tv MSNBC Live With Hallie Jackson MSNBC November 20, 2019 7:00am-8:00am PST
>> it was not in any record i july 25th call. and this is consistent with the reported comments from received. >> but when you did see --. ambassadors volker and taylor. after the zelensky meeting, i >> yes, i saw that in september, also met with zelensky's senior correct. >> so on this continuum, the aide, andre yermak. beginning of the continuum begins on may 23rd when the president instructs you to talk i don't recall the specifics of our conversation, but i believe the issue of investigations was to rudy? >> correct. >> and you understood that as a probably a part of that agenda direction by the president that you needed to satisfy the or meeting. concerns that rudy giuliani would express to you about what also, on july 26th, shortly the president wanted in ukraine? after our kiev meetings, i spoke >> not to me. by phone with president trump. to the entire group, volker, perry and myself, correct. the white house, which has >> now, in your opening finally, finally shared certain statement you confirmed that call dates and times with my there was a quid pro quo between the white house meeting and the attorneys, confirms this. investigations into burisma and the 2016 election that giuliani the call lasted five minutes. i remember i was at a restaurant was publicly promoting, is that in kiev and i have no reason to doubt that this conversation right? >> correct. >> and in fact, you say that included the subject of other senior officials in the investigations. again, given mr. giuliani's state department and chief of demand that president zelensky staff's office, including mick make a public statement about mulvaney, secretary pompeo, were investigations, i knew that aware of this quid pro quo that investigations were important to in order to get the white house
president trump. we did not discuss any meeting there were going to have classified information. other witnesses have recently to be the investigations the president wanted? shared their recollection of >> correct. >> and those, again, are overhearing this call. investigations into 2016 and for the most part, i have no reason to doubt their accounts. burisma slash the bidens? it's true that the president speaks loudly at times and it's also true, i think we primarily >> 2016, burisma. the bidens did not come up. discussed asap rocky. >> but you would ultimately it's true that the president learn that burisma meant the likes to use colorful language. bidens, correct? >> of course today i know exactly what it means. anyone who has met with him any i didn't know at the time. reasonable amount of time knows >> and then on july 26th, you this. while i cannot remember the confirmed you did indeed have precise details again, the white the conversation with president trump from a restaurant in kiev house has not allowed me to see that david holmes testified about last week, is that right? any readouts of that call and >> correct. >> and you have no reason to the july 26th call did not strike me as significant at the doubt mr. holmes' recounting of time. actually, i would have been more your conversation with the president? >> the only part of mr. holmes' surprised if president trump had not mentioned investigations, recounting that i take exception with is i do not recall particularly given what we were mentioning the bidens. that did not enter my mind. hearing from mr. giuliani about it was burisma and 2016 the president's concerns. elections.
however, i have no recollection >> you have no reason to believe of discussing vice president that mr. holmes would make that biden or his son on that call or up, if that's what he recalls after the call ended. you saying? you have no reason to question i know that members of this that, do you? >> i do not recall saying biden. committee frequently frame these i never recall saying biden. complicated issues in the form >> but the rest of mr. holmes' of a simple question, was there recollection is consistent with your own? a quid pro quo. >> well, i can't testify as to as i testified previously, with what mr. holmes might or might not have heard through the regard to the requested white house call and the white house phone. i don't know how he heard the meeting, the answer is yes. conversation. >> are you familiar with his testimony? >> vaguely, yes. >> and the only exception you mr. giuliani conveyed to take is to the mention of the secretary perry, ambassador name biden? volker and others that president >> correct. trump wanted a public statement >> and i think you said in your from president zelensky committing to investigations of testimony this morning that not burisma and the 2016 election. only is it correct that the mr. giuliani expressed those president brought up with you requests directly to the investigations on the phone the day after the july 25th call, ukrainians, and mr. giuliani also expressed those requests but you would have been directly to us. surprised had he not brought that up, is that right? we all understood that these >> right, because we had been prerequisites for the white hearing about it from rudy and house call and the white house we presumed rudy was getting it meeting reflected president from the president. so it seemed like a logical
