tv Good Morning America ABC November 20, 2019 7:00am-9:00am PST
also met with zelensky's senior aide, andriy yermak. i don't really the specifics of our conversation, but i'm sure the phone call was probably on the agenda of our meeting. also on july 26th, shortly after their kyiv meetings, i spoke by phone with president trump. the white house which is finally, timely sharing certain call dates and times with my attorneys con fimfirms this. the call lasted five minutes. i remember i was at a restaurant in kyiv, and i have no reason to doubt that this conversation included 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. we did not discuss any classified investigation. other witnesses have recently
shared their recollection of overhearing this call. for g this call. for the most part, i have no reason to doubt their accounts. it's true that the president speaks loudly at times, and it's also true i think we primarily discussed a$ap rocky. it's true that the president likes to use color of language. anyone who has met with him for any reasonable amount of time knows this. while i cannot remember the precise details, again, the white house has not allowed me to see any readouts of that call, and the july 26th call did not strike me as significant at the time. actually -- actually, i would have been more surprised if president trump had not mentioned investigations, particularly given what we were hearing from mr. giuliani about the president's concerns. however, i have no recollection of discussing vice president biden or his son on that call or after the call ended.
i know that members of this committee frequently framed these complicated issues in the form of a simple question. was there a quid pro quo? as i testified previously, with regard to the requested white house call and the white house meeting, the answer is yes. mr. giuliani conveyed to secretary perry, ambassador volker and others that president trump wanted a public statement from president zelensky committing to investigations of burisma and the 2016 election. mr. giuliani expressed those requests directly to the ukrainians and mr. giuliani also expressed those directly us to. we all understood that these prerequisites for the white house call and the white house meeting reflected president trump's desires and requirements. within my state department
emails, there is a july 19th email. this email was sent -- this email was sent to secretary pompeo, secretary perry, brian mccormack who is secretary perry's chief of staff at the time, miss kenna who is the acting -- pardon me. who is the executive secretary for secretary pompeo. chief of staff mulvaney, and mr. mulvaney's senior adviser, rob blair. a lot of senior officials. a lot of senior officials. here's my exact quote from that email. i talked to zelensky just now. he is prepared to receive potus' call. will assure him that he intends to run a fully transparent investigation, and will turn over every stone.
he would greatly appreciate a call prior to sunday so that he could put out some media about a friendly and productive call, no details, prior to ukraine election on sunday. chief of staff mulvaney responded, i asked the nsc to set it up for tomorrow. everyone was in the loop. it was no secret. everyone was informed via email on july 19th. days before the presidential call. as i communicated to the team, i told president selzelensky in advance to insurance is to run any investigation, and turn over any stone necessary in his phone call with trump. on july 19th in a whatsapp message between ambassador taylor, ambassador volker and
me, ambassador volker stated, had breakfast with rudy this morning. that's ambassador volker and rudy giuliani. teeing up call with yermak monday. that's senior adviser andriy yerm yermak. must have helped. most important is for zelensky to say that he will help investigation, and address any specific personnel issues if there are any. on august 10th, the next day, mr. yermak texted me. once we have a date, which is a date for the white house meeting, we will call for a press briefing, announcing upcoming visit and outlining vision for the reboot of the u.s./ukraine relationship including among other things, burisma and election meddling in investigations. this is from mr. yermak to me.
the following day, august 11th, and this is critical. i sent an email to counselor brechbuhl and lisa kenna. lisa kenna was frequently used as the pathway to secretary pompeo as sometimes he preferred to receive his emails through her. she would print them out and put them in front of him. with the subject ukraine, i wrote, mike, referring to mike pompeo, kurt and i negotiated a statement from zelensky to be delivered for our review in a day or two. the contents will hopefully make the boss happy enough, the boss being the president, to authorize an invitation. zelensky plans to have a big presser -- press conference, on the openness subject including specifics next week. all of which referring to the
2016 and the burisma. miss kenna replied, gordon, i'll pass to the secretary. thank you. again, everyone was in the loop. curiously, and this was very interesting to me, on august 26th, shortly before his visit to kyiv, ambassador bolton's office requested mr. giuliani's contact information from me. i sent ambassador bolton the information directly. they requested mr. giuliani's contact information on august 26th. i was first informed that the white house was withholding security aid to ukraine during
conversations with ambassador taylor on july 18, 2019. however, as i testified before, i was never able to obtain a clear answer regarding the specific reason for the hold whether it was bureaucratic in nature which often happens, or reflected some other concern in the inner agency process. i never participated in any of the subsequent dod or dos meetings that others have described so, i can't speak to what was discussed in those meetings. nonetheless, before the september 1st warsaw meeting, the ukrainians have become aware that security funds had yet to be dispersed. in the absence of any credible explanation for the hold, i came to the conclusion that the aid like the white house visit was
jeopardized. in preparation for the september 1 warsaw meeting, i asked secretary pompeo whether a face-to-face conversation between trump and zelensky would help to break the log jam, and this is when president trump was still intending to travel to warsaw. specifically on august 22nd, i emailed secretary pompeo directly, copying secretary kenna. i wrote, this is my email to secretary pompeo. should we block time in warsaw for a short pull-aside for potus to meet zelensky? i would ask zelensky to look him in the eye and tell him that once ukraine's new justice folks are in place in mid september, that zelensky -- he, zelensky, should be able to move forward publicly and with confidence on
those issues of importance to potus and the u.s. hopefully that will help break the logjam. the secretary replied, yes. i followed up the next day asking to get 10 to 15 minutes on the warsaw schedule for this. i said we would like to know when it's locked so that i can tell zelensky and brief him. executive secretary kenna rep replied, i will try for sure. moreover, given my concerns about the security aid, i have no reason to dispute that portion of senator johnson's recent letter in which he recalls conversations he and i had on august 30th. by the end of august, my belief was that if ukraine did something to demonstrate a serious intention to fight corruption and specifically addressing burisma and the 2016, then the hold on military aid
would be lifted. there was a september 1st meeting with president zelensky in warsaw. unfortunately president trump's attendance of the warsaw meeting was canceled due to hurricane dorian. vice president pence attended instead. i mentioned to vice president pence before the meetings with the ukrainians that i had concerns that the delay in aid had become tied to investigations. i recall mentioning that before the zelensky meeting. during the actual meeting, president zelensky raised the issue of security assistance directly with vice president pence, and the vice president said that he would speak to president trump about it. based on my previous communication with secretary pompeo, i felt comfortable sharing my concerns with mr. yermak. it was a very, very brief pull-aside conversation that happened within a few seconds. i told mr. yermak that i believe
the resumption of u.s. aid would likely not occur until ukraine took some kind of action on the public statement that he we had been discussing for many weeks. as my other state department colleagues have testified, this security aid was critical to ukraine's defense and should not have been delayed. i expressed this view to many during this period, but my goal at the time was to do what was necessary to get the aid released, to break the logjam. i believe that the public statement we have been discussing for weeks was essential to advancing that goal. you know, i really regret that the ukrainians were placed in that predicament, but i do not regret doing what i could to try to break the logjam and to solve the problem. i mentioned at the outset that throughout these events we kept state department leadership and others apprised of what we were doing. state department was fully
supportive of our engagement in ukraine efforts and was aware of commitment to investigations was among the issues we were pursuing. to provide just two examples, on june 5th, the day after the u.s./eu mission hosted our independence day, we did it a month early, acting assistant secretary phil reeker sent an email to me, secretary perry and to others, forwarding some positive media coverage of president zelensky's attendance at our event. mr. reeker wrote, and i quote, this headline underscores the importance and timeliness of zelensky's visit to brussels, and the critical -- and the critical perhaps historic role of the dinner and engagement gordon coordinated. thank you for your participation and dedication to this effort. months later, on september 3rd,
i sent secretary pompeo an email to express my appreciation for his joining a series of meetings in brussels, following the warsaw trip. i wrote, mike, thanks for schlepping to europe. i think it was really important and the chemistry seems promising. really appreciate it. secretary pompeo replied the next day on wednesday, september 4th, quote, all good. you're doing great work. keep banging away. state department leadership expressed total support for our efforts to engage the new ukrainian administration. look. i have never doubted the strategic value of our alliance with ukraine, and at all times, at all times, our efforts were in good faith and fully transparent to those tasked with overseeing them.
