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tv   Andrea Mitchell Reports  MSNBC  December 9, 2019 9:00am-10:00am PST

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we'll reconvene. when we recessed we were about to hear from mr. castor. mr. castor, you care recognized for 45n minutes. >> afternoon, chairman, ranking member collins, members of the committee, members of the staff. thank you again for having me back, giving me an opportunity to testify about the evidence gathered during our impeachment inquiry. at the outset let me say that the evidence does not support theoe allegations that my democt colleagues have made. i don't believe the evidence leads to the conclusions they suggest. i'm hopeful it adds some important perspective and context to the facts under discussion today. the chief allegation that the democrats' impeachment inquiry has been trying to assess over the last 76 days is this.
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whether president trump abused the powerr of his office throu a quid pro quo, bribery, extortion or whatever by withholding a meeting or security assistance as a way of pressuring ukrainian president zelensky to investigate the president's political rival former vice president biden for the president's political benefit in the upcoming election. the secondary allegation that has been leveed is whether trump obstructed congress during the inquiry. the evidence obtained during the inquiry does not support either of those allegations. the republican report of evidence lays out the reasons in more detail, but i will summarize. i will begin with the sub s substantive allegation about abuse of power. the inquiry has returned no
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evidence that president trump held a meeting or security assistance in order to pressure president zelensky to investigate former vice president biden. witnessed who testified in the inquiry have denied having awareness of criminal activity or even an impeachable offense. on the key question of the president's state of mind, there is no clear evidence that president trump acted with malicious intent. overall, at best, the impeachment inquiry record is riddled i with hearsay, presumptions and speculation. there are conflicting and ambiguous facts throughout the record. facts that could be interpreted in different ways. to paraphrase professor turley from last week the impeachment record is heavy on presumptions and empty on proof.
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that's not mero saying that. that is professor turley. let me start with the best direct evidence of any potential quid pro quo or impeachable scheme. this is president trump's phone call with zelensky for which the national security council and the white house situation room staff prepared a call summary. according to testimony from tim morrison at the nsc the summary was accurate and complete. lieutenant colonel alexander vindman testified that any omissions were not significant and any editing was not done maliciously. president trump has declassified and released the call summary so the american people can assess it and review it for themselves. i'llve make a few points that sm to have gone under noticed. the call summary reflects absolutely no pressure or
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conditionality. president zelensky vocalized no concerns with the subject matters discussed. there is no indication of bribery, extortion or other illegalhe conduct on the call. the call summary shows president trump and president zelensky engaged in pleasantries a and cordialities. the call is not the sinister mob shakedown that some democrats have described. president trump raised his concerns about european allies paying their fair share in security assistance to ukraine. a concern that president trump would continue to raise both publicly and privately. there is no discussion on the call, i repeat no discussion on the call about the upcoming 2020
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election or security sector assistance to ukraine. beyond the call summary, the next best piece of evidence are the statements from the two participants on the call. president zelensky has said he felt no pressure on the call. on september 25th at the united nations he said, i think, a good phone call. it was normal. nobody pushed me. on october 6th, president zelensky said i was never pressured and there were no conditions being imposed. four days later on october 10th president zelensky said again, there was nothing wrong with the call, no blackmail, this is not corruption, it was just a call. and just recently in time magazine president zelensky said, i neverde talked to the president from a position of a
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quid pro quo. because president zelensky would be the target of any alleged quid pro quo scheme, his statementsem denying any pressu carry p significant he is, in fact, the supposed victim here. other seniorer ukrainian government officials confirmed president zelensky's statements. foreign minister said on september 21st, i know what the conversation was about and i thinkut there was no pressure. danyluk, who was then secretary of ukraine's defense council told ambassador bill taylor on the night of the call that the ukrainian government was not disturbed by anything on the call. president trump, t of course, h always said that he did not
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pressure president zelensky. on september 25th, president trump said there was no pressure. when asked if he wanted zelensky to do more to investigate the former vp president trump responded vno, i want him to d whatever he can, whatever he can do inve terms of corruption because corruption is massive, that's what he should do. several witnesses attested to the president's concerns about ukrainian corruption. the initial readouts of the july 25th call from both the ukrainian government and the state department raised no concerns. although lieutenant colonel vindman noted concerns, those concerns were not shared by national security council leadership. they were not shared by general kellogg who listened on the call. lieutenant general kellogg said in a statement i heard nothing wrong or eaimproper on the call.
