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tv   Impeachment Hearings  CNN  November 20, 2019 8:00am-1:00pm PST

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>> now, ambassador taylor also testified that and mr. morrison both of them testified that you told them that president trump said there was no quid pro quo, which you also included in that text message that you referred, but then you went on and they had slight variations as to what you told them, but then you said that to ambassador taylor that president zelensky, himself, not the prosecutor general needed to clean things up in public or there would be a stalemate. mr. morrison recounted something similar. you don't have no doubt of the similar conversations they had with you, do you you, ambassador sondland? >> let me break that down, mr. goldman. the text as i said about the no quid pro quo was my effort to respond to ambassador taylor's concerns to go to president trump apparently ambassador
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taylor had access to secretary pompeo. he did not having a says to president trump so i made the phone call. i said, what do you want? president trump responded with what i put in the text. and then i strongly encouraged ambassador taylor to take it up with the secretary and he responded, i agree. when i said that. as far as the other part of your question relating to whether or not the prosecutor could make the statement or zelensky could make the statement, i don't recall who told me, whether it was volker, whether it was guiliani or whether it was president trump, it's got to be zelensky, it can't be the prosecutor. but that's what i relayed. whoever i got that information from, i relayed that to i believe both mr. or excuse me ambassador taylor and to mr. morrison. >> but as of september 9th, you understood, did you not, that president trump either himself or through his agents required that president zelensky make a public announcement of the two
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investigations that president trump cared about in order to get both the white house meeting and to release the security assistance, is that correct? >> i believe that is correct. >> mr. chairman, i yield back. >> that concludes our 45 minutes. i now recognize mr. nunes. >> okay. okay. io don't we take five or ten-minute break? >> thank you. >> all right so that was explosive testimony there that we just heard from ambassador gordon sondland, the u.s. ambassador to the european union, who now has confirmed publicly that everything they were doing was authorized by the president of the united states, the direction to rudy guiliani, to go ahead and basically take charge of u.s.-ukrainian policy. this is, gloria, we got the advanced copy of his statement. he delivered it and then he answered a whole bunch of questions basically saying there
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is no doubt that the president orchestrated and ordered all of this. let me play a few of the clips. a little mashup of what we heard from the ambassador. >> i worked with mr. guiliani on ukraine matters at the express direction of the president of the united states. so we followed the president's orders. i followed the direction of the president. because the president directed us to do so. president trump directed us to quote talk with rudy. >> the president keeps saying no quid pro quo. no quid pro quo. he specifically says, yes, in dealing with ukraine, if the ukrainian president wants a meeting with the president if the ukrainians want the military assistance to go forward, they've got to look into burisma, the bidens. they've got to look at the 2016 u.s. presidential election and at least make a public statement that they were doing so. >> right. and what mr. goldman pointed out
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is that in the president's phone call with zelensky, he also said directly, you have to talk with rudy so what he is doing is making link that rudy equals donald trump. what sondland said as well, you know, when i spoke with donald trump, he never said, you know, you've got to do this. but the message came through. the message came directly through rudy guiliani. the other, you know, the other point here is on this question of an announcement, why was this announcement so important? did it mean that the president rudy guiliani really wanted an investigation? or did it mean that what they really wanted was a public announcement, so that the president could use it politically and his presidential campaign and that seems to be clear, coming from the q&a with the attorney, mr. goldman. >> what do you think? >> i think you can divide the trump presidency into two periods, before november 20th,
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2019 and after, because now we know. i mean, now we know that every fantasy about how corrupt this administration was is actually true. >> that now we know that this was a corrupt inner enterprise from the very beginning, that the president didn't care at all about ukraine, all he wanted out of this relationship was he wanted to embarrass biden by getting a public announcement of an investigation of burisma, where his son worked. and he was willing to use $400 million in taxpayer mo tony get it and now we know. now the only question is, does anyone care? i mean, do the republicans care? does it matter to them that this corrupt enterprise is now proved clearly by the testimony and by these e-mails? that i have no idea about. but whether it took place is
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settled. >> and, wompl, it's interesting that, the two key points out of ambassador sondland, the president ordered it and everybody knew. so republicans have spent the first part of this impeachment proceeding saying, you don't know what the president knew. you don't know what the big picture actually was. you're just saying what your beliefs were. well, there it is. what are you going to do about that? >> he says the president ordered, the vice president knew, the secretary of state knew, the acting white house chief of staff knew. they all were in on this, on this so-called quid pro quo. >> i would quote from a gop law make their morning on fox news, mike turn early. he said the following, under those who actually speak to the president and the united states and spoke to the ukrainians, unless they tie this to the president of the united states, they have fallen short, talk about the democrats. that's a gopp setting testimony. intend gloria said used the words directed by the president multiple times in this and not
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that sondland believed that, as you noted that everybody in government knew there was no secret to this. so that standard has been met. the other thing i would note is to jeffrey's point, you know, laying bear what happened here. he was challenged. sondland was challenged on david holmes' charactervation with the president. sondland saying the president doesn't i'll institute dam since my kids home from school might be watching. he doesn't care about ukraine, he may be worried about himself. >> hold on a second, the chairman is speaking to reporters. >> i think today's testimony is among the most significant evidence to date and what we have just heard from ambassador sondland is that the knowledge of this scheme, this conditioning of the white house meeting of the security assistance to get the deliver the president wanted these two political conditions would help his campaign was a bake quid pro
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quo. it was the conditioning of official acts or something of great value to the president, these political investigations. it goes right to the heart of the issue of bribery as well as other potential high crimes or misdemeanors. but we also have heard for the first time that knowledge of this scheme was pervasive. the secretary of state was aware of it. the acting chief of staff mulvaney was aware of it. okay, at the very top, donald trump, through his personal lawyer and others was implementing it and so this i think only goes to underscore just how significant the president's obstruction of this investigation has been. we now can see the veneer has been torn away, just why secretary pompeo and president donald trump do not want any of these documents provided to congress, because apparently they show as ambassador sondland has testified that the knowledge
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of this scheme to condition official acts, a white house meeting and $400 million in security assistance to an ally at war with russia was conditioned on political favors the president wanted for his re-election. so i think a very important moment in the history of this inquiry. . >> this is a moment that, of course, a lot of us anticipated getting the advance copy of ambassador sondland's statement, but i can't emphasize how explosive this is right now. i wonder what you think? >> i think it was a huge inflexion point. we were speculating between 7:00 andt:00 a.m., what would sondland say. someone said a good lawyer might tell his client in this position, don't testify at all. take the fifth amendment. we'd be in a very position talking about the nature of
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impeachment and how it's going if he had taken the fifth. he decided to say a lot of things that maybe he didn't have to say. there are some work the republicans can do with him, because he's a problematic witness. i don't think he's as transparent and straight forward. he's changed his testimony. he's remembered things he didn't before. tried a little at the end do protect the president, a little bit. overall, essential lip, systematically, ambassador sondland exploded all of the defenses you expected the republicans to have met. sondland and company were acting as rogues. he comes with chapter and verse receipts as they say saying how many were in the loop. another talking point on the defense side has been well the ukrainians, i don't think it's a good one, it's been made. the ukrainians didn't know there was a shakedown going on. ambassador sondland just told the world that the ukrainians did know, you know how they knew, i told them there was a linkage. i can go on. everything the republicans said in defense of the republicans he wrecked. >> he also says vice president
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pence knew, who have been very squirrely about answering these questions here. it was completely devastating for the white house. >> and when you look at two channels, an official diplomatic channel and he, sondland is not an experienced diplomat. he is working with the experienced diplomats. then we learned there is a separate channel. it's the one that matters, it's the president, rudy guiliani and appears to be mike pompeo, that they are working together independent of the experts on ukraine and that it really is more top down. this is what trump cares about. he doesn't care about ukraine. he cares about did they interfere in 2016 and sabotage him? and let's go after bidens. >> let's bring in john dooevenlt he knows about impeachment by key testimony. give me your reaction. how explosive what we heard today? >> very explosive. it's really nice to see somebody who is putting country over party. somebody who is willing to come forward, fill in the details. there might be reluctance still in what he is saying.
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he is putting together a lot of pieces that are vital to understand this story. >> because a lot of us remember. i'll play the clip. you tell me if you think there are any parallels to your testimony back during the richard mixon impeachment process. listen to this. >> i began by telling the president that there was a cancer growing on the presidency. and if the cancer was not removed, the president, himself, would be killed by it. i also told him that it was important that this cancer be removed immediately. >> so what dujs? >> that was about seven hours into my testimony. there are some parallels. as i say, he is not a man who appears willing to lie for his colleagues. he is a man that appears to be really believe in the post he is serving in. and he wants to do the right thing and he's not going to be influenced by the pressure of the president. so. >> he looks like he took while to come around.
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>> he the i'd. >> he still has not been asked the question, i don't think, why did you say that the president was very clear there is no quid pro quo? on the one hand, he's problematic for the democrats because he has this inconsistent testimony. on the other hand, he has some bullet proof protection. and that is the president has said nice things about him. the president looks like he has a relationship with the guy. when asked the question, you know, did you say, did you use that terminology and say zelensky loves your ass. he says that's sounds like something i would say. he went on to say the president and i used four-letter words all the time, suggesting there is a real relationship there. >> jeffrey toobin i want you to weigh in on this as well. if you go back to the president's tweet. this is the president tweeting october 8th. i would love to send ambassador sondland to test unfortunately, he would be testifying upon a compromised kangaroo courts and
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republicans and true facts are not out for the public to see. sondland's few reports stated quote i believe ruin correct about president trump's intentions, the president has been crystal clear no quid pro quos of any kind, closed quote. >> that says it all. that was the president on october 8th. >> it's almost like president trump will have to change his position, you think that's ever happened before in do you think it's like without precedent? he's just going to say, i mean, the one thing he will say is that the text he sent of no quid pro quo was true then and is true now. i mean, he will cherry pick the parts of sondland's testimony that he agrees with, like that text message he sent to ambassador taylor. but you know anyone who followed sondland's testimony, we don't know, knows that there is no possible explanation for this
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except for this quid pro quo. >> you think republicans will go after him for looking too good? sondland is trying to look a little too clean in all of there? >> he looks like he's not going to take the fall, he's not going to take the fall for donald trump. >> they will go after him because in his conversations with the president, the president doesn't say you have to get the -- you have to get the announcement in return. it's he says, talk to rudy. rudy says it. >> the u.s. that reminds you of michael cohen? it reminds you of michael cohen, he said, the president never says exactly what he wants, but you kind of understand it. and this reminds me very much of that. i think the reason that ambassador sondland's testimony has such gravity to it is precisely because he is a trump insider. he has the close relationship. that's why this testimony is
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credible. that's why he says when all of the information he's learned, it has become quote abundantly clear to everyone that there was a link and he's talking about the link between defense assistance and the announcement of investigations. >> that when he says it, he's not speaking from a partisan perspective, he's not speaking with any political motivations. this is not advantageous to him. he didn't want to be in this position. he liked this position of access and wheeling and dealing and traveling around the world. this is not where he wanted to be. but he has, it seems, told the truth and identified what actually -- >> john dean. >> i was going to say he was somewhat in the position i was in that he's had to put together two and two to get to four. he wasn't on the scene, didn't get briefed on all these things. he's also in the same position of being refused his own documents and notes. that's a problem i had.
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i'd made it much more difficult to compose the testimony. >> the distinction between this situation and john dean is john dean went to the president and said there is a cancer on the presidency. i think one of the things we're going to hear about sondland is that he didn't go to the president and say there was a big problem and nobody went to the president and said there was a big problem. >> but he does, again, they will aing to his proximity to the president. we've already heard that you heard pam bondi talking about him being a short-term ambassador. we know he added my job requires speaking with heads of state and senior government officials and the president almost every day. the president was not the initial testimony but he made a point of saying that under oath on television. >> manu raju is up on capitol hill. the chairman is about to reconvene this sex. quickly what are you hearing from republicans up here? >> well, republicans are not commenting yet. i tried to ask a question to a republican retiring, will herd of texas, someone who has broken from the president in the past.
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whether he had concerns or comments what he heard. he declined to comment. you heard adam schiff make some of the most striking comments he has made to date saying this goes right to the heart of their case the president may have committed bribery, done something to reach that threshold of high crimes and misdemeanors, impeachable thresholds. he says this is the most significant everyday to date that could reach that threshold. this is a clear sign from the democrats. they believe what they heard tying this military, this meeting, to this declaration from ukraine to investigate the president's political rivals is central to their case. they believe the president testified he did not tell him directly that aid was tied to this investigation, that all sides pointed to the president wanting that aid withheld and gordon sondland confirm that notion as well. >> that is enough for democrats to say, look, we have reached that point. we have gotten our case against this president.
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we're ready to move forward on impeachment. we're not there yet. actually making clear what they heard today is almost certainly enough to move forward with articles of impeachment. his comments very significant from the house intelligence committee as they close up the public hearings. over the next couple days, it's their time to ask questions, republicans are wavering whether they break through the president at all. >> devon nunes, the ranking member, the top republican. they're going to have 45 minutes, the republicans, devon nunes and his counsel. it will be fascinating to see how they respond. here comes ambassador sondland, gloria, back into the hearing room. >> you know i think sondland also explains what everybody in the administration was doing. they had this elephant in the room they had to deal with. by his explanation, they all wanted to get the aid to ukraine. they all wanted to set up the meeting with zelensky.
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what did they have to do? they had to get around the president of the united states and they had to get around rudy guiliani to do this. that's his reason for doing this. this is his explanation for it. whether people believe it or not is another question. it explains that we had to do this. he said based on the president's direction to use the phrase that he uses, we were faced with a choice. and the choice is clear. we could abandon our efforts or we could listen to rudy. >> the photographers are leaving. the chairman is about to reconvene this session very quickly,every, this is a turning point, right? >> absolutely, lots of luck cross examining. >> here we go. >> i now recognize member nunes minority counsel for 45 minutes of questions. >> thank you, gentleman, for those of you watching at home, that was not a bathroom break, that was actually a chance for the democrats to go out and hold a press conference, ambassador,
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for all the supposed bombshells that were in your opening testimony. i want to get back to the facts of the matter here. and the thing that the democrats have been unwilling to accept is that their operatives got campaign dirt ukranians in the 2016 election. now, they know it. they know it's true. because we have financial records that show it. so they were, the democrats were heavily involved working with ukrainians to dirty up the trump campaign in 2016. so ambassador, i want to go through a few of the incidents that we know. i know you may not know all about them. you may know about them now. but i want to walk through some of those examples of why the president may be very upset with ukraine and think that their country that's out to get him as i think both you've said that and ambassador volker have said
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that from that may 23rd meeting. the first question i have is, were you aware of the anti-trump efforts by dnc operative alexander chalupa? >> i am not aware of it. >> is in 2017, there is a 2017 article that also quotes a ukrainian parliamentarian art demenco saying, quote, it was clear that they were supporting, meaning ukraine, supporting hillary clinton's candidacy and they did everything from organizing meetings with the clinton team to publicly supporting her to criticizing trump. i think that they simply didn't meet with the trump campaign because they thought hillary would win. the you know that ukrainian official by any chance stated there? >> i don't. >> were you aware the ukrainian
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ambassador to the u.s. chalet wrote an op-ed on the hill during the 2016 presidential campaign criticizing then candidate trump? >> not aware. >> but you know that now after the last few months? >> correct. >> so probably one of the more disturbing ones is the ukraine internal affairs minister ivakov mocked and disparaged president trump on facebook and twitter? were you aware that sergei leschchenko a parliamentarian said part of spreading the information about the black ledger, a disputed document to reveal corruption by a former trump campaign official was to undermine the trump candidacy? >> i wasn't aware. >> so you may be familiar the black ledger was used in the 2016 election to dirty up a campaign associate and later muller didn't use that as evidence in his report on
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election meddling. so knowing all these facts from high ranking ukrainian officials, ambassador, probably makes a little more sense now as to why the president may think that there's problems with ukraine and that ukraine was out to get him? is that correct? >> i understand your -- i understand your pointed, yes, mr. chairman. >> as you said if your deposition, and i'm just going to make sure this was your, i'll read it back to you. on page 279 for your legal team, quote, they are all corrupt. this is your -- this is what you said about your conversation with the president. so this is your words about what the president told you. >> this is the may 23rd meeting? >> that's correct. >> they are all corrupt. they are all terrible people and you know i don't want to spend any time with that. and you also said they tried to
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take me down. >> that's correct. >> tried to take him down. i think any logical person that wants to do two plus two equals four games would say that that was in the 2016 election. wasn't it? >> i believe that's what he was referring to, yes, ranking member. >> so, during all of this time, remember, in the spring, the democrat's russia hoax witch hunt is still ongoing. they're still claiming that president trump is a russian agent. they're out to get -- they're out to get president trump at the time. his personal attorney is then interested in trying to figure out, who are these ukrainians that are trying to get to my candidate? as those of us, the republicans on this committee, who are also trying to get to the bottom of who were the sources in the steel dossier that the democrats had paid for? the house republicans wanted to know that all through the spring
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and even the summer of and even as of today, we'd still like to know, that's why we've suspended the dnc operatives that they refuse to subpoena. we sent a letter this morning. i doubt we'll see those suspense. we want to know exactly, get to the bottom of exactly who were these democratic operatives that were dirtying up the trump campaign in 2016. they just can't get over that the president would send his personal attorney over there, to try to get to the bottom of that and ambassador, you had very few dealings with rudy guiliani, a few text messages. >> a few text messages and a few phone calls. >> all right. so, the whistleblower trying to put together here with their time line, they seem to have a time line problem, because the whistleblower that only they know who they won't subpoena, who clearly mr. vindman knows who they blocked testimony yesterday from, would not allow mr. vindman to answer our
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questions, that whistleblower says on july 25th that there were all these promises being made. yet, the -- i forget what they call it, the drug deal that the three amigos were cooking up seems to be their latest. are you a part of the three amigos in the drug deal, ambassador, were you aware of any drug deal on july 25th when the phone call actually occurred? >> i don't know about any drug deal. >> right. >> and did you know you are a part of the three amigos? >> i am. i'm a proud part of the three amigos. >> that's the same thing ambassador volker said yesterday, by the time the phone call supposedly the whistleblower claims was the original quid pro quo has now got down to we're now a month later where you're involved and their quid pro quo has gotten down to, down to the low level
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of, well, they want a statement and up didn't even know about anything to do with on july 25ing, you knew nothing about military aid being with held? >> i knew military aid was withheld beginning i believe on july 18th when ambassador taylor told both of us that that was the case. >> but on july -- but you don't know about, you were not on the july 25th call? >> i was not. >> where the aid doesn't come up at all? >> again, i just read the readout when everyone else did. >> everybody has testified it was on the july 25th call, that there was no aid discussed on the july 25th call. so then you're in the process, have you no idea that this is tied to burisma or anybody else. you say you don't realize that until the end of august. >> i didn't realize that aid was tied. the burisma in 2016 piece was
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much earlier, ranking member. >> i'm glad you bring up burisma. because there was another issue the democrats don't want to go into. they refuse to call in hunter biden. hunter biden can get to the bottom of all of this he can come in and talk about whether or not it was appropriate for him to receive over $50,000 a month while his dad was vice president. and when they actually were able stop and get an investigator fired, they could call in hunter biden. but they don't want to do it. will it's talk about burisma, ambassador. i know you are the ambassador to the eu. i think some of the members later will get into wlfs it was appropriate for you to be in ukraine or not. i believe it was. i think you have a clear mandate to do it. but you wouldn't be the first ambassador to actually be interested in burisma. did you know that in september 2015 then ambassador to ukraine jeffrey piat publicly called for
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an investigation into zelensky, the president of burst marks this was the ukrainian ambassador appointed by president obama in ukraine. >> i wasn't aware of that. no. >> you were not aware of it? >> no. >> so you would not be the first one to be mentioning that investigations should be done on burisma, because it happened during the obama administration? did you know that financial records showed burisma routed more than $3 million to the american accounts tied to hunter biden? >> i did not know that. >> did you know that burisma's american lawyers tried to secure a meeting with the new state prosecutor the same day as his pred saysor, victor chokin who the vice president wanted fired was announced. >> i did not know that. >> we won't get the answers
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because the witnesses that need to come in and clarify what the democrats were doing if 2016, we're not going to be able to visit with those witnesses. and so, it's an inconvenient truth that the democrats don't want to admit their operatives that were dirtying up the trump campaign, using ukrainian sources in 2016 and they do not want us to get to the bottom of it. they don't want you, ambassador, to get to the bottom of it. they don't want the president's personal attorney, even though he's under a special counsel investigation, that they fed into the fbi, that we've dealt with for over three years, they don't want to get to the bottom of that, ambassador. i think mr. castor has some questions for. >> you thank you, mr. nunes. good morning, ambassador, how are you? >> good morning, mr. castor. >> welcome back. are you here all day on the 17th, late into the night. so thank you for your cooperation with the investigation.
