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tv   U.S. Senate Debate on Subpoenaing WH Budget Office Documents  CSPAN  January 22, 2020 3:28am-4:15am EST

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versions of talking points related to the withholding or the release of foreign assistance military assistance, or security assistance to ukraine including communications with the department of defense, related to concerns about the accuracy of the talking points, and g, all meetings and calls between president trump and the president of ukraine including documents communications, and other records related to the scheduling of preparation for, and follow up from the president april 21st, in july 25th, 2019, telephone calls as well as the president's september 25th 2019, meeting with the president of ukraine in new york and two, the sergeant-at-arms is authorized to utilize the services of the deputy sergeant-at-arms or any other employee of theresolution.
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>> thank you. the amendment is arguable by the parties for two hours. equally divided. mr. manager shift are you up on proponent of the motion. >> mr. similarly, are you a proponent or pennant. >> ministership, your side will proceed first and you will be able to reserve time for remodel. >> before i begin mr. chief justice, the house managers will reserve the balance of our time to respond. >> mr. chief justice, senators, counsel to the president and the american people, i am jason crow from the great state of colorado. the house managers strongly report this amendment to get key documents from the office of management or omb. these documents go directly to one of president trump's abuses of power.
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his decision to withhold vital military aid from a strategic partner that's at war to benefit his own personal reelection campaign. but why should that matter. why should anybody care. why should i care. before i was a member of congress, i was an american soldier. serving in iraq and afghanistan. and although some years have passed, since that time, there is still some memories that are seared in my brain. one of those memories, was scavenging scrap metal in the streets of baghdad, in the summer of 2003. we had to bolt onto the side, of our trucks because we had no
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armor to protect against roadside bombs. so when we talk about troops not getting the equipment that they need when they need it, it is personal to me. to be clear, we are talking about trainer $91 million of taxpayer money. and to protect our national security, by helping our strategic partner, ukraine fight against blackmer boudin russia and emissary of the united states. but the president could not carry out this scheme alone. he needed a lot of people to help. and that is why we know as much about it as we do today. but there is much more to know. that is with child support.
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to get the full picture. we know there is more because president trump needed the office of management and budget to figure out how to stop what should have been in retreat release of funds mandated by congress. and release of funds that was already underway. so the people in this chamber don't need me to tell you that. because 87 of you in this room but it for those vital funds to support our partner ukraine. when this is before the house testified extensively about omb news involvement in carrying out this. it was omb, and the president's instructions that implemented the holy grade and i was omb that scrambled to justify this.
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omb is key documents that president trump has refused to turn over to congress. it is time for the subpoena of those documents. these documents would provide insight into critical aspects of the military able. they would show the decision-making process and motivation behind president trump's race. they would reveal the concern expressed by career omb officials including lawyers but the hold was violating the law. it would expose the lengths to which omb went to justify the residence hold. they would reveal concerns about the impact of the phrase when ukraine and u.s. national security. and they would show that the senior officials repeatedly attempted to convince president trump to release the hold.
