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tv   Outnumbered  FOX News  December 9, 2019 9:00am-10:00am PST

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impeaching him in the senate. they are entitled to take that into account. >> to all of you, thank you. >> afternoon, chairman. a ranking member collins, members of the community and members of the staff, thank you again for having me back. giving me the opportunity to testify about the evidence gathered during our impeachment inquiry. at the outset, let me say the evidence does not support the allegations that my democrat colleagues have made. and i don't believe the evidence leads to the conclusions they suggest. i'm hopeful to add some important perspective and context of the facts under discussion today. the chief allegation is that the impeachment inquiry has been trying to assess over the last 76 days is this, whether president trump abuse the power of his office through a quid pro
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quo, bribery, extortion, or whatever by withholding a meeting or security assistance as a way of pressuring ukrainian president zelensky to investigate the president's political rival, former vp bide biden. for the president's political benefit in the upcoming election, the secondary allegation that has been levied is whether president trump obstructed congress during the inquiry. the evidence obtained during the inquiry does not support either of those allegations, lays down the evidence in more detail but i will summarize. i will begin with a substantive allegation about an abuse of power, the inquiry has returned no direct evidence that president trump was held a meeting or security assistance in order to pressure president zelensky to
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investigate former vp biden. witnesses who testified in the inquiry have denied having awareness of criminal activity or even an impeachable offense. on the key question of the president's state of mind, there is no clear evidence that president trump acted with malicious intent. overall, at best, the impeachment inquiry record is riddled with hearsay, presumptions, and speculation. there are conflicting and ambiguous facts throughout the record. facts that could be interpreted in different ways. to paraphrase, or fetzer turley from last week, the impeachment record is heavy on presumptions and empty on proof. that is not me saying that, that is professor turley so let me
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start with the best direct evidence of any potential quid pro quo or impeachable scheme. this is president trump's phone call with zelensky for which the national security council and the white house situation room staff prepare to call summary. according to testimony from tim morrison, the summary was accurate and complete. lieutenant colonel alexander vindman testified that any omissions in the summary were not significant and that editing was not done maliciously. president trump has declassified and released the call summaries of the american people can review it and assess it for themselves. i will make a few points that seem to have gone under noticed. the call summary reflects absolutely no pressure or conditionality,
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president zelensky vocalized no concerns with the subject matters discussed. and there is no indication of bribery, extortion, or other illegal conduct on the call. of the call summary shows president trump and president zelensky engaged in pleasantries and cordiality's. the summary reveals laughter, simply put, not the sinister mob shakedown that some democrats have described. president trump raised his concerns about european allies paying their fair share and security assistance to ukraine. a concern that president trump would continue to raise both publicly and privately. there was no discussion on the call, i repeat, no discussion on the call about the upcoming 2020 election. or security sectors assistance
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to ukraine. beyond a call summary, the next best piece of evidence are the statements from the two participants on the call. president zelensky has said he felt no pressure on the call. on september 25th at the united nations, he said we had, i think i'm a good phone call. was normal. nobody push me." on october 26, president zelensky said "i was never pressured, and there were no conditions being imposed." four days later on october 10th, president zelensky said again "there was nothing wrong with the call. no blackmail. this is not corruption. was just a call." and just recently in "time" magazine, president zelensky said "never talk to the president from a position of a quid pro quo."
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because president zelensky would be the target of any alleged quid pro quo scheme, his statements denying any pressure carry significant weight. he is, in fact, the supposed victim here. other senior ukrainian government officials confirmed president zelensky's statements. foreign minister said on september 21st, "i know with the conversation was about and i think there was no pressure. who was then secretary of ukraine national security and defense counsel told ambassador bill taylor on the night of the call that the ukrainian government was not disturbed by anything on the call. president trump of course has also said he did not pressure president zelensky. on september 25th,
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president trump said "there was no pressure. when i asked if he wanted president zelensky to do more to investigate the former vp, president trump responded no, i want him to do whatever he can. whatever he can do in terms of corruption because corruption is massive. that's what he should do. several witnesses attested to the president's concerns about ukrainian corruption. the initial readouts of the jule ukrainian government and the state department raised no concerns. although lieutenant colonel vindman noted concerns, those concerns were not shared by national security council leadership. they were not shared by general keith kellogg who listens on the call, lieutenant general kellogg said in the statement "i heard nothing wrong or improper on the call. i had and have no concerns.
