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tv   NEWS LIVE - 30  Al Jazeera  January 22, 2020 10:00pm-10:33pm +03

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that july 25th phone call between president trump the president's lensky was a key part of president trump's direct and corrupt solicitation of foreign help in the 2020 election the request likely sounded familiar to presidents alinsky who had been swept into office in a landslide victory on a campaign of rooting out just the type of corruption he was being asked to undertake on this call with our present selenski campaigned as a reformer as someone outside of politics who would come up and clean up corruption who would end the political prosecutions and the political investigations and what is is most empower important and powerful patron asking him to do. to do exactly what he campaigned against no wonder he resisted this pressure campaign now president trumpet had been provided talking points for discussion by the national
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security council staff beforehand including recommendations to encourage president selenski to continue to promote anti corruption reforms in ukraine so the national security staff understood what was in the u.s. national security interests and that was rooting out corruption and they encouraged the president to talk about it but as you see from the record of the call and i join the president saying read the call that topic was never addressed the word corruption never escaped his lips instead present trump openly press president selenski to pursue the 2 investigations that would benefit him personally in response to president's alinsky gratitude for the significant military support the united states has provided to ukraine president trump said. i would like you to do with a favor though because our country has been through a lot and ukraine knows
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a lot about it i would like you to find out what happened with this whole situation with ukraine they say crowd strike i guess you have one of your wealthy people the server they say ukraine has it that's that crazy conspiracy theory i talked about earlier that there is this server somewhere in ukraine that shows that in fact it was ukraine that hacked the d.n.c. not the russians that's a russian propaganda conspiracy theory and here it is being promulgated by the president of the united states and more than promulgated he's pressuring an ally to further this russian propaganda because he was referring to this extensively discredited conspiracy theory that ukraine was the one who really hacked the d.n.c.
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the democratic national committee servers and 2016 and that reference to crowd strike well that's an american cyber security firm and the theory this kooky conspiracy theory is that crowd strike move the d.n.c. servers to crane to prevent us law enforcement from getting them if ukraine announced an investigation into this fabrication president trump would remove what he perceived to be a cloud over his legitimacy legitimacy of his last election russia's assistance with his campaign and suggest that it was the democratic party that was the real beneficiary of help on the call president trump told zelinsky whatever you can do it's very important that you do it if that's possible presence alinsky agreed that he would do the investigation saying yes it is very important for me and everything that you just mentioned earlier president trump then turned to
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a 2nd request asking president selenski to look into the sham an allegation into former vice president biden. president trump said president selenski the other thing there's a lot of talk of about biden's son biden stop 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 could look into it it sounds horrible to me there is no question that president trump intended in pressing ukraine leader to look into his political rival even after the impeachment inquiry began he confirmed his desire on the south lawn of the white house declaring not only that ukraine should investigate biden but the china should do the same let's let's see what he said.
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well i would think that if they were honest about it they started a major investigation into the by the very simple and. they should investigate the guys because that is a company that's really formed and well these companies you look at by the way like white china just started to get into the fight because what happened in china is just about as bad as what happened with. what you crave. now the day after that july 25th phone call president trump sought confirmation the president's alinsky understood his request to announce the politically moated investigations and that he would follow through. after meeting with ukrainian officials president selenski and his top aide the president's hand-picked ambassador to the european union gordon sohn and called president trump from an outdoor restaurant in key have to report back this was the 2nd conversation between
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the 2 about ukraine in as many days david holmes an american diplomat dining with song and overheard the call including the president's voice through the cell phone i described part of that call last night holmes testified that president trump asked sunland so he's going to do the investigation son replied that he's going to do it adding that presence alinsky will do anything you ask him to after the phone call holmes took the opportunity to ask best reason for his candid impression of the president's views on ukraine according to homes in particular i asked about songlines it was true that the president did not give a expletive about ukraine basser song agreed the president did not give an expletive about ukraine i asked why not a better sign a stated to the president only cares about big stuff i noted there was big stuff
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going on in ukraine i don't war with russia and bass response in reply that he meant big stuff that benefits the president like the biden investigation the mr giuliani was pushing the conversation and moved on to other topics. those 3 days in july the 24th the 25th and the 26th reveal a lot about president trump's effort to solicit help from a foreign country in assisting his own reelection on the 24th special counsel muller testifies that russia interfered in our 2016 election election to assist the trunk campaign knew about the interference welcomed it and utilized it that's the 24th 25th is the day of the call. when president trump believing he had escaped accountability for russian meddling in the 1st election
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and as welcoming of it asked the ukrainian president to help him undermine the special counsel's conclusion and help them smear a political opponent former vice president biden and then the 3rd day in a row in july present trump sought to ensure that ukraine had received his request and understood it and would take the necessary steps to announce the investigations that he wanted 3 days in july. in many ways those 3 days in july tells so much of the story this course of conduct alone should astound all of us who value the sanctity of our elections and who understand that the vast powers of the presidency are reserved only for actions which benefit the country as a whole rather than the political fortunes of any one individual president trumps effort to use an official head of state phone call to solicit the announcement of
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investigations helpful to his re-election is not only conduct unbecoming a president but his conduct of one who believes that the powers of his high office are political tools to be wielded against his opponents including by asking a foreign government to investigate a united states citizen and for a corrupt purpose that alone is grounds for removal from office of the 45th president but these 3 days in july were neither the beginning nor the end of the scheme president trump acting through agents inside and outside of the us government including his personal attorney rudy giuliani sought to compel ukraine to announce the investigations by withholding the head of state meeting in the oval office until the president of ukraine complied.