our efforts were reported and approved, and not once do i recall encountering an objection. it remains an honor to serve the people of the united states as their united states to the european union. i look forward to answering the committee's questions. thank you. >> we will now proceed the first round of questions as detailed in the memo provided to committee members. there will be 45 minutes of questions, followed by 45 minutes for the ranking member minority council. following that, unless i specify additional equal time for questioning, we will proceed under the five-minute rule, and every member will have chances to ask questions. i recognize myself or majority council for the first round of questions. mr. sondland, there's a lot of new material in your opening statement for us to get through, but i want to start with a few
top line questions before passing it over to mr. goldman. in your deposition, you yo de what you meanhi continu s insidiousness? >> well, mr. chairman, when we left the oval office, i believe on may 23rd, the request was very generic for an investigation of corruption in a very vanilla sense, and dealing with some of the oligarch problems in ukraine which were longstanding problems, and then as time went on, more specific items got added to the menu including the burisma and 2016 election meddling specifically. the dnc server specifically, and over this -- over this continuum, it became more and more difficult to secure the
white house meeting because more conditions were being placed on the white house meeting. >> and then of course, on july 25th although you were not privy to the call, another condition was added, that being the investigation of the bidens? >> i was not privy to the call, a and i did not know the condition of investigating the bidens was a condition, corr oit wasot inyt yes. correct. i saw it in september, correct. >> when the beginning of the continuum begins when the president instructs to you talk to rudy? >> correct. >> you understood that from the president you needed to satisfy the concerns that rudy giuliani would express to you about what the president wanted in ukraine? >> not to me, to the entire group. volker, perry and myself, correct. >> now in your opening statement, you confirm that there was a quid pro quo between the white house meeting and the
investigations into burisma and the 2016 election that giuliani was publicly promoting. is that right? >> correct. >> and, in fact, you say that other senior officials in the state department and the chiefs of staffs office including mick mulvaney, secretary pompeo were aware of this quid pro quo that in order to get the white house meeting, they were going to have to have these investigations that the president wanted. >> correct. >> those again are investigations into 2016 and burisma/the bidens? >> 2016 burisma. the bidens did not comeisma mea bidens when you is a you the call record, correct? >> of course. today, i know exactly what it means. i did not know at the time. >> then on july 26th, you confirmed you did indeed have the conversation with president trump from a restaurant in kyiv,
that david holmes testified about last week, is that right? >> correct. >> you have no reason to doubt mr. holmes' recounting of your conversation with the president? >> the only part of mr. holmes' recounting that i take exception with is i do not recall mentioning the bidens. that did not enter my mind. it was burisma in 2016 elections. >> you had no reason to believe he would make that up if that's what he recalls you saying? you have no reason to question that? >> i don't really saying biden. i never recall saying biden. >> but the rest of mr. holmes' recollection is consistent with your own? >> well, i can't testify as to what mr. holmes might or might not have heard through the phone. i don't know how he heard the conversation. >> are you familiar with his testimony? >> vaguely, yes. >> and the only exception you take is to the mention of the name biden? >> correct.
>> and i think you have said in your testimony this morning that not only is it correct that the president brought up with you investigations on the phone the day after the july 25th call, but you would have been surprised had he not brought that up, right? >> right, because he had been hearing about it from rudy, and we presumed rudy was getting it from the president, so it seemed like a logical conclusion. >> mr. holmes also testified that you said mr. trump doesn't care about ukraine. he only cares about things that affect him personally. i take it you don't dispute that part of the conversation? >> well, he made that clear in the may 23rd meeting that he was not moreparticularly fond of ukraine, and we had heavy lifting to do to get him engaged. >> you don't dispute that part of mr. holmes' recollection? >> no.
>> in august when you worked with rudy giuliani and a top ukrainian aide to draft a public statement to include the announcements of investigations into burisma, you understood that was required by president trump before he would grant the white house meeting to president zelensky? >> that's correct. >> and the ukrainians understood that as well? >> i believe they did. >> and you informed secretary pompeo about that statement as well? >> i did. >> later in august, you told secretary pompeo that president zelensky would be prepared to tell president trump that his new justice officials would be able to announce matters of interest to the president which could break the logjam. when you say matters of interest to the president, you mean the investigations that president trump wanted. is that right? >> correct. >> and that involved 2016 and burisma or the bidens. >> 2016 and burisma. >> and when you are talking here
about breaking the logjam, you're talking about the logjam over the security assistance, right? >> i was talking generally because nothing was moving. >> that included the security assistance, did it not? >> correct. >> and based on the context of that email, this was not the first time you had discussed these investigations with secretary pompeo, was it? >> no. >> he was aware of the connections that you were making between the investigations and the white house meeting and the security assistance? >> yes. >> did he ever take issue with you, and say no that connection cannot there or you're wrong? >> not that i recall. >> you mention that you also had a conversation with vice president pence before his meeting with president zelensky in warsaw, and that you raised the concern you had as well that the security assistance was being withheld because of the
president's desire to get a commitment from zelensky to pursue these investigations. what did you say to the vice president? >> i was in a briefing with several people, and i just spoke up and i said, it appears that everything has stalled until this statement gets made. something or words to that effect, and that's what i believe to be the case based on, you know, the work that the three of us had been doing, volker, perry and myself, and the vice president nodded, like, you know, he heard what i said, and that was pretty much it as i recall. >> and you understood that the ukrainians were going to raise the security assistance with the vice president at this meeting? >> i didn't know what they were going to raise, but they, in fact, did raise it, mr. chairman. >> well, it was public by that point that there was a hold on the security assistance, correct? >> yeah, but i didn't know what they were going to raise. i didn't get a pre-brief from the ukrainians. >> well, you knew certainly they were concerned about the hold on the security assistance, right?
>> they were concerned obviously. >> you wanted to help prepare the vice president for the meeting by letting him know what you thought was responsible for the hold on the security assistance. >> that's fair. >> do you recall any else the vice president said other than nodding his head when you made him aware of this fact? >> no. i don't have a readout of that meeting so i can't remember anything else. >> it was immediately after this meeting with the vice president and zelensky that you went to speak with yermak, and you told him similarly that in order to release the military assistance they were going to have to publicly announce these investigations? >> yeah. much has been made of that meeting and it wasn't really a meeting. what happened was everybody got up after the bilateral meeting between president zelensky and vice president pence, and people do what they normally do. they get up, they mill around, they shake hands and i don't know if i came over to germ myer if he came over to me, and he said, what was going on?
it may all be tied together now, and it was a short conversation. >> that short conversation, as you would later relay to morrison, and ambassador taylor, you informed mr. yermak that they would need to announce these investigations in order to get the aid, did they not? >> mr. yermak was already wo working on those -- or the statement about the investigations. >> and you confirmed for him that he needed to get it done if they were going to get the military aid? >> i likely did. >> mr. morrison and ambassador taylor have also related a conversation you had with the president following the warsaw meeting, in which the president relaid to you that there was no quid pro quo, but nevertheless, unless they announced this public investigation, there was no aid, correct?
>> that's correct. >> that's your discussion? >> that email was not artfully written. what i was try to convey to ambassador taylor after his frantic emails to me and to others about the security assistance, which by the way, i agreed with him. i thought it was a very bad idea to hold that money. i finally called the president, i believe it was on the 9th of september. i can't find the records and they won't provide them to me. i asked him an open ended question. what do you want from ukraine? i keep hearing these ideas and theories, and this and that. what do you want? it was a very short, abrupt conservation. he was not in a good mood, and he just said, i want nothing. i want nothing. i want no quid pro quo. tell zelensky to do the right thing, something to that effect. so i typed out a text to ambassador taylor and my reason for telling him this was not to
defend what the president was saying, not to opine on whether the president was being truthful or untruthful, but to simply relay, i have gone as far as i can go. this is the final word that i heard from the president of the united states. if you are still concerned, you, ambassador taylor, are still concerned, please get ahold of the secretary. maybe he can help. >> i'm not asking you about your text message. i'm asking about your conversations with mr. morrison and ambassador taylor after you spoke with the president either on that call or in a different call. >> i'm confused, mr. chairman. which conversations with mr. morrison and taylor? >> mr. morrison testified that you related a conversation you had with the president in which the president told you no quid pro quo, but president zelensky must go to the microphone and announce these investigations, and that he should want to. similarly, you told ambassador taylor that while the president said no quid pro quo, unless
zelensky announced these investigations they would be at a stalemate, presumably a stalemate over the military assistance. do you have any reason to question those conversations that mr. morrison and ambassador taylor took notes about? >> well, i think it's tied to my text, chairman, because in my text, i think i said something to the effect that he wants zelensky to do what he ran on, i believe, is transparency, et cetera, et cetera. which was my clumsy way of saying he wanted -- he wanted these announcements to be made. >> again, ambassador, i'm not asking about your text message. i'm asking about what you relayed to ambassador taylor about your conversations to the president. do you have any reason to questi question their recollection about what you told them? >> all i can say is that i
expressed what i told or what the president told me in that text, and if i had relayed anything other than what was in that text, then i don't recall. >> you don't recall? >> i don't recall. >> you have no reason to question ambassador taylor or mr. morrison of what they wrote in their notes? >> could you kindly repeat what they wrote? >> i'll have mr. goldman go through that with you. >> that would be great. >> let me get to the top line here, ambassador sondland. >> okay. >> you have testified that the white house meeting that president zelensky desperately wanted and that was very important to president zelensky, was it not? >> absolutely. >> you testified that that meeting was conditioned, was a quid pro quo for what the president wanted these two investigations. is that right? >> correct. >> and that everybody knew it. >> correct. >> now that white house meeting was going to be an official meeting between the two presidents, correct?
