tv Andrea Mitchell Reports MSNBC November 20, 2019 9:00am-10:00am PST
phoebe with ambassador taylor, was he assesssatisfied that thie was now behindti him? >> i don't really know, because when i responded, get ahold of the secretary, and he said i agree. i never knew i whether he reach out to the secretaryhe or not. that was sort of the end -- >> at one point in the text you said let's get on the phone, you said you're an individual that doesn't like to walk through these issues on texts when you can talk about it on the 1 telephone, correct? >> i say that to everybody when something becomes more substantive than a few lines of text, i say, let's talk. >> did you say that to ambassador taylor? >> i don't recall. i don't recall whether we spoke after that or whether he called the secretary. basically, mr. castor, wanted to get the notion across that i've gone as far as i can go with this, you need to -- you're the ambassador, you need to pick up the ball and run with it at this point. >> okay. just getting back to the irregular channel, did anyone else express any concerns to you about this so-called irregular
channel? >> i'm not sure how someone could characterize something as an irregular channel when you're talking to the president of the united states, the secretary of state, the national security adviser, the chief of staff of the white house, the secretary of energy. i don't know how that's irregular, if a bunch of folks that are not in that channel are aggrieved for some reason for not being included, i don't know how they can consider us to be the irregular channel and they to be the regular channel when it's the leadership that makes the decisions. >> and so the concerns, you know, raised were never brought to -- were never brought to a head? >> well, they were never raised. >> okay. >> they were never raised. no one said, back off of ukraine, this is dangerous, you're doing something that's untoward, we have concerns, there was a bad phone call on
july 25th, there's talk about a drug cocktail or something. no one ever said that to me by phone, by text, by email. i don't remember anybody sounding any alarm bell because of course had someone mentioned it, i would have sat up and taken notice. everyone's hair was on fire but no one decided to talk to us. >> when you talk in your statement about in the absence of any credible explanation for the suspension of aid, i later came to believe, it was your speculation, it was your guess, that the resumption of security aid wouldn'tur occur until ther was a public statement from ukraine committing to investigations of 2016. i believe you said at this point you believed everyone, everyone knew this; is that correct? >> i think once that politico article broke, it started making
the rounds, that, you know, if you can't get a white house meeting without the statement, what makes you think you're going to get t a $400 million check? again, that was my presumption. >> but you had no evidence to prove that, correct? >> that's correct. >> you stated that you haven't been able to access your records; is that correct? >> not all of them, and there are lots of notes, records, readouts of calls, can't get to 'em. >> but you've also stated that you don't take notes, right? >> i don't take notes, but there are a lot of others out there. >> and you freely admit that -- you know, when asked in your deposition, we a put together a list of all the times you said you don't like, it's like two pages long. >> is that all?
>> so, you know, on a lot of these questions, there's ambiguities, there's nuance, and we don't have notes, correct? >> right. it's situational things that sort of trigger memory, especially when i'm dealing with the european union, i'm dealing with the 28-member countries, i'm dealing with other countries that are not in the european union that are part of my mandate, i'm dealing with the white house leadership. there's a lot of stuff to juggle. and as i said in my opening statement, a phone call from me with the president of the united states or the president of fill in the blank country, while people who get a call like that maybe once in ale lifetime, a cl like that might be very memorable, they might remember every single thing about it. i'm doing that all day long. anddo i'm not saying it in way being braggadocio or anything like that, but it's part of my routine day. so all of these calls, these
meetings with very important peopleca tend to sort of blend together until i have someone that can show me what we discussed, what the subjectw w, then all of a suddenwa it comes back. >> we're trying to get to the facts here, we're trying to find out what actually happened, what's the reliable. george kent wrote imnumerable memos to the file. katherine croft testified she didn't believe george kent's notesersh would be accurate. and so, you know, we have all this, you know, back and forth, but, you know, as we get to the end here, you don't have records. you don't have notes because you didn't take notes. you don't have a lot of recollections. this is like the trifecta of unreliability, isn't that true? >> well, what i'm trying to do today is to use the limited
information i have to be as forthcoming as possible with you and the rest of the committee. and as these recollections have been refreshed by subsequent testimony, by some texts and emails that i've now had access to, i think i've filled in a lot of blanks. >> but a lot of it is speculation, a lot of it is your guess. and we're talking about impeachment of the president of the united states.pe so the evidencee here ought toe pretty darnht good. >> i've been very clear as to when i wasy presuming. i was presuming on the aid. on the other prthings, mr. cast, i did have some texts that i read from. so when it comes to those, i'll rely on those texts because i don't have any reason to believe that those texts were, you know, falsely sent or that there's some subterfuge there. they are what they are, they say what they say. >> thank you, sir. >> thank you. >> the time of the gentleman has expired. we'll now move to a second staff-led round of 30 minutes.