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lieutenant colonel vindman superior, tim morrison testified that he was concerned of the call would leak and be misused in washington's political process. but he did not believe that anything discussed on the call was illegal or improper. much has also been made about president trump's reference on the july 25th call to hunter biden's position on the board of burisma. of a corrupt ukrainian energy company and the actions of certain ukrainian officials on the run-up to the 2016 election. democrats dismissed these conspiracy theories to suggest that the president has no legitimate reason other than his own political interest to raise these issues with president zelensky. the evidence, however, shows there are legitimate questions about both issues.
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deputy assistant secretary george counts testified that the company had a reputation for corruption. the company was founded served as ukraine's minister of ecology and natural resources. when he served in that role, his company received oil exploration licenses without public auction auctions. burisma brought hunter biden onto its board of directors according to "the new york times" as part of a broad effort to bring in well-connected democrats giving a period when the company was facing investigations back not just by domestic ukrainian forces but by officials in the obama administration. george had testified about these efforts. hunter biden reportedly received
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between $50,083,000 a month. as compensation for his position on the board. by the time he joined the board, his father the former vp was the obama administration's point person for ukraine. biden has no specific corporate governance expertise and we don't believe he speaks ukrainian or russian. we don't believe he moved there. so he is getting this gigantic paycheck for what? "the washington post" wrote at the time of biden's appointment to burisma's board that it looks nepotistic at best and "the washington post" said nefarious at worst. according to "the wall street journal," anticorruption activists in ukraine also raised concerns that the former vp's son
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received money and worried that would mean he would be protected and not prosecuted. witnesses and the impeachment inquiry noted hunter biden's role on the board and how it presented at minimum a conflict of interest. lieutenant colonel vindman said hunter biden did not appear qualified to serve on burisma's board. witnesses testified that hunter biden's role on the board was a legitimate concern to raise. in fact, george kent explained that in 2015, he raised a concern to the office of former vice president biden, that hunter biden's role on burisma's board presented a potential conflict of interest. however, hunter biden's role did not change and former vice president biden continued to lead u.s. policy in ukraine.
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on this record, there is a legitimate basis for president trump to have concern about hunter biden's role on burisma's board. the prospect that some senior ukrainian officials worked against president trump in the run-up to the 2,016 election draws an even more visceral reaction from most democrats. let me say very, very clearly that election interference is not binary. i am not saying that it was ukraine and not russia. i am saying that both countries can work to influence an election. a systemic coordinated russian interference effort does not mean that some ukrainian officials did not work to oppose president trump's candidacy.
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did not make statements against president trump. during the election. ambassador volker testified in his public hearing that it is possible for one more country to seek interference. dr. hale testified likewise that her public hearing contemporaneous news articles and 26 he noted how president trump's candidacy led to wider political leadership to do something they would never have attempted before. intervene however indirectly in a u.s. election. in august 2016, the ukrainian ambassador to the u.s. published an op-ed in the hill criticizing candidate trump. other senior ukrainian officials called candidate trump a clown in other words. they allege that he challenged
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the very values of the free world, one prominent ukraine parliamentarian explained that the majority of ukraine's political figures were on hillary clinton's side. a january 2017 political article lays out in more detailed efforts by the ukrainian government officials to oppose president trump's candidacy. the article notes how ukraine worked to sabotage the trump campaign by publicly questioning his fitness for office. the article detailed how a woman named alexandria chilled paid c and working with the dnc and the clinton campaign traded information and leads about the trump campaign with the staff at the ukrainian embassy in washington. how they work directly with reporters to point them in the right direction. witness is in the impeachment
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inquiry testified that the allocation of ukrainian influence was appropriate to examine. he testified that he thought it was fine. ambassador taylor said a for example that the allegations surprised and disappointed him on this record i do not believe one could conclude that president trump had no legitimate basis to raise a concern about efforts by ukrainians to influence the 2016 election. let me now turn to the first assertion that president trump withheld a meeting with president zelensky and the way of pressuring him to investigate the former vp. here, it is important to note ukraine's long profound history of endemic corruption.
