on it? >> yes, it would. >> mr. morrison, comments? >> i would agree with that but i would also add the hold, as i understood it, also applied to security assistance, uasi, fms. it did not apply to fms and the
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javelins were provided under fms. >> so the most lethal weapon that president trump provided to the ukrainians that president obama and his national policy which he set was available to them should the russians have pushed their tanks west? the javelins. >> yes, sir. >> throughout that process? >> even with the pause, even with all the stuff that is going on? >> yes, sir. >> okay. associated press is reporting that -- and ambassador volker, you mention it can earlier, the russians in an act of war took two gun ships and a tug and 24 sailors last november and yet the russians have now given the 24 sailors back in september and associated press is reporting today that they've given the gun boats and the tug back. does that sound like ukraine is inept at being able to negotiate with the russians because of they're wounded in some way by our actions? >> no, i would not say that the ukrainians are inept. >> thank you, sir. mr. chairman, i would like, as a
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personal request, i request that you and/or one of your lawyer members on the committee, the lawyers, to put into the record the federal statute that provides for the absolute immunity or right to immunity that you've, uh, exerted over and over and over. i don't think it's there. but if it is in fact federal statute and/or a brief that you can cite, put that in the record so we'll know that. and before you get mad and accuse me of wanting to out the whistle-blower, you get upset every time somebody accuses you of personally knowing who the whistle-blower is. i get upset -- anonymity, excuse me -- every time you accuse me, that we want to out that whistle-blower. that's unfair for you to make that accusation and i get just as mad. this is about leveling the playing field between our two teams. your team knows the whistle-blow whistle-blower, they have intimate knowledge of who he or she is.
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your team fully understands that. our team should fully understand that. it's simply leveling the playing field. i know that you've overrun my request for a closed door subpoena. i understand that. i do think that it is important that you put in the record the basis on which you continue to assert this absolute, umm, right to anonymity, excuse me, i misspoke earlier, anonymity of the whistle-blower. and a dear colleague, that's a document we all use to talk to each other. it's with the 434 other members of the congress. it was intended to be the truth. it was intended to be straightforward. she says in that dear colleague that the whistle-blower has by law -- is required to testify to the house and the senate intelligence committees. now, you're defying the speaker in this regard, i understand that's between you and her. but if she's correct then you're
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defying the law. if on the other hand she misled us into thinking something that was not true, then i think you need to tell the speaker she needs to retract that dear colleague letter, at least set the record straight as the whistle-blower required by law as the speaker said to testify to us or not, and, uh, what is the absolute right to anonymity right that you question? >> the time of the gentleman has expired. i would be happy to enter into the record the whistle-blower statute that allows the whistle-blower to remain anonymous. with that i recognize ms. sewell. >> thank you, mr. chairman. ambassador volker, it seems by early july it's become pretty clear that mr. giuliani has become a major problem for the u.s./ukraine relations. you previously testified that on july 2nd, you met with the ukrainian president and his aide in toronto, is that right? >> i had a bilateral meeting
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between the u.s. and ukraine delegations and then a pull-aside meeting with the president and his chief of staff. >> there you discuss mr. giuliani's, quote, negative view, quote, of ukraine based on a conspiracy theory about the 2016 election, right? >> i conveyed that he was repeating a negative narrative about ukraine based on accusations of the then-prosecutor general lutsenko. >> are you saying that you didn't think that they were negative views? >> no, no, that they were negative views. >> okay. but that wasn't your description? >> i'm sorry. i've lost the question. >> i was trying to get at who said the negative views, that you discussed negative views. >> the prosecutor general of ukraine was putting out this series of conspiracy theories that i believe were
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