>> presumably. >> it would be an oval office meeting, hopefully? >> a working meeting, yes. >> a, woing meeting, so an official act. >> yes. >> and in order to perform that official act, donald trump wanted i can't characterize why he wanted them. this is what we heard from mr. giuliani. >> but he had to get those two investigations, if that official act was going to take place, correct? >> he had to announce the investigations, he didn't actually have to do them as i understood it. >> okay, president zelensky had to announce the two investigations the president wanted, make a public announcement, correct? >> correct. >> and those were a great value to the president, he was quite as insistent to them. >> again, through mr. giuliani we were led to believe that's what he wanted you said that mr.
giuliani was acting at the president's demand ux correct? >> correct. when the president says talk to my personal lawyer mr. giuliani, he followed the president's order. >> conditioned on performance on what the president wanted expressed directly and through his lawyer giuliani. >> correct. >> you also testified that your understanding it became your clear understanding that the military assistance was also being withheld pending zelensky announcing these investigations, correct? >> that was my presums, my personal presums based on the facts at the time. nothing was move sflg in fact, you had a discussion, conversation with the secretary of state saying that logjam over aid could be lifted if zelensky announced these investigations, right? >> i don't recall saying the logjam over aid. i recall on logjam.
>> that's what you meant, ambassador. >> i meant whatever was holding up the meeting, whatever was holding up our deal with ukraine i was trying to break. again, i was presuming -- >> well, here's what you said in your testimony a moment ago, page 18, my goal at the time was to do to necessary to get the aid released, to break the logjam, that's still your testimony. >> yeah. >> so, the military aid is also an official act, am i right? >> yes. >> this is not president trump's personal bank account. is this 400 million of u.s. taxpayer money, is it not. >> absolutely. >> there was a log jam in which the president would not write that u.s. check, you believed, until ukraine these two investigations the president
wanted? >> that was my belief. >> mr. goldman? >> thank you, mr. chairman. in your opening statement you detailed the benefits that you have gained from obtaining some additional documents over the past few weeks. is that right? >> in terms of refreshing my recollection. >> because reviewing these documents has helped you to remember the events that were asking about, is that correct in. >> correct. >> you acknowledge when you can place a document and a date in a context it helps to jog your memory. >> that's correct. >> you would agree for people unlike yourself who take notes that's very helpful to their own recollection of events, right? >> i think you asked your question backwards. people that take notes helpful to have those documents.
>> you're not a note taker. >> no. >> never have been. >> people who do take notice generally -- are more able to remember things than people who don't. >> some, yes. >> and there are additional documents that you've been unable to obtain, is that right in. >> that's correct. >> you said in our opening statement the state department prevented you and your staff from trying to gather more documents, is that correct? >> certain documents, yes. >> which documents? >> documents that i didn't immediate access to. >> who at the state department prevented that? >> you'd have to ask my counsel. >> the additional memory you've gained over the past few weeks from reading the testimony of others and reviewing your own documents, you have remembered a lot more than you did when you were deposed, is that right? >> that's correct.
>> one of the things that you now remember is the discussion that you had with president trump on july 26th in that restaurant in kiev, right? >> what triggered my memory was somebo somebody's recollection of asap rocky. >> one way memory works. you were sitting in a restaurant with david holmes in kiev, right, having lunch? >> i think i took the whole team out to lunch after the meeting. yeah. >> it was a meeting, one-on-one meeting you had withndriy yermak. >> again, trying to reconstruct a very busy day without the benefit but if someone said i had a meeting and i went to the meeting i'm not going to dispute that. >> particularly if someone took notes at that meeting? >> correct. >> sat outside the door and didn't let them in. >> i have no control who goes
into a meeting, that's the ukrainians who didn't let them in. >> and, you called president trump from your cell phone from the restaurant, is that right? >> that's right. >> this was not a secure line, was it? >> no, it was a open line. >> were you worried that a foreign government may be listening to your phone call with the president of the united states? >> i have unclassified conversations all the time from landlines that are unsecured and cell phones. the topic is not classified and it's up to the president to decide what's classified and not classified. he was aware that it was an open line as well. >> you don't recall the specifics of holding your phone far from away from your ear as mr. holmes testified but you have no reason to question his recollection of that, do you?
>> i mean, it seems a little strange i would have my phone here. he claims to overheard part of conversation, i'm not going to dispute what he heard or didn't hear. >> you confirmed to president trump you were in ukraine at the time and that president zelensky, quote, loves your ass, unquote. do you recall saying that. >> yeah, that sounds like something i would say. that's how president trump and i communicate. lot of four-letter words. in this case, three letters. >> holmes then said that he heard president trump ask, quote, is he meaning zelensky going to do the investigation? to which you replied, he's going to do it, and then you added that president zelensky will do anything that you, meaning president trump, ask him to, do you recall that? >> i probably said something to
that effect because i remember the meeting, president zelensky was very willing to work with the united states and was being very amicable and so putting it in trump speak, by saying he loves your as he'll do whatever you want, he'd work with us on a whole host of issue and he was eager? >> that's correct. >> because ukraine depends on the united states as one of its most significant allies. just so we understand you, you were in kiev the day after president trump spoke to president zelensky on the phone, and you now know from reading the call record that in that phone call he requested a favor for president zelensky to do
investigations related to the bidens and the 2016 election. right? >> i do now know that, yes. >> you met with president zelensky and his aides the day after that phone call and you had a conversation with president trump from your cell phone from a restaurant terrace and he asked you whether president zelensky will do the investigations and you responded that he's going to do them or it and that president zelensky will do anything you ask him to do, is that an accurate recitation there? >> i don't remember my exact response. >> but you don't have any reason to dispute mr. holmes' recollection? >> i won't dispute it. again, i don't recall. >> after you hung up with the president, mr. holmes testified about a conversation about you and he had where you told mr.
holmes that the president doesn't care about ukraine but the president used the more colorful language including a four-lettered word you just referenced, do you recall that. >> i don't recall my exact words. clearly the president beginning on may 23rd when we met with him in the oval office was not a big fan. >> but he was a big fan of the investigations? >> apparently so. >> and in fact, mr. holmes said that you -- that you said that mr. trump only cares about quote, big stuff that benefits himself, is that thing you would have said at the time? >> i don't think i would have said that. i would have honestly, he wasn't a big fan of ukraine and he wants the investigations we have been talking about for quite some time to move forward. that's what i would have said. because that's the fact. >> mr. holmes also remembers that you told him in, giving an
example of the big stuff, the biden investigation that rudy giuliani was pushing, do you recall that. >> i recall burisma not biden. >> do you recall saying at least referring to investigation that rudy giuliani was pushing, is that something you would have said? >> yes. >> now, even if you don't recall specifically mentioning the biden investigation to david holmes, we know that it was certainly on president trump's mind, because just a day before in his call with president zelensky he mentions specifically the biden investigation. and i want to show you that exhibit, or the excerpt from the call on july 25th. where, president trump says, the other thing, there's a lot of
talk about biden's son, that biden 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 that he stopped the prosecution, so if you can look into it it sounds horrible to me. president zelensky responds with a reference to the company that he's referring to and two witnesses yesterday said when president zelensky actually said the company he said burisma, so you would agree that regardless of whether you knew about the connection to the bidens at the very least you know now that's what president trump wanted at the time through the burisma investigation. >> i now know it all, zmrofk at this time you were aware of the president's desire along with rudy giuliani to do these investigations including the 2016 election interference
investigation, is that right in. >> that's correct. >> and you said president trump had directed you to talk -- you and the others to talk to rudy giuliani at the oval office on may 23rd, is that right in. >> if we had to do anything done with ukraine it was apparent to us that we had to speak to rudy giuliani. >> and in fact president trump also made that clear to president zelensky in that same july 25th phone call, he said, mr. giuliani is a highly respected man, he was the mayor of new york city, a great mayor and i'd like him to call you. i'd ask him to call you along with the attorney general. rudy very much knows what's happening and a he is a very capable guy. and after this president trump then mentions mr. giuliani twice more in that call.
now, from mr. giuliani at this point, you understood that in order to get that white house meeting that you wanted president zelensky to have and president zelensky desperately wanted to have that ukraine would have to initiate these two investigations is that right? >> they would have to announce they would have to do it. >> because juligiuliani and president trump didn't care if they did them. >> ifthe investigations had to be announced in same form and that form kept changing and announced publicly? >> announced publicly? the way it was expressed to me was that the ukrainians had a long history to committing things to privately and never following through. so president trump presumably,
again, communicated through mr. giuliani, wanted the ukrainians on record publicly they were going to do these investigations. >> but you never heard anyone say they really wanted them to do the investigations? >> i didn't hear either way. i didn't hear either way. >> now, your july 26th call with the president was not the only time that you spoke to the president surrounding that ukraine trip, was it? >> i believe i spoke to him before his call. >> and that would be on july 25th, the day before? >> yeah, i think i was flying to ukraine and i spoke with him, if i recall correctly, just before i got on the plane. >> so that's two private telephone calls with president trump in the span of two days, is that right? >> that's correct. >> you had direct access to president trump, correct? >> i had occasional access when he chose to take my calls.