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several witnesses in the inquiry have testified about these problems. ambassador yovanovitch site ukraine's corruption is not just prevalent, but frankly is this. witnesses testified to having firsthand knowledge that president trump is deeply skeptical of ukraine due to its corruption dating back years and that this skepticism contributed to president trump's initial hesitancy to meet with president zelensky. ambassador volker testified "oh, i know he had a very deep-rooted skeptical view and my understanding at the time was that even though he agreed in the meeting that we had with him, say i'll invite him, he didn't really want to do it," volker said. that's why the meeting kept getting delayed. another relevant set of facts here is the effort of some
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ukrainian officials to -- some of these ukrainian politicians remained in government when president zelensky took over. witnesses testified these ukrainian efforts in 2016 colored how president trump viewed ukraine. it is also important to note that president zelensky was a relatively unknown quantity for u.s. policymakers. ambassador yovanovitch called him an untried politician. dr. hale testified there were concerns within the national security council about the relationship with a controversial oligarch in ukraine. although president zelinski ran on a reform platform, president president zelensky appointed him as a lawyer. they both noted the disappointment raise concerns. these facts are important in
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assessing the president's state of mind and understanding whether president zelensky was truly committed to fighting corruption in ukraine. the evidence shows that president trump and invited president zelensky to meet at the white house on three separate occasions all without any conditions. the first was on april 21st during the initial congratulatory phone call, the second was a letter on may 29th. this letter followed an oval office meeting on may 23rd with the u.s. delegation to the inauguration. during this meeting, president trump again expressed his skepticism about ukraine. ambassador volker recalled the president saying "these are terrible people in a corrupt country. ambassador sondland similarly testified that ukraine and the president of you tried to take him down in the 2016 election. senator ron johnson to confirm this testimony in his submission to the impeachment inquiry.
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finally the third time that president trump invited zelensky again to meet without any preconditions was during the july 25th phone call. although some time passed between may 2019 when the president formally invited zelensky to meet on september 25th when the presidents met, the evidence does not show that the ukrainian government felt additional pressure due to this delay. to the contrary, ambassador volker testified that the ukrainian regime felt pretty good about its relationship with the trump administration in this period. during those four months, senior ukrainian government officials had at least nine meetings or phone calls with president trum president trump, vice president pence, secretary pompeo, national security advisor bolton, and u.s. ambassadors. the evidence does not support a conclusion that president trump conditioned of meeting with president zelensky on
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investigating former vice president biden. mr. yermak, the close advisors noted explicitly in august 2019 "new york times" story which was published before the beginning of the impeachment inquiry. in this article, yermak said that he and mayor giuliani did not discuss a link between a presidential meeting and investigations. witness testimony confirms yermak statement. ambassador volker testified there was no linkage between a potential meeting and investigations. although ambassador sondland testified that he believed there was a quid pro quo, his testimony is not as clear as it has been portrayed. in his deposition, ambassador sondland testified he believed the meeting was conditioned on a public anticorruption statement, not on the investigations themselves. a distinction that during his
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deposition he was keen to note. ambassador sondland said then that nothing about the request raised any red flags. in his public testimony, ambassador sondland clarified that he had no firsthand knowledge of any language coming from the president and never discussed any preconditions with the president. he merely presumed there were preconditions. i would like to also notice the meeting with two senior ukrainian officials. allow me to submit that here too, there is conflicting evidence about the facts. both dr. hill and lieutenant colonel vindman testified that ambassador sondland raised investigations during this meeting causing ambassador bolton to abruptly end the meeting. dr. hill testified she confronted ambassador sondland
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over his discussion about investigations. ambassador sondland's testimony about this meeting however scattered. then his closed-door deposition, he testified that no national security staff members ever once expressed concerns to him that he was acting improperly. and he denied that he raised investigations during this meeting. but when he came here to testify in public, he acknowledged for the first time that he raised investigations but he denied that the meeting ended abruptly. he maintained that dr. hill never raise concerns to him and that any discussion of investigations did not mention anything specific such as biden or 2016. let me lastly address the allegation that president trump directed vice president pence not to attend president zelensky's inauguration is another way of
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pressuring ukraine to investigate former vice president biden. jennifer williams, a senior advisor in the office of the vice president testified that a colleague, chief of staff assistant told her the chief of staff assistant that president trump had directed vice president pence not to attend the inauguration. however, williams had no firsthand knowledge of any such direction for the reasons given for any such direction. indeed such a direction was given, it is not clear from the evidence why it was done. because the vice president's office was juggling other potential trips during that time, and the ukrainian parliament scheduled election on an extremely short time frame. was just four days notice. williams explained that there was a window of dates, may 30th
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through june 1st where the president could attend the inauguration and that was communicated and if it wasn't one of those dates, it would be difficult or impossible to attend the inauguration. separately, the office of the vice president was also planning an unrelated trip to canada to promote the usmca during this same window. the usmca was and still is a significant priority for the administration. vice president pence has done a number of public events in support of it. president trump was also planning foreign travel during this time period. and as dr. hill testified, both president trump and vice president pence cannot both be out of the country at the same time. williams explained that these factors created a narrow window
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for the vice president's participation in the inauguration. dr. hill testified that she had no knowledge the vice president was directed not to attend. on may 16th, the outgoing ukrainian parliament scheduled the inauguration for may 20th and only four days later, may 20th was not one of the three days that vice president pence's office had provided for his availability. williams testified that there is early date surprise the vice president's office because we weren't expecting the ukrainians to look at their time frame. george kent at the state department said the short notice from the ukrainians force the state department to scramble to find a u.s. official to be the delegation. finally settling on secretary of energy rick perry. on may 20th of the date of president zelensky's inauguration, vice president pence was in jacksonville, florida, for an event promoting usmca.
