tv Impeachment Hearings CNN November 15, 2019 5:00am-8:00am PST
this public hearing begins. cnn's special live coverage of the impeachment inquiry continues with our friend wolf blitzer right now. good morning. i'm wolf blitzer in washington. we want to welcome our viewers here in the united states and around the world. just minutes from from now, the former u.s. ambassador to ukraine, marie yovanovitch, the woman who colleagues say was never hungry for the spotlight, will take center stage in the impeachment inquiry. what we already know about her testimony. called one of the best by her peers. yovanovitch said she tried to root out corruption in ukraine but was targeted by rudy giuliani and others and warned to, quote, watch her back. and even after she was removed from her post, president trump called her bad news on that now-infamous july 25th phone call with the ukrainian president. causing yovanovitch to say she felt threatened by him. also today, behind closed doors,
much more on the truly stunning revelation from tuesday's public hearing. career u.s. diplomat david holmes says he overheard president trump ask the u.s. ambassador to the eu about the status of investigations. in hours, he testifies behind closed doors up on capitol hill. and tomorrow, there's breaking -- there's other breaking ranks developing. a career official over at the white house budget office is expected to tell lawmakers what he knows about why security aid for ukraine was frozen. our team is covering all of the angles in this truly important impeachment process. let's go over to capitol hill right now. our cnn senior congressional correspondent manu raju is watching all these developments. set the scene once again, day two of these public hearings. >> marie yovanovitch, the ousted ambassador to ukraine will detail the efforts by rudy giuliani, the president's personal attorney, to push forward on issues about ukraine, push for those investigations that could help the president
politically and argue that that undercut the interest of the united states and she would detail this smear campaign of sorts that was launched by giuliani against her, something she learned from ukrainian officials, late last year, ukrainian officials she's going to testify were alarmed by giuliani's efforts, concerned they were being pulled into domestic political affairs and when she raised concerns to the highest levels of the state department about what giuliani was up to, they did nothing, according to her testimony. she's also going to make clear she went to the eu ambassador, gordon sondland, and asked him about the matters and sondland came back and suggested to protect herself she should tweet support for the president of the united states. also, she's going to make clear that after she was ousted, this phone call that occurred between president trump and president zelensky of ukraine, this now infamous call which trump urged zelensky to open up these investigations after she saw that transcript, rough transcript that was released by the white house, she's going to say she felt threatened by those words because the president said
that, quote, she's going to go through some things when he discussed these matters with the ukrainian president. republicans are going to push back and say while the democrats contend this is part of what they call a corrupt scheme by this administration, republicans are going to say she left this post before some of these matters at the heart of this impeachment inquiry were going on. she did not have direct knowledge of what the president was doing. they'll say that she had all the -- the president has the right to remove ambassadors at will and expect this hearing to play out much the way it did on wednesday. the democratic chairman adam schiff will launch his opening statement, followed by the republican ranking member devin nunes, followed by marie yovanovitch's opening statement and then they'll get into questions led by staff counsel. dan goldman for 45 minutes will launch the questionings. and then questions from the republican counsel steve castor. much different than the way congressional hearings go where each member gets five minutes of
questions. that will occur after the counsels themselves question but, wolf, this is just again, the beginning of a significant round of public hearings that will take place and will set the course for the democrats who are moving very quickly in deciding whether to impeach the president which will be the third time in american history if they go that route, wolf. >> this is, once again, an historic moment right now. manu, we'll get back to you. thank you very much. later today, lawmakers will also hear from the u.s. diplomat who says he overheard that cell phone conversation where president trump asked the u.s. ambassador to the eu gordon sondland about the status of ukraine's, quote, investigations. david holmes, a career foreign service officer, will testify behind closed doors. kylie atwood is here with me watching all of this unfold. what do we know, first of all, about this diplomat? >> so david holmes is a midlevel career official who works at the state department. he's a career foreign service officer. he has been at the ukraine
embassy for the u.s. for about a year now. and he is someone who has served around the world. he's been in afghanistan, russia, in india. so he does have experience. he's also known for expressing his opinions. he's someone who is described to me by folks who know him as very sharp and in 2014 he actually wrote to the administration, the obama administration at the time, a cable of constructive dissent. and what he said in that cable was that there was a multilayered structure installed by obama that had hindered our diplomatic effectiveness and made it hard for those making decisions to get a clear stream of advice. it's not someone who has stayed quiet as he's been on the job. but it's important to remember he's the political counselor at the embassy in kiev. it's his job to understand what's going on with ukrainian politics and message that back to folks who were working for him, with him in the u.s. gft. so it wouldn't have been abnormal for him to go to
ambassadors meetings. that meeting he went to with ambassador sondland for the two of them to grab a meal. that's very normal, but, of course, this key, key conversation here that he overheard was ambassador sondland speaking with president trump and president trump asking him about investigations. and then, ambassador sondland telling david holmes that president trump cares more about the investigations than he does about ukraine. >> he was the counselor for political affairs at the embassy. ambassador, charge d'affaires and then there's the counselor for political affairs and he was a senior adviser to the ambassador. who else may have been listening in on that very controversial cell phone conversation that ambassador sondland, the ambassador to the european union had in ukraine with the president? >> right. and so that is the key here. ukraine is right next to russia. russia is known for having intelligence that can pick up almost every conversation that's happening in that country.
especially given the fact that this was a conversation that was happening in a restaurant. and david holmes wasn't on the phone. ambassador sondland was speak with the president and david holmes could hear what the president was saying. so the two were speaking loudly enough in a public place. so intelligence could have picked it up, and it's even a greater possibility that other folks in that institution, wherever they were, whatever restaurant they were in, were able to hear that. >> and we also know that later today after this house intelligence committee hearing is over, mark sandy, a senior official at the office of management and budget, he will go behind closed doors and tell what he knows about the decision to withhold that u.s. military assistance nearly $400 million in assistant to ukraine. >> mark sandy is key because he is the first u.s. official to go forth and speak to congress to explain what was happening. and he is the first one from the office of management and budget, okay? and why does that matter here? it matters because omb was the
one that put the initial hold on all of this security assistance that was going to ukraine. as you said. some $400 million worth in security assistance. a hold was put on it in july. those in the room when the hold was announced were kind of alarmed because it was announced it was coming from the omb but coming at the direction of president trump. and so there are a lot of questions here in terms of why that hold was actually put on and why the hold was then lifted in september. was it because there was a whistle-blower complaint that had been made public? we really don't know the answer to that yet. and so mark sandy will be someone who will give us some new light into what was happening in that office that was really stuck in the middle of this controversy. >> remember, that nearly $400 million in security assistance was authorized, appropriated by the house and the senate. signed into law by the president. and then all of a sudden, omb, the office of management and budget, said it's on hold but there was no explanation given
to the state department or to congress. why that money was on hold. >> in fact, the state department and the pentagon were both saying to the white house that they wanted that lift to be -- that hold to be lifted. they were advocates of the security assistance and a large part of that is because ukraine is on the front lines fighting against russia day in and day out. and because of our strategic security interests in the region, both the state department and the pentagon thought it pivotal that they continue to receive the security assistance they need so they can fend off those aggressions from russia. >> there's a war going on over there in ukraine. kylie, good work. thank you very, very much. joining us now, congressman denny heck. he'll be asking some questions later today as well. thanks so much for joining us. and explain why today's hearing with the former u.s. ambassador to ukraine, marie yovanovitch, is so significant to this inquiry. >> well, i think people are going to learn two things, wolf.
first, they'll learn about what a vicious and unconscionable act to remove this career foreign service diplomat. 33 years. the best of the best. she's precisely who we want representing our nation's interests in foreign capitals and she was removed as a result of a long-term insidious smear campaign orchestrated by the president's personal attorney, a corrupt ukrainian prosecutor, the president's son and some of the president's allies at his favorite tv station. and i want to say something about how you phrased the -- how ambassador yovanovitch felt earlier. that she felt threatened. when the most powerful man on the face of the planet says she's going to go through some things, that's not something that would cause any human being to feel anything other than incredibly threatened. but at the end of the day, the president is within his legal authority to have removed her. the second thing then, however, that i hope we learn is why. what was afoot here. what were the nefaruous ends
being achieved? she was a fierce anti-corruption combatant in ukraine and helping to clean up that struggling democracy to get on its feet. but was there a purpose served for the president to have her out of the way? and were there business or other interests served by someone else to have her out of the way? >> give us a preview, if you can, congressman. what kind of questions do you have for her? >> well, as i am one of the least senior members of the intelligence committee, wolf, i often wait a bit to see what else has been asked to kind of fill in the blanks and to see what it is that hasn't been brought to light yet. but i am interested in her version of how is it that ukraine's welfare was affected by all of this. by her removal. what does it say to them and how does it affect their efforts to become a full-functioning, robust democracy, corruption free. >> what did you learn from the first day of public hearings, wednesday's hearings, that
you'll carry over into today? >> so i thought that wednesday's hearing was an incredible display of two outstanding foreign service diplomats as well. and i thought their testimony was presented in as neutral as it were, compelling and concise manner as was possible. what it gave me was a vote of confidence in the men and women who dedicate their lives to representing our interests abroad. >> on wednesday, we did learn from ambassador bill taylor, the top u.s. diplomat in ukraine, that one of his aides, david holmes, the kocounselor for political affairs allegedly overheard gordon sondland discussing investigations during that cell phone conversation with president trump at that restaurant in ukraine. this the day after that now-infamous july 25th phone conversation that the president had with the ukraine leader. describe that -- you describe that development as they mini
bombshell and you get a chance to interview holmes later today behind closed doors. talk about that a little bit. >> why i characterize it as a mini bombshell is that coming in the immediate aftermath of his call with president zelensky of ukraine, it shows what it was that was really paramount and top of mind of president trump. namely, get after these investigations, these debunked conspiracy theories about ukrainian involvement in the 2016 election. and specifically focus in on an investigation of a potential rival of his. of course, former vice president biden. >> did you -- do you know whether or not holmes raised his concerns about that phone conversation earlier because we only learned about it from ambassador taylor on wednesday. >> right. the only thing that i know, wolf, is that ambassador taylor represented it that he had just been informed of it last friday. that it was new information to him as well and that immediately upon learning it, he shared it
with both the majority and minority committee staffs as he should, as was appropriate. as we would expect of ambassador taylor. >> congressman denny heck, you'll have a busy day, you and all your colleagues. thank you so much for joining us. we've got a lot happening today on this important and historic day. appreciate it very much. the president is poised to release the transcript of his first conversation with the ukraine president. that occurred in april of this year. we're on standby for the transcript of that conversation. we're also staying on top of all the developments up on capitol hill. the former u.s. ambassador marie yovanovitch once again set to arrive any moment now to deliver crucial testimony in front of television cameras. once again, we're all over this. our special coverage continues right after this. (alarm beeping) welcome to our busy world. where we all want more energy.
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just moments from this, the second day of impeachment hearings. the president said he didn't watch the first day but that may not be the case today. the schedule is largely quiet. the big question, will he release the transcript of that first phone conversation he had with the ukrainian president zelensky. our senior white house correspondent pamela brown is joining us right now. what are you hearing over there? >> the president does have a quiet schedule today until this afternoon. i've asked the white house if he's going to watch today's hearing, and there hasn't been any answer to that yet. the white house claims he didn't watch wednesday because it's trying to send this message that the president is too busy, he's not distracted by these impeachment hearings, but it's clear it's top of the president's mind. at last night's rally in louisiana, he went after the last two witnesses, career diplomats, calling them never trumpers and claiming they couldn't say what he did was an impeachable offense. but they made clear they weren't there to decide on impeachment. they were only there as fact
witnesses, not taking sides. and there's no evidence they're never trumpers. they are still serving in this administration. ahead of the hearing with this ousted ambassador today, the white house is already downplaying it with officials saying she left the administration before the july zelensky call and serves at the pleasure of the president. what she can do is shed light on rudy giuliani's efforts. we could learn more on that front. one question today, will the president release the transcript of his first call with zelensky. he said it would be by week's end. sources say it's short, congratulatory and the president invites him for a white house visit. that visit, as you know, was put on hold pending ukraine's investigation that the president wanted, according to releasedcr so far. it will be interesting what we learn and whether that transcript is released. >> we'll stay in very, very close touch with you. thanks very much. let's discuss this with our team of experts. our correspondents and analysts.