mr. volker, i just have a few questions before i turn it back to mr. goldman. you testified in response to my colleagues on the minority something along the lines of, a lot of people did not make the connection between burisma and biden. i think a lot of people have real difficulty understanding that. tim morrison testified that i think it took him all of doing a google search to find out, oh, this is the significance of burisma, it involves the bidens. are you saying during all this time up until the call, you never made the connection between burisma and the bidens, you just thought that the president and rudy giuliani were interested in this one particular ukrainian company? >> again, my role, mr. chairman, was just to get the meeting. >> i understand that. but my question is, are you saying for months and months, notwithstanding everything rudy giuliani was saying on tvnt and
all the discussions with rudy giuliani, that you never put burisma together with the bidens? >> i didn't. and i wasn't paying attention to what mr. giuliani was saying on tv. we were talking to him directly. >> let me ask you this. ambassador volker testified yesterday to a similar epiphany, for lack of a better word. this is what he said. in hindsight, i now understand that others saw the idea of investigating possible corruption with the ukrainian company burisma as equivalent to investigating former president biden. i saw them as being different, the former being unremarkable, the latter being unacceptable. i should have seen it differently and had i done so, i would have raised my own objections. does that sumse up your views a well? >> it does.t
>> now, i think you were asked the question with a bit of an correcting premise by my colleagues in the minority about fiona hill, referring to a drug deal between you and mr. mulvaney. it was ambassador bolton who made the comment that he didn't want to be part of any drug deal that ambassador sondland and mulvaney were cooking up. no one thinks they're talking about a literal drug deal here or a drug cocktail. the import of the ambassador's comments is quite clear, he believed this quid pro quo, as you described it, of investigations to get the not something he wantedme to be a part of. what i wanted to ask you about is, he makes reference in that drug dealef to a drug deal cook up by you and mulvaney.
it's the reference to mulvaney that i want to ask you about.'s you've testified that mulvaney was aware of this quid pro quo, of this condition that thes ukrainiansit had to meet, that , announcing these public investigations to get the white house meeting, is that right? >> yeah, a lot of people were aware of eait. >> including mr. mulvaney? >> correct. i >> and including the secretary of state? >> correct. >> now, have you seen the acting chief of staff's press conference in which he acknowledged that the military aid was withheld in part because of a desire to get that 2016 investigation you've talked about? >> i don't think i saw it live. i saw it later, yeah. >> so you saw him acknowledge publicly what you have confirmed too, that mr. mulvaney understood that two plus two equals usfour, is that right?
>> i well, again, i didn't know that the aid was conclusively tied. was presuming. to say yes condition c it was or no tenanit wasn't. >> and he said yes, it was. >> he said yes, it was. >> mr. goldman. >> thank you, mr. chairman, and thank you again, mr. sondland. we do appreciate your efforts to refresh your recollection from the documents. we share your frustration in not having the documents to help guide this investigation.ou so we do appreciate those efforts. one of the documents that you provided to us goes back to the conversation you and the chairman were having about mr. mulvaney. and you had been trying for some time before the july 25th call to set up that call, is that right? >> to set up the call between president trump and president be zelensky, yes. >> correct, yes. >> yes. c >> and i want to show you an
email that you reference in your opening statement that is a july 19th email. and who is this from? >> it looks like -- is it from me? i don't know. >> it's from fryou, i believe. >> that's from me to the group. >> now, who is the group? >> uh, people mentioned on the email. blair, kennen, mccormack, pompeo, mulvaney. >> who is robert blair? >> i believe he's a deputy chief of staff or an adviser to the chief of staff. >> and you've already told us that lisa kena is the executive secretary for secretary pompeo. and who is mccormick? >> chief of staff to secretary
perry. >> and we see secretary perry and secretary pompeo. can you read what you wrote on july 19th to this group, please? >> uh, he is prepared to receive potus call. will assure him he intends to rune a fully transparent investigation, will turn over everyn, stone. he would greatly appreciate a callre prior to sunday so he ca put out some media about a friendly and productive call, no details, prior to ukraine election on tasunday. >> so sunday was the 21st which was the date of the parliamentary elections in ukraine,el is that right? >> that's correct. >> when you say "will assure him that he intends to run a fully transparent investigation and will, quote, turn over every stone, unquote," what do you mean there? >> i'm referring to the y buris and the 2016 slash dnc server investigations. >> later that evening, secretary
perry responds just to you and brian mccormick saying, mick just confirmed the call being set up tomorrow by nsc rp. and then a little later, mr. mulvaney replies to all, saying, i asked nsc to set it up for tomorrow. were these the only responses that you received to this email? >> i don't know. if i had them, i would show them. i don't know.ho >> no oneth wrote back to you a said,an what are you talking abt in terms of these investigations and turning over every stone? >> no. there was a chain, and i don't know if it's part of this email or a subsequent email, where i believe ambassador bolton pushed back and said he did not want a call to president zelensky made by president trump until after the parliamentary elections. >> so that would explain why it was moved from the nexto day, july 20d th, to the 25th, is th right? >>ha that's right.