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finally, on september 25th, president trump and president zelensky met during the general assembly. the two met without ukraine ever taking action on investigations and according to ambassador taylor, there was no discussion of investigation during this meeting. i will now turn to the second assertion that president trump withheld taxpayer-funded security assistance to ukraine as a way of pressuring zelensky to conduct these investigations. hereto, context is critically important. president trump has been skeptical of foreign assistance in general and believes quite strongly that our european allies should share more of the burden for regional defense. that is an assertion he made on the campaign trail, something he has raised consistently since. it is also important to note that u.s. security assistance is conditioned to countries around the world and that u.s. aid including a two ukraine has been temporarily paused in the past for various reasons and even for no reason at all.
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ambassador volker testified the 55 day pause on security assistance did not strike him as uncommon and at the pause was not significant. dr. hill and state department official catherine croft both testified that security assistance to ukraine specifically had been temporarily paused in the past. in fact, ambassador david hale, the under secretary of state for affairs, the third most senior person at the senior department testified that national security council had released a review across the world to make sure taxpayer dollars were spent to the national interest kind to advance the principle of burden sharing by our allies. dr. hill testified that as she was leaving in july, there had been a directive for full-scale review of our foreign policy assistance. she said there had been more scrutiny on security assistance as a result. another important data point is president trump's willingness to take a stronger stance and
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supporting ukraine against russian aggression. compared to the previous administration. several witnesses testified that president trump's willingness to provide ukraine with was a substantial improvement, a stronger policy and a significant decision. when we discuss democrat allegations that president trump withheld vital security assistance dollars from ukraine, we should also remember it was president trump and not president obama who provided ukraine with lethal defensive weapons. i make all of these points here because there are relevant pieces of information that bear on how the house should view the evidence in question. although the security assistance was paused in july, the evidence is virtually silent on the definitive reason for the pause. in fact, the only direct evidence of the reason for the pause comes from omb official
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who said he learned in september it was really as to the president's concern about other countries contribute more to ukraine. he explained how they received a request for information on what other countries were contributing to ukraine which they provided in the first week of september. they are of course was released september 11th. several witnesses have testified that security assistance was not linked to ukraine's investigations. ambassador volker's testimony is particularly relevant on this point because he was a key intermediary with ukrainian government and someone who they trusted and sought for advice. ambassador volker testified that he was aware of no quid pro quo and the ukrainians never raised such concerns to him. when ambassador taylor reiterated the possibility of a quid pro quo to ambassador volker, he said he replied there is no linkage here. during his deposition, chairman schiff tried to pin him down on this point but
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ambassador volker was clear there was no connection. in his public testimony, he reiterated there was no linkage, similarly, george kent at the state department said he did not associate aid to investigations and he relate how ambassador taylor told him that tim morrison and ambassador sondland also believed that you were not linked. ambassador sondland's testimony as we have seen already is a bit more scattered. in his deposition, he said he was never aware of preconditions on security assistance or that the security assistance was tied to investigations. ambassador sondland and later provided a written statement supplementing his deposition in which he explains for the first time that in the absence of any clear explanation, he presumed a link between security assistance and anticorruption state were linked. ambassador sondland also attested in his written supplement that he likely voiced
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his concern to mr. yermak, the close advisor of president zelensky. on september 1st in warsaw. mr. yermak however in a substitute news account disputed ambassador sondland's account and said he hasn't remembered any reference to the military aid. in his public testimony, he reiterated his testimony was based on a presumption acknowledging to congressman turner that no one on the planet told him that security assistance to ukraine was conditioned on investigations. ambassador taylor is the other relevant actors here. he testified in his deposition that he had a clear understanding that ukraine would not receive the security assistance until president zelensky committed to the investigations. however, in his public testimony, ambassador taylor acknowledged his clear understanding came from ambassador sondland. was merely presuming that there was a link.
