tv Erin Burnett Out Front CNN November 19, 2019 4:00pm-5:00pm PST
ukraine had a statement about fighting corruption and mr. yermak would say burr mace in 2016. mr. yermak provided me a draft statement, and i wanted to be assured that this statement would actually correct the perception that mr. giuliani had of ukraine and what they stand for now so that that would also be conveyed to president trump and solve this problem that i'd observed with our may 23rd meeting with the president. the problem that he's getting a bad set of information, statement like this could potentially correct that. >> so was mr. giuliani satisfied with this statement? >> no, he was not. >> why not? >> he believed that it needed to say burisma and 2016 specifically or else it would not be credible, it would not mean anything new. >> so, in fact, mr. jewel yagiu wanted it to state burisma and
one specifically for president trump. mr. ambassador, here's the text you sent to the ukrainian official on august 13th, let's put that up on the screen. you said hi, andre. good talking. following is the text with an insert at the end for the two key items. mr. ambassador, those two key items were specific references to investigations of burisma and the 2016 election, isn't that right, sir? >> that is correct. >> did mr. giuliani dictate those key items to you, sir? >> i had just had a conversation with mr. yermak to describe the conversation that we'd just had with mr. giuliani. mr. giuliani said that it would need to include these things for it to be convincing to him. i put them in so we understood what he was talking about and i shared it with andre to say this is what he is talking about. >> and you included them in the proposal to the ukrainians? >> i put it back in to be clear
to the ukrainians this is what the conversation was. >> mr. ambassador, if you believe the statement that mr. giuliani dictated in august was not a good idea, sir, why were the ukrainians still considering giving an interview with the same themes in september? >> well, if i may, congressman, i conveyed this to the ukrainians in order to be clear so we knew what the conversation was about ask it was following up on the prior conversations. the ukrainians said they had reasons not to do that and they described those reasons and i agreed with them and we agreed to just scrap the statement. from that point on, i didn't have any further conversations about this statement. so i don't know how it came up or why it came up that there would be a possibility that president zelensky doing an interview with u.s. media either about something like this and in the end he didn't do that either. >> mr. morrison, you said that
the president's request during the july 25th call were not consistently with u.s. policy. i emphatically agree with you, sir, yet these text messages show that ambassador volker spent much of august pressing ukraine to meet those requests and we can only be grateful. i guess that the president essentially got caught and congress passed a law to ensure the funding was released to ukraine before it was too late. i thank you both for your service. mr. chairman, i yield back. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> both gentlemen, thank you very much for being here. i want to start if i can with you, mr. morrison. in discussing the 7/25 phone call and the concerns that the lieutenant had, and he came to you with edits for the transcript and you stated that you accepted all of his edits, is that correct? >> i -- i would have accepted
all of the edits they believed were faithful to what was actually discussed. >> did high e come to you that word "demand" was in there? >> i don't recall that. >> he didn't either. how soon after the phone call did he meet with you on that particular issue? >> we got the draft as was normal, fairly quickly after the call. that same day. >> that same day. so today he said i reported my concerns to mr. eisenberg. it is improper for the president of the united states to demand a foreign government investigate a u.s. citizen and political opponent. he was going to mr. eisenberg with his concerns about the conversation, yet he did not at any point on the edits say that there should be a demand and you know, he didn't do that, but he did say that he didn't come to you with his concerns because you weren't available, but that
same day he came to you with edits. was that correct? >> i believe that's generally correct. yes, sir. >> he said you weren't available and you didn't hear the president make a demand, did you? >> no, sir. >> so some time between the call and today lieutenant colonel vindman must have been hearing some voices and he heard "demand" at the time, but he didn't hear it that day, and he didn't make it an issue that day, but today he does. i think that's pretty bizarre. when lieutenant colonel vindman went to legal, mr. eisenberg, do you know if he was advised not to speak to you? >> i don't have any first hand knowledge of that, no, sir. >> do you know if he was advised to contact the igic? >> no, sir, i have no first-hand knowledge of that. >> so you don't know what he was advised when he went to legal? >> no, sir, i do not. >> thank you. i appreciate that. >> mr. volker, i want to tell
you that i appreciate your opening statement and you talk about letters signed and sharing leadership in your assigned country and agreeing with and sometimes disagreeing with the leadership of your own country when you felt it was appropriate. you're the boots on the ground for the administration. let's face it, you're part of that team that is there to serve the country and in that way, and that all to me sound like the works of a very good diplomat and i want to thank you for that. >> thank you, sir. >> it's truly appreciated. corruption was a concern legitimately in ukraine, and in many ways and mr. jordan pointed out some of the things that were done by ukrainians in plain sight. i might use that term, in plain sight by putting op eds in our newspapers and it's certainly more than one country could be trying to influence our