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did the president ever tell you personally about any pre conditions for anything? >> no. >> okay. so the president never told you about any pre conditions for aid to be released? >> no the president 97 tonever you about pre conditions for a white house meeting? . >> personally, no. >> you said you didn't have your records or documents in the state department, but if you did, there wouldn't be any document or record that ties president trump personally to any of this. correct? >> i don't want to speculate what would be -- >> your documents or records? >> i don't recall anything like that. . no. >> good heavens. okay. you testified mr. guiliani's requests for a quid pro quo for the white house meeting, and you indicated that you believe that was, he was advancing president trump's interests, correct? >> my contact with mr. guiliani began as i said very late in the process after august 1st, when i
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was first introduced to him, by text from ambassador volker. so we had already begun those discussions i believe with the ukrainians prior to august 1st, so everything was being funneled through others, including mr. volker. >> okay. but you testified that mr. guiliani was expressing the desires of the president. correct? >> that's our understanding. yes. >> how did you know that? who told you? >> well, when the president says, talk to my personal attorney and then mr. guiliani as his personal attorney makes certain requests or demands, we assume it's coming from the president. i don't -- i'm not testifying that i heard the president tell mr. guiliani to tell us, so if that's your question. >> right. but in your deposition, the question was the may 23rd meeting when the president said go talk to rudy, you responded, he didn't even say go talk. he said talk to rudy.
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you subsequently said, he was sort of like, i don't want to talk about want this. so it wasn't an order or a direction to talk to mr. guiliani. correct? >> our conclusion and the conclusion of the three of us was that if we did not talk to rudy, nothing would move forward on ukraine. >> okay. then that was may 23rd. and then you never had any personal communications with guiliani until august. right? >> that's correct. >> and volker was handling, ambassador volker was -- >> volker, perry and others. >> okay. >> ambassador volker, you testified he's a professional diplomat, correct? >> yes, he is. >> and you said you had a great relationship with him? >> i do. yes. >> you said he was a very smart guy? >> yes. >> ambassador yovanovitch said he's a brilliant diplomat, in fact? do you agree with that? >> he's pretty smart. >> you stated he's one of those people i'd hand my wallet to? >> i would. >> and so did you hear his
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testimony yesterday? >> i did not. >> okay. because. >> i was busy getting ready for you. >> you didn't have any -- you didn't have any evidence of any of these pre conditions? and he was the one most engaged with the ukrainians, wasn't he? >> yes. >> okay. i mean you testified you know this was his full-time job, although he was doing it for free? >> he was the special envoy. >> you testified you came in and outt of the event, correct? >> that's correct. >> okay. in your deposition, we asked you about your communications with the president and we asked you whether there were so many that it would be impossible to chronicle and you said, no, it wasn't that many and we went down the path of building a list of communications you remember with the president. right? >> correct. >> we talked about may 23rd in the oval office. >> yes. >> you mentioned on july 25th before you went to ukraine, you
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called the president but there was no material information on the 25th call, correct? >> the not that i recall. >> okay. then the last friday mr. holmes came in and i guess his testimony refreshed your recollection? >> yeah. what refreshed my recollection was when he mentioned asap rocky, then all of a sudden it came back to me. >> and talking about president zelensky loving the president and so forth? is there well, the whole thing saturday of came back after he mentioned asap rocky. >> well, then the next time we tried to unpack this, the next time you talked to the president was on the telephone was september 9th, according to your deposition, right? >> i may have even spoken to him on september 6th, but again, i just don't have all the records, i wish i could get them. then i could answer your questions very easily. >> but on september 9th, at least in your deposition you were extremely clear. you called the president saying he was cranky that day, right?
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>> he seemed very cranky to me. >> you said in you no uncertain terms this is on the heels of the bill taylor correct, right? >> right. >> why don't you tell us, what did the president say to you on september 9th that you remember? >> well, who ready to the effect, i decided to ask the president the question in an open-ended fashion, because there were so many different scenarios floating around as to what was going on with ukraine. so rather than ask the president nine different questions, is it this, is it this, is it that? i just said, what do you want from you kra in? i may have even used a four-letter word. and he said, i want nothing. i want no quid pro quo. i just want zelensky to do the right thing, words that he ran under, to that effect. >> that gave me the impetus to respond to ambassador taylor with the text that i said to mr. goldman, it was not an artfully-written text. i should have been more specific, put it in quotes, something like that, but,
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basically, i wanted mr. taylor, ambassador taylor to pick up the bahama and take it from there. i had gone as far as as far as i could go. >> and you believe the president, correct? >> you know what, i'm not going to characterize whether you believed or didn't believe. i was just trying to convey what he said on the phone. >> okay. at that point in time the pause in the aid, it was paused for 55 days. there was a news article in politico on august 28th talking about it. so by that point in time, the president had been receiving calls from senators, he had been getting pressure no lift the aid. correct? >> that's what i understand, yes. >> i want to turn back to your opener on page 5. under -- when you talk about in the absence of any credible explanation for the suspension of aid, i later came to believe that the resumption of securiy
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aid would not occur until there was a public statement from ukraine committing to the investigations. correct? >> correct. >> and you acknowledge that this is speculation. right? >> it was a presumption. >> okay. but you -- it was a guess, in fact, i think you even said this morning? >> well, i want to say that it goes back to mr. goldman's point or chairman schiff's, two plus two equalled four in my mind at that point. >> okay. but you didn't have any everyday of that correct? >> other than the aid wasn't being released and we weren't getting anywhere with the ukrainians. >> did ambassador volker clue you in with that issue? this is a pretty high, a pretty serious conclusion you've reached without precise evidence. >> well, i sent that ema ill to secretary pompeo to set up a potential meeting between president trump and president zelensky in warsaw. and when i referred to the log
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jam, i referred to the log jam in a very inclusive way. everything was jammed up at that point. and secretary pompeo essentially gave me the green light to brief president zelensky about making those announcements. >> okay. we can turn to that. and then that was your e-mail dated, what date? >> do you have the page there? >> well, your e-mail to secretary pompeo was that august 11th? >> 16. >> august 22nd. >> okay. so you're asking secretary pompeo whether we should block time and -- is there any
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discussion of spec investigations? is there any discussion of biden or burisma or anything linking to aid in this e-mail that you sent to pompeo? secretary pompeo? >> the no, this was a proposed briefing that i was going to give president zelensky. and i was going to call president zelensky and ask him to say what is in this e-mail and i was asking essentially president pompeo's permission to do that. >> right. >> which he said yes. >> but at that point in time, we're talking about investigations into the or begins of the 2016 election. we're not talking about anything to do with joe biden? >> joe biden did not come up. >> okay. stepping back a page to your e-mail to the state department on august 11th, you e-mailed secretary pompeo and you say, heard non-negotiated statement from zelensky to be delivered
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for our review in a day or two. and the question i have here is that i mean that statement never was issued and, in fact, ambassador volker has testified that he didn't think it was a good idea and ultimately the ukrainians didn't think it was a good idea, so the statement never reached a finalized state. >> that's correct. >> but even if it had, it doesn't talk about bidens, burisma, or anything insidious, correct? >> well, the statement as i recall would have mentioned the 2016 election/dnc server and burisma. >> okay. >> it would not have mentioned the bidens. >> have you heard ambassador volker how he talks about what might be an investigation into burst pla? >> no. >> okay. i mean, he has said that if there were ukrainians engaged in violationles of ukrainian law, then the prosecutor general with the new administration ought to
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investigate that? did ambassador volker ever relate that to you? >> no. we just talked in generic terms about quote investigating burisma. >> but it had nothing to do with vice president wide season. >> i never heard vice president biden come up until very late in the game. >> when? >> i don't recall the exact date. but when it all sort of came together, maybe after the transcript of the july 25th call. i don't know. i don't know the exact date when i made the connection. >> okay. >> apparently, a lot of people did not make the connection. >> okay. i want to turn to the letter from senator johnson. he -- when these issues on the hold of the aid, he called the president. he called the president on august 31st, page 6 of his letter. senator johnson states or he writes, i asked him, the president, whether there is some kind of arrangement where ukraine would take some action and the hold would be lifted.
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without hesitation, president trump immediately denied such an arrangement existed. and senator johnson quotes, the president as saying, no and he prefaced it with a different word. no way. i would never do that. who told you that? i have, senator johnson says, i have accurately characterized the president's reaction as adamant, vehement and angry. senator johnson's telephone call with the president wasn't a public event. it was capturing a genuine moment with the president and he had at this point in time on august 31st he was adamant, vehement and angry that there was no connections to aid. there were no pre conditions. >> yeah, i had my meeting with senator johnson where again i had made the presumption that i had made to both mr. yermak and the e-mail i had sent to
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secretary pompeo and we were sort of rule nateing about -- ruminating what was going on. johnson said i will call president trump and find out. he obviously had that phone call. i wasn't involved in that phone call. >> okay. you had no reason to disbelieve that wasn't the way it went down, right? >> no reason to disbelieve josh johnson. >> now that you've had some time since your deposition and you've submitted an addendum related to the warsaw get-together with mr. yermak, as you sit here today, are we missing a lot of your communications with the president? >> i haven't had that many communications with the president and, in fact, a bunch of the call records that i have had access to just the short period of time on the call indicates i never got through, in other words, i was put on hold for one or two minutes and the call never connected. so i really can't give you an accurate count of how many
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conversations, plus, mr. castor, i've had pa lot of conversations with the president about completely unrelated matters that have nothing to do with ukraine. >> okay. so, but you don't think we're missing any material conversations you had with the president? >> i don't recall any material conversations today as i'm sitting here. >> or with rudy guiliani? >> yeah. my memory about the conversations with rudy guiliani whether they were direct, whether they were conference calls with ambassador volker or secretary perry is really vague without seeing the you know the call logs. >> are there any other key fact witnesses that would help us you know get to the bottom of whether there was any link to the aid? >> maybe brian mccormack, the chief of staff for secretary perry who was involved in and out as well. >> okay. now, the aid was ultimately
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listed on september 11th. correct? >> i believe that's correct. >> okay. senator johnson in his letter on page 6 quotes the president on august 31st, ron, i understand your position. we're reviewing it now. and you will probably like my final decision. so eventhon august 31st and this is before any congressional investigation started, the president was signaling to senator johnson that he was going to lift the aid. >> it sound like it, yes. >> okay. most of the other witnesses from the department of defense or omb or you know have told us all along during this 55-day period, they genuinely believed the hold would be lifted. was that your feeling too, at the time? >> i didn't know because every time i asked about the hold, i was never given a straight answer as to why it had been put
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in place to begin with. >> now, what do you know about the ukrainian's knowledge of the hold? >> oh, that's very vague. i don't know if the politico article triggered it. i don't know if they were told by mr. guiliani. it would be pure you know guesswork on my part, speculation. i don't know. >> the okay. during your deposition, you testified that you did not believe the ukrainians believe the -- were aware of the hold until the politico article? >> yeah. again, i think i testified that i was not clear on the exact dates of when these things, when the light went on. there were a lot of conversations going on with the ukrainians by a lot of people. so i don't know who communicated what to them. >> we have testimony from several witnesses that the president was concerned about foreign aid, generally, so he had an appetite to put holds on aid because he was trying to be
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a good stewart of the taxpayer dollars. do you agree with that? >> i'm aware that that's been his position on aid and other matters, yes. >> and are you aware that he was also interested in better understanding the contributions of our european allies? >> that i'm definitely aware of. >> and there was some back and forth between the state department officials trying to better understand that information for the president? >> yes. that's correct. >> and how do you know that wasn't the reason for the hold? >> i don't. >> but, yet, you speculate that there was, you know, a link to this announcement? >> i presumed it, yes. >> okay. >> i want to turn quickly to the july 10th meeting. the july 10th meeting, in ambassador bolton's office, involving ambassador volker,
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mr. danyluk, mr. yermak, has been the ambassador volker yesterday testified that it wasn't until the end of the meeting, mr. danyluk he said was going through some real detailed information about some of thein >> i'm not going to dispute ambassador volker's recollection particularly if he had notes. i know that the desire to have the 2016 election dnc server and burisma were already being discussed by then. again, i had no direct contact with mr. giuliani on july 10th but through ambassador volker. and i probably mentioned that this needs to happen in order to
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move the process forward. that seemed to be the conventional wisdom at the time. i don't recall any abrupt ending of the meeting or people storming out or anything like that. that would have been very memorable if someone had stormed out of a meeting based on something i said. >> nobody accused you at that point in time of being involved with some sort of drug deal? >> no. >> did dr. hill relate to you her concerns about you being involved in a drug deal? >> never. >> so you were surprised when testimony emerged that she thought there was a drug deal going on? >> i was shocked. >> in fact, after the meeting you went out and you took a picture, right? >> yeah. ambassador bolton or his assistant indicated that he was out of time, that he had another meeting to attend. we all walked out of the white house. everyone was smiling, everyone was happy and we took a picture on the lawn on a nice sunny day.
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>> did you retire to the ward room? >> i think secretary perry asked to use the ward room to continue the conversation. the real subject that was under debate -- and i wasn't an angry debate -- should the call from president trump to president zelensky be made prior to the parliamentary elections in ukraine or after the parliamentary elections. and there was good reason for both. we felt, ambassador perry, ambassador volker and i felt it would help president zelensky to have president trump speak to him prior to the elections because it would give president zelensky more credibility and ultimately he would do better with his people in the parliamentary elections. others i believe pushed back and said, no, it's not appropriate to do before, it should be done after. and ultimately it was done
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after. >> there's no mention of vice president biden in the ward room? >> not that i remember. >> or any specific investigation? >> just the generic investigations. >> when, again, did the vice president biden nexus come to your attention? >> very late. again, i can't recall the exact date the light bulb went on. it could have been as late as once the transcript was out, but it was always burisma to me and i didn't know about the connection between burisma and biden. >> to the best of your knowledge, you never understood anyone was asking ukrainians to investigate u.s. persons, correct? >> ukrainians to investigate u.s. persons? >> right. >> no. >> okay. >> no. >> just to sort of be clear here, ultimately the aid was lifted on september 11th.
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there was never any announcement by the ukrainians about any investigations they were going to do, correct? >> correct. >> the ukrainians never to your knowledge started any of these investigations, correct? >> not to my knowledge. >> and consequently these allegations that this was a quid pro quo that had to be enforced before the aid was released, that never came to fruition, right? >> i don't believe so. >> i want to just step back a little bit and just verify with you that the president had some genuinely deep seated concerns about corruption in ukraine, correct? >> that's what he expressed to
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us. >> you believed him? >> when we had the conversation, i did. >> you started discussing the concerns the president had with corruption, burisma wasn't the only company that was mentioned, right? >> it was a generic -- as i think i testified to chairman schiff, it was a generic corruption, oligarchs, just bad stuff going on in ukraine. >> but other companies came up, didn't they? >> i don't know if they were mentioned specifically. it might have been nafta gas because we were working on another issue with nafta gas, so that might have been one of them. >> at one point in your deposition you said nafta gas comes up at every conversation. is that fair? >> probably. >> okay. y i guess dr. hill at one point
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attributed to you the terminology that the president has given you a large remit. are you familiar with that assertion? >> i didn't understand what she was talking about. >> okay. but you have and we got into this a little bit in your deposition. you know, you said that the president gave you a special assignment with regard to ukraine, correct? >> well, when the president appointed me as the u.s. ambassador to the european union, ukrainian was part of my port fo portfolio. the unique circumstances where there was no current sitting ambassador in ukraine and there was a new president in ukraine. the discussions that we had, the three amigos, perry, volker and i, was that ukraine needed extraordinary, as high level support as it could get from the
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united states during this period, which we cleared with both ambassador bolton and with chief of staff mulvaney to continue working on it. by extension, yes, if the national security advisor and the chief of staff approve your remit, it really is coming from the president. >> when we asked you that at the deposition, you said i was spinning a little bit. >> i was spinning about something else, i think in the interview in kiev. >> you further testified, so when i said the president gave me an assignment, it wasn't really the president, it was a secretary through the president. that's where i received my direction. correct? >> correct. >> okay. did ambassador taylor ever bring any concerns to your attention about the so-called channel he dubbed irregular? >> no. in fact, the opposite.
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when he came to post, i know i called him or he called me. i think he spoke with secretary perry and ambassador volker separately. in the course of the first few weeks he was highly appreciative that a new ambassador coming to post like himself was getting the kind of support he was getting from all three of us, having a cabinet member, a special envoy and a fellow ambassador all helping to raise the profile of ukraine. he was highly appreciative and highly complimentary. >> you maintained an open line with him, correct? >> correct. i think there are a number of texts, some of which i have and some of which i don't, where he is reaching out constantly to me and to the others for advice and help. >> we tried to count them up. there's 215 or something text messages between you, volker and ambassador taylor, you know,
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during the early august time frame. does that make sense to you? >> yeah. i think taylor started in late june or early july was when he first took post. and i think we began communicating fairly shortly thereafter. >> he never communicated any concerns to you during this time frame that he had issues with what was going on? >> what do you mean by what was going on? >> this request for some sort of investigation. >> not in the early stages. you know, as time went on, his e-mails began to be a little more pointed and frantic. and that's when we had very little visibility as to what was going on either. i think it had more to do with the aid and why the aid was suspended. >> right. and ultimately you put a period on that issue by having the september 9th communication with the president, is that correct?
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>> that is correct. >> when you shared that feedback with ambassador taylor, was he satisfied the issue was behind him? >> i never knew whether he reached out to the secretary or not. >> at one point in your 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 text when you can talk about it on the telephone, correct? >> i say that to everybody when something becomes more substantive than just a few lines of text, i say let's talk. >> did you talk with ambassador taylor? >> i can't recall. i basically wanted to get the notion across that i've gone as far as i can go with this. you're the ambassador. you need to pick up the ball and run with it at this point. >> just getting back to the irregular channel, did anyone else express any concerns to you about this so-called irregular
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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 advisor, 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. >> so the concerns raised were never brought to a head? >> well, they were never raised. 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
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drug cocktail or something. no one ever said that to me by phone, by text, by e-mail. 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 game to believe -- it was your speculation, it was your guess that the resumption of aid would not occur until the announcement of the investigations. you said at this point everyone knew this, is that correct? >> i think once that politico article broke, it started making the rounds that, you know, if
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you can't get a white house meeting without the statement, what makes you think you're going to get a $400 million check. again, that was my presumption. >> but you had no evidence to prove that, correct? >> that is 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 them. >> 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 -- when i asked in your deposition, we put together a list of all the times you said you don't recall, it's like two pages long. >> is that all? >> on a lot of these questions,
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i mean, there's nuance, ambiguities, we don't have records, we don't have notes and we don't have recollections, right? >> it's situational things that 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. as i said in my opening statement, a phone call for 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 a lifetime, a call like that might be very memorable. they might remember every single thing about it. i'm doing it all day long. it's part of my routine day. so all of these calls, these meetings with very important people tend to sort of blend
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together until i have someone that can show me what we discussed, what the subject was. then all of a sudden it comes back. >> we're trying to get to the facts here, what actually happened, what's reliable, what's accurate. bill taylor kept notes. he brought a little notebook in his pocket and he held it up and said when i'm at my desk i use this notebook. george kent said he roast enumerable memos to the file. we have all this back and forth but as we get to the end here, you don't have records, you don't have your notes because you didn't take notes. you don't have a lot of recollections. i mean, 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
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forthcoming as possible with you and the rest of the committee. as these recollections have been refreshed by subsequent testimony, by some texts and e-mails that i've now had access to, i think i filled in a lot of blanks. >> but a lot of it's speculation, a lot of it is your guess. we're talking about an impeachment of the president of the united states, so the evidence here ought to be pretty darn good. >> i've been very clear as to when i was presuming. and i was presuming on the aid. on the other things, mr. castor, 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 those texts were, you know, falsely sent or that there's some subterfuge there. >> we'll now move to a second
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staff 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 in 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 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 that for months and months notwithstanding everything rudy giuliani was saying on tv and
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all the discussion 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 investigating the company burisma as equivalent o toito i investigating biden. i saw them as being very different. in retrospect i should have seen that connection differently. had i done so, i would have raised my own objections. does that sum up your views as well? >> it does. >> now, i think you were asked a
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question with a bit of an incorrect premise by my colleagues in the minoritity 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 things they're talking about a literal drug deal here or a drug cocktail. the import, i think, of the ambassador's comments is quite clear that he believed that this quid pro quo, as you've described it, over a meeting, the investigations to get the meeting was not something he wanted to be a part of. what i want to ask you is he makes reference in that to a drug deal cooked up by you and
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mulvaney. it's the reference to mulvaney i want to ask you about. you've testified that mulvaney was aware of this quid pro quo, of this condition that the ukrainians had to meet, that is announcing these public investigations to get the white house meeting, is that right? >> yeah. a lot of people were aware of it. >> including mr. mulvaney? >> correct. >> 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
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equals four, is that right? >> again, i didn't know that the aid was conclusively tied. i was presuming. he was in a position to say yes, it was or no it wasn't. >> he said yes, it was. >> he said yes, it was. >> mr. goldman. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you again, ambassador sondland. we do appreciate your efforts to refresh your recollection through the documents and we understand -- we share your frustration in not having the documents to help guide this investigation. 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. 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 zelensky, yes. >> correct, yes. i want to show you an e-mail
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that you reference in your opening statement that is a july 19th e-mail. who is this from? >> looks like it's -- is it from me? i don't know. >> it's from you i believe. >> it's from me to the group. >> now, who is the group? >> people mentioned on the e-mail, blair, mccormack, kenny, pompeo. >> who's robert blair? >> i believe he's a deputy chief of staff or an advisor to the chief of staff. >> you've already told us that lisa kenna is the executive secretary for pompeo. who's brian mccormick? >> he was the chief of staff for secretary perry. >> then we see mr. mulvaney, secretary perry and secretary
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pompeo. can you read what you wrote on july 19th to this group, please? >> he is prepared to receive potus call, will assure him that he intends to run a fully transparent investigation, will turn over every stone. he would greatly appreciate a call prior to sunday so he can put out some media about a friendly and productive call, no details, prior to ukraine elections. >> 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 burisma and the 2016/dnc server investigations. >> later that evening, secretary perry responds just to you and brian mccormack saying mick just
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confirmed the call being set up tomorrow by nsc, rp. then a little later mr. mulvaney replies to all saying i asked nsc to set it up for tomorrow. were these the only responses you received to this e-mail? >> i don't know. if i have them, i would show them. i don't know. >> no one wrote back to you and said, what are you talking about 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 e-mail or a subsequent e-mail 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 next day july 20th to the 25th, right? >> that's right. >> but ambassador bolton is not on this e-mail, is he?