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in short, they would show exactly how the president carried out scheme he is our national defense funds to benefit his personal political campaign. we are now speculating about the existence of the documents. we are not guessing what the documents myself. during the course of the investigation in the house, witnesses who testified before the committee identified multiple documents directly related that the omb continues to hold to the state. we know these documents exist. and we know that the only reason we do not have them is because the president directed omb not to produce them. because he knows what they would show. to demonstrate the significance of the omb documents and the value they would provide in this trial, i would like to walk you through some of what we know
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exists the trump administration has refused to turn over. as we have discussed on the trump administration has refused to turn over any documents to the house in response to multiple subpoenas and requests. based on what is known from the testimony and that he documents that have been obtained to public reporting and lawsuits, is clear that the is trying to hide this evidence because he is afraid of what it would show. the documents offer starch examples of chaos and confusion that the presence scheme set off across our government. and then make clear the importance of the documents that are still being concealed by the president. we know that omb has documents that reveal as early as june, the president was considering holding milk. for ukraine. the president began questioning military aid to ukraine after congress appropriated and
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authorized the money. 250 million in dod funds, and 141 million in state department funds. this funding had bipartisan support because as many witnesses testified providing military aid to ukraine, to defend itself against russian aggression, also benefits our own national security. importantly, the president's king wakes after the department of defense already certified that ukraine and undertaken the anticorruption reforms and other measures mandated by congress as a condition for receiving that aid. so there was a process for making sure that the funds make it to the right place and into the right people. a process that has been followed every year that we have been providing a security assistance to ukraine including the first
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two years on the trump administration. nonetheless, the presence questions king days after dod issued a press release printed hundred 19, announcing it would provide is 250 million portion of the taxpayer-funded military aid to ukraine. according to public reporting, the end of the day after the dod press release, a white house official named robert blair, called omb acting director to talk about the military aid to ukraine. according to public reports mr. blair told him to court, we need to hold up. omb has refused to produce any documents related to this conversation. the senate can get them by passing the amendment and issuing a subpoena. but there is more. the same day, blair told him to pull of the eight and michael duffey, a political and omb
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reports. e-mailed and told her that the president had questions about the aide. duffy copied mark sandy, a career official and omb told us about the e-mail and his testimony before the house. like all others, that e-mail was not produced by the trump administration and the house impeachment investigation. we know this e-mail exists however. because in response to a freedom of information act, the trump administration was forced to release the redacted e-mail. but omb provided none of those documents to the house. with this proposed amendment, the senate has opportunity to obtain and review the full record to further demonstrate how and why the president was holding made. these documents would also shed light on the president's order to implement the hold.
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on july 3rd, the state department told various officials that i would be blocked it from dispensing $141,000,000.8. omb had directed the state department not to send the notification to congress about spending the money. and without the notification, the aide was effectively blocked. why did omb block the congressional notification. who told them to do it. what was the reason. the senate would get those answers as they issued the subpoena. but there is more. on july 12, blair the white house official who had called unto 19 and said quote we need to hold it up, and then send an e-mail to debbie and omb. blair said quote. the president is directing a whole and military support funding for ukraine. we haven't seen this.
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the only reason we know about it is from the testimony of mark sandy, the career omb official who follow the law and complied with his subpoena. as you can see from the transcript excerpt in front of you, sandy testified that the july 12th e-mail did not mention concerns about any other country or any other aid packages. just ukraine. so of the dozens of countries that we provide aid and support from the president is only concerned about one of them. ukraine. why. what we know why. but omb has to refused to provide a copy of this july 12 e-mail and is refused to provide any document surrounding it all because the president told omb to continue to hide the truth congress and the american people. what was he afraid of.
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a subpoena issued by the senate which i was. omb also has documents with a key series of meetings triggered by the president's order to hold the military aid. in the second half of july, the national security council and mayday series of interagency meetings about the president's bowl on military aid. only documents which show what happened during those meetings. for example, on july 18, the national security council staff to make a routine interagency meeting to discuss ukraine policy. during the meeting is ivy rep. vanessa president trump placed a hold on all military aid to ukraine. ambassador bill taylor, our most senior diplomat to ukraine, participated in that meeting. and he described his reaction and his open hearing.
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bangmac i have a staff person from the office of management and budget say there was a whole. on security systems to ukraine. i can not say why. for the end of an otherwise normal meeting a voice on the call, the person was bob strain. said that she was from omb. and her boss and instructed her not to approve any additional spending on security systems for ukraine until further notice. i and others sat in astonishment. ukrainians were fighting russians and counted on not only training and weapons but also the assurance of u.s. support. all that the omb staff person said was, the directive had come from the president and the chief of staff to omb. in an instant, i realized that one of the key pillars of our strong support to ukraine was present. cement it is hard to believe that omb would not have any documents following this
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bombshell announcement. it surely does. it is the agency then delivered the shocking news to the rest of the u.s. government that the present was withholding vital military aid from our part. we would see these documents if the senate issued a subpoena. july 18th meeting was just the first in a series of meetings where omb held the line and forced the present hold on the aide. but there was a second meeting on july 23rd, when we understood agencies concerned about the legality of omb hold on the aide. and then at their meeting in a more senior level, on july 26. witnesses testified that at that meeting, omb struggled to offer an explanation for the president's hold on the aide. and then a fourth meeting on july 31st, when legal concerns about the whole were raised. at each of these meetings there was confusion about the reasons for the whole.