elections. would you agree with that? >> i would agree with that. >> we keep hearing that that whole thing about ukrainians. that's all been debunked and it's just the russians and that comes from an ic community that some of the people that have come up with those conclusions are some of the very same people that we're going find out if we haven't already are deeply involved in this russian collusion hoax. it's what he intended to be as a president? would you say that's accurate? >> yes. that was one of the key facts to take our own judgment and report back to the president. >> and that's what your job should be and you became comfortable with this president, correct? >> yes, i did. >> and you worked to assure our president that you were comfortable with this president, is that correct? >> that's correct. >> in some ways you have to work sometimes through any mean available and that might include
working with rudy giuliani if he could be helpful to you to get that message and advice to the president, would that be correct? >> i believe the messages being conveyed to mr. giuliani were a problem because they were -- they were at variance with our official message to the president was and not conveying that positive assessment that we all had, and so i thought it was important to try to step in and fix the problem. >> and in that, i think, you term that a useful barometer of where things were? >> yes. >> there are useful barometers in covering a lot of different fashions like dennis rodman in north korea and taylor in france saying you've got a friend if they can help a cause. it's not illegal. good job, ambassador. thank you very much. i yield back. >> ms. speier? >> mr. chairman and thank you both for your participation here today and for your service. i want to take us out some 30,000 feet for a minute and talk about cover-ups but for the
fact that the whistle-blower came forward we wouldn't know anything about this, but for the fact that the inspector general of the cia found it to be both urgent and credible, we wouldn't know anything about it. mr. morrison, you said that after you heard the call you went directly to the attorneys in the national security council and recommended that they be limited access and they were subsequently put into a special server. the white house has not released any documents to this committee. you, mr. volker, thank you. you as a private citizen with your own personal phone and your text messages with mr. giuliani and mr. sondland and mr. mayak and whomever else, but for those text messages that we've been putting up on the screen all day
we would have nothing. nothing. and this cover-up would be complete. that's something we should think about. now on july 19th you had breakfast with rudy giuliani at the trump hotel, is that correct? >> that's correct. >> in that conversation at one point he brought up mr. lutsenko and you said whateverly brought up is not credible, is that correct? >> yes. >> i'm going to quote you here. i've known him for a long time. he's a person of integrity to giuliani. simply not credible to me. joe biden would be influenced in his duties as vice president by money or things for a son or anything like that. we've had many discussions over the last few days about these
investigations into burisma and biden and the 2016 crowd strike server and you in that conversation with mr. giuliani basically debunked all of that. now tattoo on at that breakfast, who else was with you at that breakfast? >> there was someone that mr. giuliani brought along. i later learned that this was lev parnas who we've learned a lot about since then. >> so mr. lev parnas was at that breakfast that mr. giuliani had with you, and we now know that mr. parnas has since been indicted for campaign, foreign campaign contributions to president trump's political action committee, is that correct? >> i've seen that. >> all right. on may 23rd you were in that discussion with the president and at one point he referred to
zelensky having terrible people around him. who do you think he was calling terrible people around him? >> there were two people that came to mind. one of them was a former investigative journalist and later named sergei levchenko and he is bringing forth a black ledger alleging to paul manafort's relations with ukraine. that was one person. the other person referred to was the person being named as president zelensky's chief presidential administration andre bognan and he was with one of the members in the ukraine, and there were times about him being appointed to the administration. >> do you think of them as terrible people? >> i don't think of either one as terrible people. >> all right. mr. morrison, earlier in testimony that was solicited
from our colleagues on the other side of the aisle, you indicated that others had represented to you that colonel vindman leaked. do you remember saying that? >> yes, ma'am. >> all right. colonel vindman this morning, under oath said that he did not, does not leak. now would you, therefore, want to maybe rearrange your comments about the references you made to colonel vindman? >> no, ma'am. >> so even though under oath he said that he has never leaked, you believing people who said to you that he may have leaked? >> ma'am, i didn't believe or disbelieve them. i'm relaying what they told me. >> they told you and so you decided to continue to put that forward even though you had no -- no ma'am. >> i yield back. >> ma'am, i'm sorry.