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>> i don't think he is, no. >> you were asked by mr. castor if there are any other key witnesses who might be able to help with our investigation. you mentioned brian mccormick, the chief of staff for secretary perry. >> i did. >> you are aware that the committee subpoenaed him? >> i was not aware of that. >> are you also aware that mr. mulvaney was subpoenaed by the committee and refused to testify. >> i did read that, yes. >> are you also aware that robert blair was subpoenaed and refused to come testify. >> i think i was aware of that. >> and that secretary perry was asked to testify and refused? >> i am aware of that. >> would you include them as well as secretary pompeo as key witnesses that would be able to provide some additional information on this inquiry? >> i think they would. >> now, this was not the first time, as you indicated, that mr.
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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 other my contact with mr. mulvaney. it was actually quite limited. >> he certainly indicated a familiarity with what you were talking about in this july 19th e-mail. >> right, because i think mr. mulvaney was in the may 23rd briefing with president trump. i don't remember because there were people sitting behind us that were coming and going when we were sitting in front of president trump's desk. >> you said you don't have a recollection of referencing mulvaney in the july 10th meeting at ambassador bolton's office, is that right? >> i don't recall. >> so when both fiona hill and colonel vindman testify that in
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response to a question from ukrainian officials at that july 10th meeting about scheduling a white house visit, that you said i spoke with mr. mulvaney and it will be scheduled after they announce these investigations. do you have any reason to dispute that characterization? >> i don't have any reason to agree or dispute. i don't remember. >> if they both remember it and spoke to the nsc legal advisor about it, you would trust that whatever they relayed to the nsc legal advisor would be an accurate reflection? >> i trust that they relayed it to the nsc legal advisor. i don't know whether i said it and i don't know which conversation -- again, i've had very, very limited conversations with mr. mulvaney. >> this e-mail indicates that you spoke to president zelensky and were relaying what he said to very senior officials, is that right? >> which e-mail?
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>> the july 19th e-mail where you say the subject is i talked to zelensky just now. >> yes. i've 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 get the phone call? >> i think that part was verbal and then there were a lot of communications going around back and forth with the ukrainians. that's when someone, and i don't remember who, came up with the idea of a draft statement so 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
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statement which was in august. this is july 19th before the july 25 th call. do you remember whether there was a need from any of the white 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, but that cndition was obviously dropped because the phone call took place and there was no such statement made. the phone call took place as you said on the 25th of july. >> when you say this was no such statement that took place, what do you mean? >> well, the ukrainians never made their public statement prior to the phone call on the 25th of july. >> but we're not talking about a public statement. what i was asking is whether president zelensky needed to relay to you or the other american officials that he would
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assure president trump that he would do these investigations in a phone call. >> in my e-mail i obviously had just spoken with him, he being zelensky, and he said that he was prepared to receive the call and he would make those assurances to president trump on that call, and then presumably that would then lead to the white house meeting. >> you had been discussing this phone call for several weeks now, is that right? >> yes, with volker, with perry, with giuliani through volker and perry. >> and then right after you sent this e-mail assuring the others that he will discuss the investigations and turn over every stone, the burisma and 2016 election investigations, mr. mulvaney responded that he asked to set up the call for the
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next day, is that right? >> that's what it says. >> now, let's go to that press statement that you were discussing in august. you testified, i believe, that you understood that rudy giuliani was representing the president's interests with regard to ukraine, is that right? >> that's what we all understood. >> who do you mean we all? >> secretary perry, ambassador volker, myself. >> in august you and ambassador volker were coordinating with andre yermak, the zelensky aide, about a press statement. i want to pull up some of the text exchanges that you are referring to which as you acknowledge helps you refresh your recollection. >> i think taylor was involved in those initial discussions as well. >> he's not on any of these text messages. perhaps he was. he does not remember that. but let's go to the first one on
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august 9th. there's an exchange between ambassador volker and you where you are discussing setting up -- we'll try to bring it up in a second. you're discussing trying to set up a white house meeting. here it is. and you say to morrison ready to get dates as soon as yermak confirms. ambassador volker says excellent, how did you sway him? you said not sure i did, i think potus really wants the deliverable. what did you mean there? >> the commitment to do the investigations. >> how did you know the 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
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records. >> going to the next exhibaugus 10th, this is between you and andre yermak. what did you say initially in this exchange? >> hello. good. no. that's yermak. how was your conversation? >> mr. yermak responds hello, good, 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 briefing announcing upcoming visit and outlining vision for the reboot of the u.s./ukraine relationship including burisma and election meddling and investigations. you respond got it. that was your understanding of what the statement had to say to satisfy giuliani, is that right? >> right. >> and to satisfy the potus deliverable? >> yes. >> the next day you write an
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e-mail to ulrich brektbull and lisa kenna. are you able to see that? >> yeah. >> what is the subject of the e-mail? >> 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. >> 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? >> president trump. >> and the invitation is what? >> to the white house meeting.
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>> lisa kenna responds gordon, i'll pass to s. s is secretary pompeo? >> correct. >> thank you, lisa. now, two days later you have a text exchange with ambassador volker again. this is at the end of it. 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. >> but you ultimately remembered that after your conversation with mr. giuliani you did pass along a statement 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
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acceptable language. >> ultimately that statement was not issued, was it? >> correct. >> and the white house meeting -- >> 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 is correct. >> you now know that the investigations the president wanted was an investigation into the bidens and an investigation into the 2016 election? >> i know that now, yes. >> i'm going to move ahead to august 22nd. you wrote an e-mail to secretary pompeo, directly to secretary pompeo ccing lisa kenna with the
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subject of zelensky. 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 in place mid september, zelensky should be able to move forward publicly and with confidence on those issues of importance to potus and to the u.s. hopefully that will break the log jam. >> 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 know 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
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let go. he was the poroshenko prosecutor. zelensky wanted to wait until his person was in place. >> so once that new prosecutor was in place, then 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 at this time that secretary pompeo had listened in to the july 25th phone call? >> i was not. >> if he had, do you believe that he would fully understand what the issues of importance to potus related to ukraine would be? >> i can't characterize his state of mind. he listened in on the phone call and he concluded what he concluded. >> now that you've read the phone call, it's quite clear what the issues of importance to potus are? >> yes. >> biden investigation and the 2016 election investigation, is that right?
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>> that is correct. >> then it says hopefully that will break the long jam. now, by this point you were aware that security assistance had been on hold for about 5 weeks, is that right? >> i became aware on the 18th of july. >> you understood that 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 inner agency, meaning the national security apparatus wanted to lift the hold and wanted the aid to go to ukraine? >> correct. >> what did you mean here when you said log jam? >> as i said to chairman schiff, i meant inclusively anything that was holding up moving forward on the meeting and the ukraine/u.s. relationship. >> what was holding that up? >> at that point it was the statements about burisma and the 2016 elections.
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>> but what was being held up? >> well, the aid was being held up, obviously. >> four days later you said in your opening statement that you sent 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 trip was, but i thought it was kind of an odd request given that the white house can pretty much get anyone's phone number they want. >> now, in this e-mail to secretary pompeo you reference a trip to warsaw. ultimately the vice president went on that trip? >> that is correct. >> and that was the conversation that you talked about, you testified earlier to where you said that we really need to get these investigations from ukraine in order to release the aid in the pre-meeting? >> that's right. >> and vice president pence just nodded? >> he heard what i said.
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>> and didn't respond in any way? >> i don't recall any substantive response. >> but you never specifically referenced the bidens or burisma in that meeting, did you chemical. >> i don't remember ever mentioning the bidens. i may have mentioned burisma. >> and that meeting was with a group. you were not alone with vice president pence? >> that's right. >> and you know that at that bilateral meeting with president zelensky i believe 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 that ukraine had to do the investigations.
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i think i said that we heard from mr. giuliani that that was the case. >> so that helped inform your presumption? >> correct. >> it wasn't really a presumption. you heard from mr. giuliani? >> i didn't hear from mr. giuliani about the aid. i heard about the burisma and 2016. >> 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. i want to go ahead to -- i want to go back on september 1st -- or 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 and potus. do you recall that? >> do you have the e-mail, by any chance? >> we could try to pull it up in
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a second. but you don't remember? i showed it to you this morning. >> yeah. go ahead with your questions. >> you confirmed that likely meant, as you said it did, that you spoke with president trump, is that right? >> again, if my e-mail said i spoke with president trump, presumably i did. >> you are relying pretty heavily in your testimony on the text and e-mails? >> that's right. >> if someone else had contemporaneous e-mails, notes, texts, you would presume that what they were saying is accurate, is that correct? >> texts or e-mails i would. but if they had notes, i don't know. >> 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
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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
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testimony base on his contemporaneous notes was incorrect? >> i don't know if i got that from president trump or 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 had president trump. you don't have any reason to dispute that? >> no. if they have notes and they recall that, i don't have reason to dispute it. i just can't remember where i got it from. >> you also told ambassador taylor in that same conversation that if president zelensky -- rather, you told president zelensky and andre 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 clear things up in mick or there would be a stalemate. you don't have any reason to dispute ambassador taylor's
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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. 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. >> 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
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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 to equal four and therefore you believed that 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.
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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 detailed notes. 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 just finish this line of questioning -- >> yeah. >> -- 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. 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.
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you don't have any reason 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. >> 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. >> the quid pro quo you were discussing was over the aid, correct? >> no. president trump when i asked him te 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 taye who, that he said he was adamant that
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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. chair. 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 it is, right? >> correct. >> so if you want to get to the bottom of foreign aid, you probably go to the people 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. >> you've had to testified that you presumed foreign aid was this or that and you're guessing
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this was tied to foreign aid. but there are people in this town who are in charge of the foreign aid. 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 capitol in a secret deposition in the basement last saturday. now, that testimony might be pretty important to you before you're here to testify if you could have read that, your lawyers could have went through that because it may have clarified some more things for you about your recollection about the foreign aid. earlier we heard about the -- we had the chair looking into the cameras telling the american people, talking about watergate with their watergate fantasies. i guess they fantasize about this at night and then they come here and talk about obstruction of justice because they're not
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giving you documents you think you should have. now they've head out thelaid our watergate argument or articles of impeachment. i just have to remind the gentleman -- i know we're not in a court of law because you wrote the rules, the chairman did, but i would think it's obstruction of justice to not give the american people, the ambassador the right to look at the transcript of the man who's in charge of the foreign aid in this town. now, i could get into what he said. the chair could release what he said. we're not even allowed to call that witness here today. let's talk about things we do know are facts. president trump does not like
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foreign aid to start with, is that correct, ambassador? >> i have heard that, yes. >> 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 is correct. >> especially nato, right? >> yes. >> when you go down the list of the jobs when you get directions from the white house when you first became ambassador, probably one of the number one things -- i don't want to put words in your mouth, but the top of the list was making sure countries pay their fair share, especially with nato. >> yeah. and we have a very capable ambassador to nato so i'm not going to take her lane. >> but you work with those countries, it's one of the issues you bring up in your meetings, correct? >> it is. >> i know you weren't on the
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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. he names germany directly, that they're not participating in helping out ukraine, who's one of their neighbors. is that what you read in the transcript? >> i have heard that, yes. >> so the whole idea that the president starting out with he doesn't like foreign aid, he doesn't think countries pay their fair share, that's looking out for the taxpayer. but there's more and 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?
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>> 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 am bobassador hern 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 steel 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.
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we're not going to hear about what the real reason the person who's 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 if i had a totality of the record. >> and would you trust the person who's in charge of cutting the checks for foreign aid, the top career diplomat or the top career official? >> i'd have no reason not to. >> 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.
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let me turn to -- i know mr. castor has some more questions. >> hello again, ambassador. >> hi. >> we'll try not to use all of this time as a courtesy to you. i just want to go through some distinctions between your opener and your deposition and some other witnesses. in your opening statement today, you said president trump directed us to talk with rudy, correct? >> correct. >> but then you and i had a little bit of a back and forth about the president just said, talk to rudy. i believe -- and correct me if i'm wrong -- you took that to mean if we want to move forward with these types of things, rudy was the place to go? >> rudy was the guy. >> 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 got to talk to. >> ambassador volker in his
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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 him referring to the ukrainian. ambassador volker hasn't testified that there's any sort of order or direction to 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. as i said in my opening statement, secretary perry took the lead and made the initial contact with rudy and that's when we began working with him. >> 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?
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>> yeah. i'm not going to dispute what i said in my deposition. that's true, yeah. >> we walked through all your communications with rudy giuliani and there are not a lot, right? >> 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. you know, granted mr. giuliani had business interests in ukraine, correct? >> now i understand he did. i didn't know that at the time. >> with parnas and fruman, correct? >> a lot of new names i have learned. >> you had never met with those folks? >> no. >> 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
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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. >> we're trying to say that there's a lot of important events that have happened that the committee's 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 e-mails from ambassador taylor. i had, 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. i was getting tired of going around in circles, frankly. so i made the call and i asked as i said the open-ended question what do you want from
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ukraine. that's when i got the answer. >> 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? that'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. >> this is an example -- you know, a lot of witnesses during the course of this investigation have dealt with ambiguities in different ways. 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 45
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minutes or something. it would have been an hour and a half. there are a lot of things. >> you only had a couple conversations with the president and we're trying to evaluate -- >> it was not purposeful, trust me. >> talking about striking conversations, mr. holmes when he came here last friday in the basement, i 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, enthu enthusiastic telling us about this conversation. >> not only did i buy him lunch, but i also provided entertainment? >> he conferred with us that he regaled anyone that he came across with this story.
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that's i guess a discussion for thursday. 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. he said something to the effect of the president's only interested in big things. mr. holmes said there's a lot of big things going on in ukrainian, there's a war, ukraine's under attack from the east by russia. he puts words in your mouth to the effect of, no, the president only cares about investigations like rudy is pitching about the bidens. what's important about this, this is the day after the 7/25 call. what's reported by mr. holmes and you to the extent you've
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confirmed it isn't anything different than happened on the 7/25 call, agreed? >> no. with 2020 hindsight now that we have 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, the burisma and you talked about a con ttinuum and you nev came to understand that to maybe as late as september 25th. >> i don't know the exact date but it was pretty halate. >> volker said the bidens never came up besides one breakfast meeting with the mayor. >> i think secretary perry
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publicly stated that he never heard biden either until the end. >> 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 september 25th, correct? >> i wasn't into investigating the bidens. >> it's surprising to you that 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
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express any concerns about the content of the call, right? >> i mean, all i heard about that call is 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. >> 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 of where i would have loved to have seen the notes 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. 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 by president zelensky of lamenting how he had to
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navigate this difficult situation, right? >> i know that was in the whistleblower complaint, something about navigating something. >> it was. >> i didn't remember anything like that. >> i want to get back to your -- >> gentleman yield? >> of course. >> which would be another helpful thing also ambassador is if we had actually heard from the whistleblower and we had testimony of the whistleblower. then you wouldn't have to be up here speculating and guessing because you would have a source that would have been interviewed. we have his complaint. we could match 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 layout for the last six weeks moving from quid pro quo to extortion to bribery to
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obstruction of justice and now back to quid pro quo. we wouldn't have had to do all that if the whistleblower would have testified. you wouldn't have to speculate about what the whistleblower only had in his or her complaint that nobody seems to know. i yield back to mr. castor. >> thank you mr. nunes. i want to turn to a couple times in your opener you said everyone was in the loop. i just want to -- you know, these televised proceedings, sometimes we lose track of things. 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
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aid would not occur. >> that's why i sent my e-mail. >> let's look at your e-mails. there's two e-mails you sent to the secretary, right? >> mm-hm. august 22nd. >> and august 11th. >> august 11th. >> we went through this before. i'm sorry to go through it ge again. you said curt and i negotiated a statement from z to be delivered in a day or two. the contents will hopefully make the boss happy enough. this is only relating to the white house meeting, correct?
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>> yes, i believe so. >> this is only -- this is just investigations generally making a public statement of openness generally, right? >> well, i think by august 11th, 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 counselor brektbull was briefed on all of these things. >> by who? by you? >> by i believe ambassador volker, by myself. >> that's not what he testified to. i mean, did you -- >> counselor brektbull testified? i didn't know he testified. >> no. ambassador volker. >> okay. >> he didn't testify that he briefed mr. brektbul. i mean this e-mail to the secretary is talking about this
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statement which -- you said kurt and i negotiated a statement and the statement -- >> didn't go anywhere. >> ambassador volker said it wasn't a good idea, mr. yermak said it wasn't a good idea. what you're writing to the secretary here relates to a generic openness subject, right? >> yeah. i think the secretary, though, was on the july 25th call, which obviously i wasn't on and i didn't know about. >> but you used this e-mail to suggest that everyone was in the loop, like security secretary assistance was tied to some act by the ukrainians. >> no, no. i don't think i said that the assistance was involved here. >> so what was everyone in the loop about then? >> well, the secretary was in the loop that we had negotiated a statement. >> okay. >> i'm fairly comfortable that the secretary knows where the statement was at that point, in
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other words, the 2016 and burisma, and that lisa passed that along to him and kept him informed. >> so we can agree that at this point in time the secretary wasn't in the loop, that there was a conditionality on the security secretary assistance? >> hold on a second. are you asking about july 19th, exhibit 4? >> i was asking about your e-mail to the secretary on august 11th. >> oh. >> okay. >> well, on july 19th, which the secretary was on, i talked about fully transparent investigation and turn over every stone, and the secretary was on that. >> okay. but you testified at your deposition that on july 19th in this continuum you talked about, at that point in the continuum it was just a generic
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investigation, it wasn't anything involving -- >> i think it went -- again, i'm not trying to put words in anywhere. i think it went from the original generic from may 23rd when we left the oval office. we were talking about corruption and oligarchs until mr. giuliani started to become involved and then it transitioned into the burisma. >> you hadn't even talked to giuliani by that time. this is july 19th. >> will you allow him to finish his answers? >> of course. i apologize. >> we were communicating with mr. giuliani through secretary perry and through ambassador volker. i wasn't talking to mr. giuliani directly. >> okay. >> until after august 1st. >> as of july 19th, weren't we still on the generic part? >> i don't know. i believe by then we were talking about burisma and 2016, to be candid.
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>> but not biden? >> no, no, not biden. no. >> turning to your e-mail of august 11th -- >> got it. >> i'm sorry. we just dealt with that. august 22nd. that's page 23 of your opener. >> yeah. i got it. >> this is where you were requesting a pull-aside for the president. this is when the president -- >> he was still going to go. >> it was before the hurricane. >> right. >> i would ask zelensky to look him in the eye and tell him that once ukraine's new justice folks are in place, zelensky should be able to move forward publicly and with confidence on those issues of importance to the president and the united states. hopefully that will break the log jam. at this point in time the issues
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of importance to the president of the united states were what? >> the two investigations. >> but nothing to do with vice president biden, right? >> again, i didn't make the connection. >> i want to just pivot briefly to the president's concerns about foreign assistance. >> mm-hm. >> under secretary hale who will be with us later today testified that during this relevant time frame there was a real focus to reexamine all federal aid programs. are you aware of that interest of the president?
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>> i'm generally aware of the president's skepticism toward foreign aid and, you know, conditioning foreign aid on certain things. i'm generally aware of that, yes. >> and ambassador hale testified and his testimony has been public, almost a zero based concept that each assistance program and each country that receives the program be evaluated. the program made sense that we avoid nation building and that we not provide assistance to countries that are lost to us in terms of policy, whether it's because of corruption or, you know, another reason. is that something you were aware of at the time? >> generally, yes. >> okay. you're certainly aware that the president was concerned about the european allies' contributions to the region? >> exactly why i was involved. >> okay. as we get down to september
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11th -- you're advocating that the pause be lifted, correct? >> i personal didn't think the pause should have ever been put in place. >> as we get to september 11th and you're talking to senator johnson and so forth, you don't know with certainty that the genuine reason the president was implementing the pause wasn't because of his concerns about the allies or his concerns about foreign assistance generally or that he wasn't just trying to hold the aid as long as he could to see what he could -- what type of information he could get about those two subjects. >> fair enough. >> okay. i am really trying to finish up before my -- so i can yield some time back. do we have anything else? >> i have nothing else.
