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tv   U.S. Senate Senate Impeachment Trial Day 3 Part 2  CSPAN  January 24, 2020 1:21am-4:40am EST

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>> the senate gavel back in after hearing opening statements were house managers have up to 24 hours over three days to make his opening remarks. thursday was day number two and managers have already used almost 15 hours so about nine hours remain the senate
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returns to continue the impeachment trial and as always follow the senate live here on c-span2. and now back to opening statements with comments from house manager adam schiff. >> senators i will pick up where my colleague from texas left off that i want to begin to underscore a few of the points shehe made in the sending to her presentation that when the pout at me that it had not before. but first i want to address my colleagues showed slides showing the polling strength of biden as the demonstration of his motive that he went after these political investigations to undermine he was deeply concerned about. this is the appropriate point the house managers take no
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position. i don't want to be lose a mosingle more vote than necessary. but those polls do show a powerful motive trump had that he didn't have the year before or the year before that. the motive he did not have when he allowed the aide to go to ukraine without complaint or issue in 2017 or 2018 only when he had a growing concern with joe biden's candidacy he took a a sudden interest in ukraine and ukraine funding and the withholding of the aid. i also want to underscore what the president said in the july h call when my colleague showed you the transcript on july 25th the president says i would like you to happen what with
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ukraine they say crowd strike. my colleagues can explain what that theory is with that crowd strike server the crazy theory that ukraine hacked the democratic server it was whisked away to ukraine and hidden there so the investigators could not look at this server. that is what donald trump was raising in that conversation with president zelensky. i bring this up again because you may hear from my colleagues and the president's lawyers as we heard during the testimony in the house that the concern was over ukrainian interference in the election and why isn't it possible both russia and ukraine interfere in the n election? that is contrary to all the
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evidence. it's important to point out were not talking about from my colleagues a tweet from a ukrainian here or an op-ed there as a systematic interference of the russians. the president is talking a very specific conspiracy theory going to the server itself that ukraine hacked the democratic server, not the russians. this theory was brought to you kremlin. not generic interference but the server, that is what donald trump wanted to investigate or announced a completely bogus kremlin pushed conspiracy theory. i was also struck some of you
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saw former homeland security advisor for the president in which he talks about howd completely debunked and crazy this conspiracy theory is that what he admitted nonetheless made the point of the ways to impeach oneself. so it struck me in watching that clip that is important to emphasize rudy giuliani has a president under his control. there may be an effort to say it's all his fault he had the president and his grip even the us intelligence agencies in the bipartisan senate and everyone else told the president time after time this
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is nonsense the russians interfered not ukrainians, he just could not shake himself. you can say a lot of things about president trump but he is not led by the nose by rudy giuliani and if he is willing to listen to his purdah one - - personal lawyer in his own advisors than you can imagine what a danger that presents to this country. now my colleague places the interview with director ray and i was just struck by that r interview who says we have no information that ukraine interfered with the 2016 presidential election. that is donald trump's director of the fbi. we have no information to
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indicate ukraine interfered with the election. none. zero. and then say when you see politicians pushing the notion are you concerned about that? and the director says there is all kinds of people saying all kinds of things out there. yes there are but this person was the president of the united states. really whatal he is saying is the president of the united states is one thing off the streets but if it's the president you can see how dangerous it is if it is patently false and promulgated by the russians. and again the reporter says
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with this whole crowd strike i hear you say there's no evidence to support this and heha says we at the fbi have no information that would indicate ukraine tried to interfere in the 2016 presidential election. none. so you can imagine the view from the kremlin when one of his aides comes into the office and says vladimir you will never believe this, the president of the united states is pushing our crowd strike theory. can imagine the incredulity. you're kidding? his own people don't believe this. nobody believes this.
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is bad enough if the president believes the russian propaganda but it is worse than that. on the basis of this russian propaganda he withheld 400 million of military aid that russia was fighting our allies. when we say what is the national security implication how much more clear can it be that only pushing russian propaganda not only doing the kremlin a favo favor, but withholding aid from the
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nation at war they got to deflect blame from their interference in our democracy but got full military aid. there is a convergence of interest between the kremlin and the president. the president wasn't pushing the talking points doing him a favor but because it helped him. it could get these talking points for him in the reelection campaign. and for that he sacrifices our ally and on security but nothing struck me more from representative garcia's presentation from november of the past year a couple months ago. thank god nobody's accusing us any more of interfering in the us elections now they accuse
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ukraine. thank god putin says. you have got to give donald trump credit for this he made a religious man out of vladimir putin. but i don't think we really want vladimir putin to be thanking god for the president of the united states. because they don't wish us well. they are a wounded animal. a declining power like any wounded animal they are a dangerous animal. there are worldview is completely antithetical to ours. we do not want him thanking god for our president what he is pushing. we don't want them thanking god for withholding money from
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our allies. although we can understand why they may. to me that is what stuck out from that presentation. now we have walked through in the first part of this presentation the corrupt object of president trump scream --dash for those that would benefit the reelection just looking at how baseless and fabricated the allegations hebehind them to explain the corrupt motive in addition to the overwhelming evidence there are at least ten other reasons we know president drunk - - president trump with content there are ten other reasons we know president trump was interested in his own personal gain and not for pressing these investigations.