if i can answer. >> no, ma'am. that's incorrect. they, dr. hill and mr. araf and others in the nsc raised concerns about alex. those concerns were noted. i didn't take them for face value. i treated them as representations of others. i was on alert, but i formed my own judgments. i took no action because of the statements of someone else that i couldn't independently validate. >> mr. stewart? >> thank you, gentlemen. welcome to impeach-a-palooza 2019 trying to impeach donald j. trump through the sheer force of boredom. it turns out impeachment is very boring if you don't have condemning and compelling evidence. good news and bad news. i'll be very, very brief. we're going on ten-plus hours of this. i will yield back some of my time. the bad news is most of my
colleagues after me won't. so we've still got some time to go. ambassador volker, very quickly, do you think that someone should be immune from investigation of suspected, ethical or criminal activity just because they were a candidate for office even for the office of the president of the united states? >> i don't think anyone should be above the law. >> of course, not. that would be absurd to assume that, and that would be absurd if you answered that question. what if they occurred another country? would it be improper to seek the host country's help such as we do with interpol or other agencies? >> there are chapels fnnels for citizens that commit crimes abroad. >> you would seek help. >> that is correct and we have treaties. >> that's painfully obvious and that's exactly and the only thing that the president was
doing here. mr. morrison, i want to refer briefly to lieutenant colonel vindman's testimony where he described the six people, five or six people that were in the situation room listening to the phone call between the two presidents, colonel vindman described these individual says as exceptional. he stated there was no reason to question their integrity and professionalism. this was in the closed-door testimony. do you agree that they're national security staff as great people. >> >> yes. >> people of great integrity and professionalism? >> yes, sir. >> did any of these exceptional individuals, people of unquestioned integrity and professionalism indicate to you that they had thought that the president of the united states engaged in any illegal or unethical behavior as a result of this phone call? >> not that i'm aware of, congressman. >> did any of them suggest to you in any way that they thought
the president was involved with bribery or any such thing associated with that? >> not that i'm aware of, congressman. >> it only leaves two possible explanations, either these individuals are described as having great integrity. either that's not true which i don't believe or they just interpreted an ambiguous conversation as did colonel vindman and i never understood why president obama was provided into the ukraine. ambassador, can you refer why they would do that. >> i can only pertain to the administration at the time, was there a perception that germany would oppose it and there was a perception that germany would be in the lead and provocative to russia or escalate the conflict as i said extensively at the time. i don't agree with those arguments and i believe that the record has borne out that providing those lethal defensive
arms was actually very important. >> i agree with you, ambassador. i think you got it right and i think president trump got it right and with that, i yield back. >> mr. quigley? >> thank you, mr. chairman. ambassador, i want to direct your attention to a meeting you had with ambassador taylor and mr. yermak on september 14th in kiev. do you recall this meeting, sir? >> believe we had dinner and it was around the time of the s conference. >> do you remember discussing with mr. yermak ukraine's intent to investigate their former president, mr. poroshenko? >> i remember raising the issue of the possibility of prosecutions. >> they brought it up -- you raised it and they talked about their intention -- >> excuse me, congressman. i'm sorry, to be clear, was there a lot of talk in kiev at that time about whether the new team would be prosecuting the former president, and i had met
with president poroshenko. i'd met with others in the opposition, as well, and i wanted to call mr. yermak's attention to the potential problems of this. i'm very familiar with other examples of countries in the region that have gone for prosecutions of the former government and these have created deep divisions in society, and so i cited president zelensky's inauguration speech. -- i'm sorry, his national day speech from august 24th that was all about unifying the country, and i cautioned mr. yermak to say that pursuing prosecution of president poroshenko risks deepening the divisions in the country and exactly the opposite of what president zelensky has said he wants to do. >> it's fair that you described that you discouraged it from such action. >> i raised concerns about what the potential impact would be. >> what was mr. yermak's
response? i believe that i am refreshed in this by seeing the testimony of others. mr. taylor, ambassador taylor and mr. kent. i believe that based on that testimony that mr. yermak said, what? like asking us to investigate clinton and biden? >> so it was something along the lines of it's okay for you to ask us to investigate the manner in which you are, these so-called investigation, but you don't want to investigate our own president. is that a fair way to describe this? >> i don't understand what he was referring to because to my knowledge we weren't asking to replace clinton or biden and i was puzzled by the remark and that's why i didn't respond. >> did you investigate what he might have meant or investigate anybody? >> i took it as a deflection from the point i was making about unifying ukraine? >> all this time, i mean, mr.
giuliani and this time in that may to september, he mentioned the biden investigation. he mentioned biden over 50 times and 20-something times in relation to ukraine. none of that stirred your curiosity? did you now finally come to this point? >> as i testified, i met with mr. giuliani once and he did bring up vice president biden and i pushed back on that and i maintained a very clear distinction that ukraine investigating its own citizens and corruption would be fine going beyond that to say we'll investigate the vice president is not fine. >> did you have any discussions with anyone in the state department or anywhere else in the administration about concerns about the investigation into poroshenko? >> yes. in advance of that we'd been in some of the same meetings and some of the country team there. i don't remember whether i had raised it with george kent or phil rico or not.