john king, let me read to you what the president of the united states said about ambassador yovanovitch in that july 25th conversation with president zelensky. this is the president of the united states. the former ambassador from the united states, the woman, was bad news. and the people she was dealing with in the ukraine were bad news. so i just want to let you know that. and later he says to president zelensky, well, she's going to go through some things. those are pretty ominous statements. this is the president speaking to president zelensky. >> pretty ominous statement. the president's defenders will make the case it is true, the president has the right to withdraw to remove, to fire any u.s. ambassador. that will be their case and that's where they'll want to keep you. the challenge for the democrats is to get it, where did that come from? where did the president get that information? how did the president come to that belief? the president got that information from rudy giuliani. we suspect as well from a republican attorney here in town who represents a ukrainian oligarch who is under indictment in the united states who is
repeatedly on fox news and in touch with giuliani. can they take this to the corrupt part because we've cringed so much during the trump presidency. many of his voters vote forward him to be disruptive, unconventional and outside the bounds of normal. can you make it not just trump cringe conduct but trump corrupt conduct. than they through the ambassador and other witnesses make the case that in her case, she wants to tell them we were finally at a place with this new administration where we thought we could get ukraine on the right path with a new democracy, new people and then rudy giuliani pops up working with the very people we just managed to shove to the sidelines. corrupt people, bribing people, trying to run ukraine often in the interest of russia. the money coming from russia. can they make the case to take it from unconventional, disruptive. ambassador sondland with firsthand knowledge. maybe more critical.
but she has to keep the public's attention and make the case i'm a career public servant trying to do the right thing and up pops rudy giuliani with the very crooks we've tried to shove to the side. >> twheewhat's the story here? republicans are saying the president has a right to fire an ambassador. he had the right to fire the fbi director, too. context matters. he fired jim comey because he didn't like the investigation he was running. he fired the ambassador because she apparently wasn't on board with this sleazy, uncorroborated, you know, narrative of ukraine working with the democrats to undercut trump for which there is no evidence besides conspiracy theories. so republicans are advancing this idea that it's this out of control bureaucracy trying to undermine the president. these are career diplomats who wanted to pursue u.s. national security interests who were being derailed by a shadow foreign policy. that is the story that democrats want to tell because that's what's accurate.
and then people will make a determination about what those facts add up to. and i assume we'll be hearing a lot about that shadow diplomacy led by rudy giuliani. the president's private attorney working together with these two others, lev parnas and igor fruman, both indicted now. and rudy judging judging giulia investigation. >> if you are a republican, you want to keep it to the phone call. president trump saying read the transcript. but if you are a democrat, you want to say that the ouster of this ambassador really was the beginning of this, what they say, is this bribery scheme. this move by the president to use roughly $400 million to get the president of ukraine to deliver on announcing an investigation into his political rivalries. and so giuliani is key to that.
she has essentially a front row seat to this scheme sort of unfolding in her -- alarm bells ringing as you saw with bill taylor. he figures out, something is going wrong here and she, obviously, in this position as a career diplomat for like 30 years. so she has a sense of how things are supposed to be and then all of a sudden, something else starts to happen and she's hearing from the ukrainians that she has to watch her back. she's sort of nervous about what's being, you know, what's happening here with these two foreign policy tracks and giuliani, obviously, central to that. what is he up to? who is he in cahoots with? is he serving his own interest? the president's interest. is he serving the american public's interests? so i think all of that will come to light tonight, today and you'll hear republicans say as david alluded to, that the president, it's within his right to remove an ambassador if he wants to. >> it's very important, ross, because she had been told not by american officials to watch her
back, but by ukrainian contacts of her telling her, you better be careful. >> yeah, and one intriguing thing, you mentioned the indictment in federal court in new york, of rudy giuliani's colleagues. in that indictment, it actually mentions this ambassador and it mentions that there was an effort by -- in the indictment that says one or more ukrainian government officials to have her ousted. that was sort of an intriguing thing to drop into this indictment and i think we're going to be hearing more about that. there was something going on in ukraine that -- in which it seemed rudy giuliani, others and one or more ukrainian officials wanted her out. >> and because, carrie, the whole notion of corruption, she was adamantly opposed to the corruption in ukraine, but she was beginning to suspect that it was sneaking into the united states. >> that's exactly right.
i think particularly for americans who haven't been able to take the time to read the transcript that's been released, i think what people are going to be the most taken with is that they're not going to be able to recognize the american government in her testimony. she's going to be describing a corruption of white house and how they were able to influence components and certain individuals of the state department to engage in something that's going to sound like some other third world country or authoritarian country where individuals acting in personal interest, potentially personal financial interests, have corrupted the instruments of government. and i think that's going to be really surprising to some people and unlike the prior witnesses the other day, ambassadors taylor and kent who were witnesses to this activity, she's more of a victim of it
because she was on the receiving end and she was ousted from ukraine back in may before some of the activities really had developed more substantially. >> we anticipate that ambassador yovanovitch will be arriving moment early before the house intelligence committee. we'll have live coverage. our special coverage will continue after a quick break. lactaid is 100% real milk, just without the lactose.
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we're standing by for her arrival. yovanovitch says she lost her job because of what she described as unfounded and false claims that she felt threatened by the president of the united states. plus, there will be key testimony behind closed doors later this afternoon. u.s. diplomat who says he overheard president trump ask ambassador gordon sondland, the u.s. ambassador to the eu about ukraine's investigation into the bidens will answer lawmakers' questions. and another major development unfolding. a white house budget official, mark sandy, set to break ranks and testify tomorrow on what he knows about the president's decision to hold up that nearly $400 million in security assistance to ukraine. our reporters are spread out all over washington. manu raju is inside. suzanne malveaux is outside. suzanne, i know that marie yovanovitch should be arriving momentarily. you're there for us. set the scene. >> wolf, we're actually right off of independence avenue outside of the longworth
building where the hearings are taking place. about 30 of us gathered here, photographers, reporters from around the world as our camera is ratrained on the street behi the capitol police car, the cruiser. we expect a cab or suburban to pull up as the witnesses typically do. be escorted from their car into the building. as you can imagine, there is pretty tight security in terms of getting to her, but we'll try to shout a question to her if we can. there's a lot of anticipation about her testimony. wolf had an opportunity this morning to talk to one of her good friends who is in the diplomatic corps and she says that, really, for yovanovitch, this is round three for her. she said the first round she saw was the bullying that she experienced inside of ukraine. the second round she said was the smear campaign that was conducted by the president and rudy giuliani and his
associates. and she sees today as round three. and that is preparing for a potential attack from the republicans who will be also asking her questions today, wolf. >> all right. we'll have coverage as soon as she arrives, suzanne. we'll get back to you. manu raju, you're inside for us. set the scene there. >> yeah, the democrats are expecting today, marie yovanovitch to detail what they call a, quote, corrupt shakedown scheme. what they -- what yovanovitch is going to testify to is about these efforts by rudy giuliani that was enlisted by president trump and giuliani's personal attorney to push forward on these investigations that could help the president politically. something according to yovanovitch's closed door testimony that the ukrainian officials learned about late last year, later told her about these efforts by giuliani, including these efforts to go after her and target her. ukrainians were so alarmed they were potentially being pulled into domestic american political affairs that they themselves pushed back about giuliani's role. this is according to her
testimony which she's going to say. also that she raised concerns internally in the united states, state department, but officials did not respond to her concerns. now she was later ousted after this giuliani smear campaign and may have brought back to the united states something she objected to and she also objected to what she saw in that rough transcript released by the white house of that call between president trump and president zelensky of ukraine from july in which the president said that, quote, she's going to go through some things and that she's bad news. she's going to say she felt threatened by those remarks. >> manu, hold on. there she is. she's going to be arriving right now. she and her aides coming in. they just parked that car over there. suzanne malveaux is outside. she's watching all of this unfold as well. we're going to see her walking in to this house office building for this testimony. it's a sensitive moment indeed and she has been -- she's there with her attorney, with her friends, with others clearly.
this is a moment we've been watching. let's just watch her walk in and see if she stops and answers reporters' questions. >> ambassador, do you feel -- do you still feel threatened by president trump? do you still feel threatened by the administration for your safety? >> do you feel threatened by the president, ms. yovanovitch? >> all right. she's now walking inside. she'll go through security like everybody else who goes through security. i'm just going to listen in as this happens. all right. suzanne, you tried. you shouted a question. good question. fair question. but, clearly, this career u.s. diplomat, 33 years in the u.s. foreign service, she's going to be answering a lot of questions. but she's not ready to do it
informally like this. suzanne, any other sense you're getting based on what you saw? >> well, wolf, one of the things that everybody is curious about is, clearly, during the deposition and from the transcript, that closed door deposition, she became emotional. and that she really did feel after learning that the president said that she was bad news, she said she was shocked. she also felt that her safety was in jeopardy and that she has not been safe to do her job and to go about her life and this is one of the things, i think, that is going to potentially resonate with the american people. if you hear and see from her demeanor, she is very calm. she's not one to enjoy or even seek the spotlight, but she has been put in the hot seat now, and she's testified previously that she does feel that it was the president and the president's attorney and many of those associates, the hard work she had done in ukraine that her safety was at risk.
and that this is something, i think, that people are really going to want to see and hear for themselves when they hear her testify later today, wolf. >> yeah, she will be sworn in and make an opening statement before she starts answering a lot, a lot of questions. everybody stand by. our special coverage will continue in a moment. sarah's last tuition payment, sent off. feeling good? oh yeah. now i'm ready to focus on my project. ♪ ♪ this is why we plan. ♪ ♪ you never cease to amaze me, maya. see how investing with a j.p. morgan advisor can help you.
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this hearing set to begin right at the top of the hour. the chairman of the house intelligence committee adam schiff will call this session in order. he'll make a statement. devin nunes, the top republican on the committee will make a statement. they'll swear in marie yovanovitch, former ambassador to ukraine. she'll have an opening statement, and then this 45 minutes on the democratic side, 45 minutes on the republican side. john, we're going to hear from adam schiff and devin nunes but also from the staff attorneys who will do most of the initial questioning. >> and that's what the other day when you had ambassador taylor and kent in there. we have moved to a new phase and
democrats learned lessons. let's let seasoned prosecutors and courtroom attorneys present the tough questions and do the q&a. both sides now doing that, which does change the dynamic of these hearings. if you are the democrats, after you hear from ambassador yovanovitch and the chairman will have a few questions, you want mr. goldman, your attorney, to bring out the -- this wasn't just unusual. this crossed lines. that's what they are trying. they think they have a sympathetic witness in the ambassador that she was there trying to do her job and up pops this rogue foreign policy operation that was -- the case they're trying to make is not only unusual but counter to u.s. national security. trying to help them against putin and russian aggression and up pops giuliani, people she viewed as crooks trying to undermine the policy. that's the point she wants to make. the republicans will say you never spoke to the president. the president has every right to fire you, right? and try to make the case she's aggrieved because she was fired not that she has a case to make
about a crime or corruption. >> and even more than that, that she's part of this highly politicized bureaucracy out to get president trump, that somehow the bureaucracy was trying to undermine him. i think democrats have the challenge of making it very clear she was a victim of this shadow diplomacy and not at all politicized. she has a lot of backers, republicans and democrats. she served for decades as a foreign service officer. but the spector of people you don't recognize is somehow trying to undermine the president overseas when he, by the way, republicans will argue, is the guy who did what obama wouldn't do which is really provide lethal aid to the ukrainians. this is the narrative that will be compelling to a lot of people around the defense of trump. they'll have to be very careful. trump saying, you know, there's some things she's going to face or they're going to happen to her. >> she's going to go through some things. >> think about that. a president of the united states saying that. that kind of threatening
language toward someone who served this country. that is something you'll hear a lot of this morning. >> you know, john dean is with us. the constitution says a president potentially could be impeached for bribery, treason, high crimes and misdemeanors. we're hearing a bunch of democrats speak about bribery, including the speaker of the house nancy pelosi. listen to this. >> the devastating testimony corroborated evidence of bribery. bribery. bribery. and that is in the constitution. the bribe is to grant or withhold military assistance in return for a public statement of a fake investigation into the elections. that's bribery. it's bribery. >> what do you think? >> well, before she said that, she actually addressed this use of latin, quid pro quo. and how not many people understood what she was talking
about or others were talking about with quid pro quo. they did understand bribery. it is in the constitution. it is one of the standards. i think it's smart branding. it might be late but it's not too late. these are the beginning of the public hearings. now bribery raises a whole different set of issues as to what is the bribery involved. is it historic bribery? is it contemporary bribery? does it involve technical things like the new mcdonald's standard when governor of -- the governor of virginia was found not to bribe because he was just doing unofficial acts? or is this clearly an official act that they're looking at so that the mcdonald's standard doesn't confuse all this and this won't create a lot of technicalities for the senate or the house. >> also historically in foreign policy, there is some trading going on.