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>> thank you. i yield back. >> the gentleman yields back. >> we yield back the balance of our time. >> let's take a 30-minute recess to allow ambassador sondland to get a bite to eat. i think the members of the committee might like to get a bite to eat. then we will resume with member rounds of questioning of 5 minutes. if we could allow the witnesses to have the opportunity to leave the room first. >> mr. chairman, ambassador sondland had intended to fly back to brussels to resume his duties at the end of the day. so it would be a great convenience to us if we could have a shorter break now and resume with the members' questions and try and wrap up in time that he might be able to make his flight. >> i appreciate that counsel. we all have a busy schedule these days. the member round of questions
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should take i think slightly less than 2 hours so i think you should be good depending on the time of your flight, but we will endeavor to make the break as short as possible. if you'd like to excuse yourself from the room before the rest of the crowd. >> i'm jake tapper live in washington. you're watching cnn's special live coverage of a monumental and historic moment on what may turn out to be the worst day with the most damning evidence for president trump in the impeachment inquiry. it comes from the only witness so far in the house investigation who spoke directly to president trump. this is the u.s. ambassador to the european union, gordon sondland, who was a major trump donor and was appointed to his position by president trump on this day four of these public
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hearings. sondland directly implicated the president in directing the operation to pressure ukraine. sondland testifying that there very clearly was a quid pro quo. this was for a white house visit for the ukrainians in exchange for an announcement about an investigation into the company burisma and the bidens. now, sondland later said it became clear to him that the quid pro quo also, he presumed, was tied to the holdup of hundreds of millions of dollars in military aid that ukraine desperately needed. and what did the president want? he wanted an announcement of the investigation into the company burisma, which is the company hunter biden worked for and what even many of the president's supporters call a conspiracy theory that vice president biden did anything wrong as well as the election meddling by ukraine in the 2016 election also called a debunked conspiracy theory by trump officials.
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sondland named names today on everyone in his view who was involved with knowledge of a pressure campaign of a quid pro quo, of the meeting in exchange for the announced investigations starting with president trump as well as vice president pence, he says,secretary of state mike pompeo, sondland says, energy of state rick perry and mick mulvaney. sondland said multiple times, quote, everyone was in the loop, this was no secret, unquote. let's talk about all this with our experts. your reaction? >> i would quarrel with the idea this is the most consequential moment in the impeachment hearing. i would say this is the most consequential day of donald trump's presidency. here was the central figure in what even republicans at the beginning of this investigation said was improper at best,
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illegal at worst exchange of campaign dirt in return for taxpayer money. here you have the central figure in that exchange saying that donald trump, the president of the united states, orchestrated it from the beginning, supervised it, wanted it to happen and it was all done at his instigation. i don't think after this testimony there can be any doubt that this exchange took place, campaign dirt for taxpayer money and a meeting with the president. the question is what is the house of representatives and more specifically what is the republican party going to do about it. that i don't know. but did it happen? absolutely. >> this had a real feel of a kind of murder on the orient express to me that essentially everyone was in on it. sorry, everyone. the idea that everyone suddenly had this feigned ignorance.
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oh, did you mean burisma when you said biden. no, no, we all knew what the deal was here. what's fascinating is that he said look if i wanted to engage at all or be involved with ukraine, i knew who i had to play with. his name was rudy giuliani. and rudy giuliani was the one to demand the quid pro quo acting at the direction of the president of the united states. in one fell swoop you actually had gordon sondland arctticulat the very thing president zelensky felt which is if i wanted to get what i needed, i was going to have to pay to play in an inappropriate fashion. you saw the leverage in realtime of a quid pro quo at the microcosm level with gordon sondland, with giuliani and even at the greater level with the president of ukraine. it's all the same thing. what has been the method of trying to undermine it? i've heard crickets about being able to undermine the substance
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of that. >> so this has been called by some commentators a john dean moment. there is no person i can think of better qualified to weigh in on that than john dean. is he the john dean of this impeachment inquiry? >> i got a couple texts on that this morning. his statement, first of all, certainly caught the republicans off guard. they didn't pick away at just but a few little picky points. the thrust of his statement is good. his statement is not as voluminous as mine was. there's not as much misconduct being focused. it's a much more restricted. i testified for 8 hours, red a statement for 8 hours, then was a witness for 4 more days of pretty intense cross examination. i thought the cross examination
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was pretty soft here. yes, i think he's in that spirit. he wanted to tell the truth. he thought that telling the truth and letting it come out was more important than any political or presidential relationship. so it was a very -- i think jeff is right. it's a big day in this presidency, because the truth has come out about it. >> and there are two things here that the ukrainians want. one was a white house meeting and the other one was this 400 mlt million in military aid. sondland says unequivocally there was a quid pro quo. he's presuming the same is true for the military aid. but isn't the fact that he's saying, yes, this is a quid pro quo, fairly damning? >> i think we already knew this. i don't know that the facts here have ever been in question. i think the only question is what was the chain of command of getting all this put together. the most important thing the
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republicans extracted from sondland from their perspective would be no one told me the aid was tied to anything, i was presuming it was. then he sort of drops in juli giulia giuliani. as i was watching this today, i was wondering -- and obviously trump came out and distanced himself from sondland a little today. when is he going to distance himself from giuliani? if sondland and the rest of these folks are going to drop in giuliani on this, i don't know how long the president is going to want to stick with that person. >> i wouldn't hold your breath. >> how can you say that the quid pro quo has been known and established when 20 minutes ago the president of the united states just walked out and made a statement and said, obviously there was no quid pro quo. i mean, i think there was a quid pro quo. you do perhaps. but i mean, if the president of the united states who runs the republican party says that, you can bet that virtually all the members of congress are going to say that. >> one of the things that was
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striking to me talking about the john dean moment. you were a striking witness. i'm old enough to remember the testimony. what made it really powerful is when the tapes followed and we heard the president's own voice really indicting himself. the weakness here and there's no doubt that sondland has given some powerful testimony here. the weakness with it is that he is kind of hazy on his conversations with the president, said the president never told him that it was about the aid. it isn't really clear what conversations he had with him about the rest of it and i think by intention his recollection gets faulty whenever questions of the president and his conversations -- >> as a witness who talked to the president, you want to be very careful what you say. >> understood. >> i actually thought i had been taped. that's one of the reasons i found the system. >> my point is that is where republicans are going to go. >> they're going to draw this line between the quid pro quo for the meeting versus the aid.
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he specifically said no one told me the aid was tied to anything. >> except donald trump in the transcript. in the summary. >> and then in the phone call with sondland on the 26th. >> exactly. i understand that the republicans are looking for exculpatory stuff and you might say sondland said the president never told me directly x, y and z. but in the phone conversation with zelensky, the president said i'd like you to do me a favor, though, right after the conversation about the javelins. so if you didn't have that summary of the conversation, which the president says it himself, maybe they could make a better point about it. but i think that's very difficult given the president's own words. >> one of the things the republican lawyer steve castor seemed to think was very exculpatory was the same thing that gordon sondland had testified about behind closed doors which was on september
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9th -- september 9th, this is after the whistleblower has filed his complaint. so who knows what president trump knew at the time. september 9th when bill taylor, the acting ambassador in ukraine says this is crazy doing these investigations in exchange for the aid. sondland goes to president trump and trump, according to sondland, says i want nothing, i want no quid pro quo, i want zelensky to do the right thing. sondland says what does that mean? trump says i want him to do what he ran on. but here's the thing. this is why the democratic lawyer kept hitting on the fact that sondland is not a note taker, is that one of the note takers tim morrison who talked to sondland that day and is a loyal trump supporter says that what sondland told him that trump said was there was no quid pro quo but president zelensky must announce the opening of the investigations and he should want to do it. >> the president knows what he's doing when he has these conversations. this is not his first rodeo.
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maybe it is on this level and this scale, but this is how the president operates. talk to anybody who has known him, works with him currently and has known him for decades in his business. he doesn't say -- probably the closest he's ever gotten is will you do me a favor though, which is in the call summary. it's not how he operates but his expectation is clear. that is according to people who know him and very much like him. that is what the democrats obviously were trying to get to the bottom of. it is note worthy. tim morrison is a loyal trump supporter. the person we've been hearing from all day, gordon sondland, maybe he's somebody who's had a thirst for power, a thirst to be in government, a thirst to be a player, but he actually achieved that goal because of president trump. he is a trump appointee to a really important post. he has some cya going on here
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there's no question, but he's not a deep stater who has an ax to grind. the one thing i will say, though, on the republican side, it is easy for them to tell not just their base but if people are listening who are undecided about this that this is hearsay even though the president made clear what he wanted by his actions, he didn't actually say it or we don't have any proof of it. >> what happened today? what are voters going to need to walk away and know happened today? >> what sondland did today was guarantee the house of representatives is going to impeach the president of the united states. if you had any doubt that the democrats were going to blink at the last minute, that the democrats were going to say because of this witness we're not so sure, let's leave it to the voters. forget about that. they now have gordon sondland the central figure who says everyone was in the loop and everyone knew this is what we were doing and it came from the president and he told us to work
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through rudy. that's all the democrats need to go forward. will they get republican votes? as of today there's zero evidence of that, but the house is going to impeach the president of the united states. that is now certain. >> he's implicated all these other people. it's kind of laughable to hear nunes say we haven't heard from the whistleblower when there are people who are primary sources here who are not testifying. this doesn't seem to upset the republicans at all. >> he names president trump, vice president pence, secretary of state mike pompeo, energy secretary rick perry, mick mulvaney. i mean, there are a number of people. >> the republicans have had sort of a daily strategy because the facts are not on their side here. what i found very interesting is near the end of the cross examination mr. castor, the republican counsel, brought up on the record, did you know rudy giuliani had business interests
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in ukraine while he was doing all this. watch that as the beginning of an effort to say this was rudy not the president. >> do you think this will start to be blamed more on rudy giuliani? >> there's nowhere else to go. sondland is zrdropping him in. the president clearly won't take responsibility for it. >> but the president likes to say read the transcript. he says talk to rudy and he does the bidens. >> let's understand that rudy giuliani has a long relationship with the president. >> he has been untouchable because of that. they have been close for decades and decades. >> but if they throw rudy giuliani under the bus -- >> the republicans, they need something here. obviously sondland has come in -- nunes by the way was totally flat footed on his opening statement. >> he read an opening statement as if sondland was going to be
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supportive of president trump. they were caught flat footed this morning. >> they have to have something now and the only possible way to do this is to do what they should have done a month ago. that's to say having giuliani in the middle of this was a bad decision. >> rudy giuliani was a key figure in this. however, i think rudy giuliani would be much more important if this was purely a criminal context here. the focus of this is an impeachment inquiry on an abuse of power by the president of the united states, that there may be an outstanding or pending criminal action against giuliani, i'm sure that may be there if he'd like to be scapegoated not because he's innocent. whether or not there has been any fact in dispute that would undermine the allegation the president of the united states has abused his power, there's nothing there. >> you're talking law. he's talking politics. >> i'm talking logic.
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>> we're going to squeeze in a quick break. stand by. moments from now members of the committee are going to start to request questions of mr. sondland. what are you doing back there, junior? since we're obviously lost, i'm rescheduling my xfinity customer service appointment. ah, relax. i got this. which gps are you using anyway? a little something called instinct. been using it for years. yeah, that's what i'm afraid of. he knows exactly where we're going. my whole body is a compass. oh boy... the my account app makes today's xfinity customer service simple, easy, awesome. not my thing.
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hi. i'm jake tapper. you're watching cnn's special live coverage of what can only be described as an historic day in the presidency of president trump. it's all because of ambassador gordon sondland. in sweeping testimony today dating back to may, ambassador sondland implicated president trump and a slew of top administration officials, people in the president's inner circle including vice president pence, rudy giuliani, mike pompeo, mick mulvaney. sondland saying repeatedly, quote, everyone was in the hoop. so how is president trump reacting to this news? let's go to kaitlan collins at the white house. >> reporter: the president left the white house earlier. he came out to speak with reporters. he said he had been watching this testimony but he didn't talk about the fact that sondland testified that it was
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clear to him that the president was intent on having the ukrainians announce these investigations. instead the president decided to focus on another conversation that slands taondland talked ab. listen to how the president was talking about sondland's testimony. >> so he's going what do you want, what do you want, i hear all these theories, what do you want, right? now, here's my response that he gave, just gave. ready? you have the cameras rolling? i want nothing. that's what i want from ukraine. that's what i said. i want nothing. i said it twice. so he goes -- he asks me the question what do you want, i keep hearing all these things, what do you want. i don't know him very well. i have not spoken to him much. this is not a man i know well. seems like a nice guy, though. but i don't know him well. he was with other candidates. he actually supported other
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candidates, not me, came in late. but here's my response. now, if you weren't fake news, you'd cover it properly. i say to the ambassador in response, i want nothing, i want nothing, i want no quid pro quo. tell zelensky, president zelensky, to do the right thing. >> reporter: what you see there the president reading from this thick stack of papers but on top it was this notepad where the president had made some handwritten notes in black sharpie of that conversation with sondland. the president distancing himself from his ambassador to the european union, who is still the ambassador to the european union, someone the president hand picked who has donated $1 million to the president's inauguration and flew on air force one with the president. but there he said he did not know him well. >> also interest iing that
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national security council official tim morrison said what sondland relayed about that conversation and president trump did relay sondland's testimony accurately, but sondland told him, tim morrison, was that the president said there's no quid pro quo but zelensky needs to announce an investigation into burisma in 2016. vice president pence has also been named by gordon sondland as someone he voiced his concerns to about what he saw as a tying of the military aid along with the announcements of investigations into the bidens. how is he responding? >> he said he had that conversation with pence right before pence was scheduled to meet with the ukrainian president in poland earlier this year. now the vice president is denying this issuing a statement that reads in part, the vice president never had a conversation with gordon sondland about investigating the bidens, burisma or the conditional release of financial aid to ukraine based upon potential investigations,
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essentially denying what sondland alleged about this conversation he had. but he doesn't deny that statement that the vice president was aware that this is something that the president wanted, something the vice president himself has not denied either during an interview with cbs just last month. he was asked were you aware this was a situation that was happening? it's a question he would not answer despite multiple efforts. instead saying it was just something he personally had never brought up with the ukrainian president. >> dana bash, one of the things that's interesting about the vice president's statement there is that it's very specific and refutes a number of things that sondland never said. sondland testified that he didn't have a conversation or a discussion and he didn't have a private meeting. the vice president's office denied a private meeting.
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what sondland said is he went over and said i have concerns that the aid is tied to the investigations and that pence didn't say a word back, just nodded. >> i've read a lot of carefully worded statements in my life, as have you. this takes the cake. it's kind of remarkable. it's almost a work of art how a vice president's office put this out. exactly what you said, denying things he didn't allege in order to put distance between them and all of this chaos and also carefully saying things like, multiple witnesses have testified that he never raised hunter biden, former vice president joe biden, crowd strike, naming all of the word salad that goes with all of these controversies when he didn't say it. one thing i will say about the vice president through the 3 years almost of the trump presidency, he's like a prize fighter. he has been able to get around
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potential punches and blows to his reputation, to his credibility on instances that he could be in big trouble and this poses the biggest challenge. >> if you were going to ask the vice president a question, it wouldn't be a question form of that statement. it would just be were you aware of gordon sondland's concerns that there was some sort of linkage between the aid and investigations. they didn't answer that. >> no, they didn't answer that. pence had been asked about ukraine before. he's dodged it every single time, only saying what his conversation with the president of ukraine was, not what he was aware of inside the administration. if everybody else in the administration was aware of this including the secretary of
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state, you have to believe that vice president pence knew about it, although he seems to be in the middle of a lot of things that he's not aware of over the years. >> this does not say gordon sondland is wrong when he it was that we all knew about this and that was the policy. this does not say the president was not insisting. it says the vice president never brought it up in his meetings. so it protects the vice president. >> it lists a number of specific items where there's enough deniability if you just talk about corruption or investigations in general, there's a -- >> which is what sondland testified to. >> this is sort of a related question. >> yeah. >> of the lawyers. there's a suit pending as to whether bolton, mulvaney and others could be -- i guess mulvaney took himself out, but could be compelled to testify. doesn't what sondland testified today make it even more likely
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that that is going to resolve itself in terms of people testifying? >> this is the key strategic decision that the democrats have made, which is that unless we can get someone who agrees to testify without going to court, we're going to go without them. their view is that the very act of going to court is so slow, will take so long that it will interfere with the schedule that nancy pelosi has set for this impeachment and it's not worth it. i don't know that they're right. i think their legal position is pretty strong on trying to get testimony particularly from bolton, who doesn't even seem all that opposed to testifying, but he wants the cover of a court to do it. but the democrats are right that they are talking about not weeks but probably months of litigation and they're simply not willing to do it. >> ambassador sondland is back in the hearing room. while we're waiting for chairman
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schiff to gavel the meeting back open, i want to go back to this statement from gordon sondland. he says members of this committee have framed complicated issues in the form of a simple question was there a quid pro quo. the answer is yes. giuliani conveyed to us that president trump wanted a public statement from president zelensky committing to investigations of burisma and the 2016 election. we all understood that these prerequisites reflected president trump's desires and requirements. that's not the 400 million in military aid but that is you can have this official white house act if you do me this political favor. >> this is the essence and definition of a bribe, right. the notion that in order for me to perform an official act, in this case handing over the already appropriated congressional funds, you have to do something in return. when he answered the question at the bare bones argument, forget the sound bites, forget the
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semantics, at its bare bones did the president of the united states engage in behavior that amounted to abuse of power by virtue of a quid pro quo, yeah, he did. he answered that question. that was probably shocking for them to hear him, this person say it. >> there was a time during watergate -- we're going to listen in. >> we'll now proceed to the 5-minute member questioning. first i'll recognize myself for 5 minutes. i wanted to clarify something for the record. with respect to the witness who testified on saturday, that is mr. sandy, he is a career official with the office of management and budget. he is today reviewing his transcript, an opportunity we give all the witnesses before their transcript is released to make sure that it's accurate and correct. as his deposition was only taken on saturday, this was the
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soonest we could arrange that. we did inform the minority yesterday that if they wish to use any of the questioning from mr. sandy's deposition they could do so and we would happily take whatever excerpts they needed even prior to the witness having the chance to go through it. they chose not to take advantage of that opportunity. but i would make this far more significant point, which is he is not the top official at the office of management and budget responsible for releasing foreign assistance. those individuals are named vot and duffy. those political appointees have been subpoenaed to testify and both of those political appointees have refused. in fact, as the deposition will make clear when the transcript is released, at a certain point mr. sandy was taken out of at least one significant part of the process. but that transcript will be made available as soon as he finishes the review and we can redact any
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personal information from it. i want to ask you a few questions. with respect to the statement, you were going back -- by you and others, ambassador volker and others were going back and forth with ukrainians to figure out what statement they would have to make to get the meeting, correct? >> correct. >> they understood they would have to make that statement publicly in order to get the meeting? >> correct. >> similarly you testified that pretty much everyone could put two and two together and make four and thauunderstood that th military assistance was also conditioned on the public announcement of these two investigations, correct? >> that was my presumption. >> you put two and two together and got four, is that right? >> yes.
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>> now, you're capable of putting two and two together and so the are ukrainians. they could put two and two together as well. they understood there was a hold on security assistance. there's testimony that they understood that in july or august, but it was without a doubt understood when it was made public in the newspaper. they understood that the security assistance was being held up, right? >> i don't know when they understood it, but presumably they did. >> well, certainly once it was public, they understood the security assistance was withhold, right? >> once it was public, i assume so. >> that was one of the issues brought up in that meeting between zelensky and pence in warsaw? >> i think as i testified previously, chairman, i think zelensky if i recall asked the question more open ended like when do we get our money. >> okay. >> so they understood they
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didn't have the money. there was a hold on it. you couldn't give them any explanation. >> i could not. >> if they couldn't put two and two together, you put two and two together for them, because you told them in warsaw they were going to need to make that public statement likely to get that aid released. >> i said i presume that might have to be done in order to get the aid released. >> we've had a lot of argumentation here. if they wanted that aid they were going to have to make these statements, correct? >> correct. >> mr. nunes. >> i yield to mr. ratcliffe. >> ambassador sondland, i'm going to try and quickly move to summarize all of your direct
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communications with president trump as it relates this inquiry. correct me if i get it wrong. on may 23rd you had a group meeting that included what you called a vanilla request about ending corruption involving ukrainian oligarchs, correct? >> correct. >> on july 25th you called president trump to say you were on your way to ukraine but nothing of substance occurred on that call, correct? >> correct. >> on july 26th you had a 5-minute call in a restaurant that you didn't originally remember because it did not strike me as significant at the time, end quote. but once refreshed, recalled the primary purpose was a rapper named asap rocky, correct? >> correct. >> september 9th, reading from your deposition, you called president trump to ask him what do you want from ukraine. he responded i want nothing, i want no quid pro quo, i want zelensky to do the right thing, i want him to do what he ran on and what he ran on was fighting
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corruption, correct. >> correct. >> lastly on october 2nd in a random in-person meeting at an event for the finnish president, you ran into president trump and advised him that you'd been called to testify before congress and he said to you, good, go tell the truth. >> that is correct. >> that is the entirety of your recollection of your direct communications with president trump about these matters. >> i may have had another call or meeting or two. again, i wish i had the record. >> i understand but this is what you recall. >> this is what i recall. >> stop me if there's anything sinister or nefarious in any of this, a vanilla request about corruption, a cal yl you didn't remember as significant but the primary purpose was to discuss a rapper, a call where the president said i want nothing, i want no quid pro quo, i want zelensky to do the right thing, i want him to do what he ran on and him telling you to go tell congress the truth.