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i t had and have no concerns. lieutenant colonel vindman's superior tim morrison testified that he was concerned the call would leak and be misused in washington's political process, but p he did not believe that anything discussed onot the cal wase illegal or improper. much has also been made about president trump's reference on thep' july 25th call to hunter biden's position on the board of burisma, a corrupt ukrainian energy company. and the actions of certain ukrainianon officials in the rup to thefi 2016 election. democrats dismissed these conspiracy theories to suggest that the president has no legitimate reason othernt than s own political interests to raise theses issues with president zelensky. the idevidence, however, shows
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that there are legitimate questions about both issues. with respect to burisma, deputy assistant secretary george kent testified that the company had a reputation for corruption. the company was found ed by ukraine's minister of ecology and natural resources. when he served in that role, his company burisma received oil expe expiration licenses without public auctions. burisma brought hunter biden on as part of a broad effort by burisma to bring e in well-connected i democrats duri a period when the company was facing investigations backed not just by check ukrainian forces but by officials in the obama administration. george kent testified about
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these efforts. hunter biden reportedly received between 50,000 and $83,000 a month as compensation for his position on burisma's board. at the time that hunter biden joined the board, his father, the former vp, was the obama administration's point person for ukraine. biden has no specific corporate governance expertise and we don't believe e he speaks ukrainian or russian. we don't believe he moved there. so he's getting this gigantic paycheck for what? the "washington post" wrote at the timee of biden's appointme to burisma's board that it looklook looked nepotism at best and nefarious at worst. according to the "wall street journal," anti-corruption activists in ukraine also raised
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concerns that the former vp's son received money and worried that would mean he would be protected and not prosecuted. witnesses in the impeachment inquiry noted hunter biden's role on the board and how it presented at minimum a conflict of interest. lieutenant colonel vindman testified that hunter biden did not appear qualified to serve on burisma's board. witnesses testified that hunter biden's role h on the board was legitimate concern to raise. in fact, george kent explained that in 2015 he raised a concern to a the office of former vice president bidenof that hunter biden's role on burisma's board presented a potential conflict of interest. however, hunter biden's role did not change and former vice president biden continued to
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leadco u.s. policy in ukraine. on this record there is a legitimateco basis for presiden trump to have concern about hunternc biden's role on burisms board. the prospect that some senior ukrainian officials worked against president trump in the runup to the 2016 election draws an even more visceral reaction from most democrats. let me say very, very clearly that election interference is not binary. i'm not saying that it was ukraine and not russia. i'm saying that both countries can work to influence an election. a systemic coordinated russian interference effort does not meanff that some ukrainian officials, some ukrainian officials did not work to oppose
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president trump's candidacy, did not make statements against president trump during the election. ambassador volker testified in his public hearing that it is possible forng more than one country to seek influence in u.s. elections. dr. hill testified likewise at her public hearing. contemporaneous news articles in 2016 noted how president trump's candidacy led kyiv's wider political leadership to do something they never would have attempted before, intervene, however indirectly, in a u.s. election. in august 2016, the ukrainian ambassador to the u.s. published an op-ed in the hill criticizing candidate trump. other senior ukrainian officials called candidate trump a clown
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and other words. they allege that he challenged the veryat values of the free one prominent ukrainian parliamentarian explained that the majority of ukraine's politicaljo figures were on hillary clinton's side. a january 2017 politico article lays out in more detailed efforts by the ukrainian government officials to oppose president trump's candidacy. the article notes how ukraine worked to sabotage the trump campaign byge publicly questiong his fitness for office. ther article detailed how a ukrainian american contractor paid by the dnc and working with the dnc and the clinton campaign treatedca information and leads about the campaign with the staff at the ukrainian embassy in washington. she explained how the ukrainian embassy worked corredirectly wi
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reporters to point them in the right direction. witnessesct in the impeachment inquiry testified thatwi the allegation of ukrainian influence in the 2016 election was appropriate to examine. ambassador volker testified that hed thought it was fine to investigate allegations about 2016 influence. ambassador taylor said for example that the allegations surprised and disappointed him. on thisd record i do not belie that one could conclude that president trump had no legitimate basis to raise a concern about efforts by ukrainians to influence the 2016 election. let me now turn to the first assertion that president trumps withheld aio meeting with president zelensky as a way of pressuring him to investigate the h former vice president. here it is important to note
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ukraine's long profound history of endemic corruption. several witnesses in the inquiry have testified about these problems. ambassador marie yovanovitch said for example ukraine's corruption is f not just prevalt butst frankly is the system. witnesses testified to having firsthand knowledge that president trump isg deeply skeptical of ukraine due to its corruption dating back years and that that skepticism contributed to president trump's initial hesitancy to meet with president zelensky. ambassador volker testified so i know he had a very deep-rooted skeptical view and my understanding at the time was that even though he agreed in the meeting that we had with him say, okay, i'll invite them, he didn't really want to do it, volker said. that's why the meeting kept getting delayed.