i may have done, but it was something that we had discussed as part of our meetings in kiev at that time. >> i yield to the chairman. >> sylvester, when you had this conversation and you urged ukrainians not to investigate or prosecute the former president poroshenko, their response was oh you mean like you're asking us to investigate the clintons and the bidens. that was their response? >> that's what i recall now from seeing ambassador taylor's testimony. yes. >> you didn't understand that at the time, but then at the time had you read the call record? >> no. >> now that you've read the call record, that makes more sense, doesn't it? >> yes. i was curious about something you said earlier when you said that the 2016 lutsenko, but you didn't see any harm in investigating it. >> yes. >> don't they have enough legitimate corruption to
investigate without spending time investigating a debunked conspiracy theory? >> there is all kinds of corruption to investigate in the ukraine. >> this was something you thought without merit because this was part of an effort to fix the problem that giuliani was creating? >> i did not propose it. >> well, i think you said you were okay with it or your amended statement said we seemed to include it because if it would help to fix the giuliani problem. was that the thinking? >> that's correct. if it threads the needle between what is reasonable for the ukraine to do and if it re-sets the negative perceptions held by julianet and president and why not? >> this is part of your opening statement, when you see a problem to fix it. is it clear to you now, ambassador volker, based on the september 25th call that you were not able to fix it? >> based on the transcript that was released on the 25th, i can see now that there was a lot else going that was about vice
president biden than i knew at the time and the efforts that i was making were clearly not in the context of what had already been discussed by the president in july 25th. >> so it was fair to say you were not able to fix the giuliani problem? >> that's correct. >> thank you, ambassador volker and mr. morrison for your years of service and expertise and leadership on national security issues and i want to particularly thank mr. morrison for his work on the house arms services committee on which i serve. i want to start with the july 25th call between president trump and president zelensky. mr. morrison, you were on that call and there was no mention of withholding aid on the call, correct? >> that is correct, congresswoman. >> and there was no quid pro quo, correct? >> correct. >> no bribery? >> correct. >> no extortion. >> correct. >> and ambassador volker -- volker, i presume you got a readout of the call, is that
correct? >> a very terse readout, but yes. >> in this tersery readout of the call from the u.s. participant, was there any reference to withholding aid? >> no, was there not. >> any reference to bribery? a. >> no, was there not. >> any reference to quid pro quo? >> no, was there not. >> any reference to extortion. >> no, was there not. >> i presume you got feedback with your ukrainian countser parts as to how the call went? >> did they mention aid? >> no, they did not. >> did they mention quid pro quo? >> no, they did not. >> did they mention bribery? no, they did not. >> the july 26th, in that meeting he made no mention of quid pro quo? >> no. >> he made no mention of withholding the aid? >> no. >> he made no mention of bribery. so the fact is that the ukrainians were unaware of this withholing of aid, is that correct? >> correct. >> you were in contact with the
ukrainians and this includes talking to ukrainians over the phone, in person, through text and the ukrainians never brought up an investigation into theed bience, is that correct? >> that's correct. >> they never brought up the withholding of the aid? >> that's correct. >> they never brought up quid pro quo or bribery? >> let me bring up the aid. they did bring up the aid after the politico article. >> i'll get to that, until the politico article they didn't bring it up. >> and outside in the closed-door deposition it never came up in conversation with them, and i believe they had trust in me that they would have asked if that was really what they were worried about. >> that's correct. >> that is correct. >> and as you pointed out the ukrainians never even knew their foreign aid was on pause until the article was published in politico in august. >> that's correct. so they didn't know during the call? >> that's correct. >> in fact, you had to correct chairman schiff on his timeline in the closed-door deposition. the chairman of this committee asked you, quote, when they became aware that military assistance was being withheld
for a reason you couldn't explain, no one could explain, weren't they under even greater pressure to give the president what he asked for in the call and you answered, ambassador, volker, quote, to my knowledge the news about a hold on security assistance did not get into ukrainian government circles as indicated to me by the current foreign minister then diplomatic adviser until the end of august. is that your testimony? >> yes, it is. >> and chairman schiff also got the facts wrong again when he asked you this, quote, at the point they learned their aid was paused wouldn't that give them add add added urgency to meet the president's request on theed bience. i think the ukrainian felt they were going in the right direction and they had not done anything. they had not done anything on an investigation, end quote. isn't it the case, ambassador volker, at one point chairman schiff said to you, when you were truthfully testifying, quote, ambassador, you're making this much more complicated than
it has to be, end quote. that's page 127 from the deposition, is that correct? >> i remember that. but the truth is the facts are indeed not complicated, and i'm going to close out with two questions for the both of you. did ukraine open an investigation into the bidens, mr. morrison? >> not to my knowledge, ma'am? >> ambassador volker? >> not to my knowledge either. >> did either of you ever have any evidence of quid pro quo? mr. morrison? >> no, ma'am. >> mr. volker? >> no, ma'am. >> any evidence of bribery? >> no, ma'am. >> no ma'am. >> no evidence of treason. >> with that, i yield back. >> mr. swallow. >> thank you. >> mr. morrison, did ambassador bolton want the security aid hold lifted? >> yes, congressman, he did. >> you testified that ambassador bolton had a one-on-one meeting with president trump in late august related to ukrainian
assistance, is that right? >> sir, can you point to where i testified to that? >> on page 266 you said ambassador bolton had a one-on-one meeting with president trump in late august 2019, but the president was not yet ready to approve the release of the assistance, do you remember that? >> this is 226? >> 266 and 268, but i'm asking you did that happen or did it not? >> i just want to be clear in characterizing it. okay. yes, sir, i see. yes. >> you testified to that. >> what was the outcome of that meeting between ambassador bolton and president trump? >> ambassador bolton did not yet believe the president was ready to approve the assistance. >> did ambassador bolton have an ongoing hold that stemmed from this meeting? >> no, sir. mr. morrison, do you consider yourself loyal to the president?