we'll deliver on that. this is pretty clear what's going on. >> bribery is for the public at large, easier to understand than quid pro quo. >> who the hell knows what that means? it's like an s.a.t. word. bribery is something that you understand. most people understand. it will be interesting if it makes its way into this hearing. and you have seen some of the members use that word. adam schiff, i think, in most of his questioning and certainly in his opening statement he was still using the quid pro quo. >> also extortion made an appearance. >> some people feel like maybe extortion is actually the more accurate sort of legal term. >> it's not mentioned in the constitution. >> exactly. >> bribery, treason. >> that's the constitution. >> high crimes and misdemeanors. >> they've learned from the president who has been a master at branding all sorts of things which was no collusion or read the transcript in this instance. they want to keep this thing simple to make it stick in americans' heads about what they
think this president did. >> right. and many impeachment proceedings, the argument is about what is a high crime and misdemeanor? bribery is in the constitution. it's there. one of the challenges about bribery is satisfying the elements of it. one of which is a corrupt intent. and i think that's going to be where a lot of this winds up is was the president's intent corrupt? or was he looking out for american interests and american foreign policy? and bribery cases, having worked on a lot of them, they're not that easy to prove sometimes. as we know, senator menendez was charged with bribery offenses. he was -- >> those are legal things. this is political. >> there's not something in the constitution that says the definition of bribery has to fit the statutory definition of bribery and all the elements that are in the criminal code. bribery in the constitution is
whatever the congress are facts that satisfy that requirement. so they have a lot of flexibility in evaluating the facts that are in front of them. and i do think, though, another key in these public hearings is going to be the ability to distinguish between legitimate foreign policy activities and illegitimate abuse of power. and so we may hear a lot about the fact that the president has very broad foreign policy authorities, but what was going on here with rudy giuliani and some of the other individuals that were working on the president's behalf is they were working in his personal interest and that's not a legitimate exercise of foreign policy authority. >> but this is the critical test in the environment we're in. it's not a legal case as the presidents so well put. but the question is, the democrats feel comfortable with their early witnesses they're building a fact case that they would feel comfortable in the house going forward with impeaching the product. if they did that today it would be only with democratic votes. we'll see if one or two republicans break. the question is, can you make the case that the -- can you
make bribery, right, can you make bribery, do you get -- can you change the political dynam nick the house of representatives or in the country where you start to move republicans? republicans will not move right now. in part because they understand this connects to their own hold on power. in part because the president has an 85 or 90% approval rating among republicans if they break with him, they pay a price back home in the court of public opinion and political pan back where they live and have to run. can they change the dynamic? can you make bribery stick? >> members will be arriving shortly. saw chris stewart, the republican from utah, member of the intelligence committee. he's already in his chair. others are momentarily going to be walking in as well. much more of our special coverage after this. where we all want more energy. but with less carbon footprint. can we have both? at bp, we're working every day to make energy that's cleaner and better. and we see possibilities everywhere. to make energy that's cleaner and better. ♪
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ambassador marie yovanovitch will be sworn in. manu, are you inside the hearing room? >> yeah, i'm in inside here watching members file in and take their seats on the republican and democratic side of the aisle. and there are hoards of reporters and cameramen waiting for marie yovanovitch's arrival into the hearing room. we saw her arrive into the longworth office building. she's in the holding room where witnesses stay before they come out and make their appearance. she'll come in, take a seat. then the chairman and the adam schiff and the ranking member devin nunes will each give their opening statement followed by her taking the oath and then her own opening statement followed by staff counsel questioning which will be 45 minutes apiece on each side. the staff counsel dan goldman on the democratic side has also just arrived as he waits to take his seat. also in the crowd there are a number of republican members who do not serve on the house intelligence committee but people who have supported the president. people who have backed up his
calls so expect to hear a lot of these republicans who have backed up the president and believe he's done nothing wrong to come out and defend the president handling of this situation. just like on wednesday, lots of anticipation in this room for this testimony. day two of public hearings in which marie yovanovitch is expected to detail this effort by rudy giuliani, the president's personal attorney to push forward on investigations that could help the president politically. something that she believed undercuts foreign policy, the interest of the united states and something that she also noted was essentially amounted to a smear campaign that rudy giuliani launched against her, that the president listened to and the president ultimately came down, pulled her out from that position. something that she believed was unfounded, unfair and we'll hear all of that in a matter of moments here in this room. there's a lot of anticipation for the key witness coming in in just a matter of moments, wolf. >> on the left you see steve castor. he'll be the republican staff attorney who is going to be asking the questions.
we saw devin nunes, the chairman -- the ranking member of the committee. he's there as well. jim jordan is there, you know, usually -- he never has a sport coit on. >> never has a sport coat on. he says he can't get into it with the sport coat on. it makes him feel, i guess, too constricted and that's not his style. >> to look like he's working really hard. >> he's a working man. >> he's not really a member of the intelligence committee but has been detailed over in order to participate. there is congresswoman jackie speier of california. >> one of the president's most aggressive defenders. also aggressive in these hearings, questioning witnesses, often interrupting witnesses. the white house wanted him there, and the house republican leadership agreed to put him in there because as we've seen the president, we've watched the president. one of the private arguments among republicans is that this doesn't look good. this doesn't feel right. rudy giuliani had no right to be doing this. eventually a lot of republicans think they'll get to the point
that this should not have happened but it is not impeachable. the president won't let them go there. he keeps tweeting no, no, defend this as good and that's why he wants jim jordan on the committee because he'll continue to say the president did nothing wrong. >> carrie, how do you think these staff attorneys have been doing, daniel goldman, a former assistant u.s. attorney in the southern district of new york. a lot of experience in prosecution. steve castor, the republican staff attorney, how do you think they've been doing? >> well, i think the first mr. goldman, he is a career prosecutor and so he came to this with those prosecutorial skills and i think that showed in terms of his skill of questioning. he also has a lot better facts to work with. mr. castor is really a congressional lawyer. he spent a lot of time on the oversight committee. >> the chairman is now there. he's going to be seated. but go ahead. >> he's been on the oversight committee. i don't think that he is the same prosecutorial experience. his presentation was not as polished as the other attorney. definitely, though, having staff
attorneys is more effective in my judgment than having members ask their questions themselves where then they are performing for the cameras, performing for their constituents. so i think, in general, it's a more effective way for the committee to conduct its business. >> and the allocation of time previously. they were limited by those five-minute inkrumtcrements. it didn't work at all. it's helpful to have that 45 minutes to get a line of questioning going and to allow the witnesses to answer. >> but it's interesting that, like a trial, what's difficult here is that for the general public, seeing this as a fact-finding mission is that you have two political interests at odds here with two competing narratives which gets very difficult for anyone who is supposed to be paying attention to really learn what the facts of the case are. of course, the jury in this case are senators who may or may not be paying attention but who probably in many cases already made up their minds anyway. >> what we're about to see, you
know, nia, and i just want to alert our viewers, she's going to walk in, the former ambassador from ukraine, marie yovanovitch, and then all those photographers will have an opportunity. there will be a photo op at the beginning. she'll be seated and they'll start taking a lot of pictures. probably usually goes on, we've covered a lot of these, for at least about a minute or so. at one point, they will be told to leave and then the chairman will open up. >> that's right. and imagine how she must feel. and john dean will speak to this. >> don't even see them. it's amazing. i have been in that -- >> you remember what happened? so tell us about that. >> and more recently before the house judiciary committee on the mueller report. same thing. and you just don't see them. they are there. they are very low. they stay below the dias so they're inconspicuous and many have silent cameras now. >> tell us how you felt in that chair in that moment. i imagine it's similar to the
way she's feeling. >> by the time you get there, you're on automatic pilot. >> when you testified, it was in private session. >> it was both. during the senate watergate committee it was very public. about 80 million americans tuned in. a fair number. >> and then all that cable coverage. >> and the internet was going crazy. >> and then more recently, very different situation with the house judiciary committee. but, you know, the testimony you've prepared your testimony, you know what you're going to say, and you are just looking at that and these other things are distractions that don't even come up in your mind. >> we're laughing about it but it's the key point of the internet and television. you're trying to work the jury. in the nixon days, people got their news from the evening news. they had time to think about it. they picked up their morning
paper. there were not alerts or text messages from campaigns or incoming from political organizations that there are now. both sides here are trying to work the jury, whether it's the house members and the senate members or the american people. as this is happening. in real live time. it happened during the clinton -- >> the process is much faster. >> the process is much faster. they're trying to work people before they can reflect and think. talk to a friend they respect about it. maybe they have a friend who is an attorney. you can do that if you wish but you're also the inundation is amazing in the sense that the trump campaign, the republican national committee and the democrats on the flip side know who they're trying to target here. >> and know who they're trying to keep. >> keep, right. >> and i thought "the new york times" did an interesting job of going into some of the swing states and talking to folks and by their description whof they are and where they live, you think, oh, maybe they had a set view and often it was not the case. they were trying to process information that was coming very fast and a lot of it with names hard to keep track of. and i think the truth is beyond
what we're doing, what we pay such close attention to, a lot of people are trying to let this wash over them and think about what it adds up to. and they are taking their time doing it. >> you know, the president, he's got some executive time as they call it over at the white house this morning. i see he's already busy tweeting about what he calls this impeachment witch hunt. i assume he'll be watching a lot of this. and a lot of the members probably are going to remember what the president of the united states, i just want to remind our viewers what the president told president zelensky in that july 25th phone conversation about the witness, marie yovanovitch. the former ambassador from the united states, the woman, was bad news and the people she was dealing with in the ukraine were bad news so i just want to let you know that. and then he later said to president zelensky, well, she's going to go through some things. >> which a chilling thing if you are marie yovanovitch to read this in this transcript and know that the president of the united states said this about you and
was kind of part of, obviously, ousting you, part of this smear campaign. she'll say just the opposite was happening, right? she wasn't in cahoots with the bad guys as the president is alleging on this call. she was trying to rid ukraine of corruption and in some ways, it seems like that's why they wanted to -- >> here she comes right now. marie yovanovitch. 33 years in the state department. a career diplomat having served democratic presidents, republican presidents. ousted prematurely from her position as the u.s. ambassador to ukraine under a lot of smear attacks from rudy giuliani and his associates who were now indicted. lev parnas and igor fruman and as a result, john king, she was removed unceremoniously and this will be a focus of this conversation that's coming up. >> again, you hit on a key point. two of the people who helped rudy giuliani undermine her are under federal indictment by the trump justice department. not by the deep state or angry democrats. under indictment by the trump
justice department. rudy giuliani who helped undermine her under investigation. making money off clients in ukraine as he says he was defending the president and undermining the u.s. ambassador. she has served in the foreign service for a long time. loved and admired by condy rice and susan rice. that's hard to do if you understand politics here in washington, d.c. one of the people behind the scenes who implements american policy and has to shift when the presidents change. you have to shift. a democratic president on january 20th. a republican president on january 21st, they have a different foreign policy. you have to change. that's been her job. she's been admired for doing it in other administrations. the question now, as a witness, is she sympathetic and can she make the case, i was trying to do my job and this thing i did not understand that i came to believe was corrupt was undermining me. that is the challenge. >> the photogaphers are now being told there's enough and the chairman adam schiff, the chairman of the house intelligence committee is about to begin this hearing. it will go on for quite a while. lots of questions. there she is, marie yovanovitch,
the former u.s. ambassador to ukraine. a career u.s. diplomat who was ousted in april prematurely from her position. let's listen in. >> good morning, everyone. this is the second in a series of public hearings the committee will be holding as part of the house's impeachment inquiry. the chair is authorized to declare recess of the committee at any time. there's a quorum present. we'll proceed today in the same fashion as our first hearing. i will make an opening statement and ranking member nunes will have the opportunity to make a statement. then we'll turn to our witness for an opening statement and then to questions. for audience members, we welcome you and respect your interest in being here. in turn, we ask for your respect as we proceed with today's hearing. it is the intention of the committee to proceed without disruptions. as chairman, i will take all necessary and appropriate steps to maintain order to ensure the committee is run in accordance with house rules and house resolution 660. i recognize myself to give an
opening statement in the impeachment inquiry into donald j. trump, the 45th president of the united states. in april 2019, the united states ambassador to ukraine, marie yovanovitch, was in kiev when called by a senior state department official and told to get on the next plane back to washington. upon her return to d.c., she was informed by her superiors that although she had done nothing wrong, she could no longer serve as ambassador to ukraine because she did not have the confidence of the president. it was a stunning turn of events for this highly regarded career diplomat who had done such remarkable job fighting corruption in ukraine that a short time earlier she had been asked by the state department to extend her tour. ambassador yovanovitch has been in the foreign service for 33 years and served much of that time in the former soviet union. her parents have fled stallen and later hitler before settling
in the united states. she is an exemplary officer who was widely praised and respected by her colleagues. she is known as an anti-corruption champion whose tour in kiev was viewed as very successful. ambassador michael mckinley who served with her for several decades stated from the earliest days of her career, in the foreign service, she was excellent, serious, committed. i certainly remember her being one of those people who seemed to be destined for greater things. her successor is acting chief of mission in ukraine, ambassador bill taylor, described to her as very frank. she was very direct. she made points very clearly and she was indeed tough on corruption. and she named names. and that sometimes is controversial out there, but she's a strong person and made those charges. in her time in kiev, ambassador yovanovitch was tough on