>> but ambassador bolton is not on this email, is he? >> i don't think he is, no. >> you were asked by mr. castor if there were any other key witnesses who might be able to help with our investigation. and you mentioned brian mccormick, right, the chief of staff for secretary perry? >> i did. >> you are aware that the committee subpoenaed him, are you e not? >> i wasn't aware of that. >> and that he refused to come testify? are you also aware that mr. mulvaney was subpoenaed by the committee and refused to come testify? >> i did read that in the newspaper, yes. >> are you also aware that robert blair was subpoenaed and refused to come testify? >> i think i'm aware of that. >> and that secretary perry was asked to testify and refused? >> i am aware of that as well. >> would you include them as well as secretary pompeo as key witnesses that would be able to providey some additional information on this inquiry? >> i think they would. >> now, this was not the first time, as you indicated, that mr.
mulvaney heard about these investigations into burisma and the 2016 election, is that right? >> i don't know what mr. mulvaney heard or didn't hear. i think there's been a huge amount of exaggeration over my contact with mr. mulvaney. it was actually quiteul limited. >> well, he certainly didn't indicate -- he certainly indicated a familiarity with what you were talking about in this july 19th email, is that right? >> right, because i think mr. mulvaney was in the may 23rd briefingrd with president trump. i don't remember, because there were people sitting behind us when we were sitting in front of president trump's wdesk. >> you've said you don't have a recollection of saying -- referencing mulvaney in the july 10th meeting in ambassador bolton's office, is that right? >> i don't recall. >> so when both fiona hill and
colonel vindman testified that in response to a question from ukrainian officials at that july 10 tth meeting about scheduling white house visit, that you said, well, i spoke with mr. mulvaney and it will be scheduled after they announce these investigations, do you have any reasonio to dispute th characterization? >> i don't have any reason to agree i or dispute. i just don't remember. >> so if they both remembered and both went to speak to the nsc legal adviser about it, you would trust that whatever they related to the nsc legal adviser -- >> i would trust what they related to the nsc legal adviser. again, i've had very, very limited conversations with mr. mulvaney. >> this email indicates that you spoke to president zelensky and werean relaying what he said to
very senior officials, is that right? >> which i email again? >> sorry, the july 19th email, where you say, the subject is, i talked to zelensky just now. >>ed yes, i got it. >> was there some sort of assurance that president zelensky needed to provide about what he would say to president trump in order just to getsa th phone call? >> i think that part was verbal. and then there were a lot of communicationser going around bk and forth with the ukrainians. and that's when someone, and i don't remember who, came up with the ideame of a draft statement sodr there would be no misunderstanding about what in fact the ukrainians would say and would be willing to say that we could rely on and negotiate something on a piece of paper. >> so just to place you in time,
we're going to get to that draft statement which was in august. this is july 19th, before the july 25th call. do you remember whether there was abe need from any of the whe house officials or other national security officials for president zelensky to provide some assurance of what he would say to president trump before a phone call, not the meeting, but a phone call was scheduled? >> there was initially apparently a condition. butnt that condition was obviouy dropped, because the phone call took place and there was no such statement made.as the phone call took place, as you said, on the 25th of july. >>of when you say there was no such statement that took place, what do you mean? >> the ukrainians never made their public statement prior to the phone callta on the 25th ju. >> but i'm not talking about a public statement. i'm asking whether president zelensky needed to relay to you
or the other american officials that he would assure president trump that he would do these investigations in a phone call. >> in my email, i obviously had just spoken with him, he -- "he" being zelensky, and he said he was prepared to receive the call, he would make those assurances to president trump on that call, and then presumably that would then lead to the white house meeting. >> t and you had been discussin this phone call for several weeks now, is that right? >> yes, i think with volker, with perry, with guiliani through volker and perry. >> and then right after you sent this email assuring the others that he will discuss the investigations and will turn over every stone, the burisma and 2016 election investigations, mr. mulvaney
responded that he asked to set up the call for the next day, is that right? >> that's what it says. >> now, let's go to that press statement that you were discussing in august. and you testified, i believe, that you understood that b rudy giuliani was representing the president's interests with regard to ukraine, is that right? >> that's what we all understood. >> and "we all," who do you mean, "we all"? >> secretary perry, ambassador volker, myself. >> in august, you and ambassador volkeram were coordinating with andriy yermak, the zelensky aide, but a press statement. and i want to pull up some of the text exchanges that you were referring to,ng which as you acknowledge, helps you ruefresh your recollection, is that right? >> taylor --
>> perhaps he was on these text messages, he does not remember that. let's go to the first one on august 9th. there's an exchange between ambassador volker and you where you are discussingu setting up- we'll try to bring it up in a second, but i'll summarize it for i you, you're discussing setting up a white house meeting -- here it is -- and you say, morrison ready to get dates as soon as g yermak confirms. ambassador volker says, excellent, howr did you sway h? you dsaid, not sure i did, i think potus really wants the deliverable. what did you mean there? >> the commitment to do the investigations. >> andth how did you know that e president wanted the deliverable? >> i don't recall. i may have had a conversation with him or i may have heard it from someone else. but i don't recall. again, without all these records. s e
>> going to the next exhibit, exhibit 10, where -- or august 10th, rather. this is between you and andriy yermak. what did you say, initially, in this i exchange? >> hello, good -- oh, no, that's yermak. how was your conversation. >> and mr. yermak responds, hello, dsgood, my proposal, we receive date and then we make general statement with discussed things. once we have a date, we'll call for a press briefinge' announci upcoming visit a and outlining vision for theit reboot of u.s./ukraine relationship including among other things burisma andgs election meddling and investigations. and you respond, got it. that was your understanding of what this statement had to say to satisfy mr. giuliani, is that right? >> iuyes. >> and then ultimately satisfy the potus deliverable? >> yes. >> now, the next day you write
an email to ulrich brechbuhl and lisa kenna. are you able to see that on your -- >> yeah, i can see it on the screen. >> okay. what is the subject of the email? >> ukraine. >> and can you read what you wrote there? >> mike, and i'm referring to secretary pompeo, kurt and i negotiated a statement from zelensky to be delivered for our review in a day or two. the contents will hopefully make the boss happy enough to authorize an invitation. zelensky plans to have a big presser on the openness subject including specifics next week. >> and in your opening statement you said that the specifics -- what did the specifics represent? >> the 2016 and the burisma. >> and when you say "the boss," who do you mean by that? >> president trump. >> and the invitation is what?