trump's desires and conclusion. >> mr. holmes also testified requirements. that you told him president within my state department emails, there is a july 19th trump doesn't care about ukraine, he only cares about big stuff that relates to him email. this email was sent -- this personally. i take it from your comment you email was sent to secretary don't dispute that part of the conversation? >> well, he made that clear in pompeo, secretary perry, brian the may 23rd meeting, that he was not particularly fond of mccormick, who is secretary ukraine and we had a lot of perry's chief of staff at the heavy lifting to do to get him time, ms. kenna, who is the to engage. >> so you don't dispute that acting -- pardon me, who is the part of mr. holmes' executive secretary for recollection? >> no. >> in august when you worked secretary pompeo, chief of staff mulvaney, and mr. mulvaney's senior adviser rob blair. with rudy giuliani and a top a lot of senior officials. ukrainian aide to draft a public a lot of senior officials. here is my exact quote from that statement to be issued that includes the announcement of investigations into burisma, you email, "i talked to zelensky understood that was required by president trump before he would grant the white house meeting to just now. president zelensky? he is prepared to receive >> that's correct. >> and the ukrainians understood potus's call. that as well. will assure him that he intends >> i believe they did. >> and you informed secretary to run a fully transparent pompeo about that statement as
well in. >> i did. investigation and will turn over every stone. >> later in august you told he would greatly appreciate a secretary pompeo that president call prior to sunday, so that he zelensky would be prepared to tell president trump that his can put out some media about a new justice officials would be friendly and productive call, no able to announce matters of interest of the president, which details, prior to ukraine could break the log jam. when you say matters of interest election on sunday" chief of of the president, you mean the investigations that president trump wanted, is that right? staff mulvaney responded, i >> correct. asked the nsc to set it up for >> and that involved 2016 and burisma or the bidens? >> 2016 and burisma. tomorrow. everyone was in the loop. >> and when you're talking here it was no secret. about breaking the log jam, everyone was informed via email you're talking about the log jam over the security assistance, correct? on july 19th, days before the >> i was talking log jam generically because nothing was presidential call. as i communicated to the team, i moving. >> but that included the security assistance, did it not? told president zelensky in advance that assurances to run a >> correct. >> and based on the context of that email, this was not the fully transparent investigation first time you had discussed and turn over every stone were these investigations with secretary pompeo, was it? necessary in his call with >> no. >> he was aware of the
president trump. on july 19th, in a what's app connections that you were making between the investigations and message between ambassador the white house meeting and the taylor, ambassador volker and security assistance? me, ambassador volker stated, >> yes. >> did he ever take issue with had break fast with rudy this you and say, no, that connection is not there or you're wrong? morning. that's ambassador volker and >> not that i recall. rudy giuliani. teeing up call with yermak monday, that's senior adviser >> you mentioned that you also yerm a k. had a conversation with vice most important is for zelensky president pence before his meeting with president zelensky to say that he will help in warsaw, and that you raised investigation and address any the concern you had as well that specific personnel issues if there are any. the security assistance was on august 10th, the next day, being withheld because of the president's desire to get a commitment from zelensky to pursue these political mr. yermak texted me. investigations. once we have a date, which is a what did you say to the vice president? >> i was in a briefing with date for the white house meeting, we will call for a several people and i just spoke press briefing announcing up and i said it appears that upcoming visit and outlining everything is stalled until this vision for the reboot of the statement gets made, something -- words to that effect, and that's what i u.s./ukraine relationship, including, among other things, believed to be the case based on, you know, the work that the burisma and election meddling in three of us had been doing,
volker, perry and myself. investigations. this is from mr. yermak to me. and the vice president nodded, like, you know, he heard what i the following day, august 11th, said, and that was pretty much it, as i recall. and this is critical, i sent an >> and you understood that the email to counselor brechbuhl and ukrainians were going to raise lisa kenna. the security assistance with the vice president at this meeting? lisa kenna was frequently used >> i didn't know what they were going to raise, but they in fact as the pathway to secretary did raise it, mr. chairman. pompeo, as sometimes he preferred to receive his emails >> it was public by that point through her. that there was a hold on the she would print them out and put security assistance, correct? them in front of him. >> yeah, but i didn't know what with the subject ukraine, i they were going to raise. i didn't get a pre-brief from the ukrainians. >> you knew certainly they were concerned about the hold on the wrote, mike, referring to mike security assistance, right? >> they were concerned, obviously. pompeo, kurt and i negotiated a >> and you wanted to help prepare the vice president for the meeting by letting him know statement from zelensky to be what you thought it was responsible for the hold on the delivered for our review in a security assistance? >> that's fair. day or two. the contents will hopefully make >> do you recall anything else the president -- the vice president said other than the boss happy enough, the boss nodding his head when you made being the president, to him aware of this fact? >> no, i don't have a redout of authorize an invitation. that meeting, so i can't remember anything else. zelensky plans to have a big >> and it was immediately after this meeting between the vice presser, press conference, on president and zelensky that you
