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tv   NBC Bay Area News at 11AM  NBC  November 20, 2019 11:00am-11:28am PST

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was the white house visit in d . >> so when you heard burisma, you did not see that as code for biden, the bidens? >> i did not. >> when did you even know that? is your testimony that you only realized that burisma included the bidens when the readout came out in september 25th? >> no, my testimony wasn't specific as to the date because i really don't recall the date. it was very late in the game, though. >> september? >> i don't recall the date. >> so if i told you that the legal definition of bribery was an event of offering, giving, soliciting, or receiving of any item of value as a means of influencing an action of an individual holding a public or legal duty, do you believe, that not only was it a quid pro quo but it was bribery?
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>> i'm not a lawyer and i'm not going to characterize what something was or wasn't legally. >> you also said in your opening statement that secretary perry and yourself as well as ambassador volker worked with giuliani on the ukraine matter as -- at express direction of the president, is that right? >> that's correct. >> you also go on to say that we did not want to work with giuliani, simply put, we played. what did you mean by that and more importantly, what did you think would happen if you did not play that hand? >> i think what you're asking me is, well, you asked it. >> i did ask it. >> what would happen if we didn't? it was very fragile with ukraine at the time. there was no new ambassador. the old ambassador has left. there was a new president. we thought it was very, very important to shore up the relationship. >> in fact, you actually said -- you go on to say, we all understood that if we refused to
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work with mr. giuliani, we would lose an important opportunity to cement relationships with the united states and ukraine. so, you -- so, quote, we followed the president's orders. did you see it as a directive? >> i saw it as the only pathway to moving forward ukraine. >> so you would say the efforts that mr. giuliani was undertaking became a part of the formal ukraine/u.s. policy? >> i can't opine on that. all i can tell you is the president wanted us to communicate with mr. giuliani. >> but you went on to say that, in your opening testimony, that the suggestion that you engage in some, quote, irregular or rogue diplomacy is absolutely false. so if in fact what giuliani was doing was okay and proper, which is actually what you said, initially, you all thought that what he was doing was not improper, right? >> we did not think it was improper and when i referred to the fact that i was not engaging in rogue diplomacy, by definition, rogue diplomacy
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would have meant i would not have involved the leadership of the state department and the white house. >> so you're saying that everyone in the chain of command knew about giuliani's efforts t into burisma and to, you know, and -- so i'm just trying to figure out what you thought you were actually opining to. >> look, the president directed us to work with mr. giuliani, and the leadership of the state department were knowledgeable, as was the nsc, that we were working with mr. giuliani. >> what's interesting is that ambassador taylor testified that he knew nothing about it, and clearly he would be in the chain of information if he was the ambassador to ukraine. at the end of the day, sir, with all due respect, you're the ambassador to the european union. why would he not know about it? he was the one who said that there was both irregular and regular channels. >> he should have known about it. >> so, although we don't want -- although you said that you did not want to work with
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mr. giuliani, you, in fact, did work with him. >> that's correct. >> and do you think that the -- the essence of what he was trying to achieve was accomplished? >> i don't know what he was trying to achieve. >> you clearly had to have known, sir, if you think that this was actually going down the center lane, is what you said, it was clearly important that we work with mr. giuliani to get what the president asked for because it was a directive and an order. surely you must know whether or not mission was accomplished. >> well, i know what mr. giuliani communicated to us. >> and you thought that was totally fine? did you really think that it was okay -- >> can i answer your question? >> sure. >> you asked what mr. giuliani was trying to achieve. >> no, i asked whether you thought that it was right for mr. giuliani to want to accomplish the efforts that he was involved in, which was to and the 2016 election, as you said.
