tv U.S. Senate Senate Impeachment Trial Day 2 Part 2 CSPAN January 23, 2020 11:35am-12:21pm EST
c-span.org/impeachment and listen on the c-span radio apps. >> live campaign 2020 coverage of the presidential candidates continues today in new hampshire at 6:00 pm with tulsi gabbard in claremont. elizabeth warren in cedar rapids at 5:00 pm eastern. watch live coverage campaign coverage on c-span, on demand, c-span.org or listen on the go with the free c-span radio apps. >> a quick reminder the opening arguments of the impeachment trial of donald trump on abuse of power and obstruction of congress will continue today at 1:00 pm eastern. live coverage on c-span2. we will bring you more of yesterday's impeachment trial and hear from house impeachment manager hakeem jeffries of new york.
>> mister chief justice, distinguished members of the senate, thank you once again for your indulgence and courtesy. as we all undertake our solemn constitutional responsibilities during this senate trial. george washington once observed in his farewell address to the nation that the constitution is sacred the obligatory upon all. that means everyone. and in fact that is what makes a great country so distinct. from authoritarian regimes, and enemies of democracy. vladimir putin is above the law in russia. erdogan is above the law in
turkey. kim jong un is above the law in north korea. in the united states of america no one is above the law, not even the president of the united states. that is what this moment is all about. as we all know, congress is a separate and coequal branch of government. we don't work for this president or any president. we of course work for the american people. we have a constitutional responsibility to serve as a check and balance on an out-of-control executive branch. that is not the democratic party playbook. that is not the republican party playbook.
that is the playbook in a democratic republic. james madison once observed in federalist 61 that the congress should serve as a rival to the executive branch. in my humble opinion, why wouldn't madison use the word rival? is because the framers of the constitution, i think, did not want the king. they did not want a dictator. they did not want a monarch. they wanted a democracy. the constitution is sacred the obligatory upon all. it is through that lens that we proceed today. for the next few moments i will discuss donald trump's july 20
fifth phone call with you crane's newly elected leader. the president claims his call was perfect, nothing could be further from the truth. the call is direct evidence of donald trump's solicitation of foreign interference in the 2020 election as part of a corrupt scheme. it is important to remember the context of this call. a new ukrainian president, volodymyr zelinsky, was in a vulnerable position and viewed american and diplomatic military support as critical to his standing and to ukraine's fragile future as a democracy. equally significant as outlined by my colleagues, america has a
strong national security interest in supporting ukraine against russia's continued aggression. william taylor of west point graduate, vietnam war hero, ambassador to ukraine, appointed by donald trump testified ukraine is a strategic partner of the united states, important for the security of our country as well as europe. lieutenant colonel alexander i vindmn, purple heart recipient, iraq war veteran testified a strong and independent ukraine is critical to our national security interests. ukraine remains under attack by russian backed separatists in crimea. it is an ongoing hot war.
ukraine is a friend, russia is a flow. ukraine is a democracy, russia is a dictatorship. the united states may very well be one of the only things standing between russia and ukraine being completely overrun. as part of that, vladimir putin's continued aggression against the free world. that is why this congress allocated $391 million in military and security aid to a vulnerable ukraine on a bipartisan basis, because it is in america's national security interest. on the july 20 fifth call mister trump could have endeavored to strengthen the relationship with this new ukrainian leader. instead he focused on securing
a personal favor. he wanted ukraine to conduct phony investigations designed to enhance his political standing to solicit foreign interference in the 2020 election. on a july 20 fifth call, donald trump maligned a highly respected american ambassador. known as an anticorruption crusader. at the same time, he praised a corrupt former ukrainian prosecutor. on multiple occasions, donald trump directed ukraine's new leader to speak with his personal lawyer, rudy giuliani. on an official call. mister giuliani is not a member of the trump administration.
the july 20 fifth call warrants close scrutiny, it presents significant and shocking evidence of donald trump's corrupt intent. the call lays bare the president's willingness to do whatever it takes to get what he wants even if his behavior undermines the national security interests of the united states of america. at the beginning of the call donaldd president zelinsky says i would like to thank you for your great support in the area of defense. the great support in the area of defense includes the security assistance past by this congress on a bipartisan basis, donald trump held up in violation of the law.
