tv NBC Bay Area News at 11AM NBC November 21, 2019 11:00am-11:29am PST
here. but shazam. last week, you come forward with supposedly this new information. there is nothing different in there from what we had on the transcript. maybe that's thep. but they had to have something so you're their closing witness because you overheard -- you overheard the president talking to ambassador sondland. >> sir, if i could answer. i see four seconds left on the clock. i believe -- >> mr. holmes, you may take as long as you need. >> thank you, sir. i believe that ambassador taylor did already knowen i returned f vacation on the 6th. it was not news to him that the president was pressing for a biden investigation. >> that's not what i asked. i asked why he didn't share with us. >> mr. jordan, please do not interrupt the witness any further. mr. holmes, mr. jordan's time has expired but yours has not. you may answer the question. >> it's exactly my point. i briefed the call in detail. went away for a week, refer to the call, and everyone is
nodding. of course, that's what's going on. of course, the president is pressing for a biden investigation before he'll do these things the ukrainians want. every singleding agreement. word in the call? no, because everyone by that point agreed. it was obvious what the president was pressing for. and ambassador taylor, as you've just outlined, had all those other interactions. >> but you didn't share it with us. >> mr. jordan, please do not interrupt. >> but, sir, my vivid recollection of what i was involved with was a touchstone experience that, to me, validated -- >> mr. jordan, please do not interrupt. >> -- what we believed. and ambassador taylor was not in that call. >> so all of a sudden, last week -- >> mr. jordan. mr. jordan, you will allow the witness to answer the question. >> i'll finish with this. >> thank you. >> he was involved in a number of other interactions, as you've outlined, that brought him to the same conclusion. it is quite possible that that -- >> he doesn't share the one -- >> mr. jordan. mr. jordan. mr. jordan, you may n
witness'sns wasn't an answer. it was a filibuster. >> mr. jordan, we will hear the witness's answer. have you concluded, mr. holmes? >> i have. >> thank you. mr.you, mr. chairman, dr. hill, thank you for your testimony. fairly opening statement to which they tike exception. you said some of you on this committee appear to be russia and security services did not conduct a campaign against our country and that perhaps somehow for some reason ukraine did. i'm really much more interested in the ukraine piece of this i do want to defend you briefly. i don't know what my colleagues believe. but do i have a pretty good sense of what the effects are of creating ambiguity, of lacking clarity and conviction around the russian attack on the election of 2016. in response to your comment, the ranking member offered up a report, which varies in material respects from report that was created by the 17 agencies
of the intelligence committee. a day does not go by in which ranking member nunes does not speak of the russia hoax and this is an area in which context is pretty important. . from hill, let me read you a comment by another senior official. why did democratic national committee turn down the dhs offer to protect against tax? it's all a big dem hoax. dnc refuse to ton over the server to the fbi? it's all a big dem scam. dr. hymn, do you know who said those things? >> i don't know. >> the president of the occupation john alleged j. trump. >> i didn't miss much. >> you didn't miss much. my point is tell me if you agree or disagree ambiguity, a failure to name and shame the rugs for the attack in 2016, that is not in the service of our national security, is it? >> it's not, no. >> let's turn to ukraine. dr. hill, have you seen a -- you
characterized the idea that ukraine interfered in the election as a fictional narrative. have you seen any evidence at all that ukraine interfered in the 2016 election in. >> well, i brought with my two sents that i pointed to by our colleagues during the deposition i gave october 14th. actually, i'm quite dreadful that they're pointing me in this direction. i was presented during my deposition two articles or at least two pieces of information. wone was an op-ed the ukrainian ambassador charlie wrote 2016 in the hill. so this is during the presidential or the republican party. and this is ambassador charlie, who was then you know still the ukrainian ambassador to the united states being critical of president trump, who was then
the nominee for the republican party for making comments about ukraine, crimea and russia. >> may i interrupt you there? let me be very specific about what those comments were. the president when he was a candidate said, quote, the people of crimea, from what i've heard, would rather be with russia than where they were. so ambassador charlie is responding to that in that article, correct? >> that's correct. he just uses this as a peg. because to be honest the whole article is actually about ukraine and this is classic standard for anyone that wants to write an op-ed, you pick a beg e peg by something you or someone else might have said and you proceed to say what you want to say. ambassador charlie talks about ukraine's position vis-a-vis russia and russia aggression against ukraine. >> let me just read, because it's worth people hearing from this attack on president, on candidate trump, who suggested that the crimeans would rather be with russia. ambassador charlie writes, even