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>> all i can testify to is what i know that mr. giuliani either told me directly or told ambassador volker and others that was relayed to me. >> thank you. i yield back. >> mr. turner. >> ambassador sondland, i want to walk through some of the portions of your testimony because sometimes you seem to make direct connections and sometimes they seem to be dead ends. i kind of want to clear up one of the dead ends and what are the direct connections. yesterday, ambassador volker, who i consider to be very talented, and a man of integrity, and i believe you think he's a man of integrity, correct? >> i do. >> he testified that the president of the united states did not tie either a meeting with the president, a phone call, or any aid to investigations of burisma, 2016, or the bidens. that the president did not do that. and you have testified that the president did not tell you that
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he tied them either, correct? >> i did testify to that, although when ambassador volker and i were working on the statement and negotiating with the ukrainians, it was clear to ambassador volker that a meeting would not happen without the burisma and 2016. that was very clear to ambassador volker. >> and how do you know that? what did he say to you? because he says that was not clear to him. in fact, that's not the case. he was working on that. he knows what the president wanted but he didn't have it as this was a requirement. >> oh, i strongly disagree with that portion of his testimony. it was absolutely a requirement or we would have just had the meeting and been done with it. >> what about the aid? he says that they weren't tied, that the aid was not tied. >> and i didn't say they were -- they were conclusively tied either. i was presuming it. >> so the president never told you they were tied. so your testimony, hmois tes is consistent in the president did not tie aid to investigations. >>
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to giuliani and that giuliani did not relate that the -- that he was tying, on behalf of the president, or on the president's behalf, aid, and then in fact e aid was tied to investigations. now, the question i have for you is, did you ever have a conversation with giuliani that did not involve volker? because your testimony is a lot of we's and us's, so did you -- did you and giuliani have a separate conference, separate phone call where giuliani told you that the aid was tied? because volker says, and if he was on all your phone calls, volker says that never happened. >> no. i did have a few conversations. i don't recall how many, because i don't have the records. with mr. giuliani directly when mr. volker wasn't available. >> and did mr. giuliani -- go ahead. >> i don't believe i testified that mr. giuliani told me that aid was tied. >> oh, i think -- see, this is part of the problem, ambassador sondlandd you have said s, i listened to you today as a lot of people and not only are your
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answers somewhat circular, frequently, you've contradicted there, kurt volker walked us emails that you have put up different understand ing of wha you're saying than what you're saying you were saying so i'm a little confused as to how everyone's in the loop because there -- if giuliani didn't give you an express statement then it can't be that you believe this from giuliani. now let me tell you right now. is donald trump your friend? >> no, we're not friends. we have a -- >> do you like the president? >> yes. >> okay. >> well, you know, after you testified, chairman schiff ran out and gave a press conference and said he gets to impeach the president of the united states because of your testimony and if you pull up cnn today, right now, their banner says, sondland ties trump to withholding aid. is that your testimony today, ambassador sondland, that you have evidence that donald trump tied the investigations to the aid? because i don't think you're saying that. >> i said repeatedly, congressman, i was presuming.
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>> so no one told you. not just the president. giuliani didn't tell you, mulvaney dyou. nobody else on this planet told aid to these investigations. is that correct? >> i think i already testified. >> answer the question. is it correct? no one on this planet told you that donald trump was tying this aid to the investigations. because if your answer is yes, then the chairman's wrong and the headline on cnn is wrong. no one on this planet told you that president trump was tying aid to investigations, yes or no? >> yes. >> so, you really have no testimony today that ties president trump to a scheme to withhold aid from ukraine in exchange for these investigations. >> other than my own presumption. >> which is nothing. i mean, that's what i don't understand. you know what hearsay evidence is, ambassador? hearsay is when i testify what someone else told me. do you know what made-up
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testimony is? made-up testimony is when i just presume it. i mean, you're just assuming all of these things and then you're giving them the evidence that their running out and doing press conferences and cnn headline is saying that you're saying the president of the united states should be left people with the confusing impression that you are giving >> nope, but you did -- you have testimony that you did not.uniti investigations, i yield back. >> mr. carson. >> thank you, chairman. ambassador sondland, i really want to better understand mr. giuliani's role in carrying out the president's demand for investigations, so on may 23rd, sir, during a meeting in the oval office to discuss the future of the u.s./ukraine relations, president trump told you and others to, quote, talk to rudy. do i have that right, sir? >> correct. >> mr. ambassador, did you listen to the president and talk to rudy, sir?