>> yes, sir. >> and the president executes the foreign policy of the united states, is that right? >> well, sir -- >> he executes the foreign policy? >> yes, sir. >> and is a staff or the national security council and even someone who serves in the military, it's your job to faithfully execute the foreign policies of the president. >> i am to obey all lawful orders. >> on july 25, you listened to the president of the united states talked to president of the ukraine. is that correct? >> july 25th. yes, sir. >> regardless of what you had prepared as talking points to the president you heard the president of the united states ask the president of ukraine to investigate the biden, is that correct? >> yes, sir, he made a request. >> and after the july 25 call between president trump and the ukrainian president, fair to say that you talked to your ukrainian counterparts a number of times? >> yes, sir.
>> how many times when you talked to your ukrainian counterparts did you ask them to investigate the bidens? >> never, sir. >> why not? >> sir, it was not a policy objective that i was aware of. >> but with all due respect, mr. morrison, you are not in the white house to carry out your policy objectives. you just testified that the president sets the foreign policy objectives for the united states and the one call that you listened to between the president of the united states and the president of ukraine, the president of the united states priorities were to investigate the bidens and i'm asking you, sir, why didn't you follow up on the president's priorities when you talked to the ukrainians? >> sir, i did not understand it as a apology objective. >> mr. morrison, i know that you put that conversation in that conversation in the server because as you said, the political consequences and other reasons that you gave, but you
also chose to defy the president's request to not come here as others have like mr. mulvaney and mr. bolton and you have come here and you've been truthful and mr. morrison, whether you acknowledge it publicly or not, i believe that you knew that what the president asked the ukrainians to do was wrong, and as you just described your duty is to follow the foreign policy priorities of the president, but to also only follow something that is a lawful order and i don't think you believe that was a lawful order and that's why you did not follow up on those priorities. mr. volker, we've heard a lot today about this president being such an anti-corruption president. he really cared about fighting corruption. is russia a corrupt country? >> we're talking about president zelensky? >> president trump. is russia a corrupt country? >> yes, it is. >> and president trump has met a
number of times in person with president putin, is that right? >> yes, a few times. >> and he's had a number of phone calls with president putin, is that right? >> yes. >> is turkey a corrupt country? >> yes, i believe so. >> and just last week, despite their corruption, at the white house president erdogan had an audience with the president of the united states, did he not? >> yes, he did. >> finally, mr. giuliani, on may 9th told "the new york times," president trump basically knows what i'm doing as his lawyer. are you familiar of that statement to "the new york times". >> no, i'm not. >> but you agree as someone who has a lawyer sitting next to you that a lawyer acts on a client's behalf and only on a client's behalf, is that right? >> i believe that a lawyer acts on his client's behalf. i'm not sure about only on a client's behalf because i think, as i understood mayor giuliani in this case, he was doing a lot that i considered to be on his own. i do not believe he was always instructed.
>> and when you said melding in an election or meddling in an investigation. he didn't say "i," he said "we," is that correct? >> i'm taking that from the statement. >> yield back. >> mr. morrison, my colleague from california suggests he knows your opinions and your thoughts better than you do. he did not give you the opportunity to respond. do you have a response or want to give a response? >> no, sir. i heard the president make a request. i received no direction at any time to attempt to lead a approximately see process different than what i laid out in my deposition and i launched an inner agency process to ensure a unit of opinion in the inner agency as to the importance of continuing security sector assistance and that's what i did. i acted at -- upon the direction i was given. >> good copy. while we're with you, mr. morrison, thanks for your
testimony and your clear and sober testimony today. did you participate or overhear conversations about how political information collected by ukraine on the bidens would be used for political gain? >> no, sir. ambassador volker, same question, did you participate in or overhear any conversations about how potential information collected by ukraine collected on theed biens wi bidens used fl gain. >> no, i did not. there's been a text exchange with mr. yermak on august 12th that talked about this proposed statement. and -- and mayor giuliani provided some feedback on what he thought needed to be included in that. >> did mayor giuliani get feedback on the president into what should go into that proposed statement? >> i have no reason to think that he had discussed it with the president. >> based on your recollection, ambassador volker, who in the
zelensky regime has mayor giuliani interacted with in addition to mr. yermak which we've talked about and the former attorney general mr. lutshenko. >> i am aware that he met with mr. lutsenko. >> that's not within the current regime in which -- in which we are talking about. >> i don't know who else he would have met with. in as few words as possible what was your understanding of ambassador sondland's role in ukraine. >> he cared about ukraine. he wanted to see u.s. support for ukraine increased and he wanted to see european union support for ukraine increased and he wanted to be helpful. >> was ambassador sondland having conversations with officials without letting people know. >> i don't believe he was not letting people know.
i think he may have had some conversations, but i think he was just acting, you know, and i think we circled back quite frequently with myself, ambassador taylor and others. >> can you say that you have a clear understanding of when ambassador sondland and mayor giuliani were doing in all their interactions with ukrainian officials. i can't say that i had a clear understanding. i thought that ambassador sondland and i were working on the same objective which was getting a meeting between president zelensky and president trump and the statement as i understood it that mention the burisma. i didn't know anything more about their interaxe. >> if you did not have a clear understanding as the special representative of ukraines and do you think the ukrainians had a clear understanding? >> no, i don't. you thought there was a different between burisma, by thens?