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president trump too rejected any linkage between security assistance to ukraine and investigations. the president's statements in this regard ought to be persuasive because he made the same statement in two separate private conversations with two different u.s. officials ten days apart. they would be no reason for the president to be anything less than candid during these private conversations peered on august 31st, president trump spoke by phone with senator johnson who is traveling to ukraine in the coming days and sought the president's permission to tell president zelensky that the security assistance would be forthcoming. president trump responded that he was not ready to do that. citing ukrainian corruption and burden sharing among european allies. when senator johnson raised the potential linkage between security assistance and investigation, president trump vehemently denied any connection saying no way, i would never do that.
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enclosing the call, president trump told senator johnson that we are reviewing it now referring to the security assistance and guess what? you will probably like my final decision, he told that to senator johnson on august 31st. this statement strongly suggest that that president trump was already leaning toward lifting the aid. separately, on september 9th, president trump spoke by phone with ambassador sondland. ambassador sondland asked the president what do you want from ukraine? the president respond i want nothing, i want no quid pro quo, i want zelensky to do the right thing. in addition, senior ukrainian government officials denied any awareness of the language between u.s. security assistance and investigations. these denials are persuasive because if there was an orchestrated scheme to pressure ukraine by withholding security assistance, one would think the pause on security assistance would have been clearly communicated to the ukrainians.
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foreign minister told the media november following news of ambassador sondland's written supplemental testimony that he never linked security assistance to investigations. he said "i have never seen a direct relationship between investigations and security assistance. although there is some testimony that ukrainian officials from the embassy in washington made informal inquiries to the state department and defense department about these issues with security assistance in july and august, the evidence does not show president zelensky or senior advisors were aware of the pause until it was publicly reported by politico on august august 28th. of subsequent news article explained the conflicting testimony that embassy officials in washington had made informal inquiries about issues with the aid of senior officials denied awareness of the pause.
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the article explained that then ukrainian ambassador who was appointed by president predecessor quite broken. i did not inform president zelensky there was any issue with the eight. according to the news account, his senior team only learned of the pause when it was reported on august 28th. as ambassador volker testified because senior ukrainian officials were unaware of the pause, there was no leverage implied. the actions of senior ukrainian government officials while the security assistance was paused reinforces a conclusion that they did not know the aide was on hold. in the 55 days during which the security assistance was paused, president zelensky had five discussions with u.s. senior officials. on july 25th, he spoke with president trump on the phone. july 26, met with ambassador volker, ambassador taylor, ambassador sondland. on august 27th, he met with
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ambassador bolton. september 1st, vice president pence in warsaw and on september 5th, he met with senator ron johnson, senator chris murphy and in none of these meetings did he raise any concern about a linkage between security assistance and investigations. in particular, the september 5th meeting with senator johnson and senator murphy is notable because they are not part of the trump administration and he could be candid with them. what did occur during those 55 days or historic efforts by ukraine of parliament to implement anticorruption reform. vice president pence had pressed president zelensky about these reforms during their september 1st meeting. in their deposition, ambassador taylor lau did his rapid reforms and national security council official morrison testified that during the meeting that he noted
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everyone on the ukrainian side of the table was exhausted as they had been up all night working on these reforms. on september 11th, president trump discussed the matter with vice president pence, senator portman, and acting chief of staff mulvaney. according to tim morrison's testimony, they discussed whether ukraine's progress on anticorruption reform was enough to justify releasing the security assistance. morrison testified that vice president pence was obviously armed with the conversation he had with president zelensky and they convinced the president that the aid should be disbursed immediately. the president then lifted the hold. in concluding this point, we have considerable evidence that president trump was skeptical of ukraine due to its corruption. we have evidence the president was skeptical of foreign assistance in general and he believed strongly our allies should share the burden for regional defense. we know the white house was reviewing foreign assistance in general to ensure for the u.s. interest and that research
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provided information about which foreign countries were contribute money to ukraine. president trump told senator johnson we are reviewing it now and you will probably like my final decision. he told ambassador sondland on september 9th, i want zelensky to do what he ran on. president zelensky who ran on an anticorruption platform was at a ties to a potential controversial oligarch. vice president pence reiterated president zelensky that on september 1st, the need for reform was paramount. after president zelensky paused -- after president zelensky passed historic anticorruption reforms, the pause on security assistance was lifted and the presidents meant two weeks later. ukrainian government never took any action on investigations that issue in the impeachment inquiry. much has been made about a
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so-called shadow or a regular foreign policy apparatus that president trump has alleged above orchestrated as a mechanism to force ukraine to initiate investigations. in the allegation is president trump conspired to recall ambassador yovanovitch from ukraine so his agents could pursue a scheme to pressure ukraine to conduct these investigations. but there are logical flaws with these arguments. first, every ambassador interviewed acknowledged the president has an absolute right to recall ambassador is for any reason or no reason. is apparent president trump lost confidence in ambassador yovanovitch and it is simply not an abuse of power for him to recall her. beyond that, the trump administration replaced ambassador yovanovitch with ambassador bill taylor who became one of the first state department officials to voice concerns discussed during the course of the inquiry here. in fact, ambassador taylor played a prominent role in the hearings last month.