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another relevant set of facts here is the effort of some ukrainian officials to oppose president trump'sto candidacy i the 2016 election. some of these ukrainian politicians initiallyf remaine in government when president zelensky took over. witnesses testified that these ukrainian efforts in 2016 colored how president trump viewed ukraine. it's also important to note that presidentto zelensky was a relatively unknown quantity for u.s. policy u makers. ambassador yovanovitch called him an untried politician. dr. hill testified that there were concerns within the national security council about zelensky's relationship with a controversial oligarch in ukraine. although president zelensky ran a reform platform, president zelensky appointed the oligarch's lawyer as his chief of staff. both ambassador volker and senator ron johnson noted that
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this appointment raised concerns. these facts are important in assessing the president's state of mind in understanding whether president zelensky was truly committed to fighting corruption in ukraine. theti evidence shows that president trump invited president zelensky to meet at the white house on three separateho occasions, all witho any conditions. the first was on april 21st, the second was via letter on may 29th following an oval office meeting on may 23rd with the u.s. delegation to the inauguration. during this meeting president trump again expressed his skepticism about ukraine. ambassador volker recalled the president saying these are terrible people and a corrupt country. ambassador sondland similarly testified that ukraine in the president's view tried to take him down in the 2016 election. senator ron johnson confirmed
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this testimony in his submission to the impeachment inquiry. finally the third time that president trump invited zelensky to meet again without any preconditions was during the july 25th phone call. although some time passed between may 2019 when the president formally invited zelensky to meet and september 25th when the president's met, the evidence does not show that the ukrainian government felt additional pressure due to this delay. to the contrary, ambassador volker testified that the ukrainian feltfi pretty good abt its relationship with the trump administration in this period. during those four months senior ukrainian government officials had at least nine meetings or phone calls with president trump, vice president pence, secretary pompeo, national security advisor bolton and u.s. ambassadors. the evidence does not support a conclusion that president trump
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conditioned asi meeting with president zelensky on investigating former vice president biden. mr. yarmac said that in an august 2019 "new york times" story which was published before the beginning of the impeachment inquiry. in this article yarmack said that he and rudy giuliani did not discuss a meeting. witness testify confirmed yar mack's statement. ambassador sondland testified he believed the meeting was conditioned on a public
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anti-corruption statement, not onio investigations themselves, distinctiones that during his deposition he wasn keen to not. ambassador sondland said then that nothing about the request raised any red flags. ambassador sondland never discussed any preconditions with the president. hee merely presumed there were preconditions. i'd also like to address the july 10th meeting in ambassador bolton's office with two senior ukrainian officials. allow me to submit that here too there is conflicting evidence about the facts. both dr. hill and lieutenant colonel vindman testified that ambassador sondland raise d investigations during this
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meeting causing bolton to abruptly end the meeting. she confronted ambassador sondland. ambassador sondland's testimony about the meeting is scattered. in his closed door deposition he testified that no national security staff member ever once expressednc concerns to him tha he was acting improperly and he denied that he raised investigations during this meeting. but when he came here to testify in public, he acknowledged for the first time that he raised investigations, but he denied that the meeting ended abruptly. he maintained that dr. hill neverth raised concerns to him d that any discussion of investigations did not mention anything specific such as biden or 2016. let me lastly address the allegation that president trump directed vice president pence not to attend president
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zelensky's inauguration as another way of pressuring ukraine to investigate former vice presidentga biden. jennifer williams, a senior advisor in the officeio of the vice president, testified that a colleague -- she said it was the chief of staff's assistant -- told her, the chief of staff's assistant, that president trump hadsi directed vice president pence not to attend the inauguration. however, williams had no firsthand knowledge of any such direction or the reasons given for any such direction. if indeed such a direction was given, it's not clear from the evidence why it was done because the vice president's office was juggling other potential trips during that time and the ukrainian parliament scheduled the election on an extremely short time frame.