>> do you think the ukrainians have a similar understanding? >> yes, i do. there is also a perception that when ambassador yovanovitch who we've all known for 33 years of being an awesome ambassador that when she left kiev that the u.s. position on corruption would weaken. that's a narrative that's floating around. who was the person that took over for her in the interim? what was the charger. >> immediately after masha was joe pennington. >> this was individual strong or weak on corruption? >> i would say in line with all the rest of our policy. >> and after that individual who was that person replaced with? >> and that was bill taylor. >> who you suggested for the position, correct? >> yes. >> was ambassador taylor strong or weak on corruption? >> very strong. mr. morrison, in the last 23 minutes who sets official u.s. policy? >> sir, the president. >> not some other staffer within
the nsc process? >> the nsc staff exists to ensure the president has the full array of options for his decision. >> thank you. i yield back. >> mr. castro. thank you chairman. thank you, gentlemen, for your testimony today. >> is it correct to say that both you gentlemen were either appointed or hired by the white house and by the trump administration? >> yes, sir. >> in my case by secretary tillerson. >> but part of the trump administration. >> yes. serving in the same administration. . ambassador volker, you previously identified that gordon sondland, i just know that he had a relationship with president trump that i did not have. in fact, in one text message dated july 26th you wrote to sondland, great photo. can you get this to potus without intermediaries. he spoke to the president from a
restaurant in kiev, is that right? >> i'm sorry, the date again? >> july 26th. >> yes. i know that to be correct now. were you aware of that call? >> no, i was not. >> this committee is aware of it now as we all are. were you aware that ambassador sondland had a direct line to the president? >> he claimed that he spoke to the president frequently. >> did you have reason to doubt that? >> ambassador sondland is a big personality and sometimes says things that might be a bit bigger than life -- >> but, he, too, was a political appointee and he was hand picked by the president or in the preside president's administration -- >> i believed he could speak to the president. >> he was also a large donor to one of president trump's campaign committee, is that correct? >> i have learned that, yes. >> mr. morrison, you state during your testimony that when you met ambassador sondland for the first time he represented that, quote, his mandate from the president was to go make
deals, and in fact, you testified that between july 25th and september 11th of this year you heard or learned that ambassador sondland and president trump spoke on several occasions. is it accurate that every time you checked you were able to confirm that ambassador sondland had, in fact, spoken to the president? >> yes, congressman. >> mr. morrison, you also testified that ambassador sondland e-mailed you and several white house staff to say that he briefed president trump in advance of his july 25th call with the ukrainian president, is that correct? >> yes, congressman. >> did ambassador sondland tell you what he briefed the president on? >> it was -- he sent me an e-mail, sir. it was a very succinct and the list of three items and it was a very succinct item with respect to ukraine and i briefed the president on the call? >> and you testified that you personally confirmed that ambassador sondland and president trump had spoken before the july 25th call. >> that is correct, congressman.
and presumably the white house situation room keeps a record of those calls. >> sir, that is how i was able to confirm it. >> okay. you separately testified that your staff prepared a briefing memo with suggested points for the president to raise on july 25th and points that were consistent with u.s. policy, is that correct? >> correct, congressman, but the president didn't use those points, did he? >> no, sir, he did not. so i guess, let me get this straight. you prepared materials for the president and your materials did not include references to biden or the 2016 election, is that right? >> correct, congressman. >> and then ambassador sondland, the guy who is the gordon problem, the guy who's got a direct link to the president, the guy who is talking about making deals briefed president trump, is that right? >> correct, congressman. >> and then president trump raised the the 2016 election and vice president biden and his son to the ukrainian president after
he was briefed by ambassador sondland, is that right? >> correct, congressman. >> it sounds like ambassador sondland and the president were on the same page. they both were working to benefit the president's personal political interest even when that undermined u.s. foreign approximately se policy. i want to ask in the short time i have both you gentlemen who serve in the united states government whether putting president trump aside, whether you believe that it's proper for any president now or later, to ask a foreign government to investigate a u.s. citizen and specifically a u.s. citizen that could be a political rival? ambassador? >> i -- i don't believe it is appropriate for the president to do that. if we have law enforcement concerns with a u.s. citizen generally there are appropriate channels for that. >> mr. morrison? >> i agree with ambassador
volker, sir. >> thank you, chairman. i yield back. >> mr. ratcliffe? >> thank you, chairman. gentlemen, i appreciate both of you being here today. i know it's been a long day for you. mr. morrison, i'm going try and summarize some of what we've heard to shorten this. you were on the july 25th call and colonel vindman was on the july 25th call, correct? >> yes, congressman. >> and i will tell you that he testified earlier today that he heard what he thought was a demand on the call that was improper and felt he had a duty to report that. i think we've established already that he did not discuss or report any of that. >> yes, congressman. >> but he did have a discussion with colonel vindman about other concerns with the call and the fidelity of the translation and the fact that you both shared a
discussion about there not being a full-throated embrace of the ukrainian reform agenda. >> is that right. >> with respect to his concern over -- and at no point did he come to you and say i saw something or no bribe, no stefanik and anything that miss stefanik asked you. did you hear president trump make a demand of anything that would constitute a crime? >> sir, i've been trying to stay on the same side and no, sir, i did not hear him make a demand. >> you have a law degree so you are familiar with bribery and extortion. >> i'm not a lawyer for the united states, sir? >> is it fair to say as you were listening to the call you weren't thinking wow!