corruption. too tough on corruption for some and her principled stance made her enemies as george kent told this committee on wednesday, you can't promote principled anti-corruption action without pissing off corrupt people. and ambassador yovanovitch did not just piss off corrupt ukrainians, like the corrupt former prosecutor general yuriy lutsenko, but certain americans like rudy giuliani, donald trump's personal attorney, and two individuals now indictd who worked with him, igor fruman and lev parnas. lutsenko, giuliani, fruman, parnas and others who would come to include the president's own own don junior promoted a smear campaign against her based on false allegations. at the state department there was an effort to push back to obtain a statement of support from secretary pompeo. but those efforts failed when it became clear that president
trump wanted her gone. some have argued that a president has the ability to nominate or remove any ambassador he wants. that they serve at the pleasure of the president. and that is true. the question before us is not whether donald trump could recall an american ambassador with a stellar reputation for fighting corruption in ukraine, but why would he want to? why did rudy giuliani want her gone? and why did trump? and why would donald trump instruct the new team he put in place, the three amigos, gordon sondland, rick perry and kurt volker to work with the same man, rudy giuliani, who played such a central role in the smear campaign against her. rudy giuliani has made no secret of his desire to get ukraine to open investigations into the bidens, as well as the conspiracy theory of ukrainian interference in the 2016 election. as he said in one interview in
may 2019, we're not meddling in an election. we're meddling in an investigation which we have a right to do. more recently he told cnn's chris cuomo, of course i did when asked if he had pressed ukraine to investigate joe biden. and he has never been shy about who he is doing this work for. his client, the president. one powerful ally giuliani had in ukraine to promote these political investigations was lutsenko, the corrupt former prosecutor general. and one powerful adversary lutsenko had was a certain united states ambassador named marie yovanovitch. it is no coincidence that in the now infamous july 25th call with zelensky, donald trump brings up a corrupt ukrainian prosecutor and praises him against all evidence trump claims that this former prosecutor general was very good and he was shut down
and that's really unfair. but the woman known for fighting corruption, his own former ambassador, the woman ruthlessly smeared and driven from her post, the president does nothing but disparage. or worse, threaten. well, she's going to go through some things, the president declares. that tells you a lot about the president's priorities and intentions. getting rid of ambassador yovanovitch helped set the stage for an irregular channel that could pursue the two investigations that mattered so much to the president. the 2016 conspiracy theory and, most important, an investigation into the 2020 political opponent he apparently feared most, joe biden. and the president's scheme might have worked but for the fact that the man who would succeed ambassador yovanovitch, whom we heard from on wednesday, acting ambassador taylor, would eventually discover the effort to press ukraine into conducting
these investigations and would push back. but for the fact also that someone blew the whistle. ambassador yovanovitch was serving our nation's interest in fighting corruption in ukraine. but she was considered an obstacle to the furtherance of the president's personal and political agenda. for that, she was smeared and cast aside. the powers of the presidency are immense. but they are not absolute. and they cannot be used for corrupt purpose. the american people expect their president to use the authority they grant him in the service of the nation, not to destroy others to advance his personal or political interests. i now recognize ranking member nunes for his remarks. >> i thank the gentleman. it's unfortunate that today and
for most of next week we will continue engaging in the democrats' day-long tv spectacles instead of solving the problems we were all sent to washington to address. we now have a major trade agreement with canada and mexico ready for approval. a deal that would create jobs and boost our economy. meanwhile, we have not yet approved funding for the government which expires next week. along with funding for our men and women in uniform. instead the democrats have convened us once again to advance their operation to topple a duly elected president. i'll note that five -- five democrats on this committee had already voted to impeach this president before the trump/zelensky phone call occurred. in fact, democrats have been vowing to out of president trump since the day he was elected. so americans can rightly suspect
that his phone call with president zelensky was used as an excuse for the democrats to fulfill their watergate fantasies. but i'm glad that on wednesday, after the democrats staged six weeks of secret depositions in the basement of the capitol, like some kind of strange cult, the american people finally got to see this farce for themselves. they saw us sit through hours of hearsay testimony about conversations that two diplomats who had never spoken to the president heard secondhand, thirdhand and fourth hand from other people. in other words, rumors. the problem of trying to overthrow a president based on this type of evidence is obvious. but that's what their whole case relies on, beginning with secondhand and thirdhand information, cited by the
whistle-blower. that's why on wednesday, the democrats were forced to make the absurd argument that hearsay can be much better evidence than direct evidence. and just when you thought the spectacle couldn't get more bizarre, committee republicans received a memo from the democrats threatening ethics referrals if we out the whistle-blower. as the democrats are well aware, no republicans here know the whistle-blower's identity because the whistle-blower only met with democrats. not with republicans. chairman schiff claimed not to know who it is. yet he also vowed to block us from asking questions that could reveal his or her identity. republicans on this committee are left wondering how it's even possible for the chairman to block questions about a person whose identity he claims not to know.
the american people may be seeing these absurdities for the first time. republicans on this diace are used to them. until they secretly met with the whistle-blower, democrats showed little interest for the last three years and any topic aside from the ridiculous conspiracy theories that president trump is a russian agent. when you find yourself on the phone, like the democrats did with the russian pranksters offering you nude pictures of trump, and afterwards you order your staff to follow up and get the photos, as the democrats also did, then it might be time to ask yourself if you've gone out too far on a limb. even as they were accusing republicans of colluding with russians, the democrats themselves were colluding with russians by funding the steele dossier which was based on russian and ukrainian sources. meanwhile, they turn a blind eye to ukrainians meddling in our elections because the democrats
were cooperating with that operation. this was the subject of a july 20th, 2017, letter sent by senator grassley to then-deputy attorney general rod rosenstein. the letter raised concerns about the activities of alexander chalupa, a contractor for the national democratic committee who worked with ukrainian embassy officials to spread dirt on the trump campaign. as senator grassley wrote, chalupa's actions appear to show that she was simultaneously working on behalf of a foreign government, ukraine, and on behalf of the dnc and the clinton campaign in an effort to influence not only the u.s. voting population but u.s. government officials, unquote. after touting the steele dossier and defending the fbi's russia investigation, which are now being investigated by inspector
general horowitz and attorney general barr, democrats on this committee ignore ukrainian election meddling, even though chalupa publicly admitted to the democrats' scheme. likewise, they're blind to the blaring signs of corruption surrounding hunter biden's well-paid position on the board of a corrupt ukrainian company while his father served as vice president and point man. but the democrats media hacks only cared about that issue briefly when they were trying to stop joe biden from running against hillary clinton in 2015. as i previously stated, these hearings should not be occurring at all until we get the answers to three crucial questions the democrats refuse to ask. first, what is the full extent of the democrats' prior coordination with the whistle-blower and who else did
the whistle-blower coordinate this effort with? what's ukraine's full extent of election meddling against the trump campaign. and why did burisma hire huntered by cnn what did he do for them and did it affect any actions under the obama administration? i'll note house democrats vowed they would not put the american people through a wrenching impeachment process without bipartisan support. and they have none. add that to their ever-growing list of broken promises and destructive deceptions. in closing, mr. chair, the president of the united states released his transcript right before the hearing began. i think it's important that i read this into the record so that there's no confusion over this first phone call that occurred on april 21st with
president-elect zelensky. i'd like to read it. the president -- i'd like to congratulate you on a job well done and congratulations on a fantastic election. zelensky. good to hear from you. thank you so very much. it's nice to hear from you. and i appreciate the congratulations. the president -- that was an incredible election. zelensky. again, thank you so very much. as you can see, we tried very hard to do our best. we had you as a great example. the president -- i think you will do a great job. i have many friends in ukraine who know you and like you. i have many friends from ukraine and, frankly, expected you to win. and it's really an amazing thing that you have done. i guess in a way i did something similar. we're making tremendous progress in the u.s. we have the most tremendous economy ever. i just wanted to congratulation you.
i have no doubt you will be a fantastic president. zelensky -- first of all, thank you so very much. again, for the congratulations. we in ukraine are an independent country, an independent ukraine. we're going to do everything for the people. you are, as i said, a great example. we hope we can expand on our jobs as you did. you will also be a great example for many. you were a great example for our new managers. i would also like to invite you, if possible, to the inauguration. i know how busy you are, but if it's possible for you to come to the inauguration ceremony, that would be great. great for you to do to be with us on that day. the president -- that's very nice. i'll look into that. and give us a date at the very minimum we'll have a great representative. or more from the united states will be with you on that great day. so we will are somebody at a minimum, a very, very high level and will be with you, brilliant
incredible day for an incredible achievement. zelensky -- again, thank you. we're looking forward to your visit to the visit of a high-level delegation but there's no words that can describe our wonderful country, how nice, warm and friendly our people are. how tasty and delicious our food is and how wonderful ukraine is. words cannot describe our country so it would be best for you to see it yourself. so if you can come, that would be great. so again, i invite you to come. >> the president -- i agree with you about your country and i look forward to it. when i owned miss universe they always had great people. ukraine always very well represented. was always very well represented. when you are settled in and ready, i would like to invite you to the white house. we'll have a lot of things to talk about. but we're with you all the way. zelensky -- thank you for the invitation. we accept the invitation and look forward to the visit. thank you again. the whole team and i are look g ing forward to the visit.
thank you for the congratulations and i still think it would be great if you could come be with us on this important day. the results are incredible. they're very impressive for us, so it will be absolutely fantastic if you could come on that day. the president -- very good. we'll let you know very soon. and we will see you very, very soon regardless. congratulations and please say hello to the ukrainian people and your family. let them know i send my best regards. zelensky -- well, thank you. you have a safe flight and see you soon. the president -- take care of yourself and give a great speech today. you take care of yourself and i'll see you soon. zelensky -- thank you very much. it's difficult for me, but i will practice english and i will meet in english. thank you very much. the president laughing, oh, that's beautiful to hear, oh, that's really good. i could not do it in your language. i'm very impressed. thank you very much. zelensky. thank you so much. the president, good day. good luck.
glad i was able to read that into the record so now the american people know the very first call that president trump had with president zelensky. with that, i yield back the balance of my time. >> mr. chairman, i have a parliamentary inquiry. >> the gentle woman is not recognized. i want to -- >> i have a point of order under hres 660. >> the point of order is will the chairman continue to prohibit witnesses from answering republican questions as you've done in closed hearings and as you did -- >> the gentle woman will suspend. that is not a proper point of order. the gentle woman will suspend. >> mr. chairman -- >> the gentleman is not recognized. >> i have a point of order. >> the gentleman is not recognized. i want to respond. i allowed the ranking member -- the gentleman is not -- >> mr. chairman, there are -- >> there are -- >> the gentleman is not recognized. >> holy cow. >> the ranking member was allowed to exceed the opening statement and i was happy to
allow him to do so. i do want to respond to the call record, first of all. i'm grateful the president has released the call record. i would now ask the president to release the thousands of other records that he has instructed the state department not to release, including ambassador taylor's notes, cable, including george kent's memo, including documents from the office of management and budget about why the military aid was withheld. >> mr. chairman, i want you to release the four transcripts of depositions -- >> the gentleman will suspend. >> that's my point of order. >> we would ask the president to stop obstructing the impeachment inquiry and while we're grateful he has released a single document, he has nonetheless obstructed witnesses and their testimony and the production of thousands and thousands of other records. and finally, i would say this, mr. president, i hope you'll explain to the country today why it was after this call and while
the vice president was making plans to attend the inauguration that you instructed the vice president not to attend zelensky's inauguration. >> mr. chairman, i have a point of order. mr. chairman, i have a point of order -- >> the gentlewoman is not recognized. >> mr. chairman, i have -- i -- >> i have unanimous -- >> not recognized. >> today we are joined by ambassador marie yovanovitch. she was born in canada to parents who fled the soviet union and the nazis. ambassador yovanovitch emigrated to connecticut at 3. became a naturalized american at 18 and entered the u.s. foreign service in 1986. she has served as u.s. ambassador three times and been nominated by presidents of both parties. george w. bush nominated her to be ambassador to the kyrgaz republic. president obama nominated her to be u.s. ambassador to armenia, where she served from 2008 to
2011. and u.s. ambassador to ukraine where she served from 2016 until recalled to washington by president trump this may. beyond these ambassadorial hosts she has held numerous senior positions at the state department, including in the bureau of european and eurasian affairs. a dean at the foreign service institute and taught national security strategy at the defense university. she also previously served as u.s. embassies in kiev, ottawa, moscow, london and mogadishu. ambassador yovanovitch has received multiple honors from the department for her diplomatic work including the presidential distinguished service award and secretaries diplomacy and human rights award. two final points before our witness is sworn. first witness depositions as part of this inquiry were unclassified in nature and all open hearings will also be held at the unclassified level. any information that may touch on classified information will be addressed separately.
second, congress will not tolerate any reprisal, threat of reprisal or attempt to retaliate against any official for testifying before congress, including you or any of your colleagues. if you would please rise and raise your right hand i'll begin by swearing you in. do you swear or affirm that the testimony you are about to give is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth so help you god? let the record show that the witness has answered in the affirmative. thank you, and please be seated. without objection, your written statement will be made part of the record. with that, ambassador marie yovanovitch, you're recognized for your opening statement. >> mr. chairman, ranking member nunes and other members of the committee -- >> ambassador, you'll need to speak very close to the microphone. >> thank you for the opportunity to start with this statement to reintroduce myself to the committee and to highlight parts of my biography and experience.