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anything sinister or nefarious about that? >> not the way you present it. >> that is the truth as you've presented it, correct? >> correct. >> none of that is hearsay, none of that is speculation, none of that is opinion. that is direct evidence. ultimately that is what, if this proceeds to the senate, they're going to care about, unlike this proceeding which has been based on largely speculation and presumption and opinion. this is direct testimony and direct evidence. to that point, none of that included evidence about the bidens and none of that included evidence about military assistance, because president trump never mentioned either of those to you, correct? >> that is correct. >> so going back to the july 26th call because it's going to be a spectacle tomorrow, you didn't remember it because it didn't strike you as significant at the time. is it fair to say if the president of the united states was asking you to do or say
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something improper or unlawful that would have been significant to you? >> yes. >> if that was part of bribery or extortion, you'd remember that? >> i was not a part and i would have remembered. >> i understand that. i agree with you. let's turn to the quid pro quo. it's been reported in the papers that this was blockbuster testimony today about quid pro quo and new evidence. to be fair to you, ambassador sondland, according to your statement today, as you say on page 14, as you testified previously this was your opinion that there was a quid pro quo, correct? >> the 2016 election and burisma in return for the white house meeting, right. >> so you've shared that before. to that point, to be clear again on the part of it that relates
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to military assistance, though, you don't have any direct evidence from president trump about that part of it? that's your two plus two part of the equation, right, the presumption, correct? >> correct. >> all right. you understand also that others disagree. yesterday we heard from mr. morrison, ambassador volker. they testified that they didn't see a quid pro quo. do you understand that? >> i understand that's what they said. >> that reasonable people could look at all this and come to different conclusions, correct? >> correct. >> i yield back. >> ambassador, a couple things jumped out at me in your testimony. in your opening statement you say mr. giuliani demanded that ukraine make a public statement announcing investigation into the 2016 election, dnc server and burisma. mr. giuliani was expressing the desires of the presidnt of the united states and we knew that these investigations were important to the president. that last sentence is
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interesting, no conditionality, no modifiers. mr. giuliani was expressing the desires of the president of the united states. mr. giuliani communicates in colorful and memorable terms. what did mr. giuliani say to you that caused you to say that he is expressing the desires of the president of the united states? >> when that was communicated that was before i was in touch with mr. giuliani and others. this all came from mr. volker and others. >> mr. volker told you he was expressing the desires of the president of the united states? >> correct. >> when you saw the transcript of the july 25th conversation with president zelensky, you put it all together this is the desire of the president of the united states? >> after i saw the july 25th, okay. >> interesting, the theme of your testimony today is that everybody be knew, and signed off, which is a little different from what we've heard.
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we've heard from others saying your effort was irregular, it was shadow foreign policy. characterized as a drug deal. not a democratic characterization despite what mr. nunes said, but the national security council saying it was a drug deal. you testified, it's in here the secretary of state was not only aware but that he applauded you. good ing away. the secretary of state would have been the one to put an end to it, and yet he did not. right? >> well, the secretary of state i think was taking into account the totality of what i'd been working on, you know, globally in saying you're doing a great job, including this. >> right. okay. aware of what you were doing and you're doing a great job includes this. >> yes. >> in some sense validating it rather than saying this was irregular, shadow or a drug deal? >> we never thought it was
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irregular. thought it was in the center lane. >> why do you think the secretary of state thought that? why did he think this was a worthy thing to do when so many senior people including the national security adviser thought it was a drug deal? >> i don't know. you'd have to ask him. >> to your knowledge did he have communications with the president about this? >> i have no knowledge of his communications with the president. >> okay. let me take you to the july 26th call we've talked a little about. you basically haven't disputed mr. holmes characterization in that report although perhaps the mention of biden you don't recall that. i'm actually confident we'll get a transcript of that call. a conversation in public between a high-profile ambassador and the president of the united states will be the top target not for one but many foreign intelligence, and because this information could be used to embarrass the president or leverage public officials, my
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guess we're going to see the transcript. our people are pretty good. if others have it we'll see this transcript. until then, all we've got is your recollection. and the testimony of the other people there. so i'm curious about your frame of mind. this statement, the -- ambassador sondland agreed that the president did not give a fig, not the word used, about ukraine. is that a statement you might make? do you believe that the president doesn't give a fig about ukraine? >> are you, congressman, referring to the call or referring to my conversation -- >> so mr. holmes recounts, read it to you. ambassador sondland agreed that the president did not give a fig about ukraine. fig was not the word used there. i'm asking whether it's plausible he might have heard that because i'm asking you whether you believe that the president does not give a fig about ukraine? >> i don't -- i think that's too
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strong. i think based on the may 23rd meeting, the president was down on ukraine for the reasons mentioned, and would need a lot of convincing and that's why we're pushing so hard for the meeting between the president and president zelensky, because we thought once the two of them would meet his impression of ukraine, stock about ukraine would go up. >> what about this line, and ambassador sondland replied that he meant quote/unquote big stuff that benefits the president? what you meant by big stuff? again, we don't have the transcript. i suspect we will. is that something you might say? do you believe that the president really considers big stuff to be that which benefits him? >> i don't recall saying benefits him. >> i understand that. not asking what you recall. is it plausible you might have said that because you believe, asking what you believe right now, that the president doesn't give a fig about ukraine and in fact cares about the big stuff that benefits the president?
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do you believe that now? >> i really can't -- i really can't opine. >> no asking for your opinions, asking for your beliefs. >> i want to answer your question. i just don't understand. >> let me try one more time. do you believe what is alleged you said on this phone call that the president cares primarily about stuff, the big stuff that benefits the president? is that a -- >> i don't believe the president said that on the phone call. i don't think the president said that to me on the phone call. >> i was talking about -- >> time of the gentleman. >> -- you -- >> you mentioned investigations. i don't know why -- >> time of the gentleman expired. mr. conway. >> thank you, chairman. yield six minutes to mr. jordan. >> i thank the gentleman for yeed i yielding. ambassador, when did it happen? >> when did what happen? >> the announcement.
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when did president zelensky announce the investigation would happen? you said was there a quid pro quo. today's opening statement. i testified previously, white house meeting, answer is, yes, needed to be a public statement from president zelensky. when the chairman asked you about the security assistance, you said needed to be a public announcement from zelensky. simple question, when did that happen? >> never did. >> never did. they got the call, july 25th. they got the meeting, not in the white house but in new york september 25th, the money september 11th. when did the meeting happen, again? >> never did. >> you don't know who was in the meeting? >> which meeting are you referring to? >> the meeting that never happened. high was in it? you know how people -- you know how zelensky announced it? tweet it, a press statement, a press conference? you know how that happened? the i mean, you got all three of them wrong. they get the call, they get the meeting they get the money.
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it's not two plus two it's 0 for 3. i mean, i've never seen anything like this and you told mr. castor that the president never told you that the announcement had to happen to get anything. in fact, you didn't just not tell you that, he explicitly said the opposite. the gentleman from texas just read it. you said to the president of the united states, what do you want from ukraine? the president, i want nothing. i want no quid pro quo. i want zelensky to do the right thing. i want him to do what he ran on. what did he run on, ambassador sondland? >> transparency. >> and dealing with corruption. right? >> that's right. >> mr. castor raised another important point. why didn't you put that statement in your opening statement? i think you said, you couldn't fit it in. is that right?
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we might be here -- 46 minutes instead of 45 minutes? >> it wasn't purposeful. trust me. >> it wasn't purposeful? couldn't fit it in a 23-page opener? the most important statement about the subject matter at hand the president united states in a direct conversation with you about the issue at hand and the president said, read radio it one more time. what do you want from ukraine, mr. president? i want nothing. i want no quid pro quo. i want this new guy, brand new guy in politics, his party just took over, i want zelensky to do the right thing. i want him to run on and do what he ran on which is deal with corruption. and you can't find the time to fit that in a 23-page opening statement? you know what a quid pro quo is? >> i do. >> this for that. right? looks to me like ukraine got that three times and there was no "this." we -- we didn't do anything. excuse me. they didn't have to do anything. i -- i've never seen anything
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like this, and this is -- this is -- when the call came out you all remember this? when the call came out, everyone said, we're going to quid pro quo. there's going to be -- that was what was in the call. of course, of course that didn't happen. that didn't happen. remember what the complaint said? remember what the memo said of the whistle-blower? this call was frightening. this call was scary. all of those things? none of that materialized. none of that materialized. i yield back. >> ms. sewell. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i'd like to dig a little deep of, this quid pro quo. did you not say in your opening statement and in previous testimony in closed door hearing that you thought there was a quid pro quo? >> i thought the quid pro quo was the white house visit in
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return for the 2016 dnc server and barisma investigation. >> so when you -- when you heard barisma you did not see that as code for biden? the bidens? >> i did not. >> when did you even know that? was it -- is your testimony that you only realized that barisma included the bidens when the readout came out in september, 25th? >> no. my testimony wasn't specific as to the date because i really don't recall the date. very late in the game, though. >> september? >> i don't recall the date. >> so if i told you that the legal definition of bribery was an event of offering, giving, soliciting or receiving of any item of value as a means of influencing an action of an individual holding a public or legal duty, do you believe that not only was it quid pro quo but it was bribery? >> i'm not a lawyer and i'm not going to characterize what something was or wasn't legally. >> you also said in your opening
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statement that secretary perry and yourself as well as ambassador volker worked with giuliani on the ukraine matter as, at express direction of the president. is that right? >> that's correct. >> you also go on to say that we did not want to work with giuliani. simply put, we played the hand that we were dealt. what did you mean by that and more importantly, what did you think would happen if you did not play that hand? >> i think what you're asking me is, well, you asked it. >> i did ask it. >> what would happen if we didn't. it was very fragile with ukraine at the time. there was no new ambassador. the old ambassador had left. there was a new president. we thought it was very, very important to shore up the relationship. >> in fact, you actually said, you go on to say, we all understood that if we refused to work with mr. giuliani we would
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lose an important opportunity to see relationships with the united states and ukraine. so, "we followed the president's orders." did you see it as directive? >> i saw it as the only pathway to moving forward on ukraine. >> so you would say that the efforts that mr. jl was undgiul undertaking became a part of the form's/u.s. policy? >> i can't opine on that. i can tell you the president wanted us to community kate wca mr. giuliani. >> you said the suggestiony were included in a rogue policy was absolutely false. in fact, what giuliani dwwas ok and proper. initially you thought what he was doing was not improper, right? >> we did not think it was wa improper and when i referred to i was not engaging in rogue diplomacy, that meant not have involved leadership of the state
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department and the white house. >> so you are saying everyone in the chain of command knew about giuliani's efforts to try to get the investigations into barisma and to -- you know, and -- i'm trying to figure out what you thought you were actually opining to? >> the president directed us to work with mr. giuliani, and the leadership of the state department were, were knowledgeable as was the nsc we working with mr. giuliani. >> interesting is that ambassador taylor testified that he knew nothing about it. clearly, he would be in the chain of information if he was the ambassador to ukraine. end of the day, sir, with all due respect you're the ambassador to the european un n union. why would he not know? he said there was a regular and irregular channel. >> he should have known about it. >> so although we don't want, although you said you did not want to work with mr. giuliani, you in fact did work with him?
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>> that's correct. >> and do you think that the -- the essence of what he was trying to achieve was accomplished? >> i don't know what he was trying to achieve. >> you clearly had to have known, sir. if you think that this was actually going down the center lane, what you said, it was clearly important that we, that we work with mr. giuliani to get to what the president asked for, because it was a directive and an order. surely you must know whether or not mission was accomplished? >> well, i know what mr. giuliani communicated to us. >> and you thought that was totally fine? did you really think is was okay -- k. i answer your question? >> sure. >> you asked what mr. giuliani was trying to achieve? >> no. i asked whether you thought it was right for mr. giuliani to want to accomplish the efforts he was involved in, which was to get them to investigate barisma, and the 2016 election, as you said? >> all i can testify to is what
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i know that mr. giuliani either told me directly or told ambassador volker and others relayed to me. >> thank you. i yield back. mr. turner. >> ambassador sondland i want to walk through some portions of your testimony, because sometimes you seem to make direct connections and sometimes they seem to be dead ends. i kind of what the to clear up one of the dead ends and one of the direct connections. yesterday ambassador volker who i consider to be very talented and a man of integrity and i believe you think he's a man of integrity. correct? >> i do. >> he testified that the president of the united states did not tie either a meeting with the president, a phone call or any aid to investigations of barisma, 2016 or the bidens. that the president did not do that. and you have testified that the president did not tell you that he tied them either.
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correct? >> i did testify to that, although when ambassador volker and i were working on the statement and negotiating with the ukrainians it was clear to ambassador volker that a meeting would not happen without the barisma in 2016. very clear to ambassador volker. >> how do you knee? what did he say to you? he says that wasn't clear. it wasn't the case. working on it and's knows that's what the president wanted but didn't have it as, this was a requirement. >> oh. i strongly disagree with that portion of his testimony. it was absolutely a requirement, or we would have just had the meeting and been done with it. >> what about the aid? he says that they weren't tied, that the aid was not tied. >> and i didn't say they were conclusively tied either. i presumed it. >> your testimony, his testimony is consistent in the president not tying aid to investigations? >> that's correct. >> okay. he also testified that he spoke to giuliani and giuliani did not
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relate that he was tying on behalf of the president or on the president's behalf a, then in fact, giuliani never said to him that aid was tied to investigations. the question i have for you is, did you ever have a conversation with giuliani that did not involve volker? your testimony is a lot of "wes" and "uss." did you and giuliani have a separate conference, separate phone call where giuliani told you the aid was tied? volker said, on your phone calls, that never happened? >> no. i did have a few conversations, i don't recall how many, because i don't have the records, with mr. giuliani directly when mr. volker wasn't available. >> and -- go ahead. >> i don't believe i testified that mr. giuliani told me that aid was tied. >> oh. i think -- this is part of the problem, ambassador sondland and i want to walk you through this. you've said to us every one was in the loop. everyone -- hold on a second.
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i listened to you today as a lot of people. and not only are your answers somewhat circular frequently you've convicted yourself in your own answer. now, the text messages and emails that you put up there, kurt volker walked us through and has a completely understanding of what you're saying than what you're saying you were saying. i'm confused how everyone the in the loop, because if giuliani didn't give you any express statement, then it can't be that you believed this from giuliani. tell you right now, is donald trump your friend? >> no. we're not friends. >> okay. >> did you like the president? >> yes. >> okay. well, you know, after you testified, chairman schiff right now gave a press conference and said he gets to impeach the president united states because of his testimony. if you pull up cnn today right now their banner says sondland ties trump to withholding aid. is that your testimony today, ambassador sondland? that you have evidence that
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donald trump tied the investigations to the aid? i don't think you're saying that. >> i've said repeatedly, congressman, i was presuming. i also said that president trump -- >> no one told you? not just the president, giuliani didn't tell you, mulvaney didn't tell you, nobody, pompeo didn't tell you? nobody else on this planet told you that donald trump was tying aid to these investigations. is that correct? >> i think i already testified. >> answer the question. is it ject question bp no one os planet told you donald trump was tying this aid to the investigations? if your answer is yes, the chairman is wrong and the headline on cnn is wrong. no one on this planet told you that president trump was tying aid to investigations. yes or no? >> yes. >> so you really have no testimony today that ties president trump to a scheme to withhold aid from ukraine in exchange for these investigations? >> other than my own presumptions.
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>> which is nothing. i mean, what i don't understand. do you know what hearsay evidence is? when i testify what someone else told me. do you know what made up testimony is? when i presume it. you're just assuming all of these things and then giving them the evidence that they're running out and doing press conferences and cnn headline says the president tied aid to investigations and you don't know that. correct? >> i never said the president of the united states should be impeached. >> no, but you left people with the confusing impression you were giving testimony you did not. you do not have any efds that t evidence that the president was tied to holding aid from ukraine. i yield back. >> mr. carson. >> thank you, chairman. ambassador sondland, i really want to better understand mr. giuliani's role in carrying out the president's demand for investigations. so on may 23rd during a meeting in the oval office to discuss
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the future of u.s./ukrainian relations president trump told you and others to "talk to rudy." do i have that right, sir? >> correct. >> mr. ambassador, did you listen to the president and talk to rudy, sir? >> did i talk to rudy? >> yes, sir. >> yes. >> what did you understand to be mr. giuliani's relationship with president trump? >> i understood he was the president's personal lawyer. >> what did you believe to be mr. giuliani -- what did you believe mr. giuliani was doing in ukraine for president trump, sir? >> i don't know. >> ambassador sondland, in august of this year u.n. ambassador volker spoke with mr. giuliani about a draft statement to the issued by president zelensky. during those discussions it was mr. giuliani who suggested in fact, insisted, that the statement include specific language about barisma. correct, sir? >> correct. >> and he insisted that the statement include the mention of the 2016 elections.
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and mr. volker transmitted this message to a top ukrainian official. right, sir? >> correct. >> mr. ambassador, and this statement was part of the deliverable that president trump wanted. correct, sir? >> correct. >> to your knowledge, sir, was pushing the ukrainians to investigate barisma 2016 or the bidens part of an official state department policy, sir? i never testified we were pushing anyone to investigate the bidens. i said barisma. >> you were involved in ukrainian policy. right, sir? >> i told you what my role was, which was quite limited, focused. >> was it your understanding, mr. ambassador, that ukraine policy should involve investigations into americans or a debunk conspiracy theories about the 2016 election, sir? >> what i testified was in order to get president zelensky a white house visit mr. giuliani conveyed the notion that president trump wanted these
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announcements to happen. >> of course, it was not. it was a part of the president's political agenda. and it was done to benefit the president personally and politically. were you following the president's orders, mr. ambassador? >> i was following the president's direction to speak with mr. giuliani. >> thank you, sir. mr. chairman, i yield back. >> i thank the gentleman for yielding and want to point out a couple things, ambassador, in response to my colleagues's they seem to be under impress unless the president spoke the words, ambassador sondland i am bribing the ukraine yoon president that there's no evidence of bribery if he didn't say ambassador sondland, i'm telling you i'm not going to give the aid unless they do this, that there's no evidence of a quid pro quo on military aid. nonetheless, ambassador, you have given us a lot of evidence,
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of precisely that conditionality of both the white house meeting and the military assistance. you've told ut ambassadus, amba not, you emailed the secretary of state and said that if these investigations were announced, the new justice person was put in place, that the ukrainians were prepared to give the president what he wants, and that would break the log jam. you testified and showed us documents about this. have you not, ambassador? >> i have. >> and in your written statement you say that the log jam you're referring to includes the log jam on security assistance. correct? >> correct. as my presumption. >> yes. and we also have seen and you testified that you have also seen ambassador -- rash acting chief of staff mulvaney himself acknowledge that the military aid was withheld in part over the investigation into 2016 in a you've talked about.
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do you reference that as well, correct? >> correct. >> now, they also seem to say that, well, they got the money. the money may have been conditioned but they got the money. yes. they got caught. they got caught. now, still didn't have the white house meeting. made no statement. they got no meeting. the statement on the investigations was the condition to get the meeting's they didn't make the statement, they got no meeting. but they got caught. you're aware, aren't you, ambassador that two days before the aid was lifted this inexplicable aid was lifted congress announced it was investigating this scheme. you're aware of that. aren't you, ambassador? >> i am now, yes. >> doctor win strom. >> mr. chairman, i'd like to address a claim this morning
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claiming that republicans deny russians attempts to influence our elections's that is false, you know it in this committee. the intel committee, not the impeachment committee, in this committee time and time again we all agree russia tried to interfere with american elections as far back as the soviet union. i wish you wouldn't make that comment. yesterday we established with mr. volker something quite obvious. more than one country can try to influence our elections. mr. schiff, we didn't agree with your russian collusion, the coup attempt that occurred in cko junction with members of the fbi and foreign sources something you conveniently ignored as chairman of the intelligence committee. as you became the chairman of the impeachment committee. but in this process today i'm interested in facts. i'm not a prosecutor. or a defense attorney. i'm not an attorney, like mr. turner. ambassador be sondland, you honestly have used the words
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presumed, presumption, presuming, some form of the verb to presume repeatedly today, and today you said that was the problem, mr. goldman, no one ever told me the aid was tied to anything. i was presuming it was. you see, a mathematic fact, two plus two does equal four. but in reality, two presumptions plus two presumptions does not equal even one fact. and the fact is the president did tell you, ambassador sondland, no quid pro quo. that's a fact. and another fact, no quid pro quo occurred. this time i'd like to dwreeld mr. conaway. >> thank you. mr. chairman, enter into the record "washington post" article from today that headlined, schiff's claim the whistle-blower has a stach other trite anonymity received three
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pinocchios. pinocchios meaning that, we all know what pinocchios mean. the interpretation would be that, two interpretations. one trying to protect the whistle-blower, equally and valuable credible interpretation that there's something to hide, and this unlevel playing field created by the chairman's insistence there is a statute other right maintains that unlevel playing field and advantages it gives them. mr. chairman announced after after hearing he will not tolerate witness intimidation, threats or issues of trying to bully a witness. ambassador sondland, have you, your family or your businesses received any threats or reprisals or attempts to harm you in any way? >> many, could you give an example or two? >> we have countless emails apparently to my wife, our properties are being pictured
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and boycotted. >> let's scholexplore that. our own congressman called for a boycott of your hotel chain, or your hotels in oregon. i'm assuming he believes that will harm you to the point that you will then be bullied into doing whatever he wants done. our colleagues and know know the word bully, common the les, inted tended to harm you and your business. would you surmise that? >> my understanding. >> the boycott, his call for boycott gave rise to demonstrations in front of your hotels making your customers to have weave in and out of the there to get into their hotels? >> as i understand it, going on as we speak. >> words are better put by a couple other oregonians, the irresponsible tip to hurt a homegrown business that supports hundreds of jobs in our local economy is shameful and ought to be an outrage to all oregonians.