>> to the white house meeting. >> and lisa kenna responds, gord gordon, i'll pass to s. and s is secretary pompeo? >> correct. >> thank you, lisa. now, two days later, you have a text exchange with ambassador volker again. and this is at the end of it. but the earlier text which we don't have here, you may recall, includes the press statement, the revised press statement that includes burisma and the 2016 election. do you recall that? >> yes, if i could see it, that would be helpful. but yes. >> so, but you ultimately remembered that after your conversation with mr. giuliani, you did pass. along a statemen to the ukrainians that included burisma and the 2016 election, is that right? >> i think there were statements being passed back and forth between volker, the ukrainians,
and others to try and negotiate acceptable language. >> and ultimately the statement was not issued, was it? >> correct. >> and the white house meeting did not>> -- >> still hasn't occurred. >> still hasn't occurred. but you certainly understood at that time, did you not, that it was the president's direction and instruction that a white house meeting with president zelensky would not occur until president zelensky announced publicly the investigations that the president wanted, is that right? >> that's correct. >> and you now know the investigations the president wanted was an investigation into the bidens w and an investigati intond the 2016 election? >> i know that now, yes. >> i'm going to move ahead to august 22nd. and you wrote an email to secretary pompeo, directly to secretary pompeo, cc'ing lisa
kenna, with the subject of "zelensky." c could you please read what you wrote to secretary pompeo. >> mike, should we block time in warsaw for a short pull-aside for potus to meet zelensky. i would ask zelensky to look him in the eye and tell him that once ukraine's new justice folks are's in place, mid-september, zelensky should be able to move forward publicly and with confidence on those issuesly of importance tonf potus and to th u.s. that will break the logj logjam. >> and secretary pompeo responds to you three minutes later, "yes." now, i want to unpack this a little bit. you said that in the middle, once ukraine's new justice folks are in place. what did you mean by that? >> the new prosecutor that was going to be working for president zelensky. the old prosecutor, i believe
his term was up or he was being let go. he was the petitionoroshenko prosecutor. he wanted to wait until his person was in place. >> so once that new prosecutor was in place, z, president zelensky, should be able to move forward publicly and with confidence on those issues of importance to potus. what did you mean by "those issues of importance to potus"? >> again, the 2016 election and burisma investigation. >> were you aware that secretary pompeo had listened in to the july 25neth phone call? >> i was not. >> if he had, do you believe he would fully understand what the issues of importance related to ukraine would be? >> i can't characterize his state of mind. he listened in on the phone call and concluded what he concluded. >> but now that you've read the phone call, it's quite clear what the issues of importance to potus are? >> yes.
>> biden investigation and burisma/2016 election investigation, is that right? >> yes. >> youn, say, hopefully that wi break the logjam. at this point you knew that the security assistance had been on hold for five weeks, is that right? >> i became aware on the 18th of july.>> >> and you understood there was a lot of activity within the state department and elsewhere to try to get that hold lifted, is that right? >> that's right. >> just about everybody in the interagency, meeting the national security apparatus, wanted to lift the hold and wanted the aid to go to ukraine? >> correct. >> so what did you mean here when you said, logjam? >>ja well, as i said to chairma schiff, i meant inclusively anything that was holding up the meeting and the ukraine/u.s. relationship. >> and what was holding that up? >> at that point it was the
statements aboutnt burisma and e 2016 election. >> but what was being held up? >> the aid was being held up, obviously. >> four days later you said in your opening statement that you sentur rudy giuliani's contact information to john bolton, is that right? >> i did. >> did you know why he asked for that? >> no idea. >> did you know that he was going to ukraine the next day? >> i knew he was about to go to ukraine. i didn't know exactly when his tripdi was. but i thought it was kind ofip odd w request given that the whe house can pretty much getgi anyone's phoneuc number they wa. >> now, in this email to secretary pompeo you reference a tripet to warsaw. ultimately the vice president went on that trip? >> that's correct. >> and that was the conversation that you talked about, or you testified earlier to, where you said that we really need to get these investigations from ukraine in order toro release t aid in the pre-meeting? >> that's right. >> and vice president pence just
nodded? >> he heard what i said. >> and didn't respond in any way?re >>wa i don't recall any substantive response. >> but you never specifically referenced the bidens or burisma in that meeting, did you? >> i don't remember ever mentioning the bidens. i may have mentioned burisma. >> and that meeting was with a group, you werein not alone wit vice president pence? >> that's right. >> and you know that at that bilateral meeting with president zelensky, i believein you testified earlier that vice president pence did not mention these investigations at all, right? >> i don't recall him mentioning the investigations. >> so your testimony is just simply in a pre-meeting with a group of americans before the bilateral meeting, you referenced the fact that ukraine needed to do these investigations in order to lift the aid?