if trump's comments are only speculative and do not reflect a future foreign pol call for appeasement of an aggressor and support the sovereign country's territorial integrity and another's breach of international law. da da da, that's the attack on candidate trump. does that sound like election interference to you? >> well, i would say that it's probably not the most advisable thing to do for an ambassador, because you never know who is going to win. and i think that the second piece that was presented to me at great length and i want to thank mr. go back and read it again. when you asked me questions, i did remember the piece. kenneth fogle is very known and as you pointed out extraordinary journalist. i remembered reading this in january, 2017. but there had been a long time between then and october and you gave flea come a copy. i went back and read it again. i think it's very important it get to this issue here. mr. vogle point out that the
ukrainian governments, again they won't have done very well at the bookie, pointing out the issue at the beginning of today. they bet on the wrong horse. they bet on hillary clinton winning the election. and so, you know, they were trying to co-favor with the clinton campaign. it's quite evident here. he relates to some extent, virksdz some ukrainian officials, like mr. ivakoff the interior minister and a number of people he names here and named at various points and talks about how they were trying to check information so ranking member nunes said on mr. manafort and ought people as well. however, i do want to point out, that the crux of the article here by mr. vogle is he said there was little evidence of a top-down effort by ukraine. avenltd he makes a the russian putin and involved the country's military and foreign intelligence services.
now, i don't think that those two things are exactly the same. i also mentioned in my deposition of october 14th, that, in fact, many officials from many countries, including ukraine bet on the wrong horse. they believed that secretary clinton, former senior clinton, former first lady clinton was going to win. many said some pretty disparaging and hurtful things about president trump. i can't help him for feeling aggrieved by them. and when we were setting visit, i don't remember, i have a portfolio of 50-plus countries, plus the european union, we thought it prudent to collect as much as possible about our comments that people might have said about the president during the campaign when he was either one of the candidates to be the party. or when he was actually the candidate rung againsting will harrisburg. i'm sorry to thai say an awful lot, i shouldn't name them here,
it will have a hurtful things about the prest. i were the president. now the difference here, however, that hasn't had any major impact on his feelings towards those countries. not that i have seen. but i also heard the president say and he said it in public, so i'm not revealing any kind of executive privilege here, ukraine tried to take me down. well, i have seen it as some ill advised ukrainian officials, ambassador charlie has been removed as being the ambassador from here make some pretty you know unpleasant statements about or ill advised op-eds. but i could lend, list a whole host of ambassadors from allied countries who tweeted out, who had public comments about the a well and it did not affect security assistance having meetings with them. would, there would have been a lot of people he wouldn't have met with. >> mr. chairman i seek unanimous
consent to add to the record a political politico article of december 1st, 2016, entitled russia accuses ukraine of sabotageing trump. it outlines russia senior officials ming interference in the 2016 election. >> without objection. mr. conway. >> i field to mr. ratcliffe for five minutes. >> thank you to the gentleman for yielding. i want to pick up where my congress across the aisle, congressman himes left off earlier. respectfully, dr. hill, he was not defending you. he was defending himself and democrats. i want to make sure the record is very clear. ranking member nunes was correct. he correctly noted in his opening that republicans, not democrats on this committee, were the first ones, the first ones to raise the issue of russian interference in the 2016 election. the disagreement wasn't about russia meddling. the disagreement was about whether or not president trump
conspired with russia. a false allegation, peddled by the democrats, generally and specifically by some democrats on this committee. with that, i want to turn to you and the part of the conversation, your testimony where you said you heard president trump say, is she going to do the investigation and ambassador sondland said he's going to do it. ou'll do anything to. is that right? >> yes, sir. >> what did president trump say next? >> he -- he said, he said, what about sweden? >> he said what? >> sir, sorry, i needk middle of the conversation. where we are in the testimony. p exactly, then he turned to the sweden conversation. >> what did president trump say next? >> he said, good, what about
sweden? >> good, what about sweden. good, what about sweden? why isn't that in your statement? >> sir, it's not a word-for-word every single word in the conversation. >> but it's the most important part of the conversation. >> well, then they turn to sweden. they turned to the other topic. >> respectfully, mr. holmes, this impeachment inquiry is based on the call, the day before, where president trump as part of a bribery scheme is a part of an extortion scheme, as part of a quid pro quo, according to democrats, demanded investigations in exchange for either military aid or a white house meeting and the next day, you were witnessed to president trump receiving word that the bribery scheme was successful. the extortion scheme was successful. was, good. what about sweden? >> yes, sir.