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it was just four days notice. williams explained there was a window ofed dates, may 30th through june 1st during which the vice president could attend the inauguration andsi that was communicated. and if it wasn't one of those dates, it would be difficult or impossible to d attend the inauguration. separately, the office of the vice president was also planning an unrelated trip to canada to promote the u.s. mca during the same window. the usmca was and still is a significant priority for the administration. vice president pence has done a number of public events in support of it. president trump was also i planning foreign travel during this timera period. and as dr. hill testified, both president trump and vice president pence cannot both be out of the country at the same time. williams explained that these
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factors created a narrow window for the vice president's participation in the inauguration. dr. hill testified that she had no knowledge that the vice president wasno directed not to attend. on may 16th, the outgoing ukrainian parliament scheduled the inauguration for may 20th, only four days later. may 20th was not one of the three dates that vice president pence's officeth had provided f his availability. williams testified that this early datefi surprised the vice president's office because we weren't expecting the ukrainians to look at that time frame. george kent said the short notice from the ukrainians forced the state department to scramble to find a u.s. official to lead the delegation, finally settling on secretary of energy rick perry. on may 20th, the date of president zelensky's inauguration, vice president pence was in jacksonville,
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florida, for abevent pn event p usmca. president trump and president zelensky met duringtr the unite nations general assembly. the two met without ukraine ever taking action on investigations. according to ambassador taylor, there was no discussion of investigations during this i will now turn to the second assertion that president trump withheld taxpayer funded security assistance to ukraine as a way of pressuring zelensky to conduct these investigations. here too context is critically important. president trump has been assistance foreignly in general and believed quite strongly that our european cal li -- allies should share the burden. u.s. security assistance is conditioned toce countries arou the world and that u.s. aid including aid to ukraine has
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been tech ramporarily paused in past for various reasons and even for no reason at all. dr. hill and state department official catherine croft both testified that security assistance to ukraine specifically had beenin temporarily paused in the past. in fact,e ambassador david hal testified that the national security council had launched a review of u.s. foreign assistance across the world to make sure taxpayer dollars were spent in the national interest and to advance the principle of burden sharing. dr. hill testified that there had been a directive for whole scale review of our foreign policy assistance. she said there had been more scrutiny onre security assistan
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as a result. another importante data point president trump's willingnesstao take a stronger stance in supporting ukraine against russian aggression compared to the previous administration. severalev witnesses testified tt president trump's willingness to provide ukraine with lethal defensive assistance was a substantial improvement, a stronger policy and a significant decision. whena we discussed democrat allegations that president trump withheld vital security assistanceec dollars from ukrai, we should also remember that it was president trump and not president obama who provided ukraine with lethal did i have weapon defensive weapons. there are relevantns pieces of information on how the house should view the evidence in question. although the security assistance was paused in july, the evidence is virtually sigh lents on the definitive reason for t the pau.
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the only direct evidence comes from mark sandy who testified that he learned in september that the pause was related to the aspresident's concern about other countries contributing more to ukraine. he explained how omb received requests for information on what otherti countries were contributing to ukraine whichr n omb provided in the first week ofpr september. the aid of course was released september 11th. several witnesses have testified that security assistance was not linkedas to ukraine's investigations. ambassador volker's testimony is relevantr' on this point becaus he was a key intermediary with ukrainian government and someone who they trusted and sought for advice. ambassador volker testified that he was aware of no quid pro quo and the ukrainians never raised such n concerns to him. when ambassador taylor raised the possibility of a quid pro quo to ambassador volker, volker said he lkreplied there's no linkage here.
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during his deposition chairman schiff tried to pin him down on this point but ambassador volker was clear there was no connection. in his public testimony ambassador volker reiterated there was no linkage. george kent said he did not associate aid to investigations and he relayed how tim morrison and sondland also believed the two werebe not linked. or that the security assistance was tied to investigations. ambassador sondland later provided a written statement supplementing his s deposition which he explained for the first time that in the absence of any clear explanation, he presumed a link between security assistance and an anti-corruption statement were linked.