the openness subject, including went to speak with yermak and you told him similarly that in specifics next week, all of which referred to the 2016 and order to release the military assistance, they were going to the burisma. have to publicly announce these ms. kenna replied, gordon, i'll investigations? >> yeah, much has been made of that meeting. and it really wasn't a meeting. pass to the secretary, thank what happened was everyone got up after the bilateral meeting you. again, everyone was in the loop. between president zelensky and vice president pence and people get up and mill around and shake curiously, and this was very hands, and i don't know if i interesting to me, on august came over to yermak or he came over to me. but he said, you know, what's going on here, and i said i 26th, shortly before his visit don't know. it might all be tied together to kiev, ambassador bolton's now. you know, i have no idea. i was presuming that it was. but it was a very short office requested mr. giuliani's conversation. >> well, in that short contact information from me. conversation, as you would later relay to mr. morrison and i sent ambassador bolton the ambassador taylor, you informed information directly. mr. yermak that they would need to announce these investigations in order to get the aid, did you they requested mr. giuliani's not? >> well, mr. yermak was already working on those contact information on august investigations -- or on the statement about the investigations. >> and you confirmed for him that he needed to get it done if
26th. i was first informed that the they were going to get the military aid? white house was withholding >> i likely did. security aid to ukraine during >> >> mr. morrison and conversations with ambassador taylor on july 18th, 2019. ambassador taylor have also relayed a conversation you had with the president following the however, as i testified before, warsaw meeting in which the i was never able to obtain a president relayed to you that clear answer regarding the there was no quid pro quo, but specific reason for the hold, whether it was bureaucratic in nevertheless, unless zelensky went to the mic and announced nature, which often happens, or reflected some other concern in the investigations, there would the inner agency process. be a stalemate over the aid, is i never participated in any of that correct? >> that's correct. >> and that was an accurate the subsequent dod or dos review reflection of your discussion with the president? >> well, that email was not artfully written. meetings that others have i'm the first to admit. described, so i can't speak to what i was trying to convey to what was discussed in those ambassador taylor after his meetings. nonetheless, before the september 1st warsaw meeting, frantic emails to me and to the ukrainians had become aware others about the security assistance, which by the way i that secure funds had yet to be agreed with him. i thought it was a very bad idea to hold that money. disbursed. in the absence of any credible i finally called the president, i believe it was on the 9th of explanation for the hold, i came
september. i can't find the records and to the conclusion that the aid, they won't provide them to me. like the white house visit, was but i believe i just asked him an open-ended question, jeopardized. in preparation for the september mr. chairman, what do you want from ukraine? 1 warsaw meeting, i asked i keep hearing all of these different ideas and theories and secretary pompeo whether a this and that. what do you want? and it was a very short, abrupt face-to-face conversation between trump and zelensky would help to break the log jam. conversation. he was not in a good mood. and this was when president and he just said i want nothing, trump was still intending to i want nothing, i want no quid travel to warsaw. pro quo. tell zelensky to do the right specifically on august 22nd, i thing, something to that effect. so i typed out a text to emailed secretary pompeo ambassador taylor, and my reason for telling him this was not to directly, copying secretary kenna. i wrote -- this is my email to defend what the president was saying, not to opine on whether secretary pompeo. the president was being truthful should we block time in warsaw or untruthful, but simply to for a short pull-aside for potus relay i've gone as far as i can to meet zelensky? go. this is the final word that i i would ask zelensky to look him heard from the president of the united states. if you're still concerned, you in the eye and tell him that ambassador taylor, are still once ukraine's new justice folks concerned, please get ahold of the secretary, maybe he can are in place in mid september, help. >> i'm not asking you about your