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and a lady, carmichael works for you, we are saddened to have our congressman call for a boycott pa that put the livelihoods in peril. i couldn't agree more, mr. ambassador. mr. broomenour should not use the influence congress has to bully you and your businesses and larp the hundrharm the hund employees that operate your business trying to make business away from you forcing you into do something they wanted you to do, to testify, and you've actually done that. that's a shame for that and hopeful my colleagues on the other side of the aisle will join me saying mr. bluminour you shouldn't use your influence to bully and threaten a witness before these poed proceedings. that is just wrong and i look forward to my colleagual response and yield back. >> thank you, congressman. >> i was somewhat humored by your request that mr. bluminour
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not bully, to get something done, when all we're talking about is the president bullying to get something he wants done, but having said that, i'd like to clarify one point about the whistle-blower protection from the article that mr. conaway just provided. the law reads, expressly restricts the inspector general's office from disclosing whistle-blower's identities. it says, "the inspector general shall not disclose the identity of the employee without the consent of the employee, unless the inspector general determines that such disclosure is unavoidable during the course of the investigation or the disclosure is made to an official of the department of justice, responsible for determining whether a prosecution should be undertaken." that appears to be the lone statute other restriction on disclosing a whistle-blower's identity applicable only to the inspector general's office. we found no court rulings
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whether whistle-blower have a right to anonymity under related statutes. it is nonetheless a best practice to avoid disclosure of the ukraine whistle-blower's identity given the concerns about retaliation. saying, we've stepped into bizarro land when senior policymakers are trying to yank a cia employee into the public spotlight in retaliation for making a whistle-blowing complaint, especially when they are credible threats to that employee's personal safety. and i don't know why our colleagues on the other side of the aisle -- >> general lady yield. >> only tlehree minutes and -- >> the article goes through that and three pinocchios in spite of that conversation. >> well, the president of the united states has five pinocchios on a daily basis. so let's not go there.
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[ applause ] ambassador sondland, in your deposition, you lamented, i was trulity appointed the state department prevented me from testifying earlier on october 8, 2019, but your issuance of a subpoena supported my appearance here today and i'm pleased to provide the following testimony. so it is clear that the white house, the state department, did not want you to testify at that deposition. is that correct? >> that's correct. >> and since then you have on numerous occasions during your opening statement today indicated that you have not been able to access documents in the state department. is that correct? >> correct. >> so you have been hampered in your ability to provide testimony to this committee. is that correct? >> i've been hampered to provide completely accurate testimony
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without the benefit of those documents. >> in terms of your conversations with the president of the united states, what percentage of your conversations were about ukraine as compared to your other duties? >> i don't recall. >> well, you've only had six conversations or seven conversations with the president, you said. so -- >> about ukraine, i think. >> so you've had many other conversations? >> oh, yeah. about unrelated, completely unrelated matters. >> so how many conversation cans with the president of the united states have you had? >> i don't want to give a number it's going to be wrong without the records. >> less than 20? >> it's probably in that range. >> all right. would you say that delay in military aid and the lack of a meeting in the white house works to the benefit of russia? >> repeat the question again, please. >> would you say that the delay in military aid to ukraine and the reluctance to have a white
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house meeting has a benefit to russia? >> i think it could be looked that way, yes. looked at that way were. >> i'm grog to speak briefly about code. when the, when michael cohen was before the oversight committee he was asked, you suggest the president sometimes communicates his wishing indirectly. for example, you say, "mr. trump did not directly tell me to lie to congress. that's not how he operates. it would be different, he said, the nice -- he doesn't give you questions. he doesn't give you orders. he speaks in code, and i understand the code, because i've been around him for a deca decade." so do you think the president was speaking in code when he would talk about wanting investigations? >> i don't -- i can't characterize how the president was speaking. every conversation i've had with the president has been fairly direct and straightforward.
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>> all right. i yield back. >> mr. stewart. >> mr. chairman, unanimous consent request. >> you may state your question. >> doe respronds to ambassador sondland's comments before the house intelligence committee attributable to the doe secretary of the, press secretary, ambassador sondland's testimony today misrepresented both secretary perry's interaccess and with rudy giuliani and the direction from president trump. as previously stated secretary perry spoke to rudy giuliani only once at the president's request, no one else on that call, at no point before, during or after the phone call did the words biden or barisma ever come up in the presence of secretary perry. again, i ask that that be entered into the record. >> without objection, although i note they've also refused to testify under oath. >> the american people expect a lot of things about politics. arguments, protests. see that. clash of principles and ideas's
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sometimes eventually they actually would like to see compromise. i think something they expect above everything else, fundamental, they expect there is a sense of fairness about it. and i want to read part of a text i received from someone i have tremendous respect for. just a few hours ago wroeft cra wrote crafting a story to hurt another can never be right. destroying another individual does not justify the end and politics does not give anyone a free pass to destroy other people. now, you can say a lot about the treatment of president trump over the last few years but i think one thing you cannot argue that's been fair, those calling for his impeachment literally before inaugurated. two and a half years told every single day he has betrayed our country. he is a russian asset. he has committed treason. accusations that we know now are not true, and for which we never
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had inny evidence to support that. accused of obstruction, and now here we are actually impeaching the president on over, well, first, quid pro quo, until we found out that didn't hold very well with focus groups. then bribery, until virtually every witness before us asked a question had no evidence of bribery and now it's extortion. again, the american people expect some sense of fairness. when nancy pelosi goes before she has seen shred of evidence, announcing the president betrayed his oath of office, betrayed the american people, betrayed national security, without seeing any evidence, again, the american people say, well, what is fair about that? so the -- question before us now is again extortion. that's the latest version of the charges against the president. i'm not an attorney. extortion sounds pretty scary. kind of serious. had to look it up what it means.
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it means obtaining money or property by threat to a victim's property or loved ones. mr. ambassador, read you a couple quotes from president zelensky and ask a question. first from ukrainian press release. donald trump is convinced the new ukrainian government will be able to quickly improve the image of ukraine, complete investigation of corruption, inhibited interaction with ukraine and the usa. does that sound like president zelensky is being bribed or extorted in that comment? >> as i testified, previously, i'm not a lawyer either and i don't want to characterize -- >> okay. >> -- any legal terns. i really don't. >> fine. most people would read that and sounds like he isn't under pressure. his own words. ukrainian president zelensky said during a joint press conference with president trump he was not pressurerd by the u.s. president. again, i was not pressured. another time, there was no blackmail. i ask you, do you think he felt
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he was being extorted by the president based on these comments? >> that's really for the committee and the congress to -- >> you know what? mr. ambassador, it's really for the american people. >> i agree. >> the american people aren't stupid. and the american people can hear that and they can say, i don't think he was under duress. i don't think he was being extorted. i don't think there was exchange of a bribe and i would conclude with this last observation. it is common for our national policy to withhold aid for various reasons. you know that's true as an ambassador. is that not true? >> that's true. >> frequent. isn't it? withholding aid for various reasons? >> it's correct. >> a policy. for example, president bush did it. suspended military aid to 35 countries. over their lack of support for an international criminal court. i bet that helped his political standing back home. but i don't remember anyone suggesting we should impeach him for it. president trump did it last year with afghanistan over
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corruption. we did it with pakistan over much the same thing and no one suggested we impeach them for it. this is a common occurrence in international relations. it is hardly an impeachable offense. >> time of the gentleman expired. mr. quigley. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you, sir, for being here today. you know, there are things we can agree with our colleagues on, things we can disagree. i agree with my colleague that we should turn over all the documents, the documents should be turned over. mr. ambassador, i think you agree, it would have helped or testimony, help you understand that the state department, the white house, hasn't turned over a single document. the white house wanted the president's april phone conversation but millions more out there so on that we can agree. on others disagree as to particularly it relates to the
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whistle-blower. it distresses me, because i begin to wonder about the motivations. in the final analysis, the way i look at this is, if we are investigating an arson, you all would indict the person who pulled the fire alarm. that person's job is done. we've seen the smoke and we've seen the fire. whatever the whistle-blower did, doesn't change the president's actions, doesn't change the president's own words, which are in our testimony, or in our body of evidence. it doesn't change mr. mulvaney's own words. it doesn't change the body of evidence here. all it does is put this person at risk. back to the documents and what you know, and clearly, mr. ambassador, you seem to have your memory jogged by documents. let's talk about may 23rd and
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see if this helps you. senator johnson in referencing the may 23rd meeting in his letter, sir, says, i have no recollection the president saying that during the meeting. it's entirely possible he did because i don't work for the president it didn't register with me. also he says i 0 remember sondland staying behind to talk to the president as the rest of the delegation left the oval office. sir, do you recall this later conversation what you and the press discussed? >> i do. >> what was that? >> recapping what was sort of a free for all conversation and i wanted to tie down what we agreed to do and what we didn't. >> and subsequent he reinforced talk to rudy -- >> talk to rudy. you guys need to work on this. >> anymore detail about what that meant? >> no. >> just said, talk to rudy?
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>> a very short conversation. >> the second part you said something besides just talk to rudy? >> to reconfirm that the three of us would be working on the ukraine file. >> yeah. >> and so on. >> back to rudy in this seemingly contradictory passage, messages here, you now recall the preweck kwa zit mentioned in the july 10th meeting, radio it? having this discussion, the first meeting, in john bolton's office, sir? >> yes. >> you referenced that there was condition. >> i believe -- someone else testified that i raised that and i didn't dispute that testimony that i said, it's my understanding that in order to get this visit done there needs to be an announcement about, i don't know if i said investigations or said specifically barisma and 2016. >> sure. but in your opening you mention at the very same time that apparently there was a meeting
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with rudy giuliani and the message you got was -- underscored very concerned about what lutsenko told them that according to r.g., rudy giuliani, the z potus meet lg not happ meeting will not happen. not going to happen. do you understand the difference? >> i think what you're saying is, this meeting i was talking about in my opening statement was apparently a meeting that rudy giuliani was having. >> at the same time. >> at the same time in ukraine unbeknownst to us. >> but saying something different. he's saying, it's not going to happen. there's no notice in here that the conditioned in any way. >> well, that was ambassador volker's point. this was really an exchange with ambassador taylor and ambassador volker. ambassador volker is saying don't let other people speak for the u.s. government. his point. >> but if rudy is following directions and he's saying what he's saying here and you're also
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following directions, right? and you're saying it's condition conditioned, who's giving instructions to say what you're saying? >> why we thought it was problematic to work with mr. giuliani. >> exactly. but who did you work with to say that things that you said, did you have conversations with the chief of staff? with secretary pompeo? to say what you were saying? you didn't just say this on yore own? >> talking about in the july 10th meeting? >> yes. >> yes. with ambassador volker. at that point ambassador volker was in touch with mr. giuliani. not me. >> you had no direct conversations with mr. mulvaney about this or secretary pompeo to make this conditioned statement? >> only the texts and emails i've already reviewed. >> thank you. my time is up. >> mr. stefanik. >> thank you, ambassador sondland for your service and i also want to thank you for your recognition in your opening statement of your hard-working
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staff at the mission to the eu. you testified you never received any direct confirmation or specific information as to why there was a hold on aid? >> correct. >> you testified in fact, "mr. trump never told me directly the aid was conditioned on the investigations." >> that's correct. >> you said, "never heard those words from the president" correct? >> correct. >> instead, you testified that in your september 9th call with president trump the president said, "no quid pro quo. i want nothing. i want nothing. i want president zelensky to do the right thing. do what he ran on." is that correct? >> that's correct. >> and the fact is, the aid was given to ukraine without any announcement of new investigations. >> that's correct. >> and president trump did, in fact, meet with president zelensky in september at the united nations. correct? >> he did. >> and there was no announcement
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of investigations before this meeting? >> correct. >> and no announcement of investigations after this meeting? >> that's right. >> and you've been very clear when chairman schiff has asked you broadly about investigations. you've corrected that to say specifically your understanding of investigations are are, investigation into the 2016 elections, and investigations into barisma. is that correct? >> that's correct. >> and are you aware that during the obama administration the u.s. partnered with the uk and ukraine on an investigation into the owner of barisma as part of ukraine's anti-corruption efforts? >> i became aware of it today during the hearing. >> other witnesses testified, but, yes. and, in fact, the obama administration's state department was concerned about the potential appearance of conflict of interests with hunter biden serving on the board of barisma, because they raised this as they were preparing ambassador yovanovitch for her senate confirmation. are you aware of that? >> i'm not aware of it. >> she testified and when i asked her that question, both in
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the open hearing and the closed deposition. and i've asked most of our witnesses this. and every witness i've asked has said, yes. i want to ask you this today. do you believe that hunter biden having a position on the board of barisma has the potential appearance of a conflict of interest? >> i don't want to characterize hunter biden's service on the board one way or another. i just don't know enough. >> so you disagree with every other witness that answered, yes? there is a potential appearance of a conflict of interest? >> well, you asked if there was a conflict or appearance. >> potential, my quote, potential appearance of a conflict of interest. >> i didn't hear appearance. clearly an appearance of conflict of interest. >> something everybody answered yes could have potential appearance yet we are not allowed to call hunter biden to answer questions in front of this committee. thank you again for your truthful testimony today and i yield back. >> thank you. >> ambassador sondland, you were
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told by the president and others to not show up. you showed up. i think that says a lot about you and i think history will look kindly on you doing that. but there are consequences to that, and just a couple hours ago, president trump was asked about you, and he said, i don't know him well. i have not spoken to him much. this is not a man i know well. is that true? >> it really depends on what you mean by "know well." we are not close friends. no. we have a professional, cordial working relationship. >> if that working relationship he knows who you are? >> yes. >> has spoken to you often? >> what's often? >> you said at least 20 times? >> okay. if that's often then it's often. >> and -- you donated $$1 mill
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to inaugural. >> abeaut a v.i.p. ticket to his inaugural. >> that's a lot of money. >> that's a lot of money. >> after that the president makes you ambassador to the european union eventually the ambassador of ukraine removed and you told us in your deposition you became a central figure as relates to ukraine. a pretty big responsibility. right? >> i don't know i said i was a central figure. i was one of several people tanked to work on the ukraine file. >> and would you ever in that big responsibility take any actions that were not authorized by president trump? >> well, by president trump, or leadership in the state department. >> were you ever hauled in to the leadership of the state department for any actions you were, you had taken around your work on ukraine? >> no. >> as to rudy giuliani, on may 23rd, the president told you, talk to rudy. you talked to him a couple times, as you told us in
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september. talked to the president a couple times. did the president ever say to you, stop talking to rudy? >> no. >> did he ever say, don't any longer talk to rudy? >> no. >> on ukraine, you said that you were playing the hand you were dealt. president trump was the dealer. wasn't he? >> president trump was, what? >> the dealer. in your metaphor you claimed the hand you were dealt, the dealer is president trump. is that right? >> i'll rear characterize your question saying we we followed the direction of the president because that was the only pathway to working with ukraine. >> on page 4 of your testimony you said, given what we know, given what we knew at the time what we asked to do did not appear to be wrong. and you would agree now, ambassador, knowing what you know now, what you did not know at the time, there are some things around ukraine that were wrong? >> i agree. >> so let's take out any
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leveraging are security assistance over the ukrainians and a white house visit. would you agree it is wrong for the president of the united states to ask the leader of a foreign government to investigate the president of the united states' political opponent? >> yes. >> would you agree that in addition to making that request for an investigation, leveraging a visit at the white house that a foreign government leader desperately needs is also wrong? >> leveraging in what respect? >> a meeting at the white house. someone really needs a meeting at the white house to show they're legitimacy to their people, that leveraging that meeting and asking for an investigation would be wrong? >> to be candid, congressman, every meeting at the white house has conditions placed on it. >> one of those conditions is to investigate a political oh opponent that would be wrong? >> the political opponent, yes. but making announcements or investigations per se, no. >> and if you asked a foreign
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government leader to investigate your political opponent, leveraged a white house meeting and leverageds security assistance in this hypothetical you agree all three are wrong? >> in the hypothetical, yes all are wrong. >> and you before becoming an ambassador worked as a businessman and i presumed worked on a lot of deals involving millions of dollars? >> correct. >> you work for a guy now who wrote a book called "art of the deal". >> i do. >> and state department employees told us they don't want to make legal definitions around what occurred in the white house meeting leveraged against the investigations but you plainly call it a quid pro quo. is that right? i did. >> finally, one final hypothetical. if someone walks through those two doors wearing rain booting, a raincoat and holding an umbrella with rain drops falling off of them, do you have to see outside that it's raining to
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presume or conclude it might be raining outside? >> i understand your hypothetical. >> i yield back. >> mr. hurd. >> thank you. mr. ambassador, good to see you. >> good to see you. >> my colleague from california basically implied that you've been supportive of president trump's campaign. >> i'm having a very hard time hearing you. >> my colleague from california indicated you were support ish of the president's campaign. is that correct? >> i actually donated to the inaugural committee in order to secure tickets. >> so let me ask this question. did you participate in or overhear any conversations about the potential information collected by ukraine on the bidens, collected by ukrainians on the bidens would be used for political gain? >> did i personally hear that? no. >> did you participate in any
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conversation when this was being discussed? >> not that i recall. >> in your statement on page 5, you said, mr. giuliani's requesting were a quid pro quo for arranging a white house visit for president zelensky. you also recount in your conversation with president trump where he says, i want nothing. no quid pro quo. how do you reconcile these two statements? >> they're hard to reconcile. i -- we were working along mr. giuliani's direction for a period of time. we still didn't have a white house meeting. aid was now held up. there were lots of reasons being given by various people as to why those weren't moving forward. and i finally got exasperated by receiving ambassador taylor's latest text, and i just picked up the phone. i got through to the president and said what do you want? >> sure. >> are you aware of any specific
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conversations mayor giuliani had with the president between your may 23rd conversation and september 11th, 2019? >> i don't recall if -- if mayor giuliani when i was directly talking to him either through a conference call or on a direct call, whether he quoted from the president or said, i just talked to the president. most of the communications as i said went through ambassador volker initially. so i don't want to opine on what may or may not have been said. >> on page 11 of your testimony you said mr. giuliani had been communicating with ukrainians without our knowledge. assuming you believe you, mr. volker, and ambassador taylor. which ukrainians was rudy giuliani communicating with? >> i was specifically referring to this text that i received from ambassador volker where mr.
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giuliani was apparently telling the ukrainians something that frustrated ambassador volker. >> sure. so who specifically? we know that -- >> mr. lutsenko, the old prosecutor. >> do you think mr. lutsenko has any gravitas within the zelensky regime? >> i don't know. he was the old attorney general and -- >> ultimate was fired in august when the new -- >> i think so. >> -- group came in. okay's so we know rudy giuliani has met with mr. yermak on the fringes of meetings in i think it was spain. do you know any other ukrainian official within the zelensky regime that mayor giuliani was meeting with? >> i don't know who mr. giuliani was meeting with. >> had you had any conversations with ukrainian officials within the zelensky regime that came to you and said, hey i just got off the phone with giuliani. what the hell is he talking about? >> i don't recall. >> would that be normal?