immediately after president zelinsky raise the issue of defense support, donald trump responded i would like you to do us a favor though. these words will live in infamy. first he said to president zelinsky the part of two demands that he requested. i would like you to find out what happened with this whole situation in ukraine. they say crowd strike. i guess you have one of your wealthy people, ukraine has it and he continues i would like to have the attorney general call you or your people and i would like you to get to the bottom of it. as you saw yesterday, that whole nonsense ended with a
very poor performance by a man named robert mueller, a vietnam war hero, by the way. a very poor performance by a man named robert mueller, and incompetent performance but they say a lot of it started with ukraine. whatever you can do, it is very important that you do it if that is possible. who is the they referred to by donald trump? putting forth the baseless conspiracy theory that the ukrainians, not the russians were behind the hack of the democratic national committee server in 2016. they means russia.
they means putin. they are enemies of the united states. not a single witness who testified before the house knew of any factual basis were donald trump believed in the crowd strike ukraine fairytale. to the contrary, the us intelligence community and this senate intelligence committee assessed that russia interfered in the 2016 election. as doctor fiona hill testified, the theory that ukraine interfered in the 2016 election is, quote, a fictional narrative that has been perpetrated and propagated by the russian security services.
the conspiracy theory that donald trump advanced on the july 20 fifth phone call is stone cold russian propaganda. as early as february of 2017 vladimir putin began to promote this lie during a press conference saying, quote, the ukrainian government adopt a unilateral position in favor of one candidate. more than that certain oligarchs certainly with the approval of the political leadership funded this candidate, female candidate to be precise. those are the words of vladimir putin. a script apparently adopted by president donald john trump. if there was any doubt who benefits from this unfounded,
russian inspired conspiracy theory advanced by donald trump, vladimir putin made it clear when he said in november of 2019, thank god no one is accusing us any more of interfering in us elections. now they are accusing ukraine. unfortunately this is not the first time donald trump tried to and misinformation. one day before this call, robert mueller testified before congress the russian government interfered in the 2016 election in sweeping and systematic
fashion in order to support the trump campaign and divide america. mister mueller found the trump campaign welcomed russian interference in the 2016 and utilized it as part of his campaign messaging. despite the clear and overwhelming conclusion of us intelligence agencies as well as the distinguished senate intelligence committee, that russia, not ukraine, interfered in the 2016 election, donald trump continued to press the new ukrainian leader to announce an investigation into the crowd strike ukraine conspiracy theory. why? donald trump sought a political favor. that's why.
it was part of a scheme. solicit foreign interference in the 2020 election. the second demand made by donald trump on the july 20 fifth call related to the campaign of vice president joe biden who announced his intention to run for the office of the presidency last april. throughout the spring and early summer of last year public polling consistently showed that biden would decisively defeat donald trump. on june 16th of last year, june 16th, a fox news poll showed that donald trump would lose to joe biden by 10 points. the concern with joe biden's
candidacy provides motive to donald trump's demand that the ukrainian government investigate the former vice president and his son, hunter. here is what donald trump says on that call. the other thing is a lot of talk about biden's son, that he stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that so whatever you can do with the attorney general would be great. biden went around bragging he stopped the prosecution so if you can look into it, it sounds horrible to me. the trump administration officials who participated in the impeachment inquiry unanimously testified that
there was no factual support for the allegations that vice president biden did anything wrong or misused his authority. when he pressed for the removal of ukraine's corrupt former prosecutor general. joe biden did nothing wrong. the witnesses testified that vice president biden was in fact carrying out official us policy to clean up the prosecutor general's office in ukraine. this policy of course aligned with the perspective of many in this very distinguished body as well as our european allies throughout the world as well as the international monetary fund.
vice president biden did not remove the corrupt prosecutor, ukrainian government did. with the support of the free world. nonetheless on october 3rd, 2019, when a reporter asked donald trump what exactly did you hope zelinsky would do about the bidens after your phone call he responded as follows. >> what exactly did you hope zelinsky would do about the bidens? >> i would think if they were honest about it they would start a major investigation into the bidens, very simple answer. >> start a major investigation into the bidens.