text message. i'm asking you about your that zelensky should be able to move forward publicly and with conversations with mr. morrison and ambassador taylor after you spoke with the president, either confidence on those issues of in that call or in a different importance to potus and the u.s. call. >> i'm confused, mr. chairman. hopefully that will help break which conversations with the log jam. mr. morrison and mr. taylor? the secretary replied yes. >> well, mr. morrison testified i followed up the next day that you relayed a conversation you had with the president in which the president told you no asking to get 10 to 15 minutes on the warsaw schedule for this. quid pro quo, but president zelensky must go to a microphone i said we would like to know when it's locked so that i can and announce these investigations, and that he tell zelensky and brief him. should want to. similarly, you told ambassador executive secretary kenna taylor that while the president replied, i will try for sure. said no quid pro quo, unless moreover, given my concerns zelensky announced these about the security aid, i have investigations, they would be at no reason to dispute that a stalemate, presumably a portion of senator johnson's stalemate over the military recent letter in which he assistance. do you have any reason to recalls conversations he and i had on august 30th. question those conversations that mr. morrison and ambassador by the end of august, my belief taylor took notes about? was that if ukraine did >> well, i think it's tied to my something to demonstrate a serious intention to fight text, mr. chairman, because in my text i think i said something to the effect that he wants corruption and specifically
addressing burisma and the 2016, zelensky to do what he ran on, i then the hold on military aid believe is transparency, et would be lifted. cetera, et cetera, which was my there was a september 1st meeting with president zelensky clumsy way of saying he wanted in warsaw. these announcements to be made. unfortunately, president trump's attendance at the warsaw meeting >> again, ambassador, i'm not was canceled due to hurricane asking about your text message. i'm asking about what you dorian. relayed to ambassador taylor and vice president pence attended mr. morrison about your instead. conversation with the president. do you have any reason to question their recollection of i mentioned to vice president what you told them? pence before the meetings with >> all i can say is that i the ukrainians, that i had concerns that the delay in aid had become tied to the issue of expressed what i told -- or what investigations. i recall mentioning that before the president told me in that the zelensky meeting. during the actual meeting, text. and if i relayed anything other than what was in that text, i president zelensky raised the issue of security assistance don't recall. >> you don't recall. directly with vice president pence, and the vice president >> i don't recall. said that he would speak to >> but you have no reason to question ambassador taylor or president trump about it. mr. morrison of what they wrote based on my previous in their notes about your conversation with them? communication with secretary pompeo, i felt comfortable >> could you kindly repeat what they wrote? sharing my concerns with >> i'll have mr. goldman go mr. yermak. it was a very, very brief through that with you. >> that would be great. >> let me get to the top line
pull-aside conversation that here, ambassador sondland. happened within a few seconds. >> okay. i told mr. yermak that i >> you've testified that the believed that the resumption of u.s. aid would likely not occur white house meeting that president zelensky separately until ukraine took some kind of wanted, and that was very action on the public statement important to president zelensky, was it not? that we been discussing for many >> absolutely. >> you've testified that that weeks. as my other state department meeting was conditioned, was a colleagues have testified, this security aid was critical to quid pro quo for what the ukraine's defense and should not president wanted, these two investigations, is that right? >> correct. >> and that everybody knew it? have been delayed. i expressed this view to many >> correct. during this period, but my goal >> now, that white house meeting at the time was to do what was necessary to get the aid released, to break the log jam. was going to be an official i believed that the public meeting between the two statement we had been discussing presidents, correct? for weeks was essential to advancing that goal. >> hopefully. >> it would be an oval office you know, i really regret that meeting. >> a working meeting. >> so an official act? >> yes. the ukrainians were placed in >> and in order to perform that official act, donald trump that predicament, but i do not wanted these two investigations that would help his reelection regret doing what i could to try campaign, correct? to break the log jam and to >> i can't characterize why he wanted them. solve the problem. all i can tell you is this is what we heard from mr. giuliani. i mentioned at the outset that >> but he had to get these two