the ukraine conversation the president said on the call? >> this was -- >> it's a clear recollection of this conversation, yes, sir? >> mr. ratcliffe, let mr. holmes answer. >> sondland greeted the president. >> how? >> he said i'm in. he said mr. holmes, mr. president, i'm if kiev. the president corrected and said are you in ukraine? flu is think he said i think you are in ukraine? he said what? >> he said are you in you kra in? >> what did you hear president trump say about asap rocky? >> i did not hear president trump's side of the conversation about asap rocky. >> you said, how did we go from, the conversation was very loud and his voice was recognizable to as you say here when the conversation shifted, i could only here ambassador sondland's side of th whe the president came on the call, he sort of winced and held the phone away from his ear. for the initial p i don't know if he turned the volume
down or the president spoke more quietly or he got used to the volume, i don't know what change ed? what did clang? what's important. this was memorable. >> i don't know sir, body sondland moved the phone away from his ear. >> that's what it was? >> yes. >> okay. >> how'd the conversation end? >> i only heard ambassador sondland's side of the conversation, sir. at the end of the conversation, he said, he said, ah, this, he was giving the president advice on how to deal with his a sap rocky situation and he said, you know, you should have -- they should have released him on your word and you can tell the kardashians you tried. >> so to be clear, when president trump received word that president zelensky had agreed to the investigations, he said, good. what about sweden? >> yes. >> when exactly did gordon
sondland ask president zelensky about the investigations? >> i'm sorry, sir. >> when did he ask about the investigations? >> when did gordon sondland ask zelensky about the investigation surface. >> yeah. >> ah, in which meeting did he raise the investigations? >> well, it was raised the day before on a call and the next day gordon sondland said the answer to that was he's going to do the investigation so when did he ask about the investigation? >> my assumption is he did nit a closed door meeting with yermak. >> the time with the gentleman is expired. >> i want to make clear yesterday he testified and the conversations did not come up on that day. >> the gentleman has been expired. >> thank you, mr. chairman, i'd like to thank both of our witnesses for being here today. i'd like to turn our discussion to the campaign to remove career diplomat ambassador yovanovitch. beau of you in your various capacities had to work with her and both of you witnessed what i
would call a smear campaign. i wanted to know your thoughts, dr. hill, what was your view of ambassador yovanovitch's experience and quality of her work in the ukraine and what -- and do you consider it to be a smear campaign? >> ah, i have the highest regard for ambassador yovanovitch both in terms of her integrity and the high standards of work that she was carrying out as ambassador if you crane and across a whole career. i do believe that there was a smear campaign and i just want to say, again for the record, that i think it was unnecessary. if it was a decision to have a political ambassador put in place in ukraine, that would be perfectly acceptable. it's exactly the right of the president to be able to to do that. i just did not see why it was necessary to malign ambassador yovanovitch to such an extent.
>> mr. holmes, would you agree with that and can you talk about the care and integrity and performance of professor -es, m. she was extremely professional, respected in ukraine by ukrainians. i think also by visiting american senior officials including members of this committee and congress who came to visit. sheg is extremely dedicated, hard working. >> did you see it as a smear campaign as well? >> i did, yes. >> and what was the effect that it had on the morale of other professionals that you worked with in the you kra in? >> it was a very confusing time, as i've said before. the president has the right to remove the ambassador for any or no reason at all. it was not clear to us why this was happening or why people weren't standing up for her. >> i'd like to now turn, dr. hymn to your boss. your boss was ambassador bolton. right? >> that's correct,y.