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if president trump truly sought to remove as part of a nefarious plan, he certainly would not have replaced her with someone of the likes of ambassador bill taylor. second, the three u.s. officials who comprise the so-called shadow foreign policy apparatus, ambassador volker, sondland, and secretary perry can hardly be called irregular and certainly not outlandish. all of her senior u.s. officials with official interest in ukraine policy. the three kept the state department and the nsc informed of their activities. finally, there is evidence that mayor giuliani did not speak on behalf of the president according to a new story on november 22nd, asked him to connect him to mayor giuliani because the team was surprised by the mayors negative comments about ukraine. they wanted to change his mind. both ambassador volker in his
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deposition and yermak in an august "new york times" article denied that mayor giuliani was speaking on behalf of president trump as his agent. instead, as ambassador volker explained, the ukrainian government saw him as a conduit through which they could change the presidents mind. the second allegation at issue is whether the president obstructed congress by not agreeing to all the demands for documents and testimony. as somebody with experience of congressional investigations and strongly believing in congress is article one authority, this impeachment inquiry has departed drastically from fast bipartisan presidents for presidential impeachment as well as the fundamental tenants of fair and effective congressional oversight. the first process matters, guaranteed fundamental fairness and due process to the presiden
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president. it allows substantive minority participation from the the presidents council and the fact-finding fact-finding process. neither aspect was present here. democrats denied witnesses, voted down subpoenas we sought to issue for both documents and testimony and although they never brought a vote, they were all tabled. democrats directed witnesses not to answer our questions in these sorts of actions delegitimize the inquiry and did not give the witnesses or the president confidence that the inquiry is fair. second, the president or any potential witness in this impeachment inquiry should be allowed to raise defenses without it being used as an adverse inference against him. courts have held that the constitution mandates and accommodations process between the branches. for this reason, congressional oversight is a time intensive endeavor, certainly takes longer than 76 days. here, however, the initial
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instructed potential witness as it shall constitute evidence of obstruction. democrats want all their demands honored immediately and are unwilling to consider the executive branch as defenses. finally, there is no basis for obstruction. the one witness who said he spoke to president trump about his appearance as a witness to testify the president told him to cooperate and tell the truth. the president has declassified and released the call summary of his july 25th and april 21st calls with president zelensky. the white house wrote to speaker pelosi to say that it was willing to cooperate further if the house returned to a well-established bipartisan constitutional based impeachment process. as we know, these protections were never afforded.