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ambassador sondland also attested in his written supplement that he likely voiced this concern to yermak, a close at vi advisor of president zelensky. mr.of yermak disputed ambassado sondland's account and said he doesn't remember any reference to the military aid. ambassador sondland reiterated that his testimony was based on a presumption, acknowledging to congressman turner that no one on the planet told him that security assistance to ukraine was conditioned on investigations. ambassador taylor is the other relevant actor here. he testified in his deposition that he had a clear understanding that ukraine would not receive the security assistance until president zelenskysi committed to the investigations. however,st in his public testimony, ambassador taylor acknowledged that his clear understanding came from ambassador sondland, who was
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merely presuming that there was at link. president trump too rejected any linkage between security assistance to ukraine and investigations. the president's statements in this regard ought to be persuasive because he made the same statement in two separate private conversations with two different u.s. officials ten daysia apart. there would be no reason for the president to be anything less than candid during these private conversations. on august 31st president trump spoke by phone with senator johnson who was traveling to ukraine in the coming days and sought the president's permission to tell president zelensky that the security assistance would be forthcoming. president trump responded that he was not ready to do that, citing ukrainian corruption and burdenai sharing among european allies. when senator johnson raised the potential linkage between security assistance and investigation, president trump
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vehemently denied any connection saying, no way, i would never do that, who told you that. inld closing the call president trump told senator johnson that we're reviewing it now, referring to the security assistance. guess what, you'll probably like my final decision. he told that to senator johnson on august 31st. this strongly suggests that president trump was already leaning toward lifting the aid. separately on september 9th president trump spokese by phon with ambassador sondland. ambassador sondland asked the pt president what do you want from ukraine? the president responded i want nothing,re i want no quid pro q, i want zelensky to do the right thing. in addition senior ukrainian government officials denied any awareness of a linkage between u.s. securityin assistance and investigations. if there was in fact an orchestrated scheme to pressure ukraine by withholding security
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assistance, one would think the pause onwo security assistance would have been clearly communicated to the ukrainians. the foreign minister told the media in november following the news of ambassador sondland's written supplemental testimony that sondland never linked it to investigations. although there is some testimony that ukrainian officials made inquiries about these issues with security assistance in july and august, the evidence does not show president zelensky or senior advisors in kyiv were aware of the pause until it was publicly reported by politico on august 28th. a subsequent news article explained the conflicting testimony that embassy officials inmb washington had made in forl inquiries aboutrm issues with t aid while senior officials in
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kyiv denied awareness of the he pause. the article explained that then ukrainian ambassador went rogue and did not inform president zelensky that there was any issue with the aid. president zelensky and his senior team only learned of a pause when it was reported on august 28th. as ambassador volker testified because senior ukraine officials were aiunaware of the pause, the wase no leverage implied. the actions of senior ukrainian officials while it was paused reaches a conclusion that they did not know the aid was on hold. in the 55 days during which the security assistance was paused, president zelensky had five discussions with u.s. senior officials. july 25th he spoke with president trump, july 26th he
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melt with voluker, pence and senator ron johnson, senator chris murphy in kyiv. in none of these meetings did president zelensky raise any concerns about linkage between security assistance and investigations. in particular the september 5th meeting is notable because they're not partot of the trump administration and president zelensky could be candid with them. what did occur during those 55 days were historic efforts to implement anti-corruption form. vice president penceru had presd president zelensky about these reforms during their september 1st meeting.