i come before you as an american citizen who has devoted the majority of my life, 33 years, to service to the country that all of us love. like my colleagues, i entered the foreign service understanding that my job was to implement the foreign policy interests of this nation as defined by the president and congress and to do so regardless of which person or party was in power. i had no agenda other than to pursue our stated foreign policy goals. my service is an expression of gratitude for all that this country has given to me and to my family. my late parents did not have the good fortune to come of stage in a free society. my father fled the soviets before ultimately finding refuge in the united states. my mother's family escaped the
ussr after the bolshevik resolution and she grew up stateless in nazi germany before eventually making her way to the united states. their personal histories, my personal history, gave me both deep gratitude towards the united states and great empathy for others like the ukrainian people who want to be free. i joined the foreign service during the reagan administration and subsequently served three other republican presidents as well as two democratic presidents. it was my great honor to be appointed to serve as an ambassador three times, twice by george w. bush and once by barack obama. there is a perception that diplomats lead a comfortable life throwing dinner parties in fancy homes. let me tell you about some of my reality. it has not always been easy. i have moved 13 times and served in seven different countries,
five of them hardship hosts. my first tour was mogadishu, somalia. an increasingly dangerous place as that country's civil war kept grinding on, and the government was weakening. the military took over policing functions in a particularly brutal way and basic services disappeared. several years later, after the soviet union collapsed, i helped open our embassy in uzbekistan. as we were establishing relations with a new country, our small embassy was attacked by a gunman who sprayed the embassy building with gunfire. i later served in moscow. in 1993, during the attempted coup in russia, i was caught in crossfire between presidential and parliamentary forces. it took us three tries, me without a helmet or body armor, to get into a vehicle to go to the embassy.
we went because the ambassador asked us to come. and we went because it was our duty. from august 2016 until may 2019, i served as the u.s. ambassador to ukraine. during my tenure in ukraine, i went to the front line approximately ten times during a hot war to show the american flag, to hear what was going on, sometimes literally as we heard the impact of artillery, and to see how our assistance dollars were being put to use. i worked to advance u.s. policy, fully embraced by democrats and republicans alike to help ukraine become a stable and independent democratic state with a market economy integrated into europe. a secure democratic and free ukraine serves not just the ukrainian people but the american people as well. that's why it was our policy, continues to be our policy, to
help the ukrainians achieve their objectives. they match our objectives. the u.s. is the most powerful country in the history of the world. in large part because of our values. and our values have made possible the network of alliances and partnerships that buttresses our own strength. ukraine, with an enormous land mass and a large population, has the potential to be a significant commercial and political partner for the united states as well as a force multiplier on the security side. we see the potential in ukraine. russia sees, by contrast, sees the risk. the history is not written yet, but ukraine could move out of russia's orbit. and now ukraine is a battleground for great power competition with a hot war for the control of territory in a hybrid war to control ukraine's
leadership. the u.s. has provided significant security assistance since the onset of the war against russia in 2014. and the trump administration strengthened our policy by approving the provision to ukraine of anti-tank missiles known as javelins. supporting ukraine is the right thing to do. it's also the smart thing to do. if russia prevails, and ukraine falls to russian dominion, we can expect to see other attempts by russia to expand its territory and its influence. as critical as the war against russia is, ukraine's struggling democracy has an equally important challenge. battling the soviet legacy of corruption which has pervaded ukraine's government. corruption makes ukraine's leaders ever vulnerable to russia and the ukrainian people understand that. that's why they launch the revolution of dignity in 2014
demand demanding to be a part of europe. demanding the transformation of the system. demanding to live under the rule of law. ukrainians wanted the law to apply equally to all people whether the individual in question is the president or any other citizen. it was a question of fairness. of dignity. here again, there is a coincidence of interests. corrupt leaders are inherently less trustworthy while an honest and accountable ukrainian leadership makes a partnership more reliable and valuable to the united states. a level playing field in this strategically located country bordering four nato allies creates an environment in which u.s. business can more easily trade, invest and profit. corruption is also a security issue because corrupt officials are vulnerable to moscow. in short, it is in america's national security interest to help ukraine transform into a
country where the rule of law governs and corruption is held in check. it was and remains a top u.s. priority to help ukraine fight corruption and significant progress has been made since the 2014 revolution of dignity. unfortunately, as the past couple of months have underlined, not all ukrainians embraced our anti-corruption work. thus, perhaps it was not surprising that when our anti-corruption efforts got in the way of a desire for profit or power, ukrainians who preferred to play by the old corrupt rules sought to remove me. what continues to amaze me is that they found americans willing to partner with them and working together, they apparently succeeded in orchestrating the removal of a u.s. ambassador. how could our system fail like this? how is it that foreign, corrupt interests could manipulate our government? which countries' interests are
served when the very corrupt behavior we've been criticizing is allowed to prevail? such conduct undermines the u.s., exposes our friends and widens the playing field for autocrats like president putin. our leadership depends on the power of our example and the consistency of our purpose. both have now been opened to question. with that background in mind, i would like to briefly address some of the factual issues i expect you may want to ask me about starting with my timeline in ukraine and the events about which i do and do not have firsthand knowledge. i arrived in ukraine on august 22nd, 2016, and left ukraine permanently on may 20th, 2019. there are a number of events you are investigating to which i cannot bring any firsthand knowledge. the events that predated my
ukraine service include the release of the so-called black ledger and mr. manafort's subsequent resignation from president trump's campaign. and the departure from office of former prosecutor general victor shokin. other events include president trump's july 25th, 2019 call with president zelensky, the discussions surrounding that phone call and any discussions surrounding the delay of security assistance to ukraine in the summer of 2019. as for events during my tenure in ukraine, i want to reiterate first that the allegation that i disseminated a do not prosecute list was a fabrication. mr. lutsenko, the former ukrainian prosecutor general who made that allegation, has acknowledged that the list never existed. i did not tell mr. lutsenko or
other ukrainian officials who they should or should not prosecute. instead, i advocated the u.s. position that rule of law should prevail. and ukrainian law enforcement, prosecutors and judges should stop wielding their power selectively as a political weapon against their adversaries and start deal with all consistently and according to the law. also untrue are unsourced allegations that i told unidentified embassy employees or ukrainian officials that president trump's orders should be ignored because he was going to be impeached or for any other reason. i did not, and i would not say such a thing. such statements would be inconsistent with my training as a foreign service officer and my role as an ambassador. the obama administration did not ask me to help the clinton campaign or harm the trump campaign. nor would i have taken any such
steps if they had. partisanship of this type is not compatible with the role of a career foreign service officer. i have never met hunter biden, nor have i had any direct or indirect conversations with him. and although i have met former vice president biden several times over the course of our many years in government service, neither he nor the previous administration ever raised the issue of either burisma or hunter biden with me. with respect to mayor giuliani, i have had only minimal contact with him a total of three, none related to the events at issue. i do not understand mr. giuliani's motives for attacking me nor can i offer an opinion on whether he believed the allegations he spread about me. clearly no one at the state department did. what i can say is that mr. giuliani should have known those claims were suspect coming as they reportedly did from
individuals with questionable motives and with reason to believe that their political and financial ambitions would be stymied by our anti-corruption policy in ukraine. after being asked by the under secretary of state for political affairs in early march 2019 to extend my tour until 2020, the smear campaign against me entered a new public phase in the united states. in the wake of the negative press, state department officials suggested an earlier departure, and we agreed upon july 2019. i was then abruptly told, just weeks later in late april, to come back to washington from ukraine on the next plane. at the time i departed, ukraine had just concluded game-changing presidential elections. it was a sensitive period with much at stake for the united states and called for all the experience and expertise we
could muster. when i returned to the united states, deputy secretary of state sullivan told me there had been a concerted campaign against me. that the president no longer wished me to serve as ambassador to ukraine and that, in fact, the president had been pushing for my removal since the prior summer. as mr. sullivan recently recounted during his senate confirmation hearing, neither he nor anyone else ever explained or sought to justify the president's concerns about me, nor did anyone in the department justify my early departure by suggesting i had done something wrong. i appreciate that mr. sullivan publicly affirmed at his hearing that i had served capably and admirably. although then and now, i have always understood that i served at the pleasure of the president. i still find it difficult to comprehend that foreign and private interests were able to undermine u.s. interests in this way. individuals who apparently felt
stymied by our efforts to promote stated u.s. policy against corruption, that is to do our mission, were able to successfully conduct a campaign of disinformation against a sitting ambassador using unofficial back channels. as various witnesses have recounted, they shared baseless allegations with the president and convinced him to remove his ambassador despite the fact the state department fully understood the allegations were false and the sources highly suspect. these events should concern everyone in this room. ambassadors are the symbol of the united states abroad. they are the personal representative of the president. they should always act and speak with full authority to advocate for u.s. policies. if our chief representative is kneecapped it limits our effectiveness to safeguard the vital national security interests of the united states. this is especially important now
when the international landscape is more complicated and more competitive than it has been since the dissolution of the soviet union. our ukraine policy has been thrown into disarray and shady interests, the world over, have learned how little it takes to remove an american ambassador who does not give them what they want. after these events, what foreign official, corrupt or not, could be blamed for wondering whether the u.s. ambassador represents the president's views? and what u.s. ambassador could be blame forward harboring the fear that they can't count on our government to support them as they implement stated u.s. policy and protect and defend u.s. interests? i'd like to comment on one other matter before taking your questions. at the closed deposition, i expressed grave concerns about the degradation of the foreign service over the past few years
and the failure of state department leadership to push back as foreign and corrupt interests apparently hijacked our ukraine policy. i remain disappointed that the department's leadership and others have declined to acknowledge that the attacks against me and others are dangerously wrong. this is about far, far more than me or a couple of individuals. as foreign service professionals are being denigrated and undermined, the institution is also being degraded. this will soon cause real harm if it hasn't already. the state department as a tool of foreign policy often doesn't get the same kind of attention or even respect as the military might of the pentagon. but we are, as they say, the pointy end of the spear. if we lose our edge, the u.s. will inevitably have to use other tools, even more than it does today. and those other tools are blunter, more expensive, and not
universally effective. moreover, the attacks are leading to a crisis in the state department as the policy process is visibly unraveling. leadership vacancies go unfilled and senior and midlevel officers ponder an uncertain future. the crisis has moved from the impact on individuals to an impact on the institution itself. the state department is being hollowed out from within at a competitive and complex time on the world stage. this is not a time to undercut our diplomats. it is the responsibility of the department's leaders to stand up for the institution and the individuals who make that institution still today the most effective diplomatic force in the world. and congress has a responsibility to reinvest in our diplomacy. that's an investment in our national security. it's an investment in our future, in our children's future.
as i close, let me be clear on who we are and how we serve this country. we are professionals. we are public servants who, by vocation and training pursue the policies of the president regardless of who holds that office or what party they affiliate with. we handle american citizens' services, facilitate trade and commerce, work security issues, represent the u.s. and report to and advise washington to mention just some of our functions. and we make a difference every day. we are people who repeatedly uproot our lives, who risk and sometimes give our lives for this country. we are the 52 americans who 40 years ago this month began 444 days of depravation, torture and captivity in tehran. we are the dozens of americans stationed at our embassy in cuba
and consulates in china who mysteriously and dangerously and in some cases perhaps perm meant to permanently were injured from unknown >> and we are ambassador chris stevens, sean patrick smith, ty woods and glen doherty, people rightly called heroes for their ultimate sacrifice to this nation's foreign policy interests in libya eight years ago. we honor these individuals. they represent each one of you here and every american. these courageous individuals were attacked because they symbolize america. what you need to know, what americans need to know is while thankfully most of us answer the call to duty in far less dramatic ways, every foreign service officer runs the same risks and very often so do our families. they serve of, too, as individuals, as a community.
we answer the call to duty to advance and protect the interests of the united states. we take our oath seriously, the same oath that each one of you take, to support and defend the constitution of the united states against all enemies, foreign and domestic, and to bear true faith and allegiance to the same. i count myself lucky to be a foreign service officer, fortunate to serve of with the best america has to offer. blessed to serve the american people for the last 33 years. i thank you for your attention. i welcome your questions. >> thank you, ambassador. we count ourselves lucky to have you serve the country as you have for decades. we'll now move to the 40-minute rounds. i recognize myself and majority counsel for 45 minutes. ambassador yovanovitch, thank you again for appearing today. all americans are deeply in your debt. before i hand it over to mr. goldman, our staff counsel,
i want to ask you about a few of the pivotal events of interest to the country. first of all, was fighting corruption a key element of u.s. policy and one on which you placed the highest priority? >> yes, it was. >> and can you explain why? >> it was important and it was actually stated in -- in our -- in our policy and in our strategy -- it was important because corruption was undermining the integrity of the governance system in ukraine, and as i noted in my statement countries that have leaders that are honest and trustworthy make better partners for us. countries where there's a level playing field for our u.s. business makes it easier for our companies to do business there, to trade and to profit in those
countries, and what had been happening since the soviet union, this is very much a soviet legacy, is that corrupt interests were undermining not only the governance but also the economy of ukraine. we see enormous potential in ukraine and would like to have a more capable, more trustworthy partner there. >> and i know this may be awkward for you to answer since it's a question about yourself and your reputation, but is it fair to say you earned a reputation for being a champion of anti-corruption efforts in ukraine? >> yes. >> i don't know if you had a chance to watch george kent's testimony yesterday, but would you agree with his rather frank assessment that if you fight corruption, you're going to piss off some corrupt people. >> yes. >> and in your efforts fighting corruption to advance u.s. policy interests, did you anger some of the corrupt leaders in ukraine? >> yes. >> was one of those corrupt
people prosecutor general yury lutsenko? >> was another his associate victor shulkin? >> apparently so though i've never met him. >> did you come to learn that both were in touch with rudy giuliani, president trump's lawyer and representative? >> yes. >> in fact, did giuliani try to overturn a decision that you par tut pated in deny shulkin a visa? >> yes, that is what i was told. >> and that denial was base mr. shulkin's corruption? >> yes, that's true. >> and -- and was it m mr. lutsenko among others who coordinated with mr. giuliani to peddle false accusations against you as well as the bidens? >> yes, that's my understanding. >> and were these smears amplified by the president's son donald trump jr. as well as certain hosts on fox?