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in closing, i would like to briefly address the democrats narrative as articulated in their report. the democrat narrative ignores any evidence that is not helpful for their case. it ignores that ambassador sondland's testimony that he presented that there was a quid pro quo and ignores the many public statements made by ukrainian officials. the report presents a story as if the evidence is clear when in reality it is anything but. democrats have gone to great lengths to gather information to build their case and have even obtained and released phone records relating to communications the president's personal attorney, a reporter and a member of congress. there are additional phone records that have not yet been released and our members remain concerned about the prospect of more phone records being released. there has been a lot of hyperbole, hysteria over the last three months about this inquiry and the underlying facts. i believe a lot of this can be
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traced back to the anonymous whistle-blower complaint. i believe the whistle-blower reframed a lot of the facts at issue and cause witnesses in the inquiry to recast their views. and it is unfortunate that we haven't been able to interview the whistle-blower. finally, some have likened the impeachment inquiry to a special prosecutor's investigation, one accepts and should expect that like ken starr and robert mueller, the chairman should testify and our members, all the committees believe very strongly that chairman schiff should testify and answer questions. with that, the time is yours. >> the gentleman's time has expired. we will proceed to the first round of questions pursuant. the gentleman will state his point of order. >> we've been told that counsel for the democrats was a witness and that's why he is sitting up
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there. i have been a judge and i know that you don't get to be a witness and a judge in the same case, that is my point of order. >> not a point of order. pursuant to house resolution 660 and accompanying judiciary committee procedures, there will be 45 minutes of questions conducted by the chairman and majority counsel filed followee ranking member and minority counsel. only the chair and ranking member and their respective counsels may question witnesses during this period. following that unless i specify additional time, we will proceed under "the five" minute rule. every member will have the chance to ask questions. i now recognize myself for the first round of questions. the republicans expert witness last week professor turley wrote an article that there is no
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question it is an impeachable offense including the exchange for the investigation of a political opponent. you just have to prove it happens. that was mr. turley's comment. now did the investigative committees conclude that the evidence proved that the president used his public office for personal gain? >> yes, mr. chairman. >> finding in fact five said president trump abused the office of the president to apply increasing pressure and to discuss the politically motivated investigations desired by president trump. and did the evidence also prove that president trump withheld military aid and announcement of his political opponent? president trump asking him through his agents and subordinates conditioned release of the vital military assistance suspended to ukraine on the president of ukraine's public
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announcement of investigation that president trump sought. i did evidence demonstrate that president trump undermined the national security interest of the united states? fax six said in directing and orchestrating the scheme to advance his personal political interest, president trump did not implement, promote anticorruption policies. in fact, the president sought to pressure and induce the government of ukraine to denounce politically motivated investigations lacking predicament legitimate as a matter of policy in that country and around the world. in so doing, they undermined anticorruption reform and the rule of law in ukraine. and did the evidence also show the compromised national security of the united states? the fact-finding effect seven is
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said by withholding vital military assistance and civil medic support from a strategic foreign partner government engaged in ongoing military conflicts illegally instigated by russia, president trump compromised national security to advance his personal political interests. did the evidence proved president trump engaged in a scheme to cover up his conduct to obstruct congressional investigators? >> yes, from the outset. >> finding of fact nine says using the power of the office of the president and exercising his authority of the executive branch, president trump ordered and implemented a campaign of to conceal his conduct of the public and frustrate and obstruct the house of representatives impeachment inquiry. finally, the constitutional scholars in my hearing last week testify that the president's conduct towards ukraine, a pattern of inviting for an election interference with the continuing risk to our free and fair elections.
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does the evidence prove that president trump was a threat to our elections? >> yes, it did, mr. chairman. >> finding in fact eight says based on the revelation of his actions, president trump publicly and repeatedly persisted in urging foreign investments -- foreign governments -- including ukraine and china to investigate his political opponent. his continued solicitation of foreign interference in the u.s. election presents a clear and present danger that the president will continue to use the power of his office for his political gain, i would add in the next election. i yelled to my counsel or additional questioning. >> thank you, mr. chairman. as an experienced investigator, would you agree that relevant bearing on the state of mind that may help explain the president's actions?
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>> user mike, please. >> my only question to you is that a relevant thing to consider? >> it is relevant to consider. would you agree that joe biden was a leading democratic contender that face president trump in 2020? >> i wouldn't agree with that. >> it is your testimony that president trump did not view president biden to be a legitimate contender. >> it's too early. >> is part of your inquiry, did you determine whether he tweeted at all about former vice president joe biden between january and july 25th and how many times? >> i try to stay off twitter lately. >> did you know he tweeted about the former vice president joe biden over 25 times between january and july 25th? >> i didn't look at those tweets. >> did you look at how many
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times he mentioned vice president biden in a speech rally leading up to the july 25th call you back >> president trump goes to a lot of rallies and does a lot of tweeting. is pretty difficult to draw too many conclusions from his tweets for his statements at rallies. >> pardon me. >> the gentleman is not recognized. the gentleman is not recognized mr. burke has the time. >> we are going to ignore the rules and have witnesses to ask the questions. how many other rules or you just going to disregard? >> the gentleman will suspend. parliamentary inquiries are not an order at this time. this is not appropriate to have a witness be the questioner of somebody that was a witness when he was. was. >> the gentleman will desist. >> it is just wrong. wrong. >> the gentleman will refrain. >> i'm making a point of order and you want to rule on it.