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hosting an oval office and meeting for a foreign leader is an official act of vailable only to one person the president of the united states and it is an official act that president trump had already offered to prison presidents alinsky during their 1st phone call on april 21st and in a subsequent leader letter to the ukrainian leader multiple witnesses testified about the importance of a white house meeting for ukraine for example deputy assistant secretary george can't explain that a white house meeting was very important for ukrainians to demonstrate the strength of their relationship with ukraine's strongest supporter dr fiona hill of the national security council explain a white house meeting would supply the new ukrainian government with quote the legitimacy it needed especially these of the the russians and that the ukrainians viewed a white house meeting as a recognition of their legitimacy as
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a sovereign state this white house meeting would also prove to be important for 3 handpicked agents who president trump placed in charge of u.s. ukraine issues ambassador sunland and master volcker and energy secretary rick perry the so-called 3 amigos they hope to convince president trump to hold an oval office meeting with selenski during a meeting of the 3 amigos on may 23rd president trump told them that ukraine and tried to take him down in 2016 he then directed them to rudy giuliani about ukraine it was immediately clear that giuliani who is pursuing the discredit investigations in ukraine on the president's behalf was the key to unlocking an oval office meeting for presidents alinsky giuliani by then had said publicly that he was actively pursuing investigations president trump corruptly
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desired and planning a trip to crane. giuliani admitted quote we're not meddling in an election where meddling in an investigation on may 10th however giuliani canceled a trip to ukraine to dig up dirt on former vice president biden and the 2016 conspiracy theory just as presidents alinsky won elections for the presidency and parliament faced with a choice between working with giuliani to pursue an oval office meeting understanding it meant taking part in a corrupt effort to secure the political investigations or abandoning efforts to support our ukrainian ally the president's agents fell into line. they would pursue the white house meeting and explain to you crane that announcements of the investigations was the price of admission as embassadors sonnen made clear
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i know that members of this committee frequently framed these complicated issues in the form of a simple question was there a quid pro quo as i testified previously with regard to the requested white house call and the white house meeting the answer is yes. this quid pro quo was negotiated between the president's agents rudy giuliani and ukrainian officials throughout the summer of 2019 in numerous telephone calls text messages and meetings including during a meeting hosted by the national security advisor john bolton on july 10th near the end of that july 10th meeting after ukrainians again raised the issue of a white house visit ambassador sonnen blurted out that there would be agreement for a white house meeting once the investigations began at that point bolton immediately stiffened and abruptly ended the meeting during
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a subsequent discussion that day someone was even more explicit. lieutenant colonel alex of inman a director for europe and ukraine on the national security council testified that someone began to discuss the deliverable required to get the white house meeting with someone specifically mentioned was investigation of the bidens this is again in that meeting in the white house with ukrainian a ukrainian delegation and an american delegation someone explained in that meeting he had an agreement with acting chief of staff mick mulvaney whereby president selenski would be granted the oval office meeting if he went forward with the investigations after the meeting of inman supervisor dr hill reported back to bolton who told her to tell john eisenberg the national security council legal advisor that he was not part of whatever drug deals online and mulvaney are cooking up on this she reported her concerns as did been it remains unclear what
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action if any bolton or isenberg took once they were made aware of mulvaney and so on lynn's drug deal both refused to testify in our inquiry however dr hill testified that she understood that mr eisenberg informed mr cipel loney of her concerns about the drug deal if this body is serious about a fair trial one that is fair to the president and to the american people we again urge you to allow the house to call both eisenberg and bolton as well as other key witnesses with firsthand knowledge who refused to testify before the house on the orders of the president additional testimony and documents are particularly important because according to sagal and everyone was in the loop when it came to the president's self-serving effort. in part relying on e-mail excerpts song and
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explained to the president senior aides and cabinet officials knew that the white house meeting was predicated on ukraine's announcement of the investigations beneficial to the president's political campaign hill characterized the quid pro quo simply but it struck me one yesterday when you put up on the screen just someone's e-mails on who was on these e-mails and he said these that people need to know that he was absolutely right because he was being involved in a domestic political element and we were being involved in national security foreign policy and those 2 things had just defects in effect the president's linsky was being drawn into this domestic political era and he grew wary of becoming involved in another country's election and domestic affairs bill taylor
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the acting u.s. ambassador to ukraine at the time described a conversation he had with a senior aide to the ukrainian leader he said also on july 20th at a phone conversation with alexander done in to. president dylan ski's national soup security advisor who emphasized that prez's lenski did not want to be used as an instrument in a u.s. reelection campaign remember that conversation when you hear council say that the ukrainians felt no pressure to be involved in a u.s. reelection campaign. but that concern did not deter president trump in his conversation with sonnen short before shortly before the 25th of july call the president made clear that he not only wanted ukraine to do the investigations or announce them but also a white house meeting would only be scheduled if president selenski confirmed these