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nobody seemed to know what was going on. but that was exactly the point. all of the agencies except omb, which was simply conveying the president's order, supported the military aid and argued for lifting the hold. omb did not produce a saying document providing information about participation, preparation or follow-up from any of these meetings. the omb officials did they come prepared with talking points to these meetings. did omb officials take notes during any of these meetings. do they exchange e-mails about what was going on. and didn't omb discuss reasons they could get everyone else for the hold. by issuing the subpoena, the senate can find out the answers to all of this questions and others like them. the american people deserve answers. omb documents would also reveal
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key facts about what happened on july 25th, on july 25th, president trump conducted his phone call with president smolinski, during which he demanded the favor. his hair was from ukraine to conduct an investigation to benefit the president's reelection campaign. that call was at 9:00 a.m. just 90 minutes after president trump hung up the phone duffy the political appointee and omb was in charge of the security programs e-mail deity to formalize" the hold on military aid. just 90 minutes after president trump call. a call in which the president asked for a favor. that e-mail is on the screen in front of you. we have a redacted copy of this e-mail because it was recently released to the freedom of information act. it is not released by the trump
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administration. in this e-mail, duffy told the based on the guidance he received that they should hold off on any additional dod obligations of these funds. he added that the request wasn't sensitive. and that they should keep this information closely held. many, don't tell anybody about it. why did devin consider the information sensitive. why didn't he want anyone to learn about it. answers to those questions can be found in omb e-mails and e-mails that we can all see if you issue a subpoena. but there is more. remember the administration needed to grade away to stop funding and that was already underway. the train had already left the station. and something like this had
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never been done before. later in the ending of giant like 25th, omb found a way. even though it deity and already notify congress that the funds would be released. here is how the scheme worked. omb said dod funding document that included a carefully worded footnote directing dod to hold off on spending the funds. quote to allow for an interagency process to determine the best use". remember that language. to allow for an interagency process to determine the best use. the make finance. hudnut stated that this quote a brief pause, would not prevent dod from spending the money by the end of the fiscal year. that was coming up on september 30th. bobby had to do this because i now than spending the money was
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illegal. and they knew that dod would be worried about that. and they were right. dod was worried about that. mr. stanley testified that in the 12 years of experience that omb, he could recall or could not recall anything like this ever happening before. the drafting of this unusual funding document and the issuance of the document must have generated a significant amount of e-mail traffic, memos and other documentation at omb. memos, enough traffic and documentation, that we would all see if the senate issued a subpoena. so what was the result from the series of events on july 25th. where was mr. duffy guidance in the hold coming from. why was the request sensitive.
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what was the connection between omb news direction to doc, and they called the president trump had with president zelinski just 90 minutes before. do the agency officials communicate about the questions come from the ukrainian officials. the american people deserve answers. a subpoena, would provide those answers. omb documents also would reveal information about the decision to have a political appointee take over ukraine finding responsibility. and tensions and chaos surrounding the phrase, escalated at the end of july when duffy, a political appointee at omb, with no relevant experience in planning approvals, took authority for releasing military aid to ukraine away from sandy, a career omb present. and i can think of no other explanation of a political, no other example of a political
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appointee taking on this responsibility. sandy was given no reason other than that mr. duffy wanted to be quote more involved in daily operations. ". during his deposition, sandy confirmed that he was removed from the funding approval process after he had raised concerns duffy about whether the hole was legal under the empowerment act. .-ellipsis .-ellipsis .-ellipsis was sandy removed because he expressed. [inaudible] by august 7 people in our government were worried.