>> yes. yes, that is the case. >> in the face of this smear cape, did colleagues at the state department try to get a statement of support from you from secretary pompeo? >> yes. >> were they successful? >> no. >> did you come to learn that they couldn't issue such a statement because they feared it would be undercut by the president? >> yes. >> and then were you told that though you had done nothing wrong you did not enjoy the confidence of the president and could no longerer is is as ambassador? >> yes, that is correct. >> and in fact you flew home from kiev on the same day as the inauguration of ukraine's new president? >> that's true. >> that inauguration was attended by three who have become known as the three amigos, ambassadors sondland,
voeckler a volker and perry? >> yes. >> are you aware that days after that the president appointed rudy giuliani to coordinate policy? >> i've become aware that have. >> the same giuliani who orchestrated the smear campaign against you? >> yes. >> and the same rudy giuliani who during the now infamous july 25th phone call the president recommended to zelensky in the two context of the two investigations that the president wanted into the 2016 election and the bidens? >> yes. >> and finally, ambassador, in that july 25th phone call the president praises one of these corrupt former ukrainian prosecutors and says they were treated very unfairly. they were treated unfairly, not you who was smeared and recalled but one of them. what message does that send to your colleagues in the u.s. embassy in kiev? >> i'm just not sure what the
basis for that kind of a statement would be. certainly not from our reporting over years. >> did you have concern though or do you have concern today about what message the president's actions sends to the people who are still in ukraine representing the united states when a well-respected ambassador can be smeared out of her post with the participation and acquiescence of the president of the united states? >> well, it's been a big hit for morale, both at the u.s. embassy in kiev and also more broadly in the state department. >> is it fair to say that other ambassadors and others of lesser rank who served the united states and embassies around the world might look at this and think if i take on corrupt people in these countries that could happen to me? >> i think that's a fair
statement, yes. >> mr. goldman. >> thank you, mr. chairman. ambassador yovanovitch, on april 24th of this year at approximately 10:00 p.m. you received a telephone call while you were at the embassy in kiev from the director general of the state department. this was just three days after president violenzelensky's elec and the call between president trump and zelensky that we just heard from ranking member nunez. at the time that this urgent call game in, what were you in the middle of doing? >> i was hosting an event in honor of an anti-corruption activist or was an anti-corruption activist in ukraine. we had given her the woman of courage award from ukraine and
in fact the worldwide woman of courage event at the worldwide woman of courage event in washington, d.c. secretary pompeo singled her out for her amazing work in -- in ukraine to fight corrupt interests in the south of ukraine. she very tragically died because she was attacked by acid and several months later died a very, very painful death. we thought it was important that justice be done for katia hands yuk and for others who fight corruption in ukraine because this is -- it's not a, you know, kind of a table top exercise there h.lives are in the balance. so we wanted to brick attention to this. we held an event and gave her father, of course, who is still mourning her that award, woman of courage event. >> and her woman of courage award stemmed from her
anti-corruption efforts in ukraine? >> yes, that is true. >> what is it ever determined who threw the acid and killed her? >> there have been investigations, but while some of the lower ranking individuals that were involved in there have been arrested, those who ordered this have not yet been apprehended. >> after you stepped away from this anti-corruption event to take this call, what did the director general tell you? >> she said that there was great concern on the seventh floor of the state department. that's where the leadership of the state department sits. there was great concern. they were worried. she just wanted to give me a heads up about this, and -- and, you know, things seemed to be going on, so she just wanted to give me a heads up. i, you know, hard to know how to react to something like that. i asked her what it was about, what did she think it was about? she didn't know. she said that she was going to
try and find out more, but she had wanted to give me a heads up. in fact, i think she may have even been instructed to give me a heads up on that, and so i asked her, you know, kind of what is the next step here? so she said she would try to find out more and she would try to call me by midnight. >> what happened next? >> around 1:00 in the morning she called me again and she said that there were great concerns. there were concerns up the street and she said i needed to get -- come home immediately. get on the next plane to the u.s., and i asked her why, and she said she wasn't sure but there were concerns about my security. asked her my first security because sometimes washington knows more than we do about these things and she said, no, we hadn't gotten that impression that it was a physical security issue, but they were concerned about my security and i needed to come home right away.
you know, i argued. this is extremely irregular, and -- and -- and no reason given, but in the end i did get on the next plane home. >> you said there were concerns up the street. what did you understand that to mean? >> the white house. >> did she explain in any more detail what she meant by concerns about your security? >> no. she didn't. i did specifically ask whether this had to do with the mayor giuliani eallegations against me and so forth and she shade she didn't know. it didn't even actually appear that she seemed to be aware of that. no -- no reason was offered. >> did she explain what the urgency was for you to come back on the next flight? >> the only thing that's pertinent to that was that is when she said that they -- there were concerns about my security.
that's all, but it was not further explained. >> now prior to this abrupt call back to washington, d.c., had you been offered an extension of your post by the state department? >> yes. the undersecretary for political affairs had asked whether i would extend for another -- another year departing in july of 2020. >> when was that request made? >> in early march. so about a month and a half before this call? >> yes. >> did anyone at the state department ever express concerns about your job performance? >> no. >> now after you returned to washington a couple of days after that you met with the deputy secretary of state, and at your deposition you said that the deputy secretary of state told you that you had done nothing wrong but that there was a concerted campaign against you. what -- what did he mean by
that? >> i'm not exactly sure but i took it to mean that the allegations that mayor giuliani and others were putting out there, that that's -- that that's what it was. >> and who else was involved in this concerted campaign against you? >> there were some members of the press and others in mayor giuliani's circle. >> and who from ukraine? >> in ukraine i think -- well, mr. lutsenko, the prosecutor general and mr. shulkin, his predecessor certainly. >> and at this time mr. lutsenko was the lead prosecutor general, is that right? >> yes, that's correct. >> and has president zelensky indicated whether or not he would keep him on after the election? >> he indicated he would not be keeping on mr. lutsenko. >> and i believe you testified
earlier that mr. lutsenko had a reputation for being corrupt, is that right? >> that's right. >> during this conversation, did the deputy secretary tell you about your future as the ambassador to ukraine? >> well, he told me i needed to leave. >> what did he say? >> he said that -- i mean, there was a lot of back and forth but ultimately he said the words that you know every foreign service officer understands, the president has lost confidence in you. that was, you know, a terrible thing to hear and -- and i said, well, you know, i guess i have to go then, but no -- no real reason was offered as to why i had to leave and why it was being done in such a manner. >> did you have any indication that the state department had lost confidence in you? >> no. >> and why you provided any reason why the president lost confidence in you? >> no. >> now you testified at your
deposition that you were told at some point that secretary pompeo had tried to protect you but that he was no longer able to do that. were you aware of these efforts to protect you? >> no, i was not until -- until that meeting with deputy secretary sullivan. >> and were you -- did you understand who he was trying to protect you from? >> well, my understanding was that the president had wanted me to leave and there was some discussion about that over the prior months. >> did you have any understanding why secretary pompeo was no longer able to protect you? >> no. it was just a statement made, that he was no longer able to protect me. >> so just like that you had to leave ukraine as soon as possible? >> yes. >> how did that make you feel? >> terrible honestly. i mean, after 33 years of
service to our country it was terrible. it's not the way i wanted my career to end. >> now you also told this deputy secretary that this was a dangerous precedent. what did you mean by that? >> i was worried -- i was worried about our policy but also personnel, that -- and i asked him how -- how are you going to explain this to people in the state department, the press, the public, ukrainians because everybody is watching, and so if people see somebody who -- and, of course, it had been very public, frankly, the attacks on me by mayor giuliani and others and mr. lutsenko in ukraine.
if people see i who have been, you know, promoting our policies on anti-corruption, if they can undermine me and get me pulled out of ukraine, what does that mean for our policy? do we still have that same policy? how are we going to affirmatively put that forward, number one. number two, when other countries, other actors and other countries see that private interests, foreign interests can come together and get a u.s. ambassador removed, what's going to stop them from doing that in the future in other countries? often the work we do, we try to be diplomatic about it, but as deputy assistant secretary george kent said, you know, sometimes we get people really angry with us. it's uncomfortable, and we are doing our jobs, but sometimes people become very angry with
us, and if they realize that they can just remove us, they are going to do that. >> how did the deputy secretary respond? >> he -- he said those were good questions and he would get back to me. >> did he ever get back to you? >> he asked to see me the following day. >> and when did he say to you then? >> he really -- the conversation was more, and, again, you know, i'm grateful for this. it was really more to see how i was doing and -- and, you know, what would i do next kind of -- how could he help. >> but he didn't address the dangerous precedent that you flagged for him? >> no. >> now you understood, of course, that the president of the united states could remove you and that you served at the pleasure of the president, is that right? >> that's right. >> but in your 33 years as a foreign service officer, have you ever heard of a president of
the united states recalling another ambassador without cause based on allegations that the state department itself knew to be false? >> no. >> now you testified in your opening statement that you had left ukraine by the time of the july 25th call between president trump and president zelensky. when was the first time that you saw the call record for this phone call? >> when it was released publicly at the end of september i believe. >> and prior to reading that call record, were you aware that president trump had specifically made reference to you in that call? >> no. >> what was your reaction to learning that? >> i was shocked, absolutely shocked and devastated frankly. >> what do you mean by
devastated? >> i was shocked and devastated that i would feature in a phone call between two heads of state in such a manner where president trump said that i was bad news to another world leader and that i would be going through some things, so i was -- it was -- it was a terrible moment, a person who saw me actually reading the transcript said that the color drained from my face, i think i even had a physical reaction. i -- i think, you know, even now words kind of fail me. >> well, without upsetting you too much i'd like to show you the excerpts from the call, and the first one where president trump says that the former ambassador from the united states, the woman, was bad news and the people she was dealing with in the ukraine were bad news, so i just want to let you
know. what was your reaction when you heard the president of the united states refer to you as bad news? >> i can't believe it it. i mean, shocked, appalled, devastated that the president of the united states would talk about any ambassador like that to a foreign head of state, and it was me. i mean, i couldn't believe it. >> the next excerpt when the president references you was a short one, but he said, well, she's going to go through some things. the what did you think when president trump told president zelensky and you read that you were going to go through some things. >> i didn't know what to think, but i was very concerned. >> what were you concerned about? >> she's going to go through
some things. it didn't sound good. it sounded like a threat. >> did you feel threatened? >> i did. >> how so? >> i didn't know exactly. it's not a very precise phrase, but i think -- it didn't feel like i was -- i really don't know how to answer the question any further except to say that it kind felt like a vague threat and so i wondered what had that meant. it was a concern to me. >> now in the same call where the president, as you just said threatens you to a foreign leader, he also praises rather the corrupt ukrainian prosecutor who led the false smear campaign
against you. i want to show you another excerpt or two from the transcript or the call record rather where the president of the united states says good because i heard you had a prosecutor who was very good and he was shut down and that's really unfair. a lot of people are talking about that. the way they shut your very good prosecutor down and you had some very bad people involved. and he went on later to say i heard the prosecutor was treated very badly and he was a very fair prosecutor, so good luck with everything. after nearly three years in ukraine where you tried to clean up the prosecutor general's office, was it it the u.s. embassy's view that the former prosecutor general was as very good and very fair prosecutor? >> no, it was not. >> and, in fact, he was rather
corrupt, is that right? >> that was our belief. >> the prosecutor general's office is a long running problem in ukraine, is that right? >> yes. >> so how did you feel when you heard president trump speak so highly of the corrupt ukrainian prosecutor who helped to execute the smear campaign to have you removed? >> well, it was disappointing. it the was concerning. it wasn't certainly based on anything that the state department would have reported or frankly anybody else in the u.s. government. there was a -- an intra-agency consensus that while -- when mr. lutsenko came into office we were very hopeful that he would actually do the things that he set out to do including reforming the prosecutor general's office, but that did not materialize.