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investigations as a poker communicated to president selenski top aide by text less than 30 minutes before the phone call between trump and zielinski and again we're talking about july 25th in a text 30 minutes before the trump zelinsky phone call here's what is said with volcker texting under a year mark a top aide to presidents alinsky good lunch thanks heard from white house assuming president z. convinces trump he will investigate quote get to the bottom of what happened unquote in 2016 we will nail down day for a visit to washington good luck see it tomorrow kurt well that those words can be much clearer suman presidency convinces trump he will investigate get to the bottom of what happened in 2016 will nail down a visit to washington that's
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a text 30 minutes before that call counsel for the president like you think this is just about that call you don't get to look outside the 4 corners of that call they don't want you look at the months that went into preparing for that call or the months of pressure that followed it but you can just look at. right now what happened 30 minutes before that call in this text message heard from white house suman president zeke convinces trump he will investigate get to the bottom what happened in 2016 if you are wondering how it seemed that presents a linsky was aware of what he was going to be asked on that call. this is how you can tell he was prepped course he was prepped. and in fact the missing reference in the call record to barisan. was
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a signal kernel of him and recognized that clearly he had been prepared for that call why else would the name of this particular energy company come up in that conversation well presents linsky clearly got the message to the end of the call with president trump president selenski said i also want to thank you for your invitation to visit the united states specifically washington d.c. on the other hand i also want to ensure you wanted to assure you that we will be very serious about the case and we will work on the investigation thank you for the invitation on the other hand i want to assure you that we will be very serious about the case and we will work on the investigation president's alinsky clearly understood that quid pro quo for the white house
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meeting on july 25th but his reticence to be used as a political pawn kept president trump from moving forward with a promise to schedule the meeting and so the president and his agents pressed on in august giuliani met with a top ukrainian aide and made it clear that ukraine must issue a public statement announcing the investigations in order to get the white house meeting fearful of getting involved in u.s. domestic politics and having entered office with a promise to clean up government and corruption president selenski and his aides preferred a generic statement about investigations but giuliani insisted no the statement must include 2 specific investigations that would benefit president trump let's look at a comparison between the statement the ukrainians preferred and the one that giuliani required so on the left and i will read in case you can't
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see the screens. the draft the air mock draft ukrainian draft says we intend to initiate and complete a transparent and unbiased investigation of all available facts and episodes which in turn will prevent the recurrence of this problem in the future that's pretty generic but here's the giuliani volcker sunland response this is what had to be included we intend to initiate and complete a transparent and unbiased investigation of all available facts and episodes up to that point is exactly the same until you get to including those involving and the 2016 u.s. elections and then it goes back to the ukrainian draft which in turn will prevent the recurrence of this problem the future you can see in this such graphic evidence ukrainians did not want to do this they didn't even want to mention this
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giuliani had to insist no no no we're not going to be satisfied with some generic statement after all i think we can see this isn't about corruption though this is about announcing investigations to damage biden and to promote this fiction about the last election so here in these text you see the giuliani boken stalin of at these references to barisan a thinly veiled reference to former vice president biden and the 2016 election they wish to ensure the ukrainians mentioned the sham investigations president trump required now ukraine's recoiled at the new statement recognizing that releasing it would run directly counter to the anti corruption platform that selenski campaigned on and wouldn't broil them in u.s. election politics as a result zelinsky didn't get his white house beating he still hasn't gotten his
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white house meeting. senators witness testimony text messages e-mails and the call record itself confirm a corrupt quid pro quo for the white house meeting an official act available only to the present united states in exchange for the announcement of political investigations the president and his allies have offered no explanation for this effort except the president can abuse his office all he likes and there's nothing you can do about it can't indict him can't impeach and that is because they cannot seriously dispute the president trump corruptly used an official white house visit for a foreign leader to compel the ukrainian president into helping him cheat in the next election the white house meeting of course was not the only official act that
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president trump conditioned on the announcement investigations into biden and the conspiracy theory meant to exonerate president trump from russians interference on his behalf in the last election in a far more draconian step as we have discussed the president withheld $391000000.00 of military aid several weeks before this phone call with president selenski but after giuliani was already pressing ukrainian officials to conduct the investigations his client sought president trump ordered the hold on ukraine's military aid significantly this was after congress had already been notified that most of it was prepared to be spent ukraine had met all of the critical conditions for anti corruption and defense reforms in order to receive the funds we condition the funds they met the conditions the funds were ready to