>> i think i referenced -- i didn't say ukraine had to do the investigations. i think i said we heard from mr. giuliani that that was the case. >> so that helped inform your presumption, correct? >> correct. >> so that wasn't really a presumption, you heard it from mr. giuliani. >> not about the aid. i heard about the burisma 2016. >> and as we discussed, two plus two equals four, the aid was there as well? >> that was the problem, mr. goldman. no one told me directly that the aid was tied to anything. i was presuming it was. >> right. well, i want to go ahead to -- i want to go back on september 1st. i'm going to jump actually ahead to september 7th, okay, when we discussed those text messages where you said there were multiple convos with president zelensky with potus. do you recall that? >> do you have the email by any
chance? >> we could try to pull it up in a second. but you don't remember, i showed it to you this morning. >> yeah, go ahead with your question. >> and you confirmed that that likely meant, as you said it did, that you spoke with president trump, is that right? >> again, if my email said i spoke with president trump, presumably i did. >> you are relying pretty heavily in your testimony on the texts and emails you were able to review, is that right? >> that's right. >> so certainly if someone else had contemporaneous texts, emails, notes, you would presume what they were saying was accurate; is that correct? >> if they had texts or emails, i would. notes, i don't know. some people's notes are great, some people's aren't. i don't know. >> but certainly it would be a helpful refresher to anyone's memory? >> including my own. >> now, you had a conversation on september 7th, according to both ambassador taylor and tim morrison, with tim morrison, where you told mr. morrison that
president trump told you that he was not asking for a quid pro quo but that he did insist that president zelensky go to a microphone and say that he is opening investigations of biden and 2016 election interference and that president zelensky should want to do this himself. you don't have any reason to dispute both ambassador taylor's and mr. morrison's testimony about that conversation, do you? >> no. >> on september 8th, you then had a conversation directly with ambassador taylor about this same phone call where ambassador taylor said that you confirmed that you spoke to president trump as he had suggested earlier to you, and that president trump was adamant that president zelensky himself, meaning not the prosecutor general, had to, quote, clear things up and do it in public, unquote.
you don't have any reason to think that ambassador taylor's testimony based on his contemporaneous notes was correct? >> i don't know if i got that from president trump or i got it from giuliani. that's the part i'm not clear on. >> ambassador taylor is quite clear that you said president trump. mr. morrison is also quite clear that you said president trump. you don't have any reason to dispute their very specific recollections, do you? >> no. if they have notes and they recall that, oi don't have any reason to dispute it. i just don't have notes to tell me where i got that from. >> you also said in that same conversation that if president zelensky -- that, rather, you told president zelensky and andriy yermak that although this was not a quid pro quo, as the president had very clearly told you, it was, however, required for president zelensky to enclosuclear things up in public or there would be a stalemate.