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>> did i talk to rudy? >> yes, sir. >> yes. >> what did you understand to be mr. giuliani's relationship with president trump? >> i understood he w t president's personal lawyer. >> what did you believe to be mr. giuliani's -- what did you believe mr. giuliani was doing in ukraine for president trump? >> i don't know. >> ambassador sondland, in august of this year, you and ambassador volker spoke with mr. giuliani about a draft statement to be issued by president zelens. during those discussions, it was mr. giuliani, who suggested, in fact, insisted that the statement include specific >> correct. >> and he insisted that the statement include the mention of mr. volkrakraian official, right, sir? >> correct. >> mr. ambassador, and this >> to your knowledge, sir, was
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wanted, ec pushing the ukrainians to bidens part of some official part of state department policy, sir? >> i never testified that we were pushing anyone to investigate the bidens. i said burisma. >> you were involved in ukrainian policy, right, sir? >> i told you what my role was, which was quite limited and focused. >> was it your understanding, mr. ambassador, that ukraine policy should involve investigations into americans or debunk conspiracy theories about the 2016 election, sir? >> what i testified was that in order to get president zelensky a white house visit, mr. giuliani conveyed the notion that president trump wanted these announcements to happen. >> of course it was not. it was a part of the president's personally and politically. done to benefit the president were you following the president's orders, mr. ambassador? >> i was following the president's direction to speak with mr. giuliani.
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>> thank you, sir. >> thank the gentleman for yielding. just want to point out a couple to my colleagues. my colleagues seem to be under the impression that unless the president spoke the words, ambassador sondland, i am bribing ukrainian president, that there's no evidence of bribery. if he didn't say, ambassador sondland, i'm telling you i'm not going to give the aid unless they do this, that there's no evidence of a quid pro quo on military aid. but nonetheless, ambassador, you've given us a lot of evidence of precisely that ndite house meeting and the military assistance. you've told us, ambassador, have you not, that you emailed the secretary of state and said that if these investigations were announced, the new justice person was put in place, that
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the ukrainians would be prepared to give the president what he wants and that would break the log jam. you've testified and showed us documents about this, have you not, ambassador? >> i have. >> and in your written inudes t >> correct, as my prpt and we also have seen and you testifieatry a was withheld in part over the investigation into 2016 that you have talked about, you referenced that as well, correct? >> correct. >> now, they also seem to say that, well, they got the money. the money may have been conditioned but they got the money. yes. they got caught. they got caught. now, they still don't have the white house meeting. they made no statement. they got no meeting. the statement on the investigations was the condition to get the meeting. they didn't make the statement, they got no meeting.
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but they got caught. you're aware, aren't you, ambassador, that two days before the aid was lifted, this inexplicable aid was lifted, congress announced it was investigating this scheme. you're aware of that, aren't you, ambassador? >> i am now, yes. >> dr. winstrop. >> mr. chairman, i'd like to address a claim that you made this morning, claiming that republicans deny russian attempts to influence our ecat ifalse and you know it and this committee, the intel committee, not the impeachment committee, but in this committee, time and time again, we all agreed that russia has tried to influence american elections as far back as the soviet union. that comment. yesterday, we established with mr. volker something quite obvious. more than one country can try to influence our elections. see, mr. schiff, we didn't agree with your russian collusion narrative, your dnc, clinton campaign coup attempt that
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occurred in conjunction with members of the fbi and doj and foreign sources. something that you have conveniently ignored as chairman of the intelligence committee. as you became the chairman of the impeachment committee. but in this process today, i'm interested in facts. i'm not a prosecutor or a defense attorney. i'm not an attorney like mr. turner. presumed, presumption, presuming, some form of the verb, to presume, repeatedly today. and today, you said that was the no one ever told me the aid was tied to anything. i was presuming it was. a mathematic fact, two plus two does equal four but in reality, two presumptions plus two presumptions does not equal even one fact.