>> and did your boss ambassador bolton tell you that guiliani was quote a hand grenade? >> he did, yes. >> what do you thk grenade? meaprntty clear to me in the context of all of the statements that mr. guiliani was making publicly about the investigations that he was ot he was promoting, the narrative of, he was promoting was going to backfire, i think it has backfired. >> was that narrative of falsehoods about ambassador yovanovitch? >> at the particular juncture at the time ambassador bolton made that comment, absolutely. because that was in the context of my discussions with him about what was happening to ambassador yovanovitch. >> i was particularly struck by your testimony, dr. hymn, about receiving hateful calls and being accused of being a source, a mole, in the white house. are you a never trumperave
you been true to your profession and remain non-partisan? >> i honestly don't know what the definition of a never trumper is. as i think many of my colleagues are feeling the same way, that there the a puzzling term to be applied to career or fawn parties and officials. and i chose to come into the administration. i could easily have said no when i was approached. >> yes, but you didn't sign up to have hateful calls and the like? >> i guess unfortunately where we are today in america, that's coming with the territory. they're continuing 're constantk twitter, posts of my name and address and on the internet. we have been doing this over the last couple of days. and as i said in my deposition, person in this room. be it members of the press, be it members of congress and the staff. i think we have to find ways of combakt this. again this gets back suddenly to things our adversaries can also exploit. >> exactly. i think you would agree to ne
this shouldn't become the new normal. would you agree? >> it should fought. >> aalso think this kind of behavior instead of keeping you down would make you undeterred. are you more determined to continue to do your work and to do it professionally? >> i am and i think all my colleagues are as well. because just as you said we can't let this stand. i don't think anyone here wants to let this stand.t ink this th issue. i don't think anybody wants to come under personal attack. >> i unfortunately this is the becoming the if you norm. we are being led from the top of the food chain, which is our president, which is unfortunate. i am especially disheartened by his treatment of women and i think that the fact of the matter is that there is a long line of strong talented women who have been a part, smeared and victimized by this president. and we can either choose to ignore it or do something about it. and, frankly, i think that whether you voted for him or whether you supported him or not, that doing so is wrong. you could simply just remove
someone, you don't have to smear them. >> thank you, i yield back my time. >> i just want to echo that sentiment and certainly lament attacks levied against our colleague lee stefanik on this panel which have been vial and hateful. for those keeping score of the efforts to accuse our president of coercion, extortion or bribery, with these witnesses as we now come to the closing session of basically break down as follows. we have kent and ambassador taylor who spoke of hearsay. their hearsay of these matters that they said that they had heard were all statements they heard from others who have also testified in front of us. so there is no one that's missing no, one out there. kent and taylor basically said they heard it from morrison and sondland. morrison indicated he heard it from sondland. sondland testified he heard it from no one on the planet. vindman and morrisson both have
direct testimony of the phone call with the president of the united states. beyond that, they only had contact with sondland and again sondland indicated he had contact with no one on the planet. volker testified he had direct contact with the ukrainians and president of the united states and indicated the president of the occupation did not condition a phone call meeting or aid on ukraine undertaking investigations and testified the ukrainians did not believe that either. we also have the direct statements from the president of ukraine and the foreign minister they did not undertake investigations and we also have the evidence that we're all very much aware of, which is they did not undertakeations. we also have yovanovitch and dr. hill and yovanovitch obviously left before the time period. dr. hill, we appreciate you being with us today. dr. hill, you have provided me probably the greatest piece of evidence that's before us to
illustrate the problem with hearsay. so, you said based on questions and statements, i have heard some of you on this committee, believe that russia and its security service did not conduct a campaign against our country. and perhaps somehow for some reason it was ukraine. so this is the -- it was held up by deonne nunes, the russian active measures voted on by all of us. it begins with this sentence. in 2015, russia began in a covert campaign aimed at the eexwill. any of ustlmall effort on your part dr. hill, you would have known what you said was not true. you had heard, you felt the need to put it in your eight-page statement before you went on to tell us a bunch of other things about other people no matter how convinced you were of, also not necessarily true. one of which was that you said that ambassador sondland met with guiliani, actually,