you don't have any reason to dispute ambassador taylor's recollection of that conversation you had with president zelensky, do you? >> no. >> and that you understood the stalemate referenced the aid; is that correct? >> at that point, yes. >> ambassador taylor also described a comment that you made where you were trying to explain what president trump's view of this was. and you said that president trump is a businessman, when a businessman is about to sign a check to someone who owes him something, the businessman asks the person to pay up before signing the check. do you recall saying that to ambassador taylor? >> i don't recall it specifically, but i may have. >> and ambassador volker also said that you did. >> okay. >> so just to summarize here, by the end of the first week of september, before the aid had been released, you had expressed twice to the ukrainians that you understood that the investigations needed to be
publicly announced on cnn in order for the aid to be released, do you recall that? >> i didn't say that they had to be announced on cnn. the ukrainians said to me or to ambassador volker or both of us that they had planned to do an interview anyway on cnn and they would use that occasion to mention these items. >> and that even though at some point you had calculated two plus two equalled four and you believed the aid was conditioned on the investigations, that you had a phone call with president trump, that you relayed to both tim morrison and ambassador taylor, whose accounts of that conversation you do not dispute, where president trump confirmed that president zelensky needed to publicly announce the investigations or otherwise, the obvious implication of the stalemate would be that the aid would not be released. is that correct? >> again, the implication. i did not hear directly from
president trump that the aid would be held up until the statement was made. i did not hear those words. >> you agree with whatever mr. morrison and ambassador taylor testified to about the conversation you had with president trump, is that right? >> remind me again. i don't want to misspeak. >> you just said you have no reason to dispute their accounts based on their details notes. >> were they saying that i told them that president trump said that the aid would not be released until the statements were made? because i said repeatedly i don't recall president trump ever saying that to me. >> okay. >> i think what they said, if i could finish this line of questioning, was that president trump was adamant that president zelensky himself had to clear things up, quote, clear things up and do it in public, unquote. so what they related was that although president trump claimed to you there was no quid pro quo, he also made it clear to you in that call that president
zelensky had to, quote, clear things up and do it in public. you don't have a recent to dispute -- >> i don't have any reason to dispute the clear things up and do it in public. what i'm trying to be very clear about was, president trump never told me directly that the aid was tied to that statement. >> but in that same conversation you had with him about the aid, about the quid pro quo, he told you that president zelensky had to, quote, clear things up and do it in public, correct? >> i did not have a conversation with him about the aid. i had a conversation with him as referenced in my text about quid pro quo. >> well, the quid pro quo you were discussing was over the aid, correct? >> no. president trump, when i asked him the open-ended question, as i testified previously, what do you want from ukraine, his answer was, i want nothing, i want no quid pro quo, tell zelensky to do the right thing. that's all i got from president trump. >> did you also get from president trump, as reflected by ambassador taylor, that he said
he was adamant that president zelensky had to, quote, clear things up and do it in public? >> that part i can agree to, yes. >> time is now with the minority for 20 minutes -- i'm sorry, 33 minutes. >> 33 minutes. thank you, mr. chairman. ambassador, you've been in business for a long time. >> i have. >> so if you want to get to the bottom of something, somebody that's running a department or one of your buildings or something, who do you go to? >> the boss. >> the manager of whatever company, right? >> correct. >> so if you want to get to the bottom of foreign aid, probably go to the people that are in charge of foreign aid here in this town, wouldn't you? because you're not in charge of foreign aid. >> i'm not in charge of foreign aid. >> and you've had to testify that you've prepared foreign aid was this or that, and you're
guessing that this was tied to foreign aid, but there are people in this town who are in charge of the foreign aid. and in fact, i don't think it's very fair to you at all or to us or to the american people, you might be surprised that we had that person here in the capital, in a secret deposition, in the basement, last saturday. and that testimony might be pretty important to you before you were here to testify, if you could have read that, if your lawyers could have went through that, because it could have clarified more things for you about your recollection about the foreign aid. so we've heard -- earlier we heard about the -- we had the chair look into the cameras, telling the american people about their watergate fantasies, i guess this fantasize about this at night, then they come here and talk about obstruction
of justice because they're not giving you documents you think you should have. so now they've laid out their clear watergate argument or articles of impeachment. so i just have to remind, uh, the gentleman, i know we're not in a court of law because you wrote the rules, the chair here did. but i would think it's obstruction of justice to not give the american people and give the ambassador the right to look at the transcript of the man who is in charge of the foreign aid in this town. now, i could get into what he said. and the chair could release what he said. and we're not even allowed to call that witness here. today. let's talk about things we know as facts, as you and i and most people know them.
president trump does not like foreign aid to start with, is that correct, ambassador? >> i have heard that, yes. >> and you've testified that watching over the eu, you have 28 countries, you have neighboring countries that you work with. one of his biggest complaints is the lack of participation that those countries participate in programs around the world; isn't that correct? >> that's correct. >> especially nato. >> yes. >> right? that's one of your -- when you go down the list of the jobs that -- when you get directions from the white house, when you first, uh, became ambassador, probably one of the number one things, i don't want to put words in your mouth, but on the top of the list was making sure countries pay their fair share, especially with nato. >> and we have a very capable ambassador to nato so i'm not going to take her lane. >> but it's one of -- you work with those countries, it's one of the issues you bring up in your meetings, correct? >> it is. >> so -- now, i know you weren't
on the july 25th phone call, but one of the first things that the president of the united states brings up is germany's lack of participation, i think he names the president of germany directly, that they're not participating in helping out ukraine who is one of their neighbors. is that what you read in the transcript? >> i've heard that, yes. >> so the whole idea that the president starts out with he doesn't like foreign aid, he doesn't think countries pair their fair share, that's looking out for the taxpayer. there's more. we talked about this in your deposition, we talked about how we have requirements. the congress writes requirements into the law that require you and all the diplomats to carry out the foreign policy of this country for the president of the united states before the president can certify foreign aid and send foreign aid, there has to be certification that there's no corruption.