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and the fact is, the president did tell you, ambassador sondland, no quid pro quo. that's a fact. this time, i would like to yield to mr. conaway. >> thank you. mr. chairman, i'd like unanimous consent to enter into the record a "washington post" article from today that headlined, schiff's claim that the whistle-blower has a statutory right to a aanonymity received three pinocchios. interpretation of that would be that -- two interpretations, one that my colleagues on the other side would argue as they were trying to protect the whistle-blower, an equally valid and credible interpretation is that there's something to hide and that this unlevel playing field that's been created by the chairman's insistence that there is a statutory right to anonymity maintains that unlevel playing field and the advantages that gives them. he chairman also announces at every hearing that he will
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not tolerate and i agree with him, any witness intimidation, any threats or any issues of trying to bully a witness. ambassador sondland, have you, your family, or your businesses received any threats or reprisals or attempts to harm you in any way? >> many. or two? >> we have countless emails, apparently, to my wife, our properties are being picketed and boycotted. >> let's explore that one. our own cogu earl from oregon, has in fact called for a boycott of your hotel chain or your hotels in oregon. i'm assuming he believes that will harm you to the point that you will then be bullied into doing whatever it is he wants done. now, my colleagues and i know that using the word bully and earl in the same sentence is over the top but nevertheless he intended to harm you and your business. is that what you surmise? >> that's my understanding.
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>> and that the boycotts -- his call for a boycott gave rise to demonstrations in front of your hotels that made your customers have to weave in and out of the demonstrators to try to actually get into the hotels. >> as i understand, they're going on as we speak. >> well, the words are better put by a couple of other oregonians. congressman's irresponsible to hurt a home grown business that supports hundreds of jobs in our local economy is just shameful and ought to be an outrage to all oregonians. some fellow named dermott. ellen carmichael said we are sanded to have our congressman call for a boycott that would put the livelihoods of thousands of thinks constituents in peril. the attack on our employees is unwarranted. and i couldn't agree more. mr. brooum should not be using the vast powers that we have to harm the hundreds or thousands of employees that operate under your business by trying to take business away from you to force
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you into doing something that they wanted you to do which is hopeful my colleagues on the other side of the aisle will join me in saying, you really shouldn't be using your congressional influence to try to bully and threaten a witness before these proceedings. that is just wrong. i'm going to look forward to my colleague's response and i yield back. >> thank you, congressman. >> i'm humored by your request that mr. blumenauer not bully to get something done when all we're talking about is the president bullying to get something done that he wants. ooi i'd like to clarify about the whistle-blower protection from the article that mr. conaway just provided. the law reads, expressly restricts the inspector general's office from disclosing whistle-blower's identity. it says, quote, the inspector general shall not disclose the identity of the employee without the consent of the employee unless the inspector general
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determines that such disclosure is unavoidable during the course of the investigation or the disclosure is made to an official of the department of justice prosecution should be undertaken. unquote. identity applicable only to the inspector general's office. we found no court rulings on whether whistle-blowers have a icwpa or related statutes. it is nonetheless a best practice to avoid disclosure of the ukraine whistle-blower's identity given the concerns about retaliation. mccullough said we've stepped into bizarre land when senior policymakers are trying to yank a cia employee into the public spotlight in retaliation for making a whistle-blowing complaint, especially when they are credible threats to that employee's personal safety.
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and i don't know why our colleagues on the other side of the aisle -- >> would the gentle lady yield? >> i'm afraid i only have three minutes and -- >> the end of the article does >> the president of the united states has five pinocchios on a daily basis so let's not go there. ambassador sondland, in your deposition, you lamented, quote, i was truly disappointed that the state department prevented me at the last minute from testifying earlier on october 8, 2019. but your issuance of a subpoena has supported my appearance here today and i am pleased to provide the following testimony. so, it is clear that the white house, the state department did not want you to testify at that deposition, is that correct? >> that's correct. >> and since then, you have, on
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numerous occasions during your indicated that you have not been able to access documents in the state department, is that correct? >> correct. >> so you have been hampered in your ability to provide testimony to this committee, is that correct? >> i have been hampered to provide completely accurate testimony without the benefit of those documents. >> in terms of your conversations with the president of the united states, what percentage of your conversations were about ukraine as compared to your other duties? >> i don't recall. >> well, you've only had six conversations or seven conversations with the president, you said, so -- >> about ukraine, i think. >> so you've had many other conversations. >> oh, yeah, about unrelated -- completely unrelated matters. >> so how many conversations with the president of the united states have you had? >> again, i don't want to give you a number because it's going to be wrong if i don't have the records. >> is it less than 20? >> it's probably in that range.