throughout these events we kept state department leadership and investigations if that official others apprised of what we were act was going to take place, correct? >> he had to announce the doing. state department was fully investigations. supportive of our engagement in he didn't actually have to do ukraine efforts and was aware them, as i understood it. that a commitment to >> okay. president zelensky had to investigations was among the announce the two investigations issues we were pursuing. the president wanted, make a public announcement, correct? to provide just two examples, on >> correct. >> and those were of great value june 5th, the day after the to the president, he was quite insistent upon them and his u.s.-eu mission hosted the attorney was insistent upon independence day, we did it a month early, acting assistant them? >> i don't want to characterize whether they were a value or not secretary phil reeker sent an a value. through mr. giuliani we were led email to me, to secretary perry to believe that that's what he and to others, forwarding some wanted. >> and you said that positive media coverage of mr. giuliani was acting at the president's demand, correct? president zelensky's attendance >> right, when the president at our event. says talk to my personal lawyer, mr. reeker wrote, and i quote, mr. giuliani, we followed his this headline underscores the direction. >> and so that official act of importance and timeliness of that meeting was being zelensky's visit to brussels, conditioned on the performance and the critical -- and the of these things the president wanted as expressed both critical, perhaps historic, role directly and through his lawyer, of the dinner and engagement rudy giuliani, correct? >> as expressed through rudy gordon coordinated. thank you for your participation giuliani, correct. >> and you've also testified
and dedication to this effort. that your understanding, it became your clear understanding, that the military assistance was months later, on september 3rd, also being withheld pending i sent secretary pompeo an email zelensky announcing these to express my appreciation for investigations, correct? his joining a series of meetings >> that was my presumption. my personal presumption based on in brussels, following the the facts at the time. nothing was moving. warsaw trip. >> and, in fact, you had a i wrote, mike, thanks for going discussion, communication with the secretary of state in which you said that log jam over aid to europe. i think it was really important could be lifted if zelensky and the chemistry seems promising. announces the investigations, really appreciate it. right? secretary pompeo replied the >> i did not -- i don't recall next day, on wednesday, saying the log jam over aid. i recall saying the log jam. september 4th, quote, all good, >> that's what you meant, right, ambassador? >> i meant that whatever was you're doing great work, keep banging away. holding up the meeting, whatever state department leadership expressed total support for our was holding up our deal with efforts to engage the new ukraine, i was trying to breakment again, i was ukrainian administration. look, i've never doubted the presuming -- >> well, here's what you said in strategic value of strengthening your testimony a moment ago, our alliance with ukraine, and page 18. but my goal at the time was to at all times, at all times our do what was necessary to get the
aid released to break the log efforts were in good faith and fully transparent to those jam. that's still your testimony, tasked with overseeing them. right? >> yeah. >> so the military aid is also our efforts were reported and approved and not once do i recall encountering an an official act, am i right? >> yes. >> this is not president trump's objection. it remains an honor to serve the personal bank account, he's writing a check for $400 million people of the united states as of u.s. taxpayer money, is it their united states ambassador to the european union. not? >> absolutely. >> and there was a log jam in i look forward to answering the which the president would not committee's questions. write that u.s. check, you thank you. >> we'll now proceed with the believe, until ukraine announced first round of questions as detailed in the memo provided to these two investigations the committee members, there will be president wanted, correct? 45 minutes of questions >> that was my belief. conducted by the chairman and >> mr. goldman. majority counsel, followed by 45 >> thank you, mr. chairman. minutes for the ranking member or minority counsel. in your opening statement, following that, unless i specify ambassador sondland, you additional equal time for extended questioning, we'll detailed the benefits that you proceed under the five-minute rule and every member will have the chance to ask questions. have gained from obtaining some i recognize myself or majority additional documents over the past few weeks, is that right? counsel for the first round of >> in terms of refreshing my questions. recollection. >> right. mr. sondland, there's a lot of because reviewing these
new material in your opening statement for us to get through, documents has helped you to but i want to start with a few remember the events that we're asking about, is that correct? top line questions before >> correct. passing it over to mr. goldman. >> because you acknowledge, of course, that when you can place in your deposition you testified a document and a date and a that you found yourself on a context, it helps to jog your continuum that became more memory? >> that's correct. insidious over time. >> so you would agree that for can you describe what you mean people unlike yourself who take by this continuum of notes, that that is very helpful insidiousness? >> well, mr. chairman, when we to their own recollection of events, right? left the oval office, i believe >> i think you asked your question backwards. are you saying people that take on may 23rd, the request was notes, it's helpful to have the very generic for an documents or people that don't take notes it's helpful to have investigation of corruption in a the documents? very vanilla sense, and dealing >> no, you are not a note taker. >> i'm not a note taker, never with some of the oligarch problems in ukraine, which were have been. >> but you would agree that longstanding problems. and then as time went on, more people who do take specific items got added to the contemporaneous notes are generally able to remember menu, including the burisma and things than people who don't. >> yes. >> and there are additional documents that you have been unable to obtain, is that right? >> that's correct. 2016 election meddling >> and i think you said in your