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>> state your point of order. >> there is no rule nor president for anybody being a witness. the point of order is he is inappropriate to be up here asking questions. >> that is not a point of order, he is here in accordance with the role. >> how much money do you have to give? >> the gentleman will not cast aspersions on members of the staff of the committee. mr. burke has the time. >> mr. chairman, point of order. >> mr. burke has the time. >> point of order. >> you have to recognize a point of order. >> the gentleman will state a point of order. >> this gentleman at sell is presenting his opinion as a witness, he is opposed to present the material facts and not to appear for his opinions, is that right or not?
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>> the gentleman is not a point of order, pursuant -- i have ruled the gentleman has the time pursuant to rule 660. >> point of order. the point of order is this, we operate by rules and nothing specifically permitting this, we go by precedence. is unprecedented for a person to come and sit with who you've described as a witness to then returned to the bench. that is a point of order. >> the gentleman has stated that it is not a point of order but i will point out is not a recognizable point of order. i will point out that we have the gentleman who has been designated by me to do this questioning which is part of the rules of the house.
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is in accordance with the rules of the house and the gentleman's time will resume. mr. burke. >> you are aware that president trump announced his candidacy for reelection in 2020, announced at the month before the july 25th call on june 21st? did you look at that in your investigation as part of looking at president trump's intent on what he intended on the july 25th call? >> the date he announced -- he is obviously running for reelection. what is the date he announced his intent to run for reelection -- >> you knew had president biden had already announced his intention. >> it's been related to me. i don't know when vice president biden indicated he was going to run. >> so you would agree that if the ukraine announced a corruption investigation of former vice president joe biden, that would hurt his credibility as a candidate, would you agree with that basic principle, sir?
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yes or no, sir. would you agree with that principal? >> a slightly disagree with the premise of your question. >> i request opinion. >> the gentleman does not recognize, the gentleman has the floor. >> i object to the question. >> the question is in order, the gentleman will continue. the gem and will continue with his time. >> let's get back to the fact that talking about eight ambiguous lines in a call transcript, the president was not asking for a personal favor, he was speaking on behalf of the american people, i will read it, he said i would like you to find out what happened with the whole situation in ukraine. in they say cloud strike, i guess you have one of your wealthy people. >> i am not asking you to read that. i want to talk to you about this, let's look at slide three if we may. the reference to biden.
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you see on the july 25th call on page four, isn't it a fact that president trump and his call with president zelensky said that he heard that vice president joe biden had stopped that investigation to his son? >> the other thing, there's a lot of talk about biden's son, that he stopped the prosecution >> he said he stopped the prosecution. >> he is entitled to answer his question fully. >> there is a video of the former vp, that's what the president is referring to, it was a little bit of the former vp was a little bit audacious in how he described. >> i am only asking you what it says on the transcript, is that what it says?
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>> the other thing, there's a lot of talk about biden's son. >> and that biden stopped the prosecution, is that correct? it also goes on to say president trump asked president zelensky if you could look into it. you could look into it, correct? >> that's what it said. president trump was asking ukrainian president zelensky to have the ukrainian officials looking into vice president joe biden, correct? >> president trump is not asking, i think it's ambiguous. >> mr. goldman, you're an experienced federal prosecutor, is as president trump asking
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president zelensky to investigate his political rival joe biden? >> i don't think there's any other way to read the words on the page than to conclude that. >> you made a point, as an experienced investigator, is that your experience when someone has done something wrong follower corrupt, they state their intentions to do something wrong:corrupt. i'm just asking you in general. >> you are saying that a schemer would talk about his scheme. >> he admitted he was doing something wrong:corrupt to someone not in the scheme. >> you made a big point in your presentation that on that call, president trump did not go further and tell president zelensky that he wanted the investigation to help his 2020 election. >> he definitely did not talk about 2020. >> mr. goldman, did you agree
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that if he was acting corruptly, wrongfully, that it was unlikely he was going to confess to president zelensky that he was asking for the investigations explicitly to help his prospects? >> in my experience, you almost never have a defendant or someone who is engaging in misconduct who would ever explicitly say in this case, president zelensky, i'm going to bribe you now or i'm going to ask for a bribe for i am now going to extort you. that is not the way these things work. >> thank you. and going back to you, you said hunter biden had been on the board going back to 2014, correct? >> yes. >> president trump supported ukraine with aid and otherwise in both 2017 and 2018, correct? >> president trump has done a lot for the


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