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morrison testified that he noted that everyone on the ukrainian side of the table was exhausted because they had been up all night working on these reforms. president trump discussed the matter with pence, senator portman ande, acting chief of staff mulmulvaney. they discussed whether ukraine's progress on anti-corruption reformpt was enough to justify releasing the security assistance. morrison testified that vice president pence was obviously armed withsl the conversation h had with president zelensky and they convinced the president that the aid should be disbursed immediately. the president then lifted the hold. we are considerable evidence that the president was skeptical of ukraine. we know the white house was reviewing foreign assistance in
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general to ensure it furthered u.s. interest and that omb researched and provided information about which foreign countries were contributing money to ukraine. president trump told senator johnsonp on august 31st we're reviewing it now and you'll probably like my final decision. he told ambassador sondland on september 9th i want zelensky to do what he ran on. president zelensky who ran on an anti-corruption platform was an untried politician with ties to a potential controversial oligarch. vice president pence relayed to zelensky that on september 1st themb need for reform was paramount. after president zelensky passed historicky anti-corruption reforms, theco pause on securit assistance was lifted and the presidents met two weeks later. the ukraine government never tookve any action on investigations at issue in the
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impeachment inquiry. much has been made about a so-called shadow or irregular foreign policy apparatus that president trump is alleged to have orchestrated as a mechanism to force ukraine. president trump conspired to call ambassador yovanovitch from ukraine to his agents could pursue a scheme to conduct these investigations. but there are logical flaws with these arguments. first every ambassador interviewed in the impeachment inquiry acknowledged that the president has an absolute right to recall ambassadors for any reason. it's apparent that president trump lost confidence in ambassador yovanovitch and it's not an abuse of power for him to recall her. beyond that they replaced her with bill taylor who became one of b the first state department officials toep voice concerns discussed during the course of our inquiry here.
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ambassador taylor played a prominent role in some of the hearings last month. if president trump truly sought to remove ambassador yovanovitch as part of a nefarious plan, he certainly would not have replaced her with someone of the likes after ambassador bill taylor. second the three officials who comprised the shadow foreign policy apparatus can hardly be called irregular and certainly not outlandish. senior u.s. officials with official interest in ukraine policy. the three kept the state and the nsc informed of their activities. finally there is evidence that mayor giuliani did not speak on behalf of the president. according to af new story on november 22nd mr. yermak asked ambassador volker to connect him with rudy giuliani because the zelensky team was surprised by
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the s mayor's comments about ukraine. they wanted him to change his mind. both volker and yermak denied that mayor giuliani was speaking on behalf of president trump as his agent. instead as ambassador volker explained, the ukrainian government saw t giuliani as a conduit through which they could change the president's mind. secondsi allegation is whether e president obstructed congress by not agreeing to all the demand for testimony. with somebody with experience in investigations and i strongly believe in congress's article i authority. but this impeachment inquiry has partedme drastically as well as the fundamental d tenets of fai and effective congressional oversight. first, process matters. precedents guaranteed
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fundamental fairness and due process to the president. it allowed substantive minority participation andin participati from the president's counsel in there fact finding process. neither aspect was here. democrats never brought to a committee vote any of the subpoenas issued. they were all tabled. democrats directed witnesses not to answer our questions. these sorts of actions delegitimized the inquiry. second the president or any potential witness to this impeachment inquiry should be allowed to raise defenses without it being used as an adverse interest against him. congressional oversight is a time intensive endeavor.
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certainly takes longer than 76 days. the democrats instructed special witnesses that if they did not cooperate in full, it shall constitute evidence of obstruction. finally, there is no basis for obstruction. the one witness who said he spoke toct president trump abou his witness ambassador sondland hold him the president told him to cooperate and tell the truth. the president has declassified and released the call summary of his calls with president zelensky. the white house wrote to speaker pelosi to say that it was willing to cooperate further if the house returned to a well-established bipartisan constitutional based impeachment process. as we know, these protections
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were never afforded. in closing, i'd like to briefly address the democrats' narrative. it ignores that ambassador sondland's testimony that he presented that there was a quid pro quo and it ignores the many public states made by ukrainian officials. the report presents a story as if the evidence is clear when in reality it's anything but. democrats have gone to great lengths to build theire case a they've even released phone records between a president's personal attorney a reporter and a member of congress. there are additional phone records that have not yet been released and our members remain concerned about the prospect of more phone record being released. there have been a lot of