>> well, he certainly took your call twice related to ukraine on these two days? >> he did. >> the morning of july 25th, you texted ambassador volker and we could bring up the next text exchange at 7:54 a.m. and you said call asap. ambassador volker didn't respond to you for another hour and a half and he said, gordon, got your message. had a great lunch with yermak and then passed your message to him. he will see you tomorrow. think everything in place. volker, though, an hour before that and had texted andriy yermak, a top aide for president zelensky. good lunch. thanks. heard from white house, assuming president z convinced trump he will investigate get to the bottom of what happened. in 2016, we will nail down date
for visit to washington. was this message that kurt volker passed to yermak the message you left for kurt volker on that voice mail you reference zbld you know, i don't remember mr. goldman. it could have been. again, i honestly, i don't remember. it seems logical to me. >> if ambassador volker testified that he did get that message from you, you are have no doubt? >> i would concur with that. >> this message is what you received from president trump in that phone call that morning? >> again, if he testified to that, to refresh my own memory, yes, likely i would have received that from the president trump. >> but the sequence makes sense. >> it does. >> you talked to president trump, you told kurt volker to call you, you left a message. kurt volker sent this message to andriy yermak.
president zelensky had a phone call spoke very similarly to what's in this text message? >> correct. >> the message expressed here that president zelensky needs to convince trump that he'll do the investigations in order to nail down the date for a visit to washington, d.c., is that correct? >> that's correct. >> now, i'm going to move ahead in time to the end of august, early september, when you came to believe i believe as you testified it wasn't just the white house meeting that was contingent on the announcement of these investigations that the president wanted, but security assistance as well. you testified that in the absence of any credible explanation for the hold on security assistance you came to the conclusion that like the white house visit the aid was conditioned on the investigations that president trump wanted, is that what you
said in your opening statement? >> it is. >> let's break this down. by this time you and many top officials knew that that coveted white house meeting for president zelensky was conditioned on these investigations, right? >> the announcement of the investigations, correct. >> thank you. including secretary pompeo? >> many people. >> secretary pompeo? >> yes. >> act chief of staff mulvaney? >> yes. >> you testified that this was a quid pro quo? >> i did. >> at this point by tend of august knew the aid had been held up for at least six weeks, is that correct? >> i believe i found out through ambassador taylor that the aid had been held up around july 18th is when i heard originally. >> and even though you searched for reasons you were never given a credible explanation? >> that's correct. >> no one you spoke to thought that the aid should be held to
your knowledge, is that right? >> i never heard anyone advocate for holding the aid. >> and now, by this point at the end of august it went public and the ukrainians knew about it? >> i believe there were some press reports presuming or who knows, but i think at that point it became sort of common knowledge that everything might be tied together. >> in fact, president zelensky brought it up at that september 1st meeting with vice president pence that you were at? >> i don't know if he brought it up specifically but asked where the aid was, he sort of asked, again, very vague recollection, because i don't have a readout of the bilateral meeting, why don't i have my check essentially? >> you understood that the ukrainians received no credible explanation? >> i certainly couldn't give them one. >> so is this kind of two plus
two equals four conclusion you reached. >> pretty much. >> only logical conclusion given these factors that the aid was also a part of this quid pro quo? >> yep. >> now, i want to go back to that conversation that you had with vice president pence right before that meeting in warsaw. and you indicated that you said to him that you were concerned that the delay in the aid was tied to the issue of investigations, is that right? >> i don't know exactly what i said to him, this was a briefing attended by many people and i was invited at the very last minute. i wasn't scheduled to be there. but i think i spoke up at some point late if the meeting. it looks like everything is being held up until these statements get made. that's my personal belief. >> vice president pence just nodded his head. >> again, i don't remember any
exchange. it was sort of a dually noted. >> he didn't say, gordon, what are you talking about? >> no, he didn't. >> he didn't say, what investigations? >> he did not. >> now, after this meeting you discussed this pull-aside you had with mr. yermak, you relaid your belief that they needed to announce these investigations prior to the aid being released, is that right? >> i said, i didn't know exactly why but this could be a reason. >> obviously, you had been speaking with mr. yermak for quite a while about a public announcement with these investigations? >> we had been working toward that end. >> you indicated to him in addition to the white house meeting security aid was also involved in that? >> as i said, it could have been involved, yes. >> i'm going to show you another text exchange you had on
november 1st where ambassador taylor said, are we now saying that security assistance and white house meeting are conditioned on investigations? and you respond, call me. ambassador taylor recalls that he did call you and you did have a conversation and in that conversation, you told ambassador taylor that the announcement of these investigations by president zelensky needed to be public and that announcement was conditioned on -- that announcement would ultimately release the aid, do you recall that conversation with ambassador taylor? >> again, my conversation with ambassador taylor, my conversation with senator johnson were all my personal belief just as you put it two plus two equals four. >> in his testimony ambassador taylor you said that president trump had told you that he
wanted president zelensky to state publicly, as of september 1st, do you have any reason to doubt ambassador taylor's testimony based on his meticulous notes? >> president trump never told me directly that the aid was conditioned on the meetings. the only thing we got directly from giuliani was that the burisma and 2016 elections were conditioned on the white house meeting. the aid was my own personal, you know, guess based again on your analogy, two plus two equals four. >> my testimony is i never heard from president trump that aid was conditioned on an announcement of elections. >> so, you never heard those specific words, correct.