the evidence of wrongdoing by donald trump is hiding in plain sight. during the july 20 fifth call, donald trump also repeatedly pressed the ukrainian president to coordinate with his personal attorney, rudy giuliani. why was rudy giuliani's name mentioned multiple times during the july 20 fifth phone call? he is not the secretary of state. he is not and ambassador. he's not a member of the diplomatic corps. rudy giuliani is a cold-blooded political operative for donald trump's reelection campaign. that is why he was referenced
multiple times on that july 20 fifth phone call. it is evidence of corrupt intent by donald trump. by the time the call took place, president zelinsky understood giuliani's connection to the shakedown scheme. he recognized giuliani's role as the president's political operative as matters related to ukraine. zelinsky said that one of his aides spoke to mister giuliani just recently and we are hoping very much that mister giuliani will be able to travel to ukraine and we will meet once he comes. the ukrainian leader new
giuliani represented donald trump's political interests in his country and could help unlock the long sought after oval office meeting that president zelinsky desires. the phony investigation sought by donald trump on july 20 fifth call were not designed to bolster the national security interests of the united states of america. quite the contrary, donald trump sought to benefit himself in his own reelection process. on a july 20 fifth call donald trump suggested that president zelinsky speak with the attorney general, william barr, about the two fake investigations that the president sought. this is important to keep in mind.
at no time during this entire sordid scheme was there an ongoing american law enforcement investigation into the phony slander related to joe biden or the conspiracy theory related to ukrainian interference in the 2016 election. at no time was there an ongoing american law enforcement investigation. america is the leader of the free world. we do not urge other sovereign countries to target american citizens. absent any legitimate basis whatsoever, absent any scintilla of evidence, apparently donald trump does
not play by those rules. during the july 20 fifth call donald trump didn't raise legitimate corruption concerns as it relates to ukraine. donald trump did not mention the word corruption once. the president did, however, viciously malign former us ambassador to ukraine marie yavanovitch, a distinguished, anticorruption advocate whom he abruptly removed because she was seen as an obstacle to his geopolitical shakedown. ambassador yavanovitch joined the diplomatic corps under president ronald reagan and subsequently served three other republican presidents, a highly respected diplomat and foreign service professional. yet donald trump told the new
ukrainian leader the former ambassador from the united states, the woman with bad news, and the people she was dealing with in the ukraine were bad news. so i just want to let you know that. he didn't stop there. later in the call donald trump ominously added, well, she is going to go through some things. these are the words of the president of the united states of america. ambassador yavanovitch did not know of donald trump's discourage remarks at the time, she didn't learned from until the call records became public in september.
asked whether she felt threatened by donald trump's statement that she was going to go through some things, ambassador yavanovitch answered the -- here's what she said. >> the next excerpt what the president references you is a short one but he said well, she is going to go through some things. .. what did you think when president trump told the president zelinski then you're going to go through some things. >> i didn't know what to think but i was very concerned. >> what were you concerned about. >> she's going to go through some things. it didn't sound good. it didn't sound good. it sounded like a threat. >> did you feel threatened? >> i did. >> during that same call
president trump also took the opportunityen to praise yuriy lutsenko. t mr. lutsenko is a former ukrainian prosecutor general who was widely regarded by the entire free world, including our european allies, the international monetary fund, to be corrupt and incompetent. but donald john trump, our president, praised him on that call. he told president zelensky, quote, i heard you had a prosecutor who was very good, and he was shot down, and that's really unfair. a lot of people are talking about that, the way they shut you are very p good prosecutor
down, and you had some very bad people involved. think about this contrast. the president bashed a career american diplomat, and anticorruption champion who he unceremoniously removed because she was viewed as an obstacle for his efforts to solicit foreign interference in in the0 election, and at the same time praise someone who he thought could be an asset, a corrupt ukrainianrr prosecutor who the free world viewed as an obstacle to the rule of law. the idea that president trump cares about corruption is laughable. it's laughable.
plain reading of the rough transcript of the july 25 call also sheds light on the quid pro quo involving the oval office meeting that had been sought. president zelensky said on the call, i also wanted to thank you for your invitation to visit that united states. specifically, washington, d.c. on the other hand, i also wanted to ensure that we will be very serious about the case and will work on the investigation. as all of you know here in this distinguished body, quid pro quo is a latin term. it means this for that.