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>> all right. would you say that delay in military aid and the lack of a meeting in the white house works to the benefit of russia? >> repeat the question again, please. >> would you say that the delayed -- delay in military aid to ukraine and the reluctance to have a white houee benefit to russia? >> i think it could be looked that way, yes. looked at that way, yes. >> i'm going to just speak very briefly about code. when the -- when michael cohen was before the oversight committee, he was asked -- you suggest the president sometimes communicates his wishes indirectly. for example, you say, quote, mr. trump did not directly tell me to lie to congress, that's not how he operates. it would be different, he said -- the nice -- he doesn't give you questions. he doesn't give you orders. he speaks in code. and i understand the code
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because i've been around him for a decade. so, do you think that the president was speaking in code when he would talk about wanting investigations? >> i don't -- i can't characterize how the president was speaking. every conversation i have had with the president has been fairly direct and straightforward. >> all right. yield back. >> mr. stewart. >> mr. chairman, i have unanimous consent request. >> you may state your request. >> d.o.e. response to ambassador sondland's comments before the house intelligence committee attributable to the d.o.e. secretary of -- the press secretary. ambassador sondland's testimony today misrepresented both secretary perry's interaction and with rudy giuliani and direction the secretary received from president trump. as previously stated, secretary perry spoke to rudy giuliani only once at the president's request. no one else was on that call. at no point before, during, or after the phone call did the
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words, biden or burisma ever come up in the presence of the -- of secretary perry. again, i'll ask that be entered into the record.y've also refus >> the american people expect a lot of things out of politics. arguments, protests, we certainly see that, clash of principles and ideas. they actually would like to see some compromise, but i think something they expect above everything else, fundamental, they expect there is a sense of fairness about it. and i want to read part of a text i received from someone that i have tremendous respect for, just a few hours ago. she wrote, crafting a story to hurt another human being can never be right. the means of destroying and hurting another individual just does not justify the end and politics does not give anyone free pass to destroy other people. now, you can say a lot about the treatment of president trump over the last few years but i
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think one thing you cannot argue is that it has been fair. there were those cpeallinghment was inaugurated. for two and a half years, we were told every single day he has betrayed our country, he is accusations that we know now are not true and for which we never had any evidence to support that.struction and now here we are actually impeaching the president over, well, first, quid pro quo, until we found out that didn't poll very well with focus groups and then it was bribery until virtually every witness before us was asked the question, said they had no evidence of bribery and now it's extortion and again the american people expect some sense of fairness so when nancy pelosi goes before she has seen a shred of evidence and she announces the president has betrayed his oath of office, he has betrayed the american people, betrayed national security without seeing any evidence, again, the american
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people say, well, what is fair about that? so, the question before us now is, again, extortion. that's the -- that's the latest version of the charges against attorney. extortion sounds pretty scary, it's kind of serious. i had to look it up, what it means. property by threat to a victim's property or loved ones. mr. ambassador, i'm going to read you a couple quotes from president zelensky and then ask you a question. first from a ukrainian press release. donald trump is convinced that the new ukrainian government will be able to quickly improve the image of ukraine, complete investigation of corruption, which inhibited the interaction with ukraine and the usa. does that sound like president zelensky is being bribed or extorted in that comment? >> as i testified previously, i'm not a lawyer either. and i don't want to characterize -- >> well, okay. >> any legal terms. >> that's fine. i think most people would read
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that and say that doesn't sound like he's under severe pressure. he makes it very clear, ukrainian president zelensky told reporters during a joint press conference with donald trump that he was not pressured by the u.s. president. again, i was not pressured. here's another time. there was no blackmail. i would ask you, do you think he felt like he was being extorted by the president based on these comments? >> i really think that's for the committee and the congress to -- >> well, you know what, mmr mr. ambassador, it's really for the american people. >> i agree. >> and the american people aren't stupid and the american people can hear that and they can say, i don't think he was under duress. i don't think he was being extorted. i don't think there was an exchange of a bribe. and i would conclude with this last observation. it is common for our national policy to withhold aid for various reasons. you know that's true as an ambassador, is that not true? >> that's true. >> it's frequent, isn't it? that we will withhold aid for various reasons. >> that's correct. >> it is a policy.
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i mean, for example, president bush did it. he suspended military aid to 35 countries over their lack of support for the international criminal court. i'll bet that helped his political standing back home, but i don't remember anyone suggesting we should impeach him for it.


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