>> correct. >> let's move ahead, you have another conversation in a little bit late that both tim morrison and ambassador taylor recount, but in this september 1st conversation, ambassador taylor also said that testified under oath that you said that president trump wanted zelensky in a public box, do you recall using that expression. >> yes, it goes back to my earlier comment that, again, coming from the giuliani source, because we didn't discuss this specifically with president trump that they wanted whatever commitments ukraine made to be made publicly so they would be on the record and held more accountable. whatever those commitments were. >> ambassador taylor testified that you told him that you had made a mistake in telling the ukrainians that only the white house meeting was conditioned on the announcement of the investigations and that in fact everything was including the
security assistance, do you remember saying that. >> when i referenced the mistake what i recall i thought that a statement made by the new ukrainian prosecutor that these investigations would be started up again or commenced would be sufficient to satisfy mr. giuliani/president trump. as i recall my mistake was, someone came back through volker and said otherwise, no, it's not going to do if the prosecutor makes these statements. the president wants to hear it from zelensky directly. >> do you have any reason to question ambassador taylor's testimony based on his meticulous notes? >> i'm not going to question or not question i'm just telling you what i believe i was referring to. >> let me fast forward a week and show another text exchange. on september 8th, you sent a
text to ambassador taylor and ambassador volker, can you read what you write there? >> multiple con voes with ze, potus ux let's talk. ambassador taylor responds immediately, now is fine with me. the next exchange, ambassador taylor, 15 minutes later said, gordon and i just spoke -- i can brief you if you and grdon don't connect. ambassador taylor said an hour later, the nightmare is they give the interview and don't get the security assistance. the russians love it and i quit. you would agree in this text message, after you had spoken an hour earlier with ambassador taylor, he's linking the security assistance to this public announcement by president zelensky? >> absolutely. >> in fact, ambassador taylor testified that you did have a
conversation with him at that point and he did -- you told him that just as your text message indicates you did have a conversation with president trump prior to that text message, does that help to refresh your recollection that you in fact spoke to president trump at that time? >> again, i don't recall president trump ever talking to me about any security assistance, ever. what this tells me refreshing my memory is by the 8th of september it was abundantly clear to everyone that there was a link and we were discussing the chicken and egg issue of should the ukrainians go out on a ledge and make the statement that president trump wanted them to make and then they still don't get their white house visit and their aid that would be really bad for our credibility. i think that's what he was referring to. >> so, you do acknowledge that
you spoke to president trump as you indicated in that text. >> if i said i did i did. >> after that conversation you were still under the impression that the aid was contingent on these public announcements? >> i didn't get that from president trump. i got the impression -- >> you weren't dissuaded then, you still thought the aid was conditioned on the announcement after speaking with president trump in. >> by september 8th i was absolutely convinced it was. >> president trump did not dissuade you of that. >> because that would have change my entire calculus. >> ambassador sondland, you still believed that the security assistance was candidate on the investigation after you spoke to president trump, yes or no? >> from the time frame standpoint, yes. >> now, ambassador taylor also testified that and mr. morrison,
both of them testified that you told them that president trump said there was no quid pro quo, which you also included in the text message you referred to, but then you went on and they had slight variations of what you told them but then you said to ambassador taylor that president zelensky himself, not the prosecutor general needed to clear things up in public or there would be a stalemate and mr. morrison recounted something similar, you don't have any reason to doubt both of their very similar recollections of the conversations they had with you, do you, ambassador sondland. >> let me break that down, mr. goldman. the texts as i said about the no quid pro quo was my effort to respond to ambassador taylor's concerns to go to president trump apparently ambassador taylor had access to secretary pompeo, he didn't have access to president trump, so i made the
phone call, i said what do you want? president trump responded with what i put in the text and then i strongly encouraged ambassador taylor to take it up with the secretary. and he responded i agree. as far as the other part of your request relating to whether or not the prosecutor could make the statement or zelensky could make the statement, i don't recall who told me, whether it was volker, giuliani or president trump it has to be zelensky it can't be the prosecutor. that's what i >> you understood that president trump either himself or through his agents required that president zelensky make a public announcement of the two investigations that president trump cared about in order to
get both the white house meeting and to release the security assistance, is that correct? >> i believe that's correct. >> mr. chairman, i yield back. >> that concludes our 45 minutes. i now recognize mr. nunes. >> okay, why don't we take a five-minute or ten-minute break. >> thank you. there you have it. the most consequential testimony in this impeachment investigation. about two hours in, you can count the headlines. it started with ambassador sondland saying he was following the direction of the president. he was following orders of the president when he and secretary perry and ambassador volker were told to talk with mr. giuliani.. he drew everyone in the loop. implicating not only the president, the secretary of state mike pompeo, the vice president mike pence. the national security adviser
john bolton and others on the national security council, again zhis words, twice, everyone in the loop. she said quite clearly there was a quid pro quo. a white house meeting was conditioned on ukraine and this was significant nuance, announcing the two investigations. not conducting the investigat n investigations. announcing the investigations. if you follow the logic of daniel goldman, if two plus two equal four, the ambassador concluded that there was a quid pro quo with the aid and the announcement of investigations by ukraine. wow moment so far this wednesday on capitol hill. mary bruce, coming into this hearing this morning, republicans on the committee didn't know exactly what to expect and in fact they weren't given much of a heads up on what ambassador sondland was going to say. >> republicans here on the hill says this doesn't look good.
the president's allies on on the hill are privately expressing concern about what ambassador sondland today. >> he worked with giuliani to pressure ukraine at the express direction of the president trump. he's confirming this quid pro quo exactly what the president and republicans here on the hill have been denies here for weeks. that's not going to bes for republicans to defend against. to the point you were making about perception, gordon sondland saying what was at stake, that simply announce these investigations, that undermines the entire argument that the president and republicans have been making. that's not what gordon sondland is saying. he was simply pushing for announcement of these investigations. >> jon karl at the white house. thank you, mary a steady tweets.
i've been watching this morning, not a single tweet yet from president trump. gripped by this testimony. >> i'm told that the president is watching this, that senior officials throughout the west wing are watching this, i've been in nun case with some of them, the one point they have made so far is that sondland hasn't directly said that the president himself told him that there would be a quid pro quo on either aid, military aid or the meeting with president zelensky. but, look, george, this testimony is incredibly damaging to the white house team on this. sondland makes it clear that there was a quid pro quo, that they needed this announcement of investigation regarding burisma, the company tied to biden's son. and the 2016 conspiracy theory with regards to the democrats.
they needed that announcement before the president could have a meeting with president zelensky. on the question of military aid, sondland made it clear he believed there was also a quid pro quo on that issue. george, he communicated that message directly to the ukrainians before the aid was -- before the hold on aid was lifted. very damaging, clear indications that the main -- the president's main person communicating this on the government payroll believed there was a quid pro quo. the other thing, george, is that sondland makes it perfectly clear as he said three times, everybody was in the loop. he said that three times in his opening statement. he fully kept everyone apprised. secretary of state pompeo, the vice president of the united states mike pence and others involved in this issue. he wasn't acting as a freelancer on this as he was communicating this, he was acting he believed
caring out the orders of the president. >> terry moran, everyone reading twitter would be reading about john dean from watergate. this testimony has been damaging so far to the president? >> reporter: no question. it's the close eclosest the testimony has come to the president. sondland was in direct contact with president trump and in many ways was the middleman between president trump and rudy juli ' julian''s foreign policy and the people carrying it out to -- >> the knowledge of this scheme, this conditioning of the white house meeting, of the security assistance, to get drivable the president wanted, these two political investigations that he believed would help his re-election campaign was a basic quid pro quo. it was the conditioning of official acts or something of
great value of the president, these political investigations, it goes right to the heart of the issue of bribery as well as other potential high crimes and misdemeanors. we have heard for the first time that knowledge of this scheme was pervasive. secretary of state was aware of it. acting chief of staff mulvaney was aware it. and so, this i think only goes to underscore just how significant the president's obstruction of this investigation has been. we know can see the veneer has been torn away, just why secretary pompeo and president donald trump do not want any of these documents provided to congress because apparently they show as ambassador sondland has testified that the knowledge of this scheme to condition official acts, a white house
meeting and $400 million in security assistance to an ally at war with russia, was conditioned on political favors the president wanted for his re-election. so, i think a very important moment in the history of this inquiry. >> i want to bring you in. some questions about his earlier testimony, that he wasn't going to go down for this, face any kind of legal jeopardy, what was striking, how remarkably relaxed he was as he was laying out these bombshell allegation and he said this is a very unfair process not because of the political process but because the state department had refused to allow him to bring e-mails, phone records that might help him trigger his own memory. he's been reacting to other
people's notes and he blames that on the state department. one of the things, though, you talked about this ux george, by the end of this end of this testimony, he said he didn't get that direction if you will from president trump on military aid, it was clear to th wondioned not onlytaxpayer money, clear to everyone that there was a link with military aid and announcement of investigations. we were discussing the chicken and egg issue, should the ukrainians get out on that ledge making that announcement that the president trump wanted them to make. >> not only drawing in the president clearly having that conversation with secretary of state pompeo, he can convey this to the ukrainians, he said yes. >> two parallel tracks we've been talking about with these impeachment hearings on foreign
policy, to push back russia aggression and the foreign policy of the united states. the other highway of president they're alleging was trying to do this for personal, political gain, and this investigation and today those highways collided and mike pompeo was right in the middle of that. you and i have heard him equivocate about this pretending he was completely out of the loop. but today, sondland said we kept the leadership of the state department and the nsc informed of our activities. that included secretary of state pompeo, throughout these events we kept secretary of state leadership apprised of this. state department leadership expressed total support for our efforts to engage the new ukrainian administration. >> our senior white house correspondent cecilia vega joins
us. i want to show president trump october 4th talking about ambassador sondland and the issue of quid pro quo. >> talking about the text messages that including hold -- >> the text message i saw was the last text message, because i don't know most of these ambassadors. i didn't even know their names. but the text message that i saw from ambassador sondland who's highly respected, was there's no quid pro quo. he said that. he said, by the way, it almost sounded like in general, by the way, there's no quid pro quo. and there isn't. now for biden there would be. but listen to this, there's no quid pro quo. and that was the text message that i saw and that's nullified everything. >> what a difference six weeks make and he went on the say that he barely knows the guy. the president, in the last few witnesses his strategy is to go
on attack and smear. they won't be able to do that with gordon sondland. he had the president's cell phone -- they talked regularly. the white house is now saying you got to take sondland at his word that the president said there was never a quid pro quo. what sondland said in his opening same, we followed the president's orders. this, george, is close to flipping as you're going to get from a witness. >> kate shaw, we heard chairman schiff said this has advanced the democrats' cause of impeachment, abuse of power and obstruction of justice. >> so i think the democrats have dead to rights on quid pro quo on the white house meeting. i can't imagine we're going to argue much more about that. the military aid remains murkier as sondland said, the president never explicitly told me. i think that will matter.
bill taylor's testimony last week, the withholding of this aid is a matter of life and death for ukraine. if you're talking about the white house meeting maybe that was improper to link those two. the seriousness of withholding the life and death o o as sondland has reiterated this obstruction that swirls tlouts his testimony in that he's here over the white house objections and he doesn't access to documents. >> dan abrams. first, let's pick up on what kate was saying. daniel goldman walking through ambassador sondland. >> no one you spoke to thought that the aid should be held, to your knowledge, is that right in.