you're aware of that now? >> i am now, yes. >> so being that you learned about that in your deposition, now looking back at clearly the challenges and concerns the president had with the involvement of high level ukrainian government officials including the ambassador here in the united states that attacked him during his presidential campaign, the concerns of leaks that were leaks or just made-up stories and conspiracy theories that were spun in the steele dossier that the democrats on this committee own, they paid for it, other dnc operatives that were working with the ukrainian ambassador here in washington, d.c., to dirty up your boss, the president of the united states, we're not going to hear from those witnesses. just like we're not going to hear from the person we deposed
on saturday. we're not going to hear about what the real reason the person who is in charge of making sure that foreign aid is delivered, we're not going to hear about what actually happened with the foreign aid. wouldn't that have made it a lot easier for you to testify instead of guessing and doing little funny math problems up here, two plus two equals four, it's great for all the viewers to hear that. wouldn't it be easier if you just knew exactly why the foreign aid wasn't given? >> it would have been easier to testify about i had a totality of the record. >> and would you trust the person who is in charge of cutting the checks for foreign aid, the top career diplomat or the top career official? >> i would have no reason not to. >> thank you. ambassador, i don't know if we'll get to speak again if we have some more magical minutes. but i'm done with questions with you. i know the rest of our members
have more questions. and let me turn to -- i know mr. castor has some more questions. >> hello again, ambassador. >> hi. >> i'll try not to use all this time as a courtesy to you. i just want to go through some distinctions between your opener in your deposition and some other witnesses. in your opening statement today you said president trump directed us to talk with rudy, correct? >> correct. >> then you and i had a little bit of a back and forth about the president just said talk to rudy, and i believe, and correct me if i'm wrong, you took that to mean, if we wanted to move forward with these type of things, rudy was the place to go? >> rudy was the guy. >> but president trump didn't direct you to talk to rudy, correct? >> it wasn't an order. it was, if you want to work on this, this is the guy you've got to talk to. >> ambassador volker in his
deposition said, i didn't take it as an instruction, but just as a comment, talk to rudy, you know, he knows these things, and you've got some bad people around, referring to the ukrainians. ambassador volker hasn't testified there was any sort of order or direction, talk to rudy? >> i don't know what he testified. it became very clear to all three of us that if we wanted to move the relationship forward, president trump was not really interested in engaging. he wanted rudy to handle it. and as i said in my opening statement, secretary perry took the lead and made the initial contact with rudy. and that when we began working with him. >> and as to the question of whether mr. giuliani was expressing the desire specifically of the president of the united states, in your deposition you said i don't know, i don't know if this was coming out of rudy giuliani
irrespective of the president, correct? >> yeah. i'm not going to dispute what i said in my deposition. that's true, yes. >> and we walked through all your communications with rudy giuliani, and they're not a lot. >> correct. >> ambassador volker in his deposition on the same question said, i did not have that impression, i believe mr. giuliani was doing his own communications. and, you know, granted, mr. giuliani had business interests in ukraine, correct? >> now i understand he did. i didn't know that at the time. >> messrs. parnas and fruman, correct? >> a lot of new names i've learned. >> and you had never met with those folks? >> no. >> and then in your september 9th communication with the president, during your deposition, that was a striking moment, when you walked us through your telephone call with president trump on september 9th. >> by the way, i still cannot find a record of that call, because the state department and
the white house cannot locate it. but i'm pretty sure i had the call on that day. >> whether it was the 9th or the 8th, you had this call, it was extremely memorable, right? >> it was. >> and you've been very honest, and we're not trying to give you a hard time on all the times you don't recall, we're just trying to say a lot of important events that happened that the committee has asked you about, and you've honestly said i don't recall. but the call with president trump on september 9th or the 8th, you recall it vividly, right? >> i recall it vividly because it was keyed by the sort of frantic emails from ambassador taylor. i again, prior to that call had all kinds of theories as to why things weren't moving, why there was no white house meeting, why there was no aid, why there was no this, why there was no that and i was tired of going around in circles, frankly, so i made the call and asked as i said the open-ended
question what do you want from ukraine. >> he was unequivocal, nothing. >> what i said in the text is what i heard. >> i'm curious. was that vignette in your opener today? >> i don't think so. >> how come? it's so memorable. so striking. >> i don't know. it was in my previous testimony and i assumed if people had questions, they would bring it up. >> okay, i mean, this is an example -- a lot of witnesses during the course of this investigation have dealt with ambiguities in different waist and some have resolved them in the least favorable to the president over and over again. this is an exculpatory fact shedding some light on the president's state of mind about the situation about -- >> i'm happy to discuss it. >> so i'm just wondering why you didn't mention it in your opener. >> there were so many things i wanted to include in my opening and my opening was already i
think 45 minutes or something, it would have been an hour and a half. there were a lot of things -- >> you only had a couple of conversations with the president. we're trying to evaluate whether -- >> there was not -- it was not purposeful, trust me. >> talking about striking conversations, mr. holmes, when he came here last friday in the basement, he -- i'll tell you, he thought your conversation that you had with the president was like the most memorable thing he's ever experienced. >> how many conversations has he had with the president? >> i don't know. he probably hasn't had any but he was energized, enthusiastic about telling us about this conversation. >> so not only did i buy him lunch but i also provided entertainment? >> and he -- he conferred with us that he regaled anyone he came across with this story and