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go at the time and even today witnesses uniformly testified that the order to hold the funding came without explanation to the foreign policy and national security officials responsible for ukraine. the only message from the office of management and budget was that the hold was implemented at the direction of the president since russia's legal incursion into ukraine in 2014 the us has maintained a bipartisan policy of delivering hundreds of millions of dollars of military aid to ukraine each year with several senators here have personally invested significant time and effort to ensure and it was president trump himself who originally authorized additional financial support for military assistance to ukraine and 2017 and 28 team without reservation making his abrupt decision to withhold assistance in 2019 without explanation all the more surprising to
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those responsible for ukraine policy that confusion however would soon disappear the president used the whole military aid as a leverage to preserve pressure ukraine to announce these investigations that he hoped would help israel action campaign the only difference between the prior years when the president to prove the aid without question and the explicable aid on hold in 2019 was the emergence of joe biden as a potentially formidable obstacle to the president's reelection these funds that the president withheld these funds you know just benefit ukraine they benefit the security of the united states by ensuring that ukraine is equipped to defend its own borders against russian
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aggression as a master taylor noted as deposition the united states provides ukraine with radar and weapons and sniper rifles communication that save lives it makes ukrainians more effective it might even shorten the war that's what our hope is to show the ukrainians can defend themselves and the russians in the end will say ok we're going to stop. that's in our interests this isn't just about ukraine or its national security it's about our national security this isn't charity it's about our defense as much as ukraine's bester taylor also said that the american aid was a concrete demonstration of the united states' commitment to resist aggression and to defend freedom it's what this country is supposed to be about right resisting aggression defending freedom not export in
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corrupt ideas that's what we're supposed to be outright it was against this backdrop that american officials responsible for ukraine policy sat in astonishment according to investor taylor when they learned about the whole officials immediately expressed concerns about the legality of president trump's hold on assistance ukraine their concerns were well warranted as the government accountability office which was just last night who proved his by the present scouts of us just some institution of congress but they're going to be just inherently biased right well they're a nonpartisan organization that both parties have come to rely upon but i'm not surprised they don't like the collusion of the g.a.o. because the defense department warned them that this was going to be the conclusion and that conclusion was the hold on aid was not only wrong it was not only immoral it was also illegal it violated the law
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a law that we passed so that presidents could not refuse to spend funny that would be allocated for the defense of others and for ourselves the impoundment control act prevents the president and other government officials from mutallab only making funding decisions when congress has made its intent clear in fact the exact the act exists precisely. because of previous presidential abuses of congress's power of the purse during the nixon era. the nonpartisan g.a.o. ruled that the hold on military aid was not only illegal but that holding underscores the president's efforts to go to any lengths to ensure his own personal benefit rather than take care that the laws be faithfully executed as he swore he would do
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when he took his oath of office. now because of recent freedom of information act responses and media reports we now know additional details about how senior officials expressed serious reservations about the legality of the hold at the time so this is this is not like some new surprise this is not like something that just came out of the blue out of independent watchdog agency found this was illegal no they knew this was illegal at the time these concerns were raised at the time certain individuals who may have further information about the hold the refused to testify the president's direction clearing his chief of staff mick mulvaney his deputy robert blair only official michael duffy all of them all of them defied congressional subpoenas but were included in important e-mail communications that have been made public only recently as you know these and many other categories of
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documents from the white house defense department only was subpoenaed by the house and none was produced none at the president's direction and through mr simple on his intervention although the investigation developed an overwhelming body of evidence that clearly proves that the president implemented this old to pressure ukraine to announce investigations the full story. behind the hold the full and complete story is within your power to request. as you consider the evidence we present to you ask yourselves whether the documents and witnesses that have been denied by the president's complete and unprecedented struction could shed more light on this critical topic you may agree with the house managers that the evidence of the president's withholding of military aid to course ukraine is already supported by
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overwhelming evidence and no further insight is necessary to convict the president but if the president's lawyers attempt to contest these or other factual matters you are left with no choice but to demand to hear from each witness with firsthand knowledge a fair trial requires nothing less let's look at some of the evidence that we gather notwithstanding this obstruction 1st. president withheld the aid without explanation and against the advice of his own agencies cabinet officials national security experts including secretary pompei of secretary esper ambassador bolton and others only mick mulvaney a central figure in this effort reportedly supported the whole.


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