the president is bribing the president of the ukraine. that never crossed your mind? >> it did not, sir. >> or that he was extorting the president of the ukraine. >> it did not, sir. >> or doing anything improper? >> correct, sir. >> and have you heard or read in the media where president zelensky agrees with you and said repeatedly and consistently that he didn't hear any demand. he didn't hear any conditions and he didn't feel any pressure and he didn't experience anything improper or corrupt on the call. >> sir, i attended the bilat in new york in the u.n. general assembly and he made clear in front of the press that he felt no pressure. >> so did anyone on the national security council, after this call express to you that some crime, bribery, extortion, quid pro quo or anything had occurred? >> no, sir. >> i want to ask you, mr. morrison, about the whistle-blower complaint. i don't want to ask you to speculate as to the identity, but i want to ask you about the
accusations that started this as to the veracity. first of all, the whistle-blower who apparently was not on the call advised the icig that he or she was concerned that the president's conduct constituted under title 50 usc section 3033, quote, a serious problem, abuse or violation of law or executive order, end quote. again, to be clear. you didn't hear a violation of law or executive order as you listened to the call? >> sir, i made no judgment about any illegal conduct occurring. >> the whistle-blower also reported in starting this inquiry asserted that the -- that president trump, quote, sought to pressure the ukrainian leadership to take actions to help the president's 2020 re-election bid. president trump does not mention 2020 during the call, does he?
>> no, sir, i don't believe he did. >> president trump doesn't mention his re-election bid during the call, does he? >> sir, i don't believe he did. >> and you did not hear president trump pressure or have a demand of any kind as we've already established. >> correct, sir. >> a whistle-blower like colonel vindman also uses the word demand -- >> did you say whistle-blower like colonel vindman? i don't think that's the fact that's in evidence. counsel, you should use the microphone. >> all due respect, congressman. i believe -- you said whistle-blower like colonel vindman. >> the whistle-blower like colonel vindman also uses the word "demand." the whistle-blower said ambassador volker and sondland purportedly provided advice to ukrainian leadership about how to navigate the demands the president had made of mr. zelensky, end quote.
again, there were no demands from your perspective, mr. morrison. >> that is correct, sir. >> so -- speculations about the whistle-blower aside with regard to motivation, the whistle-blower was wrong about many of the facts as well, correct? >> i'm not familiar with the whistle-blower complaint, but i did not hear demand in the call. >> i yield back. >> thank you, mr. chairman. ambassador volker, i want to thank you for being here today, and i, frankly, found some of your opening statement top genuine and downright eloquent. in particular, i noted the passage of supporting the development of a strong, resilient, democratic and prosperous ukraine, one that overcomes a legacy of corruption and that this is critically important for u.s. national
security. some of us believe that we're not pushing back strongly enough on russia. some of us believe that we're not being supportive enough of the ukraine, but one of our challenges is to go home to the people for whom we work and help explain to them why it is in our national security interest. you have an audience like you'll never have again to look into the camera and tell the american public why it is important to support ukraine. why should it matter to them if the biggest issue in their life is getting their kids off to school, paying their bills and the like? >> thank you so much, congressman. i agree with you completely that we are not pushing back hard enough on russia and we owe ukraine a great deal of support. >> why does it matter? >> russia is trying to up end security in europe, it's trying to reassert its domination of neighboring countries, whether it's georgia, the ukraine or the
baltic states. it has led to war in europe. the war in ukraine has left more people dead in europe than anything since the balkans. more people displaced in the war in europe since anything since world war ii. these are people who stand up for freedom, for democracy. they want reform. they want to see their country be successful like germany, like sweden, like us. they are fighting a war of aggression against them designed to hold them back. and if we want to live in a world of freedom for the united states, we ought to be supporting freedom for people around the world. >> thank you for that. so we're here in part under cover under general corruption some of us believe there wasn't, there was something quite nefarious as the alternative. reviewing the record on that, sir, is it not true that in march of this year the department of defense certified
ukraine as having been sufficient -- and made sufficient progress to continue to receive military assistance? >> i don't know the details of that, but i believe that to be correct. >> president zelensky based largely on his effort and advocacy for anticorruption. >> that is correct. >> is it not true that it was expanded on july 21st when his party won one party control. >> that is correct. >> in fact, subsequently he enacted sweeping reforms to combat anticorruption, did he not? >> yes, he has. >> is it not true that everybody on the ground thought or was filled with optimism that ukraine was getting serious about combatting corruption? >> that is correct. >> ambassador volker, did you know one of the very first anticorruption measures passed in the ukraine was a law to provide for the impeachment of the president? >> i did not know that. >> it's true because he thought we should start with himself.