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hyperbo hyperbole. i believe a lot of this can be traced back to the anonymous whistleblower complaint. the whistleblower reframed a lot of facts at issue and caused witnesses in the inquiry toth recast their views. it's unfortunate that we haven't been able to interview the whistleblower. finally, some have likened the impeachment inquiry to a special prosecutor's investigation. if one accepted this comparison, one should also expect that like ken starr and robert mueller, the chairman should testify. all the committees believe very strongly that chairman schiff should testify and answer questions. with that, mr. chairman, the time is yours. >> the gentleman's time has expired. we will now proceed to the first round ofee questions. >> point of order. >> o gentleman will state his point of order. >> we've been told that counsel
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for then democrats is a witnes and that's why he didn't have to comport with thee rules of decorum. i've been a judge and i know you don't get to be a witness and a judge in the same case. that's my point of order. >> it's not a point of order. pursuant to house rules there will be 45 minutes conducted by the b chairman or or majority counsel followed by 45 minutes by the minority counsel. only theor chair may question witnesses during this period. following that unless i specify we will proceed under the 5-minute rule. i now recognize myself for the first round of questions. the republican's expert witness last week professor turley wrote
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in an article that, quote, there is no question that the use of public office for personal gain is an impeachable offense including the withholding for military aid in exchange for the investigation of a political opponent. you just have to prove it happened. that was mr. turley's comment. did t the investigative committs prove that the i was proved that the presidenthe used his public office for personal gain? >>or yes, mr. chairman. >> finding of fact five said president trump used the power of the offensep of the preside to ap may increasing pressure on the part of ukraine and the ukrainian government to announce then politically motivated investigations desired by president intrump. did the evidence also prove that president trump withheld military aid in exchange for an announce of an investigation of his political opponent. >> yes, it did. >> president trump acting through hisde agents and subordinates conditioned release
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over the vital military aid he had suspended to ukraine on expectation of ukraine's public announcement of the investigation that president trump cesought. did the evidence suggest that president undermined the national security interest of the united states? >> yes, several ways. >> finding of fact of said in directing and/or decemb ining - president sought-- to pressure d induce the government of ukraine to announce moylely motivated investigations lacking legitimate predication that the u.s.ha government opposes in th country and around the world. in so doing the president undermined u.s. policy supportingli anti-corruption reform and the rule of law in ukraine and undermined u.s. national security. did the evidence also show that president trump compromised the national security of the united states?
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>> tyes. >> in fact, finding of fact 7 said by withholding vital military assistance and diplomaticss support from a strategic foreign partner engaged in an ongoing conflict illegally instigated by russia, president trump used national security toid advance s personal political interest. did the evidence prove that president trump engaged in a scheme to cover up his conduct and obstruct congressional investigators? >> yes. right from the outside. in fact, finding of fact nine says using the power of the office of the president and exercising his authority over the executive branch, president trump ordered and implemented a campaign to frustrate the house of representatives impeachment inquiry. finally the constitutional scholars from our hearing last week testified that the president's conduct toward pattern of inviting
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foreign election interference was a continuing risk to our free and fair elections. did the evidence prove that president trump was a threat to our elections? >> yes, it did. >> finding of fact eight says, faced with the refulation of his actions president trump publicly and repeatedly persisted in urging foreign governments including ukraine and china to investigate his foreign this continued solicitation presented a clear and present danger thata the president wil continue to useid the power of s office for his personal political gain, close quote, i would add in the next election. i now yield to my counsel for additional questioning. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. castor as an perns xperienc investigatornc would you agree it's help explain the presidents
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actions? >>. >> microphone. >> use your mic, please. >> is that a relevant thing to consider? >> it is re relevant? >> it is your testimony that president trump did not view president biden to be a legitimate contender. >> i don't know if president trump believe or did not believe. it is too early. >> did you determine what president trump tweeted about joe biden and between january and july 25th, how many times. >> i didn't look at twitter. >> did you know president trump twe tweeted about joe biden 25 times between january and july 25th?