ambassador sondland testified here that he had not as ambassador met with guiliani. he briefly met him in his lifetime by shaking his hand and guiliani issued a statement they never met either. this is the problem no matter how convinced we are, dr. hill, how much we heard is true, it is still just what we've heard. but so far in this hearing and this series of hearings, the only thing that volker saying i spoke to the president and i spoke to the ukrainians, neither of which believe aid was conditioned. neither of which believed that the president was requiring it. and ambassador sondland which said no one on the planet told him if that was the case. >> that itself the sole evidence. now, i got to tell you the one thing that's interesting is ambassador sondland did say it's his belief that the meeting with the president was conditioned upon investigations. ambassador volker who i think is a man of very signintgrit said case. even if ambassador sondland is
correct that somebody and dr. hill you testified and again it's hearsay, you don't know that supposedly mulvaney told him that. because he didn't testify to that let's say somebody besides the president told him that, all right, you guys want to be the laughing stock of history to impeach a president of the united states because he didn't take a meeting? oh, please, dear god, please undertake that. now, mr. holmes, i got to tell you, you -- >> sir, is there a question for dr. hill? >> mr. holmes, in your testimony, you said that sondland said he loves your ass and also said he'll do anything that you want. mr. holmes, that information had nothing whatsoever to do with the subject matter o any of these hearings. it was anecdotal, extraneous. your statements that your embarrass president zelensky by
making those statements. you didn't have to make. you who cares that ambassador sondland said that. you know you didn't embarrass ambassadored sondland. you embarrassed zelensky. he got asked this question in his country. people are hearing that statement as it's true. it's totally dubious if you did. >> mr. carson. >> thank you, chairman. thank you both for your service. dr. hill, i'd like to talk a little more indepth about chief of staff nick mulvaney's role in the events under investigation. you testified, ma'am, that mr. mulvaney and ambassador sondland were both involved with a letter president trump sent to the ukrainian president on may 29th congratulating him on his inauguration. do you recall that, ma'am? >> ah, i did, yes. >> and towards the end of that letter, president trump closed with, quote, i would like to invite you to meet me at the white house in washington, d.c. as soon as we can find a mutually convenient time. end quote. dr. hymn, was this congratulatory letter drafted through the normal procedures at
the nsc, that the nsc uses to send letters to foreign heads of state? >> the first part of it was, except the last paragraph. >> you also testified that ambassador sondland told you that he had dictateed that line to the president and that mr mr. vulva mr. aslt mulvaneyv mr to add that to the letter. >> that is correct. >> why were you nervous, dr. hill? >> us a at this juncture it hadr quite apparent he wasn't keen with mr. zelensky for all the reasons we had been trying layout today. we were perhaps writing a letter like that, you raise the expectation of a -- an invitation coming shortly. >> dr. hymn, you also testified, ma'am, that ambassador sondland was frequently meeting with mr. mulvaney. mr. guiliani's campaign of lies
ultimately led to ambassador yovanovitch being recalled from her post in april, . you've also removal was pretty disspiriting and a turning point for you. you can explain for us, why, ma'am? >> again as we've all made clear, ambassador yovanovitch. you saw for yourselves in her deposition is a person of great integrity. she's one of our finest foreign service officers, career foreign service officers. and it being a decision to remove her to replace her with a political appointee again that is perfectly within the rights of the president. sometimes it's highly advisable, in fact, to emphasize to a country just exactly how close the relationship is likely to be to have an appointee who is close to the president if it's an important relationship. but what was disspiriting was all of the accusation that were being fired at ambassador yovanovitch leading her to be tweeted, including by members of
the president's family. we all firmly believed that mr. guiliani and others, including the people who were recently indicted, the ukrainian-american gentleman had for somson decided that ambassador yovanovitch was some kind of personal problem forthe decided to engage in just the kind of things we had been discussing about. frank little, she was an easy target as a him who. i'm sorry to hear about congresswoman stefanik. i think this illustrates the point and the problem we are dealing with here today. >> certain lip. i was also struck by your testimony you were the subject of false accusation during your time at the trump administration. you testified, massachusetts, ability receiving hateful calls and being accused of being quote a mole in the white house. you testified about death threats from calls at your home. is that right? >> that's correct. that was in 2017. >> i'm sorry you had to go through all this, ma'am. you don't strike me as a woman who is easily deterred.
you are not easily deterred, are you, dr. hill? >> imi'm not. >> thank you for your service. >> thank the gentleman for yielding. another fact check. again my caution to boat of you representations of what prior witness said or you have 18 said may not facts. this was f sondland's opening statement. after the zelensky meeting, i also met with zelensky's senior aide andre