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and when people in the government get worried, sometimes what they do as they draft memos. because when they are concerned about getting caught up in something that does not seem right, they do not want to be a part of it. so on that day, mark sandy and other colleagues at omb drafted and sent a memo about aid. according to sandy, the memo advocated for the release of the funds. it said that the military aide was consistent with american national security interest, it would help to oppose russian and russian. it was backed by strong bipartisan support. but president trump did not lift the hold. over the next several weeks, omb continued to issue funding documents that kept kicking the can down the road. supposedly to allow for more of this quotes into her agency
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process. while inserting those footnotes, throughout the apportionment documents stating the delay would not affect the funding. but here is the really shocking part. there was no interagency process. they made it up. it had ended months before. they made it up, because nobody could say the real reason for the hold. in total, omb issued nine of these documents between july 25 and september 10. did the white house to respond to omb's concerns and recommendation to release the aid? did the white house instruct omb to continue creating a paper trail in an effort to justify the hold? who knew what and when?
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omb documents, which shed light on omb's actions as the president scheme unravels. did the white house direct omb to continue issuing the hold? what was omb told about the president's reasons for releasing the hold? what communications that they have the white house at the time of the release? as the president scheme unraveled that anybody at all and be connect the dots for the real reason for the hold? the omb documents which shed light on all of these questions, and the american people deserve answers. i remember what it feels like to not have the equipment you need when you need it. real people's lives are at stake. that's why this matters.
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we need this information so we can ensure that this never happens again. eventually, this will all come out. we will have answers to these questions. the question now is whether we will have them in time, and who hear will be on the right side of history. see mixer chief justice we reserve the bounds of our time to respond to the president's argument. >> thank you. >> thank you mr. chief justice and members of the senate. manager crow, you should be happy to know that the aid that was provided to ukraine over the course of the
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presidents admitted thracian included lethal weapons. those were not provided by the previous administration. the suggestion that the ukraine failed to get any equipment is false. the security assistant was not for funding ukraine over the summer of 19 there was no lack of equipment due to the temporary pause it was funding. the ukraine deputy minister of defense who oversaw u.s. aid shipment said the hold came and went so quickly, they did not notice any change. under secretary of state david hale, explain the paused a way for assistance not to keep the army going now. so the made-up narrative that security assistance was condition on ukraine taking some action on investigations is further disproved by the straightforward fact that the aide was delivered on
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september 11, 2019 without ukraine taking any action on any investigation. it is interesting to note that the obama administration withheld $585 million of promised aid to egypt in 2013. but the administration's public message was that the money was not officially on hold as technically it was not due until september 30. the end of the fiscal year. so they did not have to disclose the halt to anyone. sounds like this may be a practice of a number of administrations. in fact, to this president, this president has been concerned about how aid is being put forward. so there have been pauses on foreign aid and a variety of context. in september of 2019 the admitted thracian announced it was withholding over $100 million in aid from
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afghanistan with concerns about government corruption. in august of 2019, president trump announced to the administration and soul were in talks to substantially increase south korea's share of the expense of military support for south korea. in june, president trump paused over $550 million in foreign aid to el salvador, honduras and guatemala because they were not fairly sharing the burden of preventing mass migration to the united states. it is not the only administration, as i said president obama withheld hundreds of millions of dollars of aid to egypt. to be clear, and i want to be clear. ambassador yovanovitch herself testified that her policy actually got stronger. under president trump. largely because unlike the obama administration, quote this administration made the decision to provide lethal
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weapons to ukraine. to help ukraine fend off russian aggression. she testified in a deposition before your various committees that it actually felt in the three years that i was there, partly because of my efforts, but also the interagency team and president trump's decision to provide lethal weapons to ukraine, that our policy actually got stronger. deputy assistant secretary and his name is come up several times. he agreed that javelins are incredibly effective weapons and stopping armored advance and the russians are scared of them. ambassador volker explained that president trump approved each of the decisions made along the way and as a result, america's policy towards ukraine strengthened. and if we want to talk about facts, go to your own discovery, and your own witnesses that you have called.