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>> i dinplomat didn't look at t speeches. >> president trump goes to a lot of rallies and tweeting. it is difficult to draw too many conclusions from hiso tweets o statements of rallies. >> pardon me. >> the jemr. chairman - >> the gentleman is not recognized. t time. has the >> how many other rules are you going to disregard. >> gentleman is suspend. parliamentary inquiries are not in order atie this time. this is not appropriate to have a witness a questioner of somebody that was witnessing -- >> it is just wrong. >> gentleman will refrain --
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>>fr well, i made a point of orr and you won'tof rule of it. >> i have not heard a opponent of order. state your point of order. >> there is no rule nor precedent for anybody being a witness -- >> i have ruled it. the point of order is he's inappropriate to be up here asking questions. not a point of order, he's here in accordance. >> how much money do you have to get to get duped. >>. >> mr. byrd has the time. >> is mr. burke a member of the committee? >> mr. burke has the time. >> you have to recognize point of order. >> the gentleman won't state the opponent of order. this gentleman is presenting his opinions asti a witness. he's supposed to present the materials of facts, not to
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appear for his opinions, is that right or not?or >> the gentleman that does not have a point of order is mr. burke's time. >> i rule the gentleman has the time. >> the gentleman will state the point of order in he has one. we h operate by rules if there nothing in the rules. it is unprecedented for a person tod come and sit who you described as witness to then return to the bench and questioning. that's a opponepoints point of . >> gentleman stated not a point of order. i will point out that the gentleman is designated by me to do this questioning the pursuant
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to house resolution 660, which was part of the rule in the house. it is in accordance of the rule of the house. the gentleman's time will resume. mr. burke. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> are you aware that president trump announced the candidacy on july 25th call on june 21st? >> okay. >> did you look at that in your investigation as part of looking at president trump's intent and what he intended on the july 25th call? >> he's obviously running for e reelection. >> you knew that president biden announced his intention to run april of that year. >> it is relayed to me. i don't know when vice president indicated he's going to run as i sit here today. >> would you agree with me that the ukraineh announced the corruption investigation of former vice president joe biden that would hurt his candidate,
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would you agree with that basic principle. yes or no, sir, would you agree with that in. >> i disagree with the predic e predicate. >> gentleman is not recognized. the gentleman has the floor. >> i object to the question. rule on whether the question is inwh order. >> the gentleman will continue. >> why? >> the gentleman will continue, it is his time. >> let's get back to the fact, we are tactlking about eight ambiguous lies in the transcript. the president was notes asking r a personal favor, he was speaking on behalf of the american people. he said and i will read it, i would like you to find out what happened with the whole situation of ukraine. they say crowd strike, i guess you have one of your wealthy people. >> sir, i am not asking you to read that. if you want to talk about the transcript, i want to t talk to
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you about, let's look at slide three if we may, the reference to biden. >> so you see on the july 25th call on page 4. is it a fact that president trump in his call with president zelensky, he heard there is a lot of talk about biden's son that he stopped the prosecution. >> he's entitled to answer the question fully. >> there is a video of the fo former vp, i think that's what the president was referring to. he was at council of foreign relations and it was a little bit, you know, the former vp was a little audacious in how he describes he went over. >> i amri only asking you what says on the transcript, is that
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what it says, sir? the other thing, there is a lot of talk aboutin biden's son. biden stopped the prosecution, it says that, correct? >> that'sat what it says here. it goes onto say president trump asked president zelensky if you can look into it, correct? is that the words, "if you can look into it," correct? >> that's what it says. >> so president trump was asking ukrainian president zelensky to have the ukrainian officials look into vice president joe biden, cecorrect? is that correct, yes or no? >> i don't think the record supports that. >> it does not say? can you look into it. >> i don't think it supports that. i think it is ambiguous. >> mr. goldman, you are an experienced federal prosecutor, i know that firsthand.
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is this president trump asking presidenttr zelensky to investigate his political rival joe biden? >> i don't think there is any other way to>> read the words o the page to conclude that. castor, you made the poin is it your experience when someone had done something wrong that's corrupt and they're dealing with somebody that's noc in the scheme that they state their intentions to do something wrongful and corrupt. is that your experience as an investigator? >> you are saying in general? >> you are saying a schemer? >> yes. >> would you admit that she's doing something wrongful or corrupt? >> no. >> you made a big point in your presentation that on that call, president trump did not go furtherd and tell president zelensky that he wanted the investigation announced to help his 2020 election?
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sm >> he20 didn't talk about 2020. >> would you agree president trump was acting wrongly and corruptly that he was askingee r the investigation explicitly to help his 2020 election prospects? >> yes, my experience as ten years as a prosecutor, you never have a defendant or someone who's engaging in misconduct who would ever explicitly say in this case, president zelensky, i am going to bribe you now or i am going to ask you for a bribe, i am going to extort you, that's not theto way these things work. >> mr. castor. you said about hunter biden going back to 2014 for burisma. >> yes. >> president trump supported ukraine with aid and otherwise, 2017 and