that's i guess a discussion for thursday. but other than the colorful language and he was definitely moved by the color, but he was unequivocal that you brought up the bidens in the post-call discussion and he said something to the effect of the president's only interested in big things and mr. holmes said that, oh, there's a lot of big things going on in the ukraine, like there are, there's a war, ukraine is under attack from the east by russia, and he puts words in your mouth to the effect of, no, the president only cares about investigations like rudy is pitching about the bid bidens and what's important about this, this is the day after the 7:25 and what's reported by mr. holmes and you
to the extent you've confirmed it isn't anything different than happened on the 7/25 call, agreed, from the president's -- >> with 20/20 hindsight now that we've had the transcript of the call, the bidens were clearly mentioned on the call but i wasn't making the connection with the bidens. >> right, but with regard to the president, it was just mentioning investigations. >> that's all he said on the phone was investigations, i think. >> but you told us time and again that you never realized the bidens were part of any of this, burisma and you talked about a continuum and you never came to understand that until maybe as late as september 25th. >> i don't know the exact date but it was pretty late. >> and ambassador volker said the bidens never came up after his one breakfast meeting with mayor giuliani where he testified that he tried to disabuse the mayor of anything relating to the bidens. >> and i think secretary perry
publicly stated that he never heard biden either until the end, so -- >> so when you testify here today that you have no recollection of mentioning the bidens to mr. holmes, that's not just a recollection, that's based on your state of mind at that point in time and your state of mind up to, you know, september 25th, correct. >> i wasn't into investigating the bidens. >> so it's very surprising to you he would mention that, right? >> it was very surprising to me. >> i want to go back to a couple things in your statement. this july 26th meeting with president zelensky. earlier in the day from this lunchtime event we've been talking about, during the course of the meeting with president zelensky did any of the parties discuss what came up on the telephone call? >> i don't believe so. >> so president zelensky didn't
expression any concerns about the content of the call, jiet. >> i mean all i heard about that call was that it was a good call, it was friendly, everyone was happy, you know, i was delighted to hear that, so that we could now move to the next phase which was the meeting. >> okay, okay, so you can -- you can tell us with certainty that nobody talked about demands in that meeting or fulfilling the president's demands. >> i don't remember exactly, again, this is a great example, mr. castro, of where i would have loved to see the noltes from the meeting. i didn't take any notes but i know there were notes taken but i don't remember any heated conversation in the meeting. i remember it being a really, really friendly good meeting and that's why i said what i did to the president the next day, which was, you know, zelensky will do whatever you want. he's very happy. >> and you don't remember any discussion of -- by president
zelensky of lamenting how he had to navigate this difficult situation, right? >> i don't -- i don't know -- i know that was in the whistle-blower complaint, something about navigating something -- >> it was. >> i didn't remember anything like that. >> okay. i want to get back to your -- >> gentlemen yield this second. >> which would be another helpful thing, ambassador, is if we actually had heard from the whistle-blower and we had testimony of the whistle-blower. then you wouldn't have to be up here speculating as much and guessing because you would have a source that would have been interviewed. we have his complaint. we could have matched it up with your testimony along with the people from omb that would have made it very easy for you to testify so you wouldn't have to try to remember all this stuff and chase conspiracy theories around that the democrats have continued to lay out for the last six weeks moving from quid pro quo to extortion to bribery
to where are we at today, obstruction of justice and back to quid pro quo. we wouldn't have had to do all that if the whistle-blower would have testified. you wouldn't have to speculate about what the whistle-blower only had in his or her complaint that nobody seems to know. yield back to mr. castro. >> thanks you, mr. nunes. i want to turn to your -- a couple times in your opener you said everyone was in the loop and i just want to -- you know, the -- these televised proceedings sometimes we lose track of things and, you know, everyone was not in the loop with your speculation or your guess that in the absence of any credible explanation for the suspension of aid i later came to believe that the resumption of security aid would not occur without public statement from the ukraine.
everyone wasn't in the loop with that, right? >> well, the secretary was, because that's why i sent my email. >> but your emails -- let's look at your emails. there's two emails that you sent to the second, right? that are here? >> august 22nd. >> right. >> and august 11th. >> 1 august 1th. >> the august 11th email. we went through this before. i'm sorry to go through it again. you said to the secretary, kurt and i negotiated a statement from z to be delivered for our review in a day or two. the contents will hopefully make the boss happy enough to authorize an invitation. z plans to have a big presser on the openness subject next week. a couple things here. this is only relating to the white house meeting, correct?
>> yes, i believe so. >> okay, and this is only -- this is just investigations generally making a public statement of openness generally, right? >> well, i think by august 11th, mr. castro, i think we were talking about 2016 and burisma. the investigations generally was really early in the -- >> do we know that secretary pompeo knows that. >> i think so. >> why? >> only because i think ambassador or i'm sorry, counselor brechbuhl was briefed. >> by who? by you? >> by ambassador volker, by myself -- >> that's not what he testified to. did you -- >> ambassador or counselor brechbuhl testified -- >> no, ambassador volker. >> oh, okay. >> he didn't testify that he briefed mr. brechbuhl. i mean, this email
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