>> i never heard anyone advocate for holding the aid. >> now by this point it went public and the ukrainians knew about it. >> i believe there were some press reports presuming or who knows, but i think at that point it became sort of common knowledge that everything might be tied together. >> and in fact president zelensky brought it up at the meeting with vice president pence. >> i don't know if he brought it up speckly, ask where the aid was, he sort of asked, again, very vague recollection because i don't have a readout of the bilateral meeting. why don't i have my check? essentially. >> and you understood that the ukrainians received no credible explanation, is that right in. >> i certainly couldn't give them one. >> is this kind of a two plus two equal four conclusion you reached?
>> pretty much. >> the only logical conclusion given these factors that the aid was also a part of this quid pro quo? >> yep. >> two plus two equals four. >> we see this in trials all the time. the prosecutor has to put together pieces of one witness and another witness, this case, this impeachment inquiry is now turning into gordon sondland and supporting witnesses. i mean, that's it. this impeachment inquiry is now about him and you have taylor and morrison and some of these other people who are providing color, who are providing verification -- >> holmes as well. >> providing times, dates, specifics that back up sondland. but it's all about sondland now. what kate mentioned before is right on, which is, the white house visit, it's clear that that was conditioned upon the announce pt of the investigations. you'll hear republicans now questioning him again and again the president never told you, did he that it was conditioned,
that's your assessment. the problem here is, unlike some of the other witnesses, unlike taylor, vindman, they can't say about sondland you're trying to put your own view for that of the president. he's admitting that i didn't agree with this policy. i didn't want giuliani involved. i was being forced to do that in fact by the president saying, talk to rudy. >> i want to pick up on something, for sake of argument, the white house meeting being conditioned on the announce pt of the investigations is established fact according to the witnesses. chris christie was here yesterday talking about the supreme court case, determined a meeting in and of itself is not an official act, does that analogy hold for impeachment. >> finding that even these things that governor of virginia was doing or promising to do wasn't an official act of the
bribery act. there has been a narrowing of bribery under federal law. as we said, the formal terms of the u.s. code don't bind what's happening in congress. they inform it. it might be right. they could make an argument because you need to show something more than a meeting you need to show something else. >> official acts. >> keeps repeat it can word official act for that very reason. that's why, again, as a technical legal matter that's why the case with regard to aid is much stronger. >> on the second front congressman schiff was talking about, it does appear that sondland is strengthening the democrats' argument of this article 3, obstruction of justice. >> sondland is angry about that. look, i wanted this information.
they wouldn't provide it to me. i couldn't get access to this information. that's certainly going to serve as fodder for democrats, again, who are going to go again and again focus on gordon sondland. we know now that gordon sondland's going to be the focus of this impeachment inquiry and of any article and mary, chairman schiff going to the microphones coming out, did any other members of congress weigh in after this questioning? >> we're hearing on twitter some reaction from republicans. dan and kate, republicans are zeroing in on the fact that sondland said that the president didn't explicitly direct him to tell the ukrainians that military aid was conditioned on the announcement of these investigations. congressman mark meadows saying on twitter, that in short, that means yet another witness can't testify to the democrats'
accusations. republicans of course ignoring the rest of sondland's testimony regarding a quid pro quo involving the meeting and of course we did see chairman schiff come out here during a break, he run to the cameras and says that this is the most significant everyday he's seen to date. it speaks directly tohert bribe impeachable offense. >> you served as counsel to the impeachme impeachment inquiry. >> i think the testimony has been devastating for republicans now, a howard baker moment. are they going to respond to this? howard baker was the minority republican during watergate. the republican side. ambassador for all the supposed bomb shells that were in your opening testimony. i want to get back to the facts of the matter here.
and the thing that the democrats have been unwilling to accept is that their operatives got campaign dirt from ukrainians in the 2016 election. now they know it. they know it's true. we have financial records that show it. so they were -- the democrats were heavily involved working with ukrainians to dirty up the trump campaign in 2016. so, ambassador, i want to go through some of incidents that we know. you may not know all about them. you may know about them now. i want to walk through some of those examples of the why the president may be very upset with ukraine and think they're a country out to get the first question i have, were
you aware of the anti-trump efforts by dnc operative alexandra chalupa? >> i'm not aware. >> so in 20 -- there was a 2017 article that also quotes a ukrainian parliament reeian saying, quote, they were supporting, meaning ukraine, supporti ining hillary clinton' candidacy, organizing meeting with the clinton campaign to supporting her, criticizing trump. i think they simply didn't meet with the trump campaign because they thought hillary would win. you know that ukrainian official by in chance who stated that? >> i don't. >> the u.s. cha lay wrote an sed in the 2016 presidential campaign criticizing
then-president trump? >> not aware. >> you know that in the last few months. >> correct. >> probably one of the more disturbing ones, the ukrainian internal affairs minister mocked and disprajed president trump on facebook and twitter, were you aware that a ukrainian parliame parliamentian about spreading the so-called black ledger reportedly reveal corruption was to undermine the trump candidacy? >> i wasn't aware. >> so you may familiar the black ledger was used in the 2016 election to dirty up a campaign associate and later mueller didn't use that as evidence in his report on election meddling. so knowing all these facts from high-ranking ukrainian
officials, ambassador, probably makes a little more sense as to why the president may think there's problems with ukraine and that ukraine was out to get him. is that correct? >> i understand your point, yes. >> because you said, you said in your deposition, i'm going to make sure that this -- i'll read it back to you, on page 279 for your legal team, quote, they're all corrupt -- this is what you said about your conversation with the president. so this is your words about what the president told you, this is the may 23rd meeting. >> that's correct. >> they're all corrupt. they're all terrible people and you know, i don't want to spend any time with that. you also said they tried to take me down. >> that's correct. >> they tried to take him down.
i think any logical person who wants to do two plus two equal four games would say that was in the 2016 election, wasn't it? >> i believe that's what he was referring to, yes. >> so, during all this time, and remember in the spring, the democrats russia hoax witch hunt is still ongoing, they're still claiming that president trump is a russian agent, they're out to get -- they're out to get president trump at the time, his personal attorney is then interested in trying to figure out who are these ukrainians who are trying to get to my candidate? those of us, republicans on this committee, also trying to get to the bottom of who were the sources in the steele dossier that the democrats had paid for, the house republicans wanted to know that through the spring and summer and as of today, we still liked to know. that's why we subpoenaed the dnc
operatives. we sent a letter this morning. we want to know exactly who were these democratic operatives dirtying up the trump campaign in 2016 and they can't get over the president that would send his personal attorney over there to try and get to the bottom of that and ambassador, you had very few deals with rudy giuliani, a few text messages in. >> a few text messages and a few phone calls. >> so the whistle-blower trying to put together, time line problem, the whistle blower that only they know, who they won't subpoena, who clearly mr. vindman know yesterday, who wouldn't allow mr. vindman to answer our questions. that whistle-blower said on july 25th that there were all these
promises being made, yet the drug deal "the three amigos" cooking up, you're part of the three amigos, ambassador, were you aware of any drug deal on july 25th when the phone call actually occurred? >> i don't know about any drug deal. >> right, and did you know you're part of the three amigos? zwl i'm proud part of the three amigos. >> by the time the phone call the whistle blower claims the original quid pro quo, has now got down to now we're a month later, where you're involved and their quid pro quo has gotten down to the low level of, well, they want to statement, you didn't even know about anything
on july 25th about military aid. >> i knew military aid was being withheld on july 18th. >> you don't know -- you weren't on the july 25th call? >> i was not. >> the aid doesn't come up at all? >> again, i just read the readout when everyone else was. >> everyone testified it was on the july 25th call. there was no aid discussed on the july 25th call. you have no idea that is tied to burisma or anything else, you don't realize until the end of august in. >> i dent realize that aid was tied, the burisma and 2016 piece was much earlier, ranking member. >> i've glad you bring up burisma, this is another issue that the democrats don't want to go into, they refuse to call
into hunter biden, he could come in and talk about whether or not it was appropriate for him to receive over $50,000 a month while his dad was vice president. and when they actually they were able to stop and get an investigator fired. they could call in hunter biden. but let's talk about burisma, ambassador, i know you're the ambassador to the eu, i think some of the members later will get into whether or not it was appropriate for you to be in ukraine or not. i believe it was. i believe you have a clear mandate to do it. you wouldn't be the first ambassador to be interested in burisma. did you know that in september of 2015 then ambassador to ukraine jeffery pilot publicly called for an investigation into the president of burisma? this was the ukrainian ambassador appointed by
president obama, in ukraine -- >> i wasn't aware of that, no. >> you wouldn't. the first one to be mentioning that investigations should be done on burisma because it happened during the obama administration? >> did you know that financial records show that burisma routed more than $3 million to the american accounts tied to hunter biden? >> i did not know that. >> did you know that burisma's american lawyers tried to secure a meeting with the new state prosecutor the same day viktor shokin the vice president wanted fire was announce snd. >> did not know that. >> we're not going to get to the answer to many of these questions because the witnesses that need to come in and clarify exactly what the democrats were doing in 2016, we're not going to be able to visit with those witnesses. and so, it's an inconvenient
truth that the democrats don't want to admit their operatives that were dirtying up the trump campaign using ukrainian sources in 2016 and they don't want us to get to the bottom of it. they don't want you ambassador to get to the bottom of it. they don't want the president's personal attorney to get the bottom of it. i think mr. castor has some questions for you. >> thank you, mr. nunes. good morning, ambassador. >> good morning, mr. castor. >> welcome back, you're here all day on the 17th. late into the night. thank you for your cop cooperation. did the president tell you personally about preconditions? >> no. >> any preconditions for the aid to be released? >> no.