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this all supposedly started because of the whistleblower. where is that whistleblower? >> the house managers have 35 minutes remaining. >> mr. chief justice, at war time matters. minutes and hours can seemed like years. so the idea that while it made it there eventually, just doesn't work. and yes, the aid was provided, it was provided by congress. this senate, and the house of representatives with the president's signature. but congress is the one that sends the aid. in millions of dollars of this
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aid would have been lost because of the delay, had congress not actually passed another law that extended that deadline to allow the funds to be spent. let me repeat that. the delay had jeopardized the expenditure of the money to such an extent that congress had to pass another law to extend the deadline so the money and the equipment got to the people on the front lines. need i also reiterate, this supposedly interagency process is a concern that the president as his counsel continue to raise about corruption and making sure that the process went right. there was no interagency process. the whole thing was made up.
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it was a phantom. there was a delay, and delays matter. mr. chief justice i reserve the balance of my time for mr. shift. >> mr. schiff. >> thank you mr. chief justice. just a few points i would like to make on this amendment and on my colleagues arguments. first of all, mr. sekulow makes the point that the aid ultimately got released, they ultimately got the money. >> yes they got the money after the president got caught. after the president was forced to release the hold on the aid. after he got caught, yes. but even then, even then they'd held onto the aid so long that it took a subsequent
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act of congress to make sure it could all go out the door. so what is the president supposed to get credit for that? that we had to intervene because he withheld the aid so long? and that is the only reason ukraine got all of the aid we approved in the first place. my colleagues have glossed over the fact that what they did was illegal. that the gao and the the watchdog agency found that hold was illegal. so it not only violated the law, it not only took an act of congress to make sure they ultimately got the aide, this is supposed to be the defense to why you shouldn't see the document? is that what we are to believe? now counsel also says he's not the first president to withhold aid. and that is true. after all, counsel says
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president obama withheld to egypt. yes at the urging of the members of congress. senators mccain and gray ham urged that aid be withheld, and why because there is a revolution in egypt after it was appropriated. it wasn't something that was hidden from congress. it was a pretty darn good reason to think we don't want to give aid to this government after this revolution. we are not saying that aid has never been withheld, that is absurd. but i would hope and expect this is the first time aid has been withheld by the president of the united states to coerce an ally at war, to help him cheat in the next election. i think that is a first. but what we do here will determine whether it's the last. and one other thing about this pause in aid. the argument is no no harm no
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foul. okay they got aid what's the big deal? well as we heard during the trial, it is not just the aid, i mean the aid is the most important thing. as mr. crowe mentioned, without it you cannot defend yourself and we will have testimony about just what kind of military aid he was withholding. >> that we also had testimony that it was the fact of the aid itself that was so important to ukraine. the fact that the united states had ukraine's back. and why, because the new president this new untested former comedian, the presence of ukraine at war with russia was going to be going into a negotiation with vladimir putin. with an eye to ending that conflict. and whether he went into that
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negotiation with the position of strength or weakness would depend on whether or not we had his back. and so when ukrainians learned, and the russians learned that the president of the united states did not have his back, was withholding this aid, what message do you think that sent to vladimir putin. what message did that send to vladimir putin when donald trump would not let vladimir zielinski at the door at the white house but would let the russians foreign minister? what message did that sentence? so it's not just the aide, it's not when the aide is delivered, it's not if all the aide was delivered but it's also what message does this send to our friends and more importantly to our foe. and the messages sent was a disaster. was a disaster. now, you might ask yourself
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because counsel is said president trump has given lethal weapons to ukraine, you might ask yourself if the president was so concerned about corruption, why did he do that in 2017, why did he do that in 2018? why was it only 2019 that there was a problem? was there no corruption and ukraine in 2017, was her no corruption in 2018? no, ukraine has always battled corruption. it wasn't the presence or lack from one year to another. it was the presence of joe biden as a potential candidate for president. that was the key change in 2019. that made all the difference. but let's get back to one of the key moments in this saga. a lot of you are attorneys,
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you are probably much better attorneys than i am. and i'm sure you have experience in cases you tried were there was some vignettes, some conversation, some document that may not have been the most importance on its face, but it told you something about the case. something that was much larger than that conversation. for me one of those conversations was not on july 25 between president trump and president zelensky but on july 26 the very next day. now you may have watched some of the house proceedings or you may haven't. people watching may have seen it maybe they didn't. but there's this scene and ukrainian restaurant restaurant key with gordon sans lynn and he said he was absolutely a quid pro quo that two plus two equals four. this is a million-dollar donor for the trump inauguration. if there's a bias there it's
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clearly a million-dollar bias in favor of this president not against him. so there is a scene in kyiv in this restaurant. and someone has a cell phone and he is with david holmes who is a career diplomat u.s. diplomat in the ukraine embassy. and gordon sans takes out his phone taking a phone call to the white house. and it takes a while to be connected but he's connected to the president. that's pretty impressive is in it. the president may say i barely know him or something like that but this is a guy you pick up his cell phone and he can call the president of the united states my restaurant kyiv. and he does. and the president is always so loud that david holmes could hear it. and what does the president say? does he say how's that reform coming? how's the attack on corruption going?