specifically, the dnc server opening statement that the state specifically, and over this department prevented you and your staff from trying to gather more documents, is that correct? continuum it became more and more difficult to secure the >> certainly documents, yes. >> which documents? white house meeting because more >> documents that i didn't have conditions were being placed on immediate access to. >> and who at the state the white house meeting. department prevented you from >> and then of course on july doing that? >> you'll have to ask my 25th, although you were not privy to the call, another counsel. he was dealing with them. condition was added, that being >> but certainly based on the the investigation of the bidens? additional memory that you have >> i was not privy to the call gained over the past few weeks and i didco, correct? from reading the testimony of others based on their notes and reviewing your own documents, you have remembered a lot more than you did when you were deposed, is that right? >> that's correct. >> and 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? >> yeah, what triggered my memory was someone's reference to asap rocky, which i believe was the primary purpose of the phone call. >> certainly, so that's one way memory works, isn't it? and 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. >> and it was a meeting, a one-on-one meeting you had with andre 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, then i'm not going to dispute that. >> and particularly if that person took notes at that meeting? >> correct. >> or sat outside the door when you didn't let them in? >> i have no control over who goes into a meeting in ukraine. that was the ukrainians that didn't let him in. >> and you had also met with president zelensky, among others, that day, is that right? >> that's correct. >> and you called president trump from your cell phone, from the restaurant, is that right? >> that's right. >> and this was not a secure line, was it? >> no. it was an open line. >> did you worry that a foreign government may be listening to your phone call with the
president of the united states? >> well, i have unclassified conversations all the time from land lines that are unsecured and cell phones. if the topic is not classified and it's up to the president to decide what's classified and what's not classified, and we were having -- he was aware that it was an open line as well. >> and you don't recall the specifics of holding your phone far 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 hold my phone here. i probably had my phone close to my ear and he claims to have overheard part of the conversation and i'm not going to dispute what he did or didn't hear. >> well, he also testified that you confirmed to president trump that you were in ukraine at the time and that president zelensky, quote, loves your ass, unquote. do you recall saying that?
>> that sounds like something i would say. that's how president trump and i communicate. a lot of four-letter words. in this case, three-letter. >> 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 of that effect, because i remember the meeting, the president -- or president zelensky was very solicitsous is not a good word. he was just willing to work with the united states and was being very amicable. so by putting it in trump speak by saying he loves your ass,
he'll do whatever you want, means that he would work with us on a whole host of issues. >> he was not only willing, he was very eager, right? >> that's fair. >> because ukraine depends on the united states as its most significant ally, isn't that correct? >> one of its most, absolutely. >> so just so we understand, 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. >> and you met with president zelensky and his aides on the day after that phone call and then 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 of what happened there? >> it could have been words to that effect. i don't remember my exact response. >> but you don't have any reason to dispute mr. holmes' recollection, correct? >> i won't dispute it, but again, i don't recall. >> after you hung up with the president, mr. holmes testified about a conversation that you and he had, where he says that you told mr. holmes that the president does not care about ukraine, but the president used the more colorful language, including a four-letter word that you just referenced to, you've just referenced. do you recall saying that to mr. holmes? >> again, i don't recall any exact words, but 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 president trump only cares about the, quote, big stuff that benefits himself. is that something that you would have said at the time? >> i don't think i would have said that. i would have honestly said that he was not a big fan of ukraine and he wants the investigations that 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 don't. i recall burisma, not biden. >> but do you recall saying -- at least referring to an investigation that rudy giuliani was pushing? is that something that you likely would have said?