>> the president never told you about any preconditions for a white house meeting? >> personally, no. >> you said you didn't have your records or your documents from the state department, but if you did there wouldn't be any record that ties mr. trump personally to any of us, correct? >> i don't want to speculate. >> your documents are records. >> okay, you testified mr. giuliani's requests for a quid pro quo for the white house meeting -- and you indicated that you believe that was -- he was advancing the president's interests. >> my contact with mr. giuliani as i said began with late in the process after august 1st when i was first introduced to him by a text by ambassador volker. we had begun those discussions
with the ukrainians prior to august 1st. everything was being funneled through others including mr. volker. >> but you testified that mr. giuliani was expressing the desires of the president. >> that's our understand zmrg how did you know that? who told you that. >> talk to my personal attorney and then mr. giuliani as his personal attorney makes certain requests or demands we assume it's coming from the president. i'm not testifying that i heard the president tell mr. giuliani. >> at your deposition, you said the question at the may 23rd when the president said go to talk to rudy. you responded, he didn't even say go talk. he said, talk to rudy. you subsequently said, it was sort of like, i don't want to talk about this. it wasn't an order or a direction to go talk to mr.
giuliani, correct. >> our conclusion and the conclusion of the three of us if we didn't talk to rudy nothing would move forward on ukraine. >> you never had personal communications with mr. giuliani until june? >> correct. volker, perry and others. >> okay, ambassador volker, you testified he's a professional diplomat, correct? >> yes, he is. >> you said you have a great relationship with him in. >> yes. >> you said he's a very smart guy? >> yes. >> he's pretty smart. >> you stated that he's one of those people i hand my wallet to. >> i would. >> and so, did you hear his testimony yesterday? >> i did not i was busy getting ready for you. >> he didn't have any -- he didn't have any evidence of any
of these preconditions. he was the one most engaged with the ukrainians, wasn't he. >> yes. >> you testified, you know, this was his full-time job although he was doing it for free. >> he was the special envoy. >> you came in and out of the events, you testified. >> correct. >> at your deposition, we asked you about your communications with the president. and we asked you whether -- there were so many that it would be impossible to chronicle and you said, no, wasn't that many. we went down the path of building a list of communications you remember with the president, right? >> correct. >> we talked about may 23rd in the oval office. >> yes. >> you mentioned on july 25th before you went to the ukraine you called the president but there was no material information on the 25th call, correct? >> not that i recall. >> okay, then the last friday, mr. holmes came in and i guess
his testimony refreshed your recollection? >> yeah, what i refreshed my recollection was when he mentioned asap rocky, all of a sudden it came back to me. >> talking about president zelensky loving the president and so forth. >> the whole thing sort of came back to me after asap rocky. >> next the time we tried to unpack this, the next time you talked to the president was on the foal when was september 9th, according to your deposition. >> i might have spoken to him on september 6th. again, i don't have my records. i wish i could get them. >> on september 9th, at least at your deposition you were extr e extremely clear. you called the president and you said he was cranky. you said in no uncertain terms, on the heels of the bill taylor text. >> right. >> what did the president say to
you on september 9th that you remember? >> well, words to the effect, i decided to ask the president the question in an open-ended fashion because there were so many different scenarios floating around as to what was going on with ukraine, rather than ask the president nine different questions, i just said, what do you want from ukraine? i may have used a four-letter word. he said, i want nothing. i want no quid pro quo. i just want zelensky do the right thing. and that gave me the impetus to respond to ambassador taylor with the text that i sent as i said, to mr. goldman, it was not an artfully written text. i should have been more specific, put it in quotes, something like that, but basically i wanted mr. taylor, ambassador taylor to pick up the ball and take it from there.
>> you believe the president, correct? >> you know what, i'm not going to characterize whether or not i i believe i was trying to convey what he said on the phone. >> at point in the time, the pause in the aid, 55 days, there was a news article in politico talking about it, by that time the president had been receiving calls from senators, he had been getting pressure to lift the aid, correct? >> that's what i understand, yes. >> i want to turn back to your opener on page 5. under -- when you talk about in the absence of credible explanation for the suspension of aid i later came to believe that the resumption of security aid would not occur until there was a public statement from ukraine committing to the investigations, correct? >> correct.
>> and you acknowledgedt wanted to say it goes back to mr. goldman's point, two plus two equals four in. mind at that point the aid wasn't being released and we weren't getting anywhere with the ukrainian and did ambassador volker clue you in, i mean, this is a pretty high -- this is pretty serious conclusion you've reached without precise evidence. >> well, i sent that e-mail to secretary pompeo to set up a potential meeting between president trump and president zelensky in warsaw, and when i referred to the logjam, i referred to the logjam in a very inclusive way, everything was jammed up at that point and
secretary pompeo essentially gave me the green light to brief president zelensky about making those announcements. >> okay, we can -- we can turn to that. that was your e-mail dated what day? >> do you have the page there. >> your e-mail to secretary pompeo? >> was that august 11th? 16th? >> august 22nd. >> okay, you're asking secretary pompeo whether we should block -- any discussion about specific investigations, any specific discussion of burisma or biden linking to aid in this e-mail that you sent to pompeo?
>> this was a proposed briefing that i was going to give president zelensky and i was going to call president zelensky and ask him to say what's in this e-mail and i was asking essentially secretary pompeo's permission to do that which he said yes. >> but at that point in time we're talking about investigations into the origins of the 2016 election, not anything to do with joe biden. >> joe biden did not come up. >> okay, stepping back a page to your e-mail to the state department on august 11th, you e-mail secretary pompeo and you said, kurt and i negotiated a statement from zelensky to be delivered for our review in day or two. the question i have here is, i mean, that statement never was issued, in fact, ambassador volker has testified that he
didn't think it was a good idea and ultimately the ukrainians didn't think it with was a good idea, the statement never reached a finalized state? >> that's correct. >> but even if it had it doesn't talk about bidens or burisma or anything insidious, correct? >> well the statement as i recall would have mentioned the 2016 election/dnc server and burisma. >> okay. >> it would not have mentioned the biden and have you heard ambassador volker how he talks about what might be an investigation into burisma? >> no. >> he has said that if there were ukrainians in engaged in violations of ukrainian law, the new administration out to investigate that? did ambassador volker ever relate that to you? >> no, we just talk about in
generic terms about, quote, investigating i don't know. i don't know exact date i made the connection. apparently a lot of people didn't make the connection. >> okay. >> want to turn to the letter from senator johnson. he -- when he heard about some of the issues, the hold of aid, he called the president on august 30th, page 6 of his letter, senator johnson states or he writes, i asked him, the president, whether there was kind of arrangement where ukraine would take some action and the hold would be lifted? without hesitation, president trump immediately denied such an arrangement existed. senator johnson quotes the president as saying, no.