i raise this because my friends on the other side of the aisle keep characterizing this impeachment inquiry as inherently wrong because, and i'm quoting them, it will overturn an election, over and over, it will overturn an election. impeachment is an anticorruption tool, and for my friends on the other side of the aisle. yes, it does overturn an election, by definition it overturns an election. i don't know if they've got a problem with their constitution, its provisions for impeachment, but i recommend they reread the relevant passages in article 1 sections 2 and 3 and some of the history about how we got there. look, none of us wants to be here despite what's being said. none of us came to this easily. i didn't. i will recall for the rest of my life the 48 hours i spent at my family's cabin plunged in self-reflection and in prayer
deliberation about this whole matter. collectively we're going to have to grapple with this very grave decision, its weighting and it's going to get hard and it's hard in proportion to its importance to our great republic, a republic, if we can keep it. i yield back, mr. chairman. >> mr. jordan. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> in the now famous transcript, president trump said this, i heard you had a prosecutor and he was shut down. that's really unfair. just for clarification, do you believe trump was talking about lucinco or shulkin. >> shul kin. you had issues with colonel venman's judgment, is that right? >> it is, sir.
>> you had problems with who he said what? >> yes, sir. >> dr. hilliard told you that she had concerns about colonel venm venman's judgment, is that right? >> yes, sir. >> colonel venman did not always adhere to the chain of command, is that right? >> i believe so, yes, sir. >> you believed colonel venman accessed information outside of his lane? >> i stated there were those who were concerned, yes, sir. >> you said colonel venman was not on certain trips, is that right? >> yes, sir. >> you said colleagues expressed concerns to you about colonel venman leaking information, is that right? >> yes, sir. >> when i asked colonel venman why he didn't go to you with his concerns about the call even though you had no concerns about anything being, i think your language was, nothing improper, nothing illegal on the call. i asked general venman why he
went to the lawyers, his brother, secretary kent and one other person that he wouldn't tell us and chairmanship wouldn't allow him to tell us. when i asked him why he did that he indicated the lawyers instructed him to do that and he tried to get ahold of you. is that fair? >> sir, i watched part of the proceedings this morning. i heard him say that, yes, sir. >> one thing chairman schiff point the out was that you, colonel venman's boss, also weren't to the lawyers but your reason for going to the lawyers was a little different, wasn't it? >> yes, sir. >> i think you had a few things that you and mr. castor talked about earlier in today's hearing, but i think at the top of your list you were concerned about the contents of the call leaking out, is that fair? >> yes, sir. >> and that's exactly what happened, isn't it? >> sir, i don't know -- i don't
know that the contents leaked out. there was a whistle-blower complaint. the president chose to declassify the memcon. >> you were prophetic because you said in your statement today, as i stated during my deposition, i feared at the time of the call on july 25th how the disclosure of the contents of the call would play in washington's political climate. my fears have been realized. you saw what might happen and it sure enough did. fair to say? >> yes, sir. >> we did all this -- we did all this. that's the part that -- that's the part that bothers me, we get all of this, in the bunker, the basement of the capitol and core facts we keep coming back to you have never changed. we've got the call transcript as
you both said. no linkage to security assistance dollars in the call transcript. we've got the two individuals who were on the call. they have both said no linkage, no pressure, no pushing. got the fact that the ukrainians didn't even know aid had been withheld until august 29th and most importantly the ukrainians did nothing but promising to start, investigation did nothing and the aid got released. i believe it got released because of what we've been talking about, the good work of mr. -- excuse me, ambassador volker and others. i believe that's why it happened. yet you called it all. you saw this coming, that's why you went to the lawyers, that's why you wanted to -- that's why the concern was there and that's the part that's most troubling. i yield to the gentleman from ohio.
>> ambassador volker on daily mail they have this headline. kurt volker walks back his closed-door testimony and says he, quote, has now learned there was a link between u.s. military aid and a biden probe. that's not in your testimony, is it? >> i don't believe that's in my testimony. >> thank you. >> mr. welch. >> following up on mr. jordan. easiest way to avoid investigation is to not do anything wrong. i want to talk a little bit about why we're here. official government actions can't be traded for help in a political campaign. let me give you an analogy and ask each of you if you agree. could a mayor of a city withhold funding for the police department budget unless the police chief agreed to open up
an investigation on a political rival. mr. morse son? >> in that hypothetical, no, i don't think he should do that. >> mr. volker, ambassador volker i'm sure you would agree. >> yes. >> the same thing would be true if it were the budget holder doing the same thing unless the state police agreed to conduct an investigation on a political rival? >> yes. correct. >> in your view is it any different for a member of congress? of course not, right? would you agree that the president has the same obligation unless he gets an investigation into a political rival. mr. morse son? >> yes, sir, i would agree with that hypothetical. >> i would agree. >> we're having a de