statement that i just read shows that president zelensky fully understood at the time of this july 25 call that if he yielded to president trump's demand for phony investigations, he would get the white house meeting in the oval office that he desperately sought. this for that. president trump has repeatedly insisted that is july 25 conversation with president zelensky was a perfect call. his staff at the white house apparently believed otherwise. the press office issued a short and incomplete summary of the
july 25 call. let me read it for your hearing. today, president donald j. trump spoke by telephone with president zelensky of ukraine to congratulate him on his recent -- [shouting]g] in ordernate will be to sergeant at arms will restore order in the gallery. and the scripture said for the lord loves justice and will not abandon his faithful ones. official white house call readout july 25, 2019.
today president donald j. trump spoke by telephone with president vladimir zelenski of ukraine to congratulate him on hisim recent election. president trump and president zelensky discussed ways to strengthen the relationship between the united states and ukraine, including energy and economic cooperation. both leaders also expressed that they look forwardrd to the opportunity to meet. that is the official white house call readout dated july 25, 2019. the official readout provided to the american people omitted key elements of the president's conversation. let's review. the official readout did not mention the phony investigations requested by president trump.
the official readout did not mention the oval office meeting sought by president zelensky. the official readout did not mention president trump's elevation of a debunked conspiracy theory promoted by vladimir putin about 2016 election interference. the official readout did not mention president trump's demand that ukraine investigate his domestic political rival, joe biden. the official readout did not mention that president trump maligned and threatened ambassador yovanovitch. and the official readout did not mention that president trump praised a corrupt former ukrainian prosecutor. the complete conversation, however, between president trump and president zelensky that we just outlined offers powerful
evidence that president trump abused his power and solicited foreign interference in the 2016 election. the 2020 election. several members of the president's staff, listening in on the call, immediately grew concerned. as he sat in the white house situation room listening to the conversation, lieutenant colonel alexander vindman realized that the president's demand of ukrainian leader were inappropriate and improper. he quickly recognized that as the president begin referencing the bidens and crowdstrike, the call was diverging from the official national security council approved talking points.
that he helped prepare. lieutenant colonel vindman, twenty-year iraq war veteran, purple heart recipient, an american patriot. he testified in the context of then call that due to the unequl bargaining position of the two leaders, and ukraine's dependent on the united states, the favor that president trump sought would have been perceived by president zelensky as a demand. lieutenant colonel vindman worried that the call would undermine u.s. national security and he knew immediately that he had a duty to report the contents of the call to white house lawyers. >> i was concerned by the call.
what heard was inappropriate. i forwarded my concerns to mr. eisenberg. it is improper for the president of the united states to demand a foreign governmentmp investigata u.s. person and a political opponent. i was also clear that it ukraine pursued an investigation it was also clear that if ukraine proceeded in investigation in the 2016 elections, the bidens and burisma it would be interpreted as a partisan favor. this would undoubtedly result in ukraine losing by par our suppy providing a special security and russia's strategic objections in the region. >> county the content of the call based on his detailed handwritten notes, lieutenant colonel vindman told the lawyers that he believed it was wrong for president trump to ask president zelensky too investigate vice president biden. other witnesses were also troubled by what they heard. vice president hence advisor
jennifer williams expressed concern that president trump raised a demand -- domestic political matter on an official call with a foreign leader. she testified the mention of investigation struck her as unusual and possibly political in nature. she said i guess for me it shed some light on possible other motives behind a security assistance hold. timothy morrison, a former republican congressional staffer who replaced dr. fiona hill, in july of 2019 also reported the call to national security council lawyers. after the call, president trump continue to push this the scher work. on july 26, the very next day ambassador sondland and ambassador taylor met with president zelensky, and other
ukrainian officials in kiev. according to david holmes, the ukraine-based u.s. u.s. diplomat who served as a notetaker, the ukrainian leader mentioned that president trump have brought up some very sensitive issues. during the july 25 call. very sensitive issues. ambassador sondland then had a private meeting with andriy yermak, president zelensky's top aide. the two men insisted that the meeting be one on one with no notetaker, perhaps due to the sensitive issues that might come up. ambassador sondland testified that he and presidente zelenskys aid probably discussed the issue of investigations.