>> i would have, 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 the day before in his call with president zelensky, he mentions specifically the biden investigation. and i want to show you that exhibit, or that 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 then responds with a reference to the company that he's referring to, and two
witnesses yesterday said that 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, that you now know that that's what president trump wanted at the time through the burisma investigation? >> i now know it all, of course. >> and 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? >> 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? >> if we wanted to get anything done with ukraine, it was apparent to us we needed to talk to rudy. >> right, you understood that mr. giuliani spoke for the
president, kr ekcorrect? >> that's correct. >> and in fact, president trump also made na clear to president zelensky in that same july 25th phone call. he said, mr. giuliani is highly -- a highly respected man. he was the mayor of new york city. a great mayor. and i would like him to call you. i will ask him to call you along with the attorney general. rudy very much knows what's happening and he is a very capable guy. and after this, president trump then mentions mr. giuliani twice more in that call. now, for mr. giuliani, by this point, you understood that in order to get that white house meeting that you wanted president zelensky to have and that president zelensky desperately wanted to have, that ukraine would have to initiate these two investigations, is that right? >> well, they would have to announce that they were going to do it. >> right, because giuliani and president trump didn't actually care if they did them, right?
>> i never heard, mr. goldman, anyone say that the investigations had to start or be completed. the only thing i heard from mr. giuliani or otherwise was that they had to be announced in some form. and that form kept changing. >> announced publicly? >> announced publicly. >> and you of course recognized that there would be political benefits to a public announcement, as opposed to a private confirmation, right? >> well, the way it was expressed to me was that the ukrainians had a long history of committing to things privately and then never following through. so president trump presumably, again communicated through mr. giuliani, wanted the ukrainians on record publicly that they were going to do these investigations. that's the reason that was given to me. >> but you never heard anyone say that they really wanted them to do the investigations, just that they wanted to announce them? >> 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? >> correct. >> you had direct access then, to president trump, correct? >> i had occasional access when he chose to take my calls. sometimes he would, sometimes he wouldn't. >> well, he certainly took your call twice as it related to ukraine on these two days, is that right. >> he did. >> now, the morning of july 25th, you texted ambassador volker, and we can bring up the next text exchange, at 7:54 a.m. and you said call asap. ambassador volker did not
respond to you for another hour and a half, and he said hi, gordon, got your message. had a great lunch with yermak and passed your message to him. he will see you tomorrow. think everything in place. volker, though, an hour before that, and about a half an hour before the phone call, had texted andre yermak, a top aide for president zelensky, and he wrote good lunch, thanks. heard from white house. assuming president z convinces trump he will investigate, get to the bottom of what happened in 2016, we will nail down date for visit to washington. good luck, see you tomorrow. ambassador sondland, was this message that kurt volker passed to yermak the message you left for kurt volker on that voicemail that he referenced? >> you know, i don't remember, mr. goldman, but it very well could have been. >> you don't have any reason to think it wasn't, right? >> again, i honestly, honestly don't remember. but it seems logical to me.
>> and if ambassador volker testified that he did get that message from you, you have no reason to doubt it. >> if he testified that he got it from me, then i would concur that. >> so is it fair to say 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, then yes, likely i would have received that from president trump. >> the sequence makes sense, right. >> yes. >> you talked to president trump, you told kurt volker to call you, you left a message for kurt volker, kurt volker sent this message to prepare zelensky, and then president trump had a phone call where president zelensky spoke very similar to what was in this text message, right? >> right. >> and you would agree that the message that is expressed here is that president zelensky needs to convince trump that he would do the investigations in order to nail down the date for a visit to washington d, d.c., is that correct?
>> that's correct. >> now, i'm going to move ahead in time to the end of august and early september when you came to believe, i believe as you testified, that 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 continued on the investigations that president trump wanted. is that what you said in your opening statement? >> it is. >> so let me break this down with you. 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. and that includes secretary pompeo, right? >> many people.