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in all your interactions with ambassadors and heads of states and governments, if there is some element of the u.s. government that they have spoken to, isn't it usually a sthaep they come in, talk to the ambassador, try to clarify what that statement was? is that a true characterization of how elements of diplomacy work? >> a reasonable possibility. things work all kinds of different ways these days. >> when you met with president zelensky after the july 25th phone call, you met him july 26th, did the investigations where joe biden come up in that meeting? >> i don't recall joe biden coming up. >> any frustration expressed from the phone call before? >> no. as i testified everyone said it was a good call. >> is in your opinion your interactions with president zelensky, is he a straight shooter or is he a liar? >> he impressed me greatly and why i wanted to get he and president trump together as soon as possible. >> when he makes es spres
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statements you dend tend to believe them? >> with my limited interaction with him he seens very honorable. >> thank you. i hope you make your plane. i yield back. >> thank you. >> mr. castro. >> thank you, mr. chairman. good afternoon, ambassador. welcome. others opposed to president trump made it clear investigations were part of conditions for u.s. assistance to ukraine. including rudy giuliani and mick mulvaney, the acting chief of staff. so ambassador sondland, at a press conference on october 17th, acting white house e chief of staff mick mulvaney discussed his belief that it's entirely appropriate to politicize u.s. foreign policy. ambassador, how often did you speak or meet with mr. mulvaney? >> again, based on my lack of records, i'm going by a bad memory. >> based on your memory. >> i only think i had one formal meeting with mr. mulvaney and it had nothing to do with ukraine. it had to do with a completely
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unrelated matter. >> did you have a chance to talk with mr. mulvaney about your efforts in the ukraine? i think most of our communication were through the stream of emails which others were on generally, and i may have seen him at the white house casually and said hello and kept in touch, but we didn't have a back and forth. >> let me ask you this. was it your sense that mr. mulvaney had a direct line to president trump? he must have, as acting chief of staff. is that right? >> of course. >> let us look at what mr. mulvaney said during his october 17th press conference. >> that was -- those are the -- that was -- those were the driving factors. he also mentioned to me, the corruption related to the dnc server? absolutely. no question about that. but that's it. that's why we held up the money. >> so the demand for an investigation into the democrats was part of the reason that he -- >> it was --
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>> to withhold funding to ukraine. >> the look back to what happened in 2016 certainly was part of the thing he was worried about in corruption with that nation. that is absolutely appropriate. >> he said, he said that president trump in that clip had an interest in the investigations. did he not? >> apparently, yes. >> he's the chief of staff. he's somebody that sees the president and has a conversation with the president every single day. wouldn't you expect that? >> -- is a quid pro quo. >> i expect he has a direct line to the president. >> ambassador sondland, when did you first learn from mr. mulvaney the investigations were holding up the security assistance, if at any time. >> i don't know i heard it from mr. mulvaney. >> okay. and -- ambassador sondland, i know that you're not a career foreign service officer. is it your understanding that the u.s. government conditions
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security assistance on an investigation into a political rival all the time? >> i've already testified i didn't think that would be proper. >> all right. well, let us also see what mr. mulvaney had to say about that at the same press conference. >> that was -- those are the driving factors. he also mentioned to me in the past that the corruption related to the dnc server? absolutely. no question about that. but that's it. that's why we held up the money. now, there was a report -- no. >> i'd go ahead and read it. this thing -- i'll read it. he said, and i have news for everybody. get over it. there's going to be political influence in foreign policy. knowing what you know now about
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what was intended with ukraine, do you agree with mr. mulvaney? that there's just going to be political influence in foreign policy, or thwe should all get over it and allow a president now or later to investigate a former rival and -- >> there's a big difference between political influence and investigating a rival, because politics enters into everything. relating to foreign policy. >> so, but you disagree that the president -- you agree the president should not be allowed to ask for investigation of a political rival? >> in the context of what was going on in ukraine, i believed that the president should not investigate a political rival in return for a quid pro quo. >> and part of the way that you figured out that all of this stuff going on, that you were part of something that was basically wrong, is because of the july 25th phone call, the president himself, he didn't tell you, we don't know if he
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told rudy giuliani or not, because rudy giuliani won't come in here. he said directly to the president of ukraine, that he wanted the bidens investigated. wasn't that your reading? >> first of all, i don't believe i was a part of something that was wrong because based on what i knew i thought we were operating well within the center lane of proper u.s. diplomacy. >> i yield back. >> >> chairman, thank you. unanimous consent to enter into the record a statement issued this morning from the office of the vice president by chief of staff mark short. >> without objection. >> ambassador sondland, i will be brief. in anticipation of mr. holmes testimony tomorrow, about this july 26th phone call that he overheard at a cafe in kiev that you had with president trump, he
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overheard that even though the call was not on speaker phone. correct? >> i don't believe so. >> an open-air cafe? >> it was outdoors. >> one of the points that my democratic colleagues keep making is that david holmes' prior testimony which he'll apparently confirm tomorrow, is that president trump said that he doesn't give a blank about ukraine. you heard that earlier? >> that was not on the phone call. i don't think he testified that was on the phone call. hi think he was testifying that i summarized the phone call and i don't recall saying that. >> you have no recollection of that? >> i don't. >> yeah. even if it was true, there's nothing wrong with that, to have an opinion about. >> he can have whatever opinion he wants about ukraine. >> all part of the narrative that president trump is a bad guy and doesn't care about ukrainians but seems to me, mr. says you care more about the
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ukrainians than sending javelin anti-tank missiles. would you agree with me? >> i agree in a sending javelin anti-tank mitchells is something the ukraine wanted and needed. >> certainly those work a lot better in stopping russian tanks than the blanket that were sent by the obama administration? >> your point is taken. >> i yield back. >> thank you. >> thank you, mr. chairman, and ambassador, thank you for your stamina, sir. a few quick farley eairly easy questions. you would agree foreign interference with foreign governments can undermine or democracy. >> i'm sorry. did you say foreign interference? always. sorry. >> and do you agree identifying and preventing that interference should are a priority of the federal government? >> it should be one of its priorities. >> and when you were assistants president trump in his effort to obtain those investigations did
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you at all realize that those investigations could, in fact, impact the 2020 election? >> no. >> do you believe, sir, that it is appropriate, ever appropriate, to invite, press, bribe or coerce for interference in our elections? >> no. >> thank you. i want to refer to something you said in your opening statement. as i previously testified, had i known of all of mr. giuliani's dealings, or of his associations with individuals now under criminal indictment, i would not have acquiesced to his participation. it's hard to read that without believing that you thought what he was doing was either wrong or that he was not representable's fa -- reputable. >> with 20/20 hindsight. >> that's fair. >> yes. and under barisma, the request
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to investigate in fact the bidens and both the former vice president and the hunter and indeed the transcript of the july 25th call makes specific reference to that, including hunter biden, and today the, even the ranking member said we could clear all this up if we could have hunter biden and i have a simple question. what ukrainian law did hunter biden violate? >> i'm not aware. >> what evidence is there that he may have violated any ukrainian law? >> i'm not aware. >> that's because there is none, sir. finally, also from your opening statement, you said, as you know, i have already provided ten hours of deposition testimony. i did so despite directives from the white house and the state department that i refuse to appear at many others have done. i agreed to testify because i respect the gravity of the moment and i believe i have an obligation to account fully for my role in these events.
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did, by obligation ux you mean simply your legal obligation, or did you mean something bigger? >> both my legal obligation and my moral obligation. >> your moral obligation. i actually want to present an alternative theory. your family came here escaping the holocaust vee yo uruguay and your parents moved, lucy, and later you, here, where, frankly, you've been an american success story through dent of hard work and innovation, good idea, a knack to hire the right people and some luck, you've built a considerable successful business. one that i know for a fact would make your parents proud. they came here because they knew that it was here that they could have freedom that they had not
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enjoyed, security that they had not enjoyed, and opportunity that they had not enjoyed, and no doubt on some level you're grateful and it's created a sense of patriotism in you. is that fair to say? >> very fair. >> why, then, sir, with your courage to come before us does that same standard not apply to mr. mulvaney, mr. duffey, mr. pompeo, mr. bolton, mr. vogue, mr. giuliani? why shouldn't those same sentiments beat within their hearts to do their patriotic duty and do what you have done, sir? indeed, why doesn't that same standard apply to the president of the united states? >> i wish i could answer. >> i suspect you can't, because there is no good answer, but i do appreciate your willingness to come here today. with that i yield back, mr.
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chairman. >> thank you, congressman. mr. jordan. >> thank you. i ask unanimous connect to enter into the record statement from chief of staff mick mulvaney. >> without objection. we haven't seen all the statements but presume they are accurate and no objection. >> thank you. ambassador, president trump's not a big fan of foreign aid. is is that right? i don't know if that's a fair characterization. i think he's careful. >> expressed concerns about foreign aid in certain countries. fair enough. >> yes. >> and knew ukraine was corrupt. is that right? >> he believed ukraine was corrupt. >> and wanted europe to do more? >> definitely. >> definitely you're to do more and the president had a belief that ukrainian government officials, some senior ukrainian government officials supported his opponent in 2016. won't go ginto details number oe parliament said majority of ukrainian politicians want hillary clinton to win. that belief as well. obviously he understood what was happening. got a brand new guy in ukraine.
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this zelensky guy wins. right? >> right. >> his party takes over and president trump wants to see with all of these other things that are of kweconcern to him h wraunts to see if the new guy is the real deal, a real reformer and will take care of the corruption problem. so aid is held up july 18th and released september 11th. seems more important than the 55-day wauz pause is the 14 dayn ukraine realized it was held up on the 29th. now had you testify to that and the two witnesses yesterday testified to that. the politico article. so aid is held up -- excuse me, ukraine learns aid is held up august 29th and then, of course, released september 11th. in those 14 days three important meetings with senior government officials and president zelensky. august 29th meeting between ambassador bolton and president zelensky.
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meeting september 1 you're a part of. vice president pence meets with president zelensky and then meeting september 5th where u.s. senators murphy and johnson meet with president zelensky. none of those meetings, none of those meetings did any linkage to security assistance dollars and announcement or start of any investigation ever came up. none of them. but seems to me the one most important is probably the one we've talked least about. that's the september 5th might b. because that's actually a meeting where there is no one -- well, it's much more congressional focused than white house focused. this is the meeting where senators murphy and johnson, bipartisan, meet with president zelensky. what's interesting is what both sflarts in the last two days has given letters recounting what happened in that meeting. senator murphy said i broached the topic of pressure on zelensky from rudy giuliani and the president's other emissaries
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to launch investigations into trump's political rival. murphy brought it up. you got two senators who both strong supporters of money going to ukraine, these guys are all for it. and senator murphy the democrat even brings up the issue everyone's talking about. it seems to me if ever there was going to be a time where the president of ukraine says, guys you don't know what i'm dealing with, i'm getting pressure from the president of the united states. he wants me to do this. seems if ever there was a time that the president of ukraine, the new guy, now knows the aid has been on hold, if ever there was a time to bring it up, that would have been the time. guess what? at no time, senator johnson tells us. at no time or any other time during this trip any mention by
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president zelensky or anyone else under pressure to do anything for military aid, not even senator johnson said, not even after senator murphy warned them about getting involved in the election. and nothing. nothing. guess what murphy also said? i did not dispute any of senator johnson's factual representations regarding the meeting. if ever it was going to happen, september 5th was the day. no one from the white house there. not ambassador bolton, not the vice president. no one there. even then it didn't happen and we have all kind of other meetings it didn't happen and of course you testified earlier, there was never an announcement. you said there were three quid pro quos but there weren't because there was never an announcement. i mean, this is as clear as it gets. these guys want to keep stirring it up based on no direct evidence what so ever and the best direct evidence we have is actually what the president told you.
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i want nothing. there is no quid pro quo. i want zelensky to do exactly what he campaigned on. and when that became clear to us, guess what? they got the money. they got the money. god bless america. it all worked out. right? this is crazy what we're going stl through, because the facts are so darn clear. i yield back. >> mr. welch. >> thank you, mr. chairman. ambassador, i'm impressed with your career. been very successful in business. impressed with your commitment to public service and very impressed with your forthright statement. so thank you for that. you said it was the highest honor for you to have this opportunity to have this appointment, to serve as ambassador to the eu. correct? >> correct. >> and you quickly became very involved in the ukraine policy. in that policy, described by you and others, it was really very clear. help ukraine fight internal
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corruption and resist external aggression. correct? >> correct. >> and this congress, i think with the support of everybody up here, republicans and democrats, and in fact with a significant amount of republican leadership, authorized the release of military aid. right? >> right. >> and you and others who were working with you believed it was very important to the new government, president zelensky to have that white house meeting to show our support and send a signal to russia. correct? >> that's correct. >> and from hearing you and from hearing our other witnesses, ambassador yovanovitch, ambassador volker, ambassador taylor, there was a concerted team effort on your part to get that meeting and release that aid. correct? >> well, there was always a concerted effort on my part to get the meeting nap was my, my singular narrow focus fop get the meeting.
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>> right n. shared by all the colleagues i just mentioned. correct? >> yes. >> and incredibly urgent, ambassador taylor described going to the front where ukrainians were dieing at the dan ba danbass. 14,000 died and existential they get the aid and you were aware aware of ambassador taylor's concern. is that correct? >> i did. >> right. and your forthright testimony, you -- you've testified, and it's really bwith the benefit o hindsight. you couldn't piece it all together. giuliani knew in realtime what you were trying to figure out the whole time. was that a fair statement? >> i think so. >> one, you testified you acted on the orders of the president. you acting on his orders. correct? >> correct. >> you said quite explicitly there was a quid pro quo.
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>> relateding to the meeting and the band -- >> related to the barisma and the -- >> no meeting unless there was an investigation. >> no meeting unless there was announcement of an investigation. >> okay. thank you. and i asked -- by the way, did the efforts of mr. giuliani authorized by the president impede the efforts that you and others were making to try to advance what you thought was, that ukraine policy? >> not initially. we were just working -- >> ultimately? >> well, ultimately nothing happened. >> right. and giuliani was the one absolutely insisting on the meeting. correct? >> giuliani was insisting on the -- >> the investigation. >> the investigation. right. >> all right. now, i asked this of ambassador taylor, or ambassador volker. if the mayor of portland said to
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the police chief, i'm not going to authorize your budget unless you agree to do an investigation into my political opponent. would that be wrong? >> of course. >> and likewise, if it were the governor of the state of oregon doing the same thing. correct? >> correct. >> and would that say rule apply to the president of the united states? >> to investigate a political opponent? >> yes. >> yes. >> that's correct. so that's the question here. the president in his phone call, he asked president zelensky, who desperately needed release of that aid, who despcembesperateld the white house meeting to do an investigation and it was focused on the bidens and hunter biden in barisma in crowdstrike. you don't have to answer that. the president's words speak for themselves. do you feel, as person who went into public service to serve, who has a team of people that
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shared your desire to help ukraine, do you feel in any way betrayed by the double dealing of the president? this is a real question. >> i don't want to characterize -- >> you don't have to characterize him. i'm just -- you know, we all, if we get a chance to do something useful we like to do it and no better joy than doing with other people. >> mr. welch, let me answer the question this way. i would have preferred and i'm sure everyone would have preferred that the president simply met with mr. slrzelensky right away. our assessment of mr. zelensky that he and the president would get on famously. he was smart, he was funny. he was charming. he was the kind of person the president would like, and once the two of them got together, we thought the chemistry would take over and good things would happen between the u.s. and ukraine relationship. that's why we were pushing for a quick, unconditional meeting. >> it's unfortunate that he was
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unwilling to meet without the commitment on the investigation. thank you, ambassador. >> thank you. >> mr. maloni. >> mr. ambassador, pick up right there. you would have preferred if they just had the meeting with the president of ukraine without these conditions. is that what you're saying? >> yes. >> but there were these conditions. and involved an investigation. right? >> well, remember the initial invitation that the president sent to president zelensky. >> i understand. >> had no conditions. >> but that didn't last very long. did it? and then there were conditions. this is not controversial at this point i don't believe, sir. in were conditions that the president wanted investigations. >> right. >> and you thought of barisma and the 2016 election. >> correct. >> we know of course barisma means bidens. >> today we do. >> and can probably from today until the end of time set aside any confusion that when somebody's asking for an investigation of barisma over the summer what they really meant was bidens. right? >> with 2020 hind sooisight.
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>> right. with hindsight. of course, the day after the president's famous call you're having lunch with david holmes. we've covered this. he overhears your conversation. you said you have no reason to dispute what mr. holmes said, and i think you said you wouldn't have any reason to think he didn't speak about investigations. with the president. the president raised investigations with you, right? >> correct. >> on the 26th. >> correct. >> and we now know, of course, that was about the bidens and barisma in 2016. right? you didn't know it at the time, that's your testimony, but we now now that. >> i understand it to mean brazile. >> you said bidens right after that but you don't recall that. >> that's correct. >> do you dispute it? >> i do. >> but you don't recall it and you confirm that the president wanted to talk about investigations with you? with the complete picture, what he said 24 hours before, yes. makes sense. >> i understand. you said it's wrong to investigate political opponents. we've agreed on that today.
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haven't he, sir? >> yes. >> and yet, of course, that's what we know the president was asking for. let me ask you something. who would have benefited from an investigation of the pled's politic presidential political oppone s opponents? >> i don't want to character highs who would or wouldn't. >> i know you don't want to. would you answer it for me? >> restate the question. >> who would benefit from an investigation of the president's political opponent? >> well, presumably that, the person who asked for the investigation. >> who's that? >> if the president asked for the investigation it would be he. >> well, it's not a hypothetical. is it, sir? we just went around the track. didn't we? the president asked you about investigations, he was talking about the bidens. when he asked you about the bidens, the investigation who was he seeking to benefit? >> he did not ask me about the biden investigation. >> when he asked you about investigations. >> told you that many times. >> we just went through this. when he asked about
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investigations we agreed was the bidens. just did this about 30 seconds ago. right? it's pretty simple question. isn't it? i guess i'm having trouble why you can't just say. >> when he asked about investigations i assumed he minutes. >> i know what you assumed. who would benefit from investigation of the bidens? >> two different questions. >> just asking one. who would benefit from an investigation of the bidens? i assume president trump would benefit. >> there we have it. see? didn't hurt a bit. did it? didn't hurt a bit. let me ask you something. >> mr. mr. -- moloney rii've bey forthright. >> didn't work well the first time. a little declaration and now a third time and do doozy of things.
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we appreciate yosh candor. be clear on what it took to get it out of you. so my question is, when the president's putting pressure on the ukrainians with holding a meeting to get an investigation we agree would benefit him politically, what kind of position is that putting the ukrainians in sir? >> terrible position. >> a terrible position. why? >> why does it put them in a terrible position? >> why? >> well, obviously, they're not receiving ultimately what they thought was coming to them. and they're put in a -- in a position that jeopardizing their security. >> a position that jeopardizes their security. and beer asked to do an investigation to help their security essentially that would benefit the president politically. in other words, you might say they're being asked to give him a personal benefit in exchange for an official act.
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is that a fair summary? >> in your hypothetical, that's correct. >> not a hypothetical, sir. this is real life. where they asked to give them to give a personal benefit in exchange for an official act? i am not going away in circles with you. be clear what you're asking me. >> my time's expired. sir, thank you for your appearance. >> good afternoon, ambassador. good to see you again. >> thank you. >> do you have any knowledge of a possible meeting on or around may 7th involving then president-elect zelensky and several of his aides to discuss how to handle pressure from president trump and mr. giuliani about investigating the bidens? >> i don't recall such a meeting. >> you don't recall such a meeting. you don't recall hearing anything about such a meeting?
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>> again -- >> if you don't have firsthand knowledge? >> well, if i don't have records, schedules, i don't -- right now i don't recall anything about such a meeting. >> ambassador, in the -- s. this a meeting among the ukrainians? >> a meeting among the ukrainians involving then president-elect zelensky. would have been early on in his presidency with several aides to discuss how to handle pressure from president trump and mr. giuliani about investigating the bidens? >> i don't recall such a meeting. >> you don't remember that. ambassador, in the may, i believe the may 23rd meeting, you talked about how the president categorized ukraine. what he thought about ukraine. i believe that meeting was on may 23rd. did you ever hear president zelensky relay any concerns about you, about how he felt, about how the united states viewed him, whether he was being taken seriously or any concerns
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about being used as a tool for political reasons? >> well, i saw that in an email from ambassador taylor. we obviously tried to relay to president zelensky the glass half full version of how the united states felt about ukraine. not the glass half empty which is we're here for you, we support you and trying hard to get the meeting with president trump. >> after hearing that from ambassador taylor you tried to reassure president zelensky that america was truly on their side? >> trying to assure president zelensky throughout his entire term as the president. >> ambassador, i know you said you don't quite remember exactly when you came to the realization that barisma actually meant bidens, but back on may 6th when asked about a news report about the role of former vice president's son on barisma,
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president trump told fox news that it was and i quote, a major scandal, major problem." on may 9th the "new york times" reported rudy giuliani planned to travel to ukraine and "shortly to meet with president zelensky to urge him to pursue the 2016 election and the involvement of hunter biden in barisma." are you saying that you do not, did not realize at that time, talking about may 9th of this year, that mr. giuliani wanted to urge president zelensky to pursue the 2016 election and the involvement of hunter biden of barisma? >> i do now but i did not then. >> you did not know that, and i believe you said earlier that you did not pay any attention or much attention at all to any of the numerous news reports of the person you were directed by the president to work with, when he was on television, over and over and over again talking about
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hunter biden and barisma? >> no. i did not. >> on september 9th, in a text from ambassador taylor he said something to the effect, are we now saying that aid is tied to investigations and i believe you texted back, call me. then you had a conversation with president trump. and president trump said something to the effect that there's no quid pro quo. do you know what prompted him to say that? you asked him what do you want and he goad directly to there is no quid pro quo as opposed to going directly to the list of things that he wanted? what prompted him to use that term. >> i have no clue. >> did you discuss your text from ambassador taylor? with president trump, before you he made that statement? >> i asked a very open-ended statement. >> you remember that directly although there are several other conversations you cannot recall
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because you don't have your notes or documents or your emails or other information, but you remember that call specifically exactly what the president said to you in response to your question about what do you want? why is that? >> i remember the first girl i kissed. i mean -- >> kissed -- well i won't say that. >> i remembered that conversation because as i said it was a pretty intense, short conversation. >> tell me again about the conversation you had at the mr. holmes, because that was a y conversation with the president. tell me about that conversation. with the president. what was said on the phone? >> again, i don't remember the specks. i'm being guided by what mr. holmes testified to. i said i didn't dispute the basic, you know, subject of the conversation as i said we were talking primarily about asap rocky a completely unrepresented matter and i think the president
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may have brought up how to go with zelensky or is he going to do the investigations, which we'd been talking about for weeks. and then as i said, i dispute the, mister, is it mr. holmes characterization of what i said afterwards. >> thank you mr. ambassador. i yield back. >> mr. murphy. >> good afternoon, ambassador. i'm just going to pick up on that september 9th conversation, which the president allegedly said i want nothing. i don't want a quid pro quo. i presume that on the september 9th conversation the president did not mention that that was the same day that we launched a congressional investigation into whether there was a quid pro quo. did he say that to you? >> i know it all of that today but we didn't have time to talk about that. >> a and i presume didn't mention the whistle-blower complaint that also alleged a quid pro quo that day?