>> so this is not the uniform position of the u.s. official policy-makers, is that right? >> right. >> now let's go back to the smear campaign that you referenced and in march when you said it became public and you previously testified that you had learned that rudy giuliani, president trump's lawyer and representative who was also mentioned in that july 25th call, was in regular communication with the corrupt prosecutor general in late 2018 and early 2019, and at one point in your deposition you said that they -- that being giuliani and the corrupt foreign prosecutor general had plans to, quote, do things to me. what did you mean by that? >> i didn't -- i didn't really know but that's what i had been told by ukrainian officials. >> did you subsequently understand a little bit more what that meant? >> well, you know, now, with the
advantage of hindsight i think that meant removing me from my job in ukraine. >> who did you understand to be working with mr. giuliani as his associates in ukraine? >> well, certainly mr. lutsenko, mr. shulkin. i believe that there were also ukrainian-americans, mr. parnas and mr. fruman, who have recently been indicted. >> those were the two who have been indicted in new york. >> southern district of new york. >> now at the end of march this effort by giuliani and his associates resulted in a series of articles in "the hill" publication that were based on allegations in part from lutsenko, the corrupt prosecutor general, and just to summarize some of these allegations, there were among others three different categories. one category included the
attacks against you which you referenced in your opening statement, including that you had bad-mouthed the president and had given the prosecutor general a do not prosecute list. there was another that included allegations of ukrainian interference in the 2016 election and then was a third that related to allegations concerning burisma and the bidens. does that -- is that accurate? >> yeah, yes. >> were these articles and allegations then promoted by others associated with the president in the united states? >> they seemed to be promoted by those around mayor giuliani. >> i'm going to show you a couple exhibits including a tweet here by president trump himself on march 20th which was the first day that one of these articles was published. it appears to be a quote that
says john solomon, who is the author of the articles, as russia collusion fades the ukrainian plot to help clinton emerges, unquote, @seanhannity, @foxnews and if i could go to another tweet four days later, this is the president's sop, donald trump jr., who tweets we need more @richgreenel, the ambassador to germany, right? >> that's correct. >> and less of these jokers as ambassadors and it's a rewash tweet of one of john solomon's articles or an article referencing the allegations that says calls grow to remove obama's u.s. ambassador to ukraine. were you aware of these the tweets at the time? >> yes. >> what was your reaction to seeing this? >> well, i was worried. >> what were you worried about?
>> that this didn't seem -- that these attacks, you know, being repeated by the president himself and his son. >> and were you aware that they received attention on primetime television on fox news as well? >> yes, i did. >> now was allegation that you were bad-mouthing president trump true? >> no. >> was the allegation that you had created a do not prosecute list to give to the prosecutor general in ukraine true? >> no. >> in fact, didn't the corrupt prosecutor general himself later recant those allegations? >> yes. >> now when these articles were first publish, did the state department issue a response? >> as i said there were a series of articles. after the first article which was an interview with mr. lutsenko and was only really about me and made certain
allegations about me, the state department came out the following day with a very strong statement saying that, you know, these allegations are fabrications. >> so the statement addressed the -- the falsity of the allegations themselves? >> yes. >> it didn't say anything about your job performance in any way? >> honestly i haven't looked at it the in a very long time. i think it was generally trouble laudatory but i can't recall. >> did anyone in the state department raise any concerns with you or express any belief in these allegations? >> no. i mean, people thought it was ridiculous. >> now after these false allegations were made against you, did you have any discussions with anyone in leadership in the state department about a potential statement of support from the department or the secretary himself? >> yes. after. >> yes.
after the tweets that you just showed us, is i mean, it seemed to me that if the president's son is saying things like this, that it would be very hard to continue in my position and have authority in ukraine unless the state department came out pretty strongly behind me, and so, you know, over -- over the weekend of like march 22nd, i think that's about the date, there was a lot of discussion on email among a number of people about what could be done. i and the undersecretary for political affairs called me on sunday, and i said, you know, it's really important that the secretary himself come out and be supportive because otherwise it's hard for me to be the kind of representative you need here and he said he would talk to the
secretary. that's my recollection of the call. that may not be exactly how that played out, but that was my recollection. >> this is david hale, the undersecretary of political affairs, the number three person in the state department. >> yes. >> did he indicate to you that he supported such a -- a statement of support for you? >> i think he must have because i don't think he would have gone to the secretary if he -- if he didn't support it. i mean, you wouldn't bring a bad idea to the secretary of state. >> and your general understanding is that you did have the full support of the state department, is that right? >> yes. >> and, in fact, during your 33-year career as a for service officer did you ever hear of any serious concerns about your job performance? >> no. >> was this statement of support ultimately issued for you? >> no, it was not. >> did you learn why not? >> yeah, yes.
i was told that there was a concern on the seventh floor that if a statement of support was issued, whether by the state department or by the secretary personally, that it could be undermined. >> how could it be undermined? >> that the president might issue a tweet contradicting that or something to that effect. >> so let mow see if i've got this right. you were one of the most senior diplomats in the state department. you had been there for 33 years. you had won numerous award. you had been appointed as an ambassador three times but both republican and democratic presidents, and the state department would not issue a statement in support of you against false allegations because they were concerned about a tweet from the president of the united states? >> that's my understanding.
>> i'm wondering if i could follow up on that question. it seems like an appropriate time. ambassador yovanovitch, as you sit here testifying the president is attacking you on twit twer, and would i like to give you a chance to respond. i'll read part of one of his tweets. everywhere marie yovanovitch went turned bad show. started off in somalia. how did that go? he goes on to say later in the tweet the u.s. president has the absolute right to appoint ambassadors. first of all, ambassador yovanovitch, the senate has the right to respond? >> advice and consent. >> how would you like to respond to everywhere you went it turned bad. >> i mean, i -- i don't think i have such powers not in mogadishu and somalia and not in other places.
i actually think that where i've served over the years i and others have demonstrably made things better, you know, for the u.s. as well as for the countries that i've served in. ukraine, for example, where there are huge challenges including, you know, on the issue that we're discussing today of corruption, huge challenges, but they have made a lot of progress since 2014 including in the years that i was there and i think in part, i meaning the ukrainian people get the most credit for that because apart of that credit goes to the united states and to me as the ambassador because -- in ukraine. >> ambassador, you've shown the courage to come forward today and testify. notwithstanding the fact that you were urged by the white
house or state department not to, notwithstanding the fact that as you testified earlier the president implicitly threatened you in that call record, and now the president in realtime is attacking you, what effect do you think that has on other witnesses willingness to come forward and expose wrongdoing in. >> it's very intimidating. >> it's designed to intimidate, is it not? i mea >> i mean, i can't speak to what the president is trying to do, but i think the effect is trying to be intimidating. >> i want you to know, ambassador, that some of us here take witness intimidation very seriously. mr. goldman. >> ambassador yovanovitch, you indicated that those same
articles in march that included the smear campaign also included allegations related to ukraine's interference in the 2016 elect and the burisma/biden correction, is thcorrectio connection, is that right? >> yes. >> so i'm going to end my question which is where we were before which is with the july 25th call, and president trump not only insults you and praises the corrupt prosecutor general, but he also, as you know by now references these two investigations. first, immediately after president zelensky thanks president trump for his, quote, great support in the area of defense, unquote, president trump responds i would like you to us a favor though because our country has been through a lot and ukraine knows a lot about it. i would like you to find out what happened with this whole situation with ukraine. they say crowdstrike.
i guess you have one of your wealthy people, the server. they say ukraine has it. and then he goes on in that same paragraph to say whatever you can do it's very important that you do it if that's possible. now, ambassador yovanovitch, in your experience as the ambassador in ukraine for almost three years and understanding that president zelensky was not in politics before he ran for president and was a new president on this call, how would you expect president zelensky to interpret a request for a favor? >> the u.s. relationship for ukraine is the single most important relationship, and so i think that president zelensky, any president, would, you know, do what they could to, you know, lean in on a favor request. i'm not saying that that's a yes. i'm saying that they would try
to lean in and see what they could do. >> fair to say that if the president of the ukraine that is so dependant on the united states would do just about anything within his power to pleas the president of the united states if he could? >> you know, if he could. i mean, i'm sure there are limits, and i understand there were a lot of discussions in the ukrainian government about all of this, but, yeah, we are an important relationship on the security side and on the political side and so the president of ukraine, one of the most important functions that individual has, is to make sure that the relationship with the u.s. is rock solid. >> now are you familiar with these allegations of ukrainian interference in the 2016 election? >> i mean, there have been rumors out there about things like that but, you know, there
was nothing hard, at least nothing that i was aware of. >> there was nothing based in fact. >> right. >> to support these allegations. >> yes. >> and in fact who was responsible for interfering and meddling in the 2016 election? >> well, the u.s. intelligence community has concludeded that it was russia. >> ambassador yovanovitch, are you air aware that in february of 2017 vladimir putin himself promoted this theory of ukrainian interference in the 2016 election? >> you know, maybe i knew that once and had forgotten, but i -- i'm not familiar with it now. >> well, let me show you a press statement that president putin made in a joint press conference with viktor orban of having on february 22nd of 2017 where he says, second, as we all know, during the presidential campaign
in the united states the ukrainian government adopted a unilateral position in favor of one candidate. more than that, certain oligarchs, certainly with the approval of the political leadership, funded this candidate or female candidate to be more precise. now, how would this theory of ukraine interference in the 2016 election be in vladimir putin's interest? >> well, i mean, president putin must have been aware that there were concerns in the u.s. about russian meddling in the 2016 elections and -- and what the potential was for russian meddling in the future, so, you know, classic for an intelligence officer to try to throw off the scent and create an alternative narrative that maybe might get picked up and get some credence. >> an alternative narrative that would absolve his own
wrongdoing? >> yeah. >> and when he talks about an oligarch and he talks about the support of the ukrainian government, there's also a reference in the july 25th call to a wealthy ukrainian. is it your understanding that what vladimir putin is saying here in this press statement in february 2017 is similar to what president trump says on the july 25th call related to the 2016 election? >> maybe. >> now let me show you another exhibit from the call related to the bidens which i'm sure you're familiar with. president trump says the other thing. there's a lot of talk about biden's son, that bide erin 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. now are you familiar with the allegations -- these allegations related to vice president biden? >> yes. >> do you know whether he ever went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution of anyone? >> no. >> and in fact when vice president biden acted to remove the former corrupt prosecutor in ukraine, did he do so as part of official united states policy? >> official u.s. policy and that was endorsed and -- and was the policy of a number of other international stakeholders, other countries, other monetary institutions, financial institutions. >> and in fact if he helped to remove a corrupt ukrainian prosecutor general who was not prosecuting enough corruption, that would increase the chances
that corrupt companies in ukraine would be investigated, isn't that right? >> one would think so. >> and that could include burisma, right? >> yes. >> now at the time of this call, vice president biden was the front-runner for the democratic nomination for president and president trump's potential next opponent in the election. is it your understanding that president trump's request to have vice president boyden investigated, was that part of official u.s. policy as you knew it? >> well, i should say that i had -- at the time of this phone call i had already departed ukraine two month prior. >> but you're familiar -- it didn't change that much in two months, right? >> it -- it certainly would not have been the policy in may when i left. >> and were these two investigations part of the anti-corruption platform that you championed in ukraine for three years?
>> no. >> and these investigations, do they appear to you to benefit the president's personal and political interests rather than the national interest? >> well, they certainly could. >> now just returning to the allegations in "the hill" publication in march that were promoted by mr. giuliani, the president's lawyer, were those two allegations similar to the two allegations that the president wanted president zelensky to investigate? >> yes. >> so ultimately in the july 25th phone call with the ukrainian president, the president of the united states endorsed the false allegations against you and the bidens, is that right? >> yes. >> i yield back. mr. chairman. >> mr. chairman, i have a parliamentary inquiry, please. >> the gentleman will suspend.