>> well, secretary pompeo? >> yes. >> and acting chief of staff mulvaney? >> yes. >> and you testified that this was a quid pro quo, is that right? >> i did. >> and at this point by the end of august, you knew that 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, is that right. >> that's right. >> and 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, right? >> i believe there was some press reports, you know, 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, p zelensky
brought it up at the september 1st meeting with vice president pence that you were at, right? >> i don't know if he brought it up specifically, but asked where the aid was, i think was more -- i think again very vague recollection because i don't have a readout of the bilateral meeting. but why don't i have my check, essentially. >> and you -- you understood the ukrainians received no credible explanation, is that right? >> i certainly didn't -- couldn't give them one. >> so is this kind of a two plus two equals four conclusion that you reached? >> pretty much. >> it's the only logical conclusion to you that given all of 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 in the 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 in the meeting and said it looks like everything is being held up until these statements get made and that's my -- you know, my personal belief. >> and vice president pence just nodded his head? >> again, i don't recall any exchange or he asked me any questions. i think it was sort of a duly noted -- >> well, he didn't say gordon, what are you talking about? >> no. >> he didn't say what investigations? >> he did not. >> now, after this meeting you discussed this pull-aside you had with mr. yermak where you
relayed your belief that they needed to announce these investigations prior to the aid being released? >> 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 about the investigations. >> we had been working toward that end. >> so you said that security aid is now involved in that. >> as said -- i said it could have been involved, yes. >> now, i'm going to show you another text exchange you had on september 1st where ambassador taylor says to you are we now saying that 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 zelenskiy needed to be public and that 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 based on as you put it two plus two equals four. >> well, in his testimony ambassador taylor says that you said that president trump had told you that he wanted president zelenskiy to state publicly. as of september 1st, do you have any reason to doubt ambassador taylor's testimony which he said was based on his meticulous contemporaneous 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 on your analogy two plus two equals four. >> so you didn't talk to president trump when ambassador taylor says that that's what you told him? is that your testimony here? >> 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. >> right? >> never heard those words. >> well, let's move ahead because you have another conversation in a little bit later that both tim morrison and ambassador taylor recount. but in this september 1st conversation, ambassador taylor also says that -- testified under oath that you said that president trump wanted zelenskiy in a public box.
do you recall using that expression? >> yeah. 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 be held more accountable. whatever those commitments were. >> you also testified or ambassador taylor rather testified that you told him that you had made a mistake in telling ukrainians 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? >> well, when i referenced the mistake, i -- what i recall was 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 otherwise and said, no, it's not going to do if the prosecutor makes these statements. the president wants to hear it from zelenskiy directly. that's the mistake i think i made. >> do you have any reason to question ambassador taylor's testimony based on his meticulous and contemporaneous notes? >> i'm not going to question but i'm going to tell you what i believe -- that i was referring to. >> let me fast forward and show you another text exchange which may help prefresh your recollection. on september 8th you sent a text to ambassador taylor and ambassador volker. can you read what you wrote there? >> multiple convos with zelenskiy and potus, let's talk. >> this was 11:20 in the morning. and mr. taylor responds immediately now is fine with me. if we could go to the next exchange. ambassador taylor then 15 minutes later says gordon and i
just spoke or 20 minutes later, rather, i can brief you if you and gordon don't connect. speaking to ambassador volker. then ambassador taylor an hour later says the nightmare is they give the interview and don't get the security assistance. the russians love it and i quit. you would agree that in this text message, after you had spoken earlier an hour earlier with ambassador taylor that he is linking the security assistance to this interview,public announcement by zelenskiy. >> that's correct. >> and ambassador taylor said you had a conversation at that point and he did -- and that 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 that by the 8th of september it was abundantly clear to everyone that there was a link and that 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 you spoke to president trump as you indicated in that text, right? >> if i said i did i did. >> and that after that conversation, you were still under the impression that the aid was contingent on these public announcements? >> i did not get that from president trump but i was under the impression that absolutely it was contingent. >> well, you weren't dissuaded them, right? because you still thought that the aid was conditioned on the
public announcement of the investigations after speaking to president trump. >> by september 8th i was absolutely convinced it was. >> and president trump did not dissuade you of that in the conversation you acknowledge you had with him? >> i don't ever recall -- because that would have changed my entire calculus. if president trump had told me directly i'm not -- >> that's not what i'm asking, ambassador sondland. i'm saying you still believed that the security assistance was conditioned on the investigation after you spoke to president trump? yes or no. >> from a 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 that you referred. but then you went on and they had slight variations as to what you told them, but then you said that to ambassador taylor that president zelenskiy 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 that 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 text as i said about the no quid pro quo was my effort to respond to ambassador