after these key moments in ukraine ambassador sondland went to lunch with david holmes and two other american officials. mr. holmes set directly across from ambassador sondland close enough to hear the details of an extraordinaryf telephone call between mr. sondland and presidenten trump. as mr. holmes relayed during his sworn testimony under oath, ambassador sondland pulled out his unsecured cell phone and said that he was going to call president trump to give him an update. what happened next was shocking. >> ambassador sondland phone was not on speakerphone. i get to the president's voice to the ear piece of the phone. the president's voice was loud and recognizable. ambassador sondland held the phone away from his ear for
credit time presumably because of the loud volume. i heard ambassador sondland greet the president and explained he was calling from kiev.ai i heard resident clump clarify ambassador sondland was in ukraine. he replied yes, , in ukraine and went on to state president zelensky quote loves your ass. i then heard president trump asked, , so is going to do the investigation? ambassador sondland replied that he's going to do it, adding that president zelensky will do anything you ask him to do. >> he's going to do it. he willl do anything you ask him to do. immediately after this call with president trump, mr. holmes followed up with ambassador sondland. >> after the call ended ambassador sondland remarked that the president was in a bad mood as he stated was often the case early in the morning. i then took the opportunity to ask ambassador sondland for his candid impression of the
president's use on ukraine. in particular i asked if it was true that the president did not give a expletive about ukraine. ambassador sondland agreed that the president did not give an expletive about ukraine. i asked why not? ambassador storella stated the president only cares about big stuff. i noted it was big stuff going on in ukraine, like a war with russia. ambassador sondland replied that he meant big stuff that benefited the president like the biden investigation that mr. giuliani was pushing. the conversation then moved on to other topics. >> during the o july 25 call, president trump asked for the favor of these two phony medical investigations immediately after the ukrainian president brought up the fence assistance for ukraine.e. the following day ambassador sondland confirmed to president trump the ukraine would indeed initiate the investigation
discussed on the call which was thehi only thing the president cared about with respect to ukraine. he didn't care that russia was forcibly occupying eastern ukraine. president trump didn't care that thousands of ukrainians apparently had died fighting for their democracy. he didn't seem to care that supporting ukraine both through -- bolster america's national security, but he careded about himself. as it relates to the prospects of his reelection in 2020. in november president trump denied that he spoke to ambassador sondland on july 26, telling reporters i know nothing about that. but in his public testimony, ambassador sondland contradicted that assertion with official
recordsom he obtained from the white house. ambassador sondland further explained that homes testimony refreshed his reelection about to july 26 call which ambassador sondland had not originally described when he first appeared at the deposition before the house. >> also on july 26 shortly after our gm meetings, i spoke by phone with president trump, the white house -- kiev -- the white house finally, finally shared certain call dates and times with my attorneys confirmed to this. the call lasted five minutes. i remember i was at a restaurant in kiev and have no reason to doubt this conversation include the subject of investigations. again, given mr. giuliani's demand that president zelensky make a public statement about investigations, i knew that
investigations were important to president trump. >> president trump said that the july 25 conversation was a perfect call. it was far from perfect. in a perfect call would not demand a political favor from a vulnerable ukraine under attack by a russian file. in a perfect call the present would not demand that he foreign leader investigate a russian inspireded conspiracy about the 2016 election. in a perfect call the president would not pressure a foreign government to target an american citizen for political, personal gain. in a in a perfect call the prest would not solicit foreign interference in the 2020
election. in a perfect call the the prest would not threaten the well-being of a highly respected americanr ambassador and say tht she was going to go through some things. in a perfect call the president would not praise a disgraced former prosecutor who the free world viewed as corrupt and incompetent. and in a perfect i call the president would not have directed a foreign leader to follow up with rudolph giuliani, a human hand grenade. this was not a perfect call. it is direct evidence that president donald john trump corruptly abused
his power and solicited foreign interference in the 2020 election. >> the majority leader is recognized. >> mr. chief justice, colleagues will now take a 30 minute break for dinner. we will reconvene at five minutes after seven consulate ask consent the senate stint in recess until that time. >> without objection, so ordered. >> the opening arguments of impeachment trial of president trump on abuse of power and obstruction of congress continues today at 1 p.m. eastern live on c-span2. up next will hear from president trump's attorney jay sekulow speaking to reporters last night. >> all right. all