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no, he just says is he going to do the investigation? is zielinski gonna do the investigation? and sunderland says, yes he will do anything you want. he loves your. this the extent of his interest in the ukraine and they go on to talk about other things and then they hang up and david holmes turns to the ambassador and says, and language i will have to modify , to remove an expletive. he says something along the lines of does th the president give a blank about ukraine? and sunderland says no he doesn't give a blank about ukraine. he only cares about the big
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stuff like the investigation of the bidens that giuliani once. this is a million-dollar donor to the trump inaugural. admitting the president doesn't care about ukraine he doesn't care whether they get militarily dollars to defend themselves he doesn't care what position zelensky goes into in these investigations. he doesn't care about that. isn't that clear? it's a why he didn't care about corruption in 2017 or 2018. and he certainly didn't care about in 2019, all he cared about was the big stuff that affected him personally. like this investigation that he wanted of the bidens. so when you ask if you want to see these documents? do you want to know if these documents corroborate will
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they show will be expected well that the only thing he cared about was the big stuff that affected him. david holmes response was well you know there is some big stuff going on here like the war with russia. this isn't withholding aid because of a revolution in egypt. this is withholding aid from a country in which 15000 people have died fighting the russians. and as ambassador taylor said and others, russia is fighting to remake the map of europe by military force. we think that is just about ukraine security, we are very deceived. it's about our security. it's about the tens of thousands of troops that we
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have in europe. and if we undercut our own ally, if we give rusher reason to believe we will not have their back, they will use ukraine as a plaything, or worse to get them to help eschew an election. that will only embolden pollutant to do more. use set it as often as i have the only thing he respects his strength. you think that looks like strength to vladimir putin? i think that looks like something vladimir putin is only too accustomed to. that is the kind of corruption that he finds and he perpetuates with its own regime and he pushes all around the world. my colleague made reference to a conversation that is another key vignettes in this whole sad saga. and that is a conversation that ambassador volker has with andre your mark was a top
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aide to zelensky. this is a conversation with ambassador volker is doing exactly what is supposed supposed to be doing. he is telling them you guys really shouldn't do this investigation of your former president because it would be for a political reason. you should not in be in political investigations. and what was the response of ukrainians? oh you mean like the ones you want to studio for the bidens and the clintons. through it right back in his face. ukraine is not oblivious to that hypocrisy. misters sekulow says what are we here for? part of our strength is not only our support for allies in our military, but is what we stand for. we used to stand for the rule of law, we used to champion
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the rule of law around the world. part of the law was that no one is above the law. but to be out in ukraine or anywhere else and saying don't be in political prosecutions. and having them throughout writeback interfaced, you mean like the one you want us to do. that is why we are here. that is why we are here. that is why we're hear! hear!. i yield back. >> chief justice >> the democratic leaders recognized. mr. chief justice i send at to the desk to have a subpoena for jon michael mick mulvaney. >> clerical report.


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