and he prefaced it with a different word. no way. i would never do that. who told you that? i have -- senator johnson says i have accurately characterized the president's reactions as adamant, angry. it was capturing a genuine, you know, moment with the president and he had at this point in time on august 31st, he was adamant, vehement and angry that there was no connections to aid, no preconditions. >> yeah, i had my meeting with senator johnson where, again, i made the presumption that i made to both mr. yermak and the e-mail i sent to secretary pompeo and we were sort of room nating about what was going on and senator johnson, i believe, said i'm going to call president
trump, you know, and find out. he obviously had that phone call. i wasn't involved in that phone call. >> but you have never reason to disbelieve that wasn't the way it went down? >> no reason to disbelieve senator johnson. >> now you have had time since your deposition, addendum related to the warsaw get-together with mr. yermak, as you sit here today, are we missing a rot of your communications with the president? >> i haven't had that many communications with the president and in fact, a bunch of the call records that i have had access to just the short period of time on the call indicates i never got through. in other words, i was put on hold for one, two minutes and the call never connected. i can't give you an accurate counts. >> so, you don't think we're
missing any material conversations that you had with the president in. >> i don't recall any material conversations today as i'm sitting higher. >> or with rudy giuliani? >> my memory about the conversations with rudy, whether they were direct, conference calls with ambassador volker or secretary perry, is really vague without seeing the, you know, call logs. >> are there any key fact witnesses that would help us, you know, get to the bottom of whether there's any link to the aid and -- >> maybe secretary perry. >> senator johnson in his letter on page 6 quotes the president
on august 31st, ron, i understand your position, we're reviewing it now and you'll probably like my final decision. so, even on august 31st and this is before any congressional investigations started, the president was signaling to senator johnson that he was going to lift the aid. and most of the other witnesses we talked to, whether it's from the department of defense, or omb, you know, have told us that all along during this 55-day period they genuinely believed the hold would be lifted, was that your feeling too at the time? >> i don't know. every time i was asked about the hold i was never given a straight answer. >> what do you know about the ukrainians' knowledge of the hold. >> oh, that's very vague. i don't know if the politico
article triggered it or if they were told by mr. giuliani, it would be pure guesswork on my part. speculation. i don't know. >> during your deposition, you testified that you did not believe the ukrainians believed the -- were aware of the hold until the politico article. >> again, i think i testified that i was not clear on the exact dates of when these things -- when the light went on. there were a lot of conversations going on with the ukrainians by a lot of people >> we have testimony from several witnesses that the president was concerned about foreign aid generally and he had an appetite to put hold on aid because he was trying to be a good steward of taxpayers' dollars. do you aware of that. >> i believe that's been his
position on aid in other matters. >> he was interested in better understanding the contributions of our european allies? >> that i'm definitely aware of. >> back and forth between the state department officials trying to better understanding that information from the president? >> that's correct. >> how do you know that wasn't the reason for the hold? >> i don't. >> but yet you speculate that there was, you know, a link to this announcement. >> i presumed it, yes. >> okay. i want to turn quickly to the july 10th meeting. the july 10th meeting in ambassador bolton's office involving ambassador volker, mr. danyliuk, mr. yermak, has been the subject of some controversy, ambassador volker yesterday
testified it wasn't until the end of the meeting, mr. danyliuk was going through some real detailed information about some of the plans he had, but it wasn't until the end of the meeting, ambassador volker recollects that you mentioned something general about investigations. what do you remember about that meeting. >> i'm not going to dispute ambassador volker's recollection particularly if he had notes. i know that the desire to have the 2016 election dnc server and burisma were already being discussed by them. again, i had no direct contact with mr. giuliani on july 10th. but through ambassador volker and i probably mentioned that this needs to happen in order to move the process forward. that seemed to be the conventional wisdom at the time. i don't recall any abrupt ending
of the meeting or people storming out or anything like that. that would have been very memorable if someone had stormed out a meeting. >> no one accused you of being involved some sort of drug deal? >> no. >> dr. hill relate her concerns? >> never. >> you were surprised when testimony emerged that she thought that there was a drug deal gone on? >> i was shocked. >> in fact, after the meeting you went out and took a picture, right? >> yeah, ambassador bolton, or his assistant indicated he was out of time, we all walked out of the white house, every was smiling, every was happy, we took a picture on the lawn on a nice, sunny day. >> did you retire to the ward room? >> i think secretary perry asked to use the ward room to continue the conversation and the real
subject that was under debate and it wasn't a angry debate, a debate, should the call from president trump to president zelensky be made prior to the parliamentary elections in ukraine or after the parliamentary elections? there was good reason for both. we felt, ambassador perry, ambassador volker and i thought it would help president zelensky to have president trump speak prior to the parliamentary elections because it would give president zelensky more credibility and ultimately he would do better with his people in the parliamentary elections. others, i believe, pushed back and said, no, it's not appropriate to do it before. it should be done after. ultimately it was done after. >> no mention of vice president pence in the ward room? >> not that i remember, no. >> any specific investigation? >> just the generic
investigations. >> okay, when again did the vice president bide n next us is com to your attention. >> very late. i can't recall the exact date. it could have been as late once the transcript was out. it was always burisma to me. i didn't know about the connection between burisma and biden. >> to the best of your knowledge you never understood that anyone was asking ukrainians to investigate u.s. persons, credibility? >> ukrainians to investigate u.s. persons? >> correct. >> no, no. >> and just to sort to be clear here, ultimately the aid was lifted on september 11th. there was never any announcement by the ukrainians about any investigations they were going to do, correct in. >> correct. >> the ukrainians never to your
knowledge started any of these investigations, correct in. >> not to my knowledge. >> and consequently, these allegations that there was a quid pro quo that had to be enforced before the aid was released that never came to fruition, right? >> i don't believe so. >> i want to step back a little bit. just verify with you that the president had some genuinely deep rooted concerns about corruption in the ukraine, correct? >> that's what he expressed to us, yes. >> you believed him given his business deals in the region? >> when we had the conversation, i did. >> when you first started discussing the concerns the president had with corruption,
burisma wasn't the only company that was mentioned, right? >> it was a generic as i testified to chairman schiff, it was a generic corruption oligarch oligarchs just bad stuff going on in ukraine. >> okay, and -- but other companies came up, didn't they? >> i don't know if they were mentioned specifically. i might have been nafta gas that might have been one of them. >> at one point in your deposition you believe said that it came up in every conversation, is that fair in. >> probably. >> okay. you had -- i guess, dr. hill at one point attributed to you the terminology that the president has given you a large -- are you familiar with her assertion of that. >> i doesn't understand what she was talking about.
>> but you have and we got into this a little bit in your deposition, you said that the president gave you a special assignment with regard to ukraine, correct? >> well, when the president appointed me to as the u.s. ambassador to european union, ukraine was part of my portfolio, what made my assignment larger than just being a part of the portfolio were the unique circumstances where there was no current sitting ambassador in ukraine and there was a new president in ukraine. and the discussions that we had, the three amigos -- perry, volker and i -- that you krien needed extraordinarily high-level support that it could get from the united states during this period which we cleared with both ambassador bolton and chief of staff mulvaney to continue working on
it. by extension f the national security adviser and the chief of staff approve your remit it's really coming to the president. >> when we asked you at that deposition, you said you were spin zblg i was spinning about something else about an interview in kiev. >> when the president a gave me an assignment, it wasn't really the president it was the secretary, that's where i received my direction? >> correct. >> did ambassador taylor bring concerns to your attention about the so-called channel he dubbed the irregular? >> no, in fact the opposite. when he came to post, i think -- i know i called him. or he called me. i think he spoke with secretary perry and ambassador volker
separately. and in the course of the first few weeks he was highly appreciative that a new ambassador coming to post like himself was getting the kind of support he was getting from all three of us. having a cabinet member, a special envoy and a fellow ambassador all helping to raise the profile of ukraine. he was highly appreciative and highly complimentary. >> you maintained an open line with him, correct? >> correct. there are a number of texts where he's reaching out constantly to me and others for advice and help. >> there's 215 or something text messages between you, volker and ambassador taylor, you know, during the early august time frame, does that make sense to you? >> yeah, i think taylor started in late june or really july, when he first took post and i
think we began communicating fairly short thereafter. >> he never communicated any concerns to you during this time frame that he had issues with what was going on? >> what do you mean by what's going on? >> this question for some sort of investigation? >> not in the early stages. you know, as time went on, his e-mails began to be a little more pointed and frantic and that's when we had very little visibility. i think it had more to do with the aid and why it was suspended. >> and ultimately you put a period on that issue by having the september 9th communication with the president, correct? >> that's correct. >> when you shared that feedback with ambassador taylor was he testified that this issue was now behind him? >> i don't really know. when i said get ahold of the
secretary he said agreed. i don't know if he reached out to the secretary or not. >> at one point in your text, you said get on the phone. you said you're an individual that doesn't like to walk through these issues on text when you can talk about it on telephone. i say that to everybody when it becomes more substantive. i say, let's talk. >> did you talk with ambassador taylor? >> i don't recall. >> i don't recall if we spoke right after that, whether he called the secretary. i wanted to get the notion across you're the ambassador, you need to pick up the ball and run with it at this point. >> getting back to the irregular channel, did anyone else express any concerns to you about this so-called irregular channel? >> i'm not sure how someone could
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