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>> he did not. >> you can't rule out the possibility the reason he started talking that way on that day is because. congressional investigation? >> i can't rule that out. >> you know, the inauguration of president zelensky was on may 20th. correct? >> correct. >> as you stated you attended this inauguration with senator johnston, secretary perry, lieutenant colonel vn indman an others. correct? >> correct. >> and vice president pence was supposed to originally attend that. correct? >> i believe so. >> we learned from jennifer williams, a witness who testified, that it was at the president's direction on may 13th that the vice president not attend. she said, "that according to the vice president's chief of staff, the president determined the vice president would not go." do you know why the vice president did not attend the inauguration? >> no clue. >> i want to point to a "new york times" article from last week that says that lev parnas' attorney, you've heard of this
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gentleman? an associate of rudy giuliani. >> only what i've read very recently. >> recently indicted mr. president parnas told a representative of the incoming government, the zelensky government, that it had to announce an investigation into trump's political rival, joseph r. biden and his son or else vice president mike pence would not attend the inauguration of the president and the united states would refuse aid. did he not attend because the investigation was not initiated by the zelensky government? >> i have no-no idea. >> you can't rule it out? >> i have no idea. >> no basis to rule it out? >> the leader of the delegation was secretary perry who who invited me along. >> interestingly, ambassador sondland, since you came forward in these proceedings, others in the administration have tried to distance themselves from you. on october 14th, rudy giuliani
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told the "washington post" that sondland "seemed to be in charge" of the effort to get ukrainian officials to publish, or to publicly announce investigations. of course, that's false. correct? >> if i had been in charge i would have asked president trump to have the meeting without preconditions and the meet wog have occurred a long time ago. >> exactly right. the president wanted these investigation we learned later in reading the july 25th call transcript. isn't that right? >> the president through mr. giuliani is conveyed through mr. giuliani wanted the investigations. >> mr. tim morrison came in yesterday and in his deposition testimony as well as yesterday disparaged you, too. he called you quote/unquote, the gordon problem. >> that's what my wife calls me. maybe they're talking. >> he -- >> should i be worried? >> maybe.
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you know, on october 8th of this year, the president tweeted that you are a really good man, and a great american. and, of course, on november 8th, one month later, he said, let me just tell you. i hardly know the gentleman. >> easy come, easy go. >> you know, what i'm concerned about, you were part of the three amigos, but what i'm really concerned about, ambassador sondland is that the president and the good folks over here, my republican colleagues, are now casting you as the one amigo. the one lonely amigo they're going to throw under the bus. but the truth is that as you've said in your opening statement, the suggestion that you were engaged in some rogue diplomacy
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or irregular channel's diplomacy is absolutely false. isn't that right? >> that's correct. >> the presumption that military aid was conditioned on investigations was based on mulvaney's statement that we saw on the video. isn't that right? >> well, i didn't have the benefit at that time of mulvaney's statement. >> but you would stand by the presumption that you had based on what you know now? >> correct, and september 1 when you told andre yermak your presumption, which you told us about military aid conditioned on the investigations, you then told mr. morrison what you told yermak and morrison did not try to dispute your presumption. correct? >> i don't recall him disputing it. i think i went right over to him and just repeated the conversation. >> when you told vice president pence your concerns, he did not dispute that as well? >> he didn't respond. he just listened. >> and when you told secretary pompeo that was disputed as well? >> i don't recall.
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>> that conclude the member's questions. do you have closing remarks? >> just briefly. ambassador, i know you want to get on a plane. i thank you for your indulgence today. once again, the american people have seen another failure of their preposterous conspiracy theory, which that's if their conspiracy theory doesn't change between now and our next hearing which is in a few hours from know. another hour or so, and it keeps changing every day. they claim, ambassador, you had an irregular -- accuseds of having an irregular channel, a drug deal, drug deals now supposedly you're one amigo. nobody on this side of the aisle claimed you were one amigo, i lost my amigos? >> not from us. not from us. no bribes given to, that you made any bribes to the ukrainian
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people. or to the ukrainian president. your co-conspirator kurt volker, i find it remarkable and troubling how the democrats and collaborators and the press have been able to vilify ambassador volker. he was supposed to work on these matters in ukraine like you, ambassador. it was a very regular channel, and no amount of storytelling by the left, the democrats on this dias will change that. it was the regular channel. testimony received today was far from compelling, conclusive and provides zero evidence of any of the crimes that have been alleged. in fact, ambassador sondland testified that he presumed the temporary pause in military aid was conditioned on ukraine carrying out the investigations the democrats are desperate to portray as nefarious.
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the democrats have as their custom seized on this presumption as proof they can use it against the president. however, ambassador sondland testified in his deposition that when he asked president trump, what do you want from ukraine? president trump replied, i want nothing. there is no quid pro quo. let me repeat. president trump said, i want nothing. there is no quid pro quo. this comes on the heels of the testimony by ambassador volker. that he saw no evidence of bribery, extortion, quid pro quo or treasonous actions. we didn't get to ask him about obstruction of justice, because we didn't know that was on the table until today. like the president's call with president zelensky, democrats want the american people to believe as one democrat on this committee put it, that hearsay is much better than direct evidence. and i think mr. ratcliffe from
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texas laid out the direct evidence we have from your testimony today. nothing we have heard establishes a claim that the president acted improperly in his dealings with ukraine and certainly nothing has been presented to support anything near impeachment. in the meantime, mr. chair, we continue to have no answers to the questions that only you know. starting with who is the whistle-blower who gave birth to this hoax? and what was the nature of his coordination with democrats on this committee? second, what is the full extent of ukraine's election meddling against the trump campaign in 2016? and finally, why did barisma hire hunter biden, what did he do for them? and did his position impact any u.s. government actions under the obama administration? the hearing in the books, another hearing in the books and no answers to the bake three material actual questions that we need answers to.
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yield back and thank you, ambassador, for being here. >> thank you. >> i thank the ranking member for his remarks. ambassador sondland thank you for your testimony today. this is a seminole moment to our investigation and the evidence you brought forward is deeply significant and troubling. the been a long hearing and i know americans watching throughout the country may not have had the opportunity to watch all of it. so i'm going to go through a few highlights and i'm not going to try to paraphase what you said. i'm going to refer to your opening statement. we all understood if we refused to work with mr. giuliani we would lose an torrent opportunity to cement relations between the united states and ukraine so we followed the president's orders. mr. giuliani's requests were a quid pro quo for arranging a white house visit for president zelensky. mr. giuliani demanded ukraine
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make a public statement announcing investigations of the 2016 election, dnc server and barisma. mr. giuliani was expressing the desires of the president of the united states and we knew that these investigations were important to the president. later you testified, i tried diligently to ask why the aid was suspended but i never received a clear answer. 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 until in was a public statement from ukraine committing to the investigations of the 2016 election and barisma as mr. giuliani had demanded. i shared concerns of the potential quid pro quo regarding the security aid with senator
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rahn johnson and i shired my concern with the ukrainians. so much for the ukrainians didn't know. you can't have a quid pro quo unless ukrainians know, and you have testified today, ambassador, ukrainians knew. you further testified, mr. giuliani emphasized that the president wanted a public statement from president zelensky committing ukraine to look into corruption issues. mr. giuliani specifically mentioned the 2016 election including the dnc server and barisma as two topics of importance to the president. in reference to the july 10th meeting at the white house. which you attended with ambassador bolton and others and ukrainian delegation. you said, i recall mentioning the prerequisite of
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investigations before any without call or meeting. you feurther testified again mr giuliani's demand mr. zelensky make a public statement about investigations. i knew the topic of investigations was important to president trump. you testified later, i know that members of this committee have frequently framed these complicated issues in the form of a simple question. was there a quid pro quo? as i testified previously, with regard to the requested white house call and white house meeting, the answer is, yes. we all understood these prerequisites for the white house call and white house meeting reflected president trump's desires and requirements.
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later on the subject of security aid, you testified, in the absence of any credible explanation for the hold, i came to the conclusion that the aid like the white house visit was jeopardized in preparation for the september 1 meeting in warsaw i asked secretary pompeo whether a face-to-face conversation with zelensky could help break the log jam and this is from an email the state department refuses to provide to us but you provided to us, ambassador. it reads, should we block time in warsaw for a short meeting for potus to meet zelensky? i would have zelensky to look him in the eye, that is the president, and tell him once ukraine's new justice folks are in place, mid-september, that z should be able to move forward publicly with confidence on those issues of importance to potus, and to the united states. hopefully that will break the
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log jam and secretary pompeo's reply -- yes. not, what issues of importance to the potus? not, what are you talking about, ambassador sondland? because secretary pompeo was on the july 25th phone call, he knew what issues were important to potus, and there were two of them. the investigation into 2016 and the dnc server and the investigation into the bidens. by the end of august you testified, my belief was that if ukraine did something to demonstrate a serious intention to fight corruption, specifically addressing barisma and the 2016 server, then the hold on military aid would be lifted. i mentioned to vice president pence before the meetings with ukrainians that i had concerned the delay in aid had become tied to the issue of investigations. and as you testified, he gave
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you no response. no what are you talking about, ambassador? how could that be, ambassador? how did we clear this up, ambassador? he merely nodded his head or took it in and of course the record of that 25 eng cath call the vice president's reading book earlier. then you testified, my goal at the time was to do what was necessary to get the aid released, to break the log jam. i believe that the public statement we have been discussing for weeks was essential to advancing that goal. now, my colleagues seem to believe, and let me add, too, about this call with the president, you have confirmed today, nin addition to claiming no quid pro quo the president was adamant that president zelensky had to "clear things up and do it in public." that's what you have confirmed,
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that is what you also told ambassador taylor. so he would deny there was a quid pro quo, but he was adamant that zelensky had to "clear things up and do it in public." now, i have said a lot of things about president trump over the years. i have very strong feelings about president trump which are neither here nor there. i will say this on the president's behalf. i do not believe that the president would allows himself to be led by the nose by rudy giuliani or ambassador sondland or anybody else. i think the president was the one who decided whether a meeting would happen, whether aid would be lifted, not anyone who worked for him. and so the answer to the question, who was refusing the meeting? with zelensky? that you believe should take place and ambassador believed to
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take place and the question is, who was the one standing in the way of that meeting? the one refusing to take that meeting? there's only one answer to that question and the donald trump donald trum donald j. trump, 45th president of the united states. was it ambassador volker, no, taylor, no, was it deputy secretary kent? no. was it secretary of state pompeo? no. hoop had the decision to release the aid, it was one person, donald j. trump, president of the united states. now, my colleagues seem to think unless the president says the magic words i hereby bribe ukrainians there's no evidence of bribery or other high crimes of misdemeanors, but let's look to the best evidence of what's in the president's head. what's his intent? the reason behind the hold on the meeting and on the aid?
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let's look at what the president has to say. let's look at what's undisputed about what the president has to say. and you know how we know what the president has to say? not because of what you have represented or others have represented. but because we have a record of his conversation and with who? the one who really matters. with the other president, zelensky, and this is what he says. he says, rudy very much knows what's happening. and he is a very capable guy. this is after he says he wants a favor. and he goes into crowdstrike in 2016. he said, rudy very much knows what's happening and is a very capable guy. if you could speak to him, that would be great. the former ambassador from the united states, the woman was bad news. and the people she was dealing with in ukraine were bad news. so i just want to let you know that. the other thing, there's a lot of talk about biden's son. that biden stopped the
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prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that. whatever you can do with the attorney general, that would be great. biden went about bragging that he stopped the prosecution so if you could look into it, it sounds horrible to me. what's in the president's mind when he has placed this otherwise inexplicable hold on the aid when he refuses to take the meeting? what's on his mind? biden. he makes that abundantly clear. i understand ambassador you said you didn't make the connection between barisma and biden. i hope the american people judge the credible of that answer, i'll let them. there's no mistaking what donald trump's interest was. there's no mistaking about what donald trump meant when he had that call with you on an unsecure phone as you were sitting in an outdoor terrace in ukraine when the president said an investigation, he meant biden. he made that abundantly clear to the president of ukraine the day
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before. the question is not, what the president meant. the question is not whether he was responsible for holding up the aid. he was. the question is not whether everybody knew it apparently they did. the question is, what are we prepared to do about it? is there any accountability or are we forced to conclude this is just now the world that we live in? when a president of the united states can withhold vital military aid from an ally at war with the russians, an ally fighting our fight, too, to defend our country against russian aggression, are we prepared to say, in the words of mick mulvaney, get over it, or get used to it? we're not prepared to say that. we're not prepared to say that. i appreciate, ambassador volker -- ambassador sondland. i appreciate the fact that you have not opined on whether the president should or not not be
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impeached orbribery or other high crimes have been committed's that is up to us decide with or conscious and much of my colleagues says otherwise, this is not an easy decision for any of us. and much as my colleagues may say otherwise, this is not something we relish. for over a year i resisted this whole idea of going down the road to impeachment. but it was made necessary and not by the whistle-blower. but by the actions of the president. i'm continually struck how my colleagues would suggest that because the president got caught we should ignore the fact that he was conditioning official acts in order to get political favors, in order to get an
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investigation against his rival. getting caught is no defense. not to a violation of the constitution or to a violation of his oath of office, and it certainly doesn't give us a reason to ignore our own oath of office. we are adjourned. [ applause ] welcome to our special coverage on cnn. a blockbuster day in the impeachment inquiry. united states ambassador to the european union gordon sondland you see there rushing off to catch a flight back to brussels. he said in front of cameras that there was indeed a quid pro quo. with ukraine. he testified that he pushed for ukraine to announce investigations into barisma and
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the bidens after demands from president trump's personal attorney rudy giuliani, and that giuliani "was expressing the desires of the president of the united states." republicans on the house intelligence committee laid into sondland repeatedly highlighting president trump never expressly telling him that the aid to ukraine, $400 million worth, was dependent on investigations into the president's political rivals. let's discuss this with our experts. jeffrey toobin, i'll start with you. sondland said there was a quid pro quo. >> hold up. >> listen in to jim jordan started talking. he is republican on the committee. >> -- sondland asked what he wants from ukraine? the president as clear as can be. i want nothing. no pquid pro quo, do wa he ran on. clear as could be, direct evidence from the central figure of this whole inquiry the president of the united states stating it as plainly and
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clearly as he possibly could. second, i do think it's important to understand there were only 14 days that the ukrainians knew the aid was held up. they learned on an august 29th in a political article and in that 14-day time frame, to the 11th of september three key interactions with senior government officials and the president of the ukraine, president zelensky. the most important in my judgment was the last one because that's a bipartisan meeting from people from the legislative branch. from u.s. senators murphy and johnson. if ever there was a time where zelensky would have brought up the idea that aid was somehow linked to him announcing an investigation, that would be the time because senator murphy brought it up himself and still president zelensky never said in any way that there was aid that an investigation were lynched together. -- linked together. the key takeaways. everything else is ambassador sondland surmising what someone's thinking, what
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someone's up to, all the other things the democrats tried to stir up. the facts always have been on the president's side and have no the changed. we have the transcript, no linkage whatsoever. the two guys on the call, president trump and president zelensky, no pressure, no pushing, no linkage. the ukrainians didn't know the aid was frozen at the time of the call and most importantly pointed out by so many including representative stefanik the ukrainians took no action, no announcement to get the call, no announcement to get the meeting in new york, no announcement to get the aid released. those are the facts. representative as every day goe schiff's and impeacment crumbles. they have yet to point to a single shred of evidence of bribery. today taking the witnesses' own testimony ambassador sondland testified that the president said directly to him there is no quid pro quo. i want nothing. i want nothing.
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i want president zelensky to do what he ran on which is clearly anti-corruption but the facts remain the same. ukraine received the aid. there was no investigation before the meeting. there was no investigation before the aid was released, there was no investigation before -- before the call or after the call. so the facts remain the same throughout this process despite adam schiff continuing his political wishful thinking. >> do you think it is just a coincidence the aid was released after congress began an investigation and the white house learned about the whistle-blower complaint, is it just a coincidence that that happened just days before the white house released- >> no, it got released because so many senior government officia officials met with president zelensky and determined the new guy in town is legit. and remember what happened on september 5th, the same day the senators are meeting with president zelensky, they start
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the anti-corruption court. they had already passed sovereign immunity for members of congress and parliament. and plus remember senator johnson came back and senator murphy and senator portman all talked to the president and said we really want this aid released before september 30th and he's done it. it happened because we all believed that president zelensky was legitimate. >> [ inaudible ]. >> no. no, i'm more concerned that i think 359 times in the ambassador's deposition where he said i can't recall and i'm not going to answer it and the most exculpatory piece of evidence was the statement from the president that he gave directly
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to ambassador sondland and he left that out of his 23-page opening statement. more concerned about those things. >> you have no concerns about the vice president and the other officials, why not let them come and push the white house to let them speak -- >> that is the white house's call. that is the white house -- >> [ inaudible question ]. >> this process has been so unfair. what adam schiff has done -- just the fact that he told us last night at 10:00, if wei-- ie wanted to look at mr. sand's deposition last night at 10:00 our lawyer got notified. we would have liked to have -- mr. sandy's deposition available to use in the proceeding and we couldn't do that. that is one of the many unfair thing and you know it is unfair throughout this entire process. y'all know that. >> mr. sondland, wasn't in an effort to try to discredit -- >> no our witnesses were hale
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and morrison and volker and you saw yesterday the facts there that was a good day. mr. volker is the definitive narrative and you saw how good he did yesterday in the hearing. remember they are all adam schiff's witnesses we just said we would like three to come in an our list and put morrison and hale and volker on our list. >> you know what witness they will not call hunter biden. every single witness has been asked do you think there is a potential conflict of interest with hunter biden sitting on the board of bu-- burisma and not calling the witnesses we requested. >> every witness has raised concerns about rudy giuliani role in this. don't you have any concerns that rudy giuliani was pushing something counter to the national interest. >> as we heard from the witnesses this is an official channel and the president can
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choose who he wants when it comes to conducting foreign policy but from the witnesses today when it comes to impeachable offenses they have yet to point to a shred of evidence -- >> [ inaudible question ]. >> that is not accurate. >> the democrats want to impeach him -- >> [ inaudible question ]. >> as ambassador sondland testified today his understanding of the investigations were into burisma and the 2016 election and ambassador sondland said he did not understand that as meeting into biden and the one investigation into burisma was under the obama administration and as we know from ambassador yovanovitch when she testified and said she was prepared with information before her senate confirmation hearing so when we talk about investigations, the fact of the matter is, the one investigation into burisma was done during the obama administration. >> what is the strongest piece of exculpatory evidence that
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exonerates the president. >> the president's own words. we've said it three times in the last ten minutes. that is the strongest piece. and the fact that president zelensky never announced any investigation. remember what mr. sondland said, to get a meeting, to get a call, to get the security assistance there could be an announcement and they got the meeting and call and the security assistance without an announcement. that is it right there. >> we have strong response from the white house today. do you think it would help to hear them testify so the public could hear their defense. >> that is all. >> thank you. >> and house republicans putting on a measure for the difficult day and seizing on a phone call on september 9th, gordon sondland said that president trump told him no quid pro quo. he doesn't want anything from ukraine. it is important for people to know that september 9th is after the whistle-blower filed his
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complaint on august 12th, after the whistle-blower's complaint was made known to the house of representatives, and the same day that the house of representatives, the democrats, announced they are beginning an investigation into president trump and rudy giuliani and the ukraine dealings. in other words it was already out there that this story was going to break and that is when president trump said no quid pro quo. jeffrey toobin, let me start with you and i feel like i re-set the table from what we just heard. let us remind people of what gordon sondland also said. let's go with the first sound bite if we can. this is an important part of the hearing, perhaps the most important part talkin about the quid pro quo. >> mr. giuliani's requests were a quid pro quo for arranging a white house visit for president zelensky. mr. giuliani demanded that ukraine make a public statement announcing the investigations of the 2016 election dnc server and
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burisma. mr. giuliani was expressing the desires of the president of the united states. >> a quid pro quo as said by a member of the trump administration, somebody with a central role in this whole scandal. if ukraine wanted a white house meeting which they desperately wanted to show ukraine how serious president zelensky was, the new president, they needed to announce investigations into burisma and the bidens. >> the central allegation of this entire investigation has been did the president abuse his office? did he use the enormous power of the presidency to gain political advantage? not to advance american interest, but to help himself get re-elected by using foreign policy. and today we had the -- a political appointee, a friend of the president. >> he said they weren't necessarily friends.
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>> well friendly. >> friendly enough to give him a million dollars. >> and they use swearwords with each other a lot, apparently. >> okay. >> and he said yes. he said yes this quid pro quo existed and why this matters is this is the power of an oval office meeting, it is also $400 million almost in taxpayer money which he was a little more vague about the degree of quid pro quo involved there. >> he was presuming it. >> he presumed there was a quid pro quo and the evidence is overwhelming that it was but think about that, $400 million in taxpayer money. and the only reason -- the only reason that that money was released is that ukraine agreed to help donald trump get re-elected by announcing an investigation of hunter biden and the biden family. not by investing them, but by
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announcing an investigation that the president could use to say the bidens were corrupt. that is why today is important, that the central allegation against donald trump has been proved by one of donald trump's own supporters. >> and we should note, and i'll ask for a sound bite five here, the republican lawyer asked gordon sondland, laura, how do you know that what giuliani was asking for with what you say was a clear quid pro quo, was what president trump wanted? take a listen. >> you testified that mr. giuliani was expressing the desires of the president, correct? >> that's our understanding, yes. >> but how did you know that? who told you? >> well when the president says talk to my personal attorney and mr. giuliani as his attorney makes requests or demands we assume it is coming from the president. our conclusion and the conclusion of the three of us if we did not talk to rudyng


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