>> votes are fairly imminent. we're going to take a brief recess. i would ask everyone to remain seated to allow the witness to exit the room and we'll resume after votes. >> mr. chairman, i have a point inquiry. >> the gentleman can seek recognition after we resume. >> so they are taking a break right now. what a devastating bit of news we have just been hearing. truly powerful statement by the former u.s. ambassador to ukraine marie yovanovitch speaking emotionally but very, very specifically about the acshe's talked about inappropriate behavior not only by the president. united states but by his personal attorney general, rudy giuliani, donald trump jr. and these two associates lev parnas
and igor fruman who have both been indicted by the southern district of new york. john king, let's get immediate reaction to all of this. this was a statement in which this ambassador said she had never seen anything like this before. she felt threatened. she is scared to this very day. >> remarkably poise. remarkably credible. democrats may regret not putting her in the witness chair first. not the other witnesses didn't help make their case but what powerful testimony. she said number one that the policy went off the rails. she said she was kneecap. u.s. policy was hijacked and show said she could not understand that while she was trying to get ukraine and thought she was making progress at finally getting ukraine to move towards the rule of law and enhance its anti-corruption efforts rudy giuliani pops up with known bad actors and she said she could not understand how corrupt ukrainians with the help of americans could undermine her and in the end undermine u.s. national security policy in fighting, and at the
end of the conversation there, you see where the democrats are trying to go and they say giuliani and the president of the united states is doing is something that was on a parallel track with what vladimir putin wants in ukraine, not what u.s. policy, is so they are trying to get through her and show's a very powerful witness to the corruption part. this was not just unusual. this was not just unorthodox. this was corrupt. >> and i thought, you know, this woman has ice in her veins. she's got a spine of steel. she laid out i thought in brilliant detail who she was, right, and who these foreign service folks are. she says she's moved 13 times, seven different countries, five hardship posts. at some point in 1993 she was in moscow under gunfire going to the ambassador's embassy there and she did it out of a accepts of duty. this was i thought remarkable testimony. she's incredibly charismatic, incredible. i agree that maybe the democrats should have gone with her first, but i do think that they end the week with a bang in this
testimony. they go not weekend, the sunday shows. the president is clearly watching, right? he's somebody that likes drama and characters. he got a character here and certainly has a lot of drama. he was again in that tweet trying to slime her and that is reacting in realtime proves she got his attention. >> i think that's right. >> he was the president of the united states watching all of of this when he starts treating everywhere marie yovanovitch went turned bad. >> you know, it's -- i will say and i know this will sound naive, you know, in this age of trump. i'm genuinely shocked by his behavior with regard to this foreign service officer of three decades, to disparage her and to demean her in sexist overtones saying the woman over there, to threaten her, to say to a foreign leader that she's bad news. you know, presidents usually understand that the job is bigger than them, that it's about the government, that you're representing the people. japan genuinely shocked and i say i'm naive in saying so given the things that president trump
has said in the years that he's been president, but i'll tell you something. she made a mockery of his dismissals of the deep state. if this is the deep state i bet a lot of americans looked up and said, yeah, i'll take more of, that because these are people who are dedicating themselves to serve vinagre in places that are corrupt and dangerous and are going bad and trying to represent u.s. interests. i thought this was horrible for the president and let me add i don't know when there will lead to impeachment. what this is an indication of how the president treats his people. they are his people and who else she indicted today was secretary of state pompeo. she says the they in the state department new allegations against me were false, and this west point grad, this did you have secretary of state didn't stand up for his people. >> he comes across how her testimony, john dean, talking about the secretary of state mike pompeo as weak, unwilling to do what a secretary of state should do to defend career foreign service officers who
risk their lives on so many occasions for the united states. >> and he's a military man. he knows the importance of that. he didn't arrive as a civilian like rex tillerson to take this job. wolf, what struck me, it's almost breathtaking, that he's -- that the president is live tweeting this and he's tweeting intimidation. this is criminal. this is -- there's a statute that prohibits that very kind of activity, and he's just not letting up. >> let me bring in our legal analyst is this witness intimidation? >> i think that's where -- that's where schiff was going on this. i mean, the president has a right to express the opinion and i do think this shows that the ambassador's testimony was getting under the president's skin. i thought the chairman's questioning was very effective. i think dan goldman's questioning was very effective. the republicans now have a big
challenge because i think where they would probably want to go is kind of poke holes in her knowledge, poke holes in -- do the sort of hearsay thing, but i think after this testimony there's going to be a lot of questions that the public is going to want to know the answers to and so far we haven't. so, for example, you know, it will be interesting to see whether they identify potential reasons why ambassador yovanovitch was recalled. you know, i think people are going to want an answer to what the president actually meant when he said that she'd go through some things. we don't know that yet. it will be very interesting to see how republicans follow up. >> because in the description of the president's behavior and those associated with the president, including rudy giuliani among others, paints a picture of despicable behavior by the leader of the united states toward a u.s. ambassador. >> it does, and what i found most compelling of her testimony
so far is her description of how the institutions of government, in particular the institution of the state department, is not holding up from the corruption that she witnessed in this administration and from this president and his people who were close to him like rudy giuliani. she paints a picture of a state department that has been gutted and of the secretary of state and a president who throws out an ambassador that is working for u.s. interests and her key point that she makes is that this is foreign influence. this was corrupt foreign influences in ukraine that rudy giuliani was the working with and that that triggered a decision by a u.s. president, and that is a critical national security issue, and it's a critical issue for the functioning of our democracy?
wolf, we only have to remember benghazi to recall the righteous self-indignation that the republicans expressed as what they considered to be a democratic administration's disregard for the valor and the bravery of those serving in our diplomatic posts, security and otherwise. i'll be very interested to see how they treat the ambassador. >> and -- john, you mentioned this, this whole debunked theory that it was ukraine that interfered in the 2016 election as opposed to the russians who interfered which the entire u.s. intelligence community and allies concluded that the russians were doing it. the debunked theory, and we heard daniel goldman bring this up, started actually in february, the month after the president was sworn in in which -- in which putin suggested ukraine was responsible for all of this and that line was picked up by rudy giuliani, picked up by associates of his in the news media, picked up by these two rudy giuliani associates, including donald trump jr. and the president of the united states himself.
>> there's what i call a pig pen aspect sometimes to the republican defense in that they throw up a lot of dust and it's hard to see straight ahead and hard to see clearly because there's all this dust flying. there's been stories including from cnn of a democratic national committee staffer talking to people in ukraine, paul manafort, who had a lot of business in ukraine was looking for information about that. there's no question about that, but this whole idea that the server is in ukraine. mike pompeo was the director of the cia before he was secretary of state. he is part of a consensus that says that's hogwash to use a polite term and that that didn't happen, that russia meddled and, again, in the end they are trying to show that this is part of a pro-putin conspiracy theory to blame ukraine and same it was in ukraine, but here you have an incredibly powerful witness. to come back to the idea here. david makes a key point. this was different. this was off the rates. the in trying to sway public opinion and perhaps sway any republicans, wow, was she a powerful witness about i was an
american dream and appointed by ronald reagan and i've done this for years. i'm trying to fight the bad guys. i don't know how had the republicans come back at her. she says to this day she doesn't understand how foreign and private interests -- >> hold on for one second. >> the chairman is speaking outside the hearing room. >> we saw today witness intimidation in realtime by the president. united states. once again going after this dedicated and respected career public servant in an effort to not only chill her but to chill others who may come forward. we take this kind of witness intimidation and obstruction of inquiry very seriously. >> you think that's an impeachable offense? witness intimidation is an impeachable offense? >> you know, once again, you hear the chairman talk about witness intimidation. i assume when they start drafting articles of impeachment, we'll be hearing about witness intimidation. >> quite possibly. i thought it was really smart of schiff to read sort of in realtime the president's tweet,
clear proof that this woman is clearly getting upped his skin, and it kind of gives -- i think if you're a your who may not have been watching the twitter, they sort of know what the president is up to here. i thought, you know, sort of the underlying image that marie yovanovitch painted today was that the president on this call with zelensky is taking the side of the people who are corrupt in ukraine and bad-mougt someone who has been fighting corrupion her entire life. >> john, what is significant here is that the president of the united states allegedly is conducting u.s. national security foreign policy based on debunked conspiracy theories. >> and we've seen that. we've seen the president recycle conspiracy theories. candidate trump did it, businessman trump, remember, barack obama is from kenya. this has gone on forever, but the fact that it happens in such a critical situation at a critical time with the information coming from rudy giuliani undermining u.s. foreign policy is thecates the
democrats are trying to make, that this is up precedented. to get this off, this is trump being trump. this is just unusual, just disruptive and he doesn't trust the bureaucracy so he has his own private foreign policy enterprise, they are trying to make this unique and corrupt which is important. to the intimidation part. remember, the president is doing this. marie yovanovitch is testifying so she's probably not aware until the democrats brought it up that the president is tweeting, but behind closed doors today they have other witnesseses. we've just learned that an office of management and budget staffer has agreed to testify if they subpoena him. gordon sondland is in the chair next week, the ambassador on phone call with the president where he apparently brings up bidens. >> right. >> so the lawyers are pretty equipped than me to handle this, but at a time they, a, have a key witness in the stabbed and, b, are about to interview other key witnesses over the 24 to 72 hours that the president is doing this. that's a signal. >> he's not just signaling. he's making very clear, that the president of the united states,
if you come forward will personally seek to destroy you and your reputation. that's what the president of the united states is doing in realtime. the other piece of what everybody has been saying who benefits from the president of the united states trashing hissanses, russia does. russia benefits. this has long-term implications beyond people who celebrate president trump disrupter and put aside impeachment, cop duct of american foreign policy which republicans have stood up for particularly against russia for decades this. president is doing something that runs counter to the thrust that have policy, and that's what's on display here and her point about the longer term implications for how it undermines ambassadors in other posts, how it demeans the institution of the state department when private interests and corrupt interests can collude, can come together to take down a foreign service officer of this reputation and this experience. >> and -- and a courageous foreign service officer. >> yes.
>> who has served in extremely dangerous situations and then ukraine is very dangerous. she explained what one ukrainian woman was fighting corruption, what happened with her with the acid and the death that unfolded. manu raju, you've been speaking, i take it, with some. lawmakers coming out. they are voting right now. they will be resuming this hearing momentarily. the republicans will have a chance to start asking some questions. dev devin nunes. >> democrats are concerned about what they feel is witness intimidation going after marie yovanovitch. talking to adam schiff just moments ago, interesting to hear that the up thing that he wanted to emphasize out of the morning session was the fact that he believes that the president was trying to intimidate not just marie yovanovitch but other witnesses from coming forward. he just told us that he takes that, quote, very, very seriously. i tried to ask him whether or not he views that as a potential
impeachable offense. he would not answer that question as members are going on to votes, but democrats believe that what they have heard so far has been devastating not just to the president but the state department as well and mike pompeo, "the herd"ship of hits department, the failure of him to provide any sort of statement of support for marie yovanovitch amid career officials, people who served in the diplomatic corps about these efforts to go after her and pompeo silent amid that push to offer that statement of support because of concerns that the president would undercut her in part because of this giuliani effort as well, but also republicans, wolf, today, i just talked to a number of them coming ow of this hearing. they said the president did nothing wrong. that he's well within his rights to recall ambassadors at his will so they are not moved by her morning testimony despite democrats saying it's devastating to this president. >> they are investigate right new hand will be resuming this hearing we're told very, very soap. manu, we'll get back to you. john dean, when you heard the
questioning from daniel goldman, the democratic staff committee for the intelligence committee raising are the notion and the suspicion that the russians were the ones, putin was the one that raised this conspiracy theory, debunked conspiracy theory, that it was ukraine that interfered in the 2016 election, not the russians who interfered, but then it was being picked up by all these americans including the president of the united states and rudy giuliani and their associates and their friends in the news media, what -- what did that remind you of? >> well, first of all, counsel is doing a very good job in this 45-minute rule. it gives him a chance to develop it. as far as the substance going. what struck me, wolf, we're so far beyond the nixon and clinton in this foreign affairs area. >> yeah. >> those were domestic problems. these affect our national security and that's what's being brought out. we have are a president who either through incompetence or viciousness, whatever it is, is
driving it. it just not protecting americans. >> let's not forget during those two months, two and a half months when the u.s. security assistance was being suspended withheld, ukrainians were dying in this war that was going on with the russians. >> that's right, and that's something that bill taylor talked about on wednesday as well, and i thought she also did a good job of talking about how vulnerable ukraine was, how dependent they were on aid and assistant from the u.s. and she also made the point that if president zelensky was being asked for a favor from the president of the united states, it's very likely that he would feel compelled to do it because of the vulnerable situation that they are in, this hot war. she talked about being on the front lines in different points of this war and sort of planting the american flag and showing american support, so, yes, i mean, i think ukraine obviously a very vulnerable country and the president knowing that as he's on that phone call. >> all right. we're waiting for the hearing to
resume movemently. we're told they are still voting. members of the house intelligence committee. they will be walking back in momentarily. we'll hear from the republicans. they will be asking questions of of this witness, the former u.s. ambassador to ukraine. our special coverage will continue right after this. [airport pa]"all flights have been delayed." t-mobile makes the holidays easier... ...like this. because right now when you buy one of the latest samsung phones you get one free. on that. so you can post this... ...score this... ...be there like this... ...and share all of this... ...with that. so do this, on that, with us. now, buy a samsung galaxy s10 or note 10 and get one free.
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hello. this is anderson cooper. this is cnn's special live coverage of the second day of public impeachment hearings. it has now led to accusations of witness intimidation against the president. we'll explain that in a moment. first, to the only witness speaking publicly today marie yovanovitch. she's also the sole person in the ukraine saga who asserts being an actual victim of corruption. remember. fighting corruption is the reason the president gives for investigating joe biden and her son hunter but the ambassador believes she lost her job for rooting out crooked players in ukraine. >> ukrainians who prefer to play by the old corrupt rules sought to remove me. what continues to amaze me is