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first the president only wanted these investigations to be announced publicly, not even conducted. second the president's only interest in ukraine was the big stuff that mattered to himself not issuesd t affecting ukraine or the united states. third, the present tasked his personal lawyer rudy giuliani to pursue these investigations on his behalf, not government officials. fourth, both before and after the july 25th call the investigations were never part of official foreign policy. and sc officials made clear this is not about foreign policy. other witnesses confirmed they diverged from official us policy the investigations were taken outside of normal channels, six ukrainian officials understood the
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investigations were political inin nature. seven. multiple administration officials reported the president's july 25th call. eight, the white house buried the call. ninth, presidenton trump confirmed he wanted ukraine to conductnd investigations in his siown words and finally president trump did not care about anticorruption efforts in ukraine. first perhaps the most simple way we know president trump one of the investigations done solely for his personal political interest he wanted a public announcement of the investigations not the assurance they would actually be d done if there was a desire to truly assist the anticorruption efforts are because he was worried of the larger issues of corruption in
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ukraine somebody actually investigating the facts underlying the investigation would have been most important. but he did not care about the facts or the issues. he just wanted the political benefit of the announcement of the investigation h to use to damages political opponent to boost his own standing prickle ambassador sondland at the center of the scheme made this clear in his testimony. >> so from mister giuliani at this point you understood in order to get the white house meeting that you wanted president zelensky to hav dhave, ukraine would have to initiate these investigations? >> they would have to announce they were going to do it. >> but. >> i never heard anyone say
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they had to start or be completed the only thing i heard from mister giuliani is that they just had to be announced in some form and that started changing to be announced publicly. >> the other evidence gathered by the house investigation confirms ambassador sondland understanding. for example the house received documents an associate of rudy giuliani's now indicted in response to the subpoena. to be indicted by the southern district of new york with election p law violation is part of those documents we obtained handwritten notes that a conversation that took place in 2191 of those lays out the scheme very clearly and succinctly. is not every day you get a document like this that appears to be a member of the
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conspiracy writing down the object of the conspiracy. but that's exactly what we see. the scheme that ultimately directed by president trump to force ukraine to announce the investigation of the bidens. i repeat to announce the investigation not investigate or conduct the only that mattered was the public announcement as this note says get president zelensky to announce the biding case would be investigated. and early september after mister giuliani had tried but failed to get president zelensky to issue a public statement president trump made this clear himself to expand on - - explain he wanted president zelensky in a public box he would only be satisfied if zelensky made a public announcement of the investigations which he agreed to do on cnn here is
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ambassador taylor's testimony on this. >> even though president trump was saying repeatedly there is no quid pro quo ambassador sondland relaystt the facts is at the white house meeting and security assistance was conditioneds on the announcement of these investigations. >> that is my understanding. >> you reference a television interview. and a desire for president trump to put president zelensky in public box. >> that was in my note. >> and what do you understand that to mean to put him in a public box? >> i understood that to mean that president trump through ambassador sondland was asking
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for president zelensky to publicly commit to these investigations. it was not sufficient to do this in private but it needed to be a public statement. >> the fact the president only wanted a public announcement and not the investigation to actually be conducted, demonstrates the in the desire was simply to boost reelection efforts. number two the second reason president trump's agent to help to carry out the scheme confirmed to announce the investigations was solely for personal political benefit and to explain in more detail president trump never expressed any interest in the united states anticorruption policy to ukraine nor did he care about the war against russia he only expressed interest in one thin thing, investigating his
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political opponent this was unequivocally confirmed by testimony of senior official in us embassy in kiev. the day after the july 25th call holmes overheard a conversation between president trump and ambassador sondland the only thing they discussed relating to ukraine was the leading investigations. >> ambassador sondland placed a call on the mobile phone i heard him announcehe himself as sondlando holding for the president. he was transferred through several layers of systems and ambassadoror sondland demeanor changedod and i understood he was connected to president trump. while his phone was not on speaker i could hear the presidents voice through the ear piece. the voice was loud and recognizable investor sondland held the phone away from his
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ear presumably because of the loud volume. i heard him create the president and say he was calling from key of m president trump clarified hee was in ukraine investors said yes and went on to state that president zelensky loves your ass. then president trump asks about the investigatione' investor sondland said he will do it adding president zelensky will do anything you ask them to do. >> after the call he expressed that was the sole interest because they benefit the president. >> after the call ended sondland remarks the president was in a bad mood. i then took the opportunity to ask investorr sondland for the
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candid impression of the president's view and i asked if it was true the president did not give the exploitative about ukraine. sondland agreed he did not give the exploitative about ukraine and i said why not he said the president only cares about the big stuff i knew there was big stuff going on ukraine like a war with russia and he meant a big stuff to the president like the biden investigation and giuliani. the conversation then moved on to other topics. >> this understanding by investor sondland is independently confirmed by president trump's own interaction with ukraine. during his two telephone calls with president zelensky in thett and july 25t july 25th, president trump did not refer to any anticorruption efforts against russia or even utter the word
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corruption. he only spoke about investigating his political opponents. he later confirmed this narrow singular focus to the press october 3rd when asked about the ukraine scheme he said well, i would think if they were honest about it they would start a major bidens.ation into the it's a very simple answer. >> [inaudible] >> well i would think that if they were honest about it they would start a major investigation into the bidens. it's a very simple answer. >> so we know from when this is the presidents personal agents of the president himself the only thing president trump cared about with ukraine was the investigation to benefit himsel himself.
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to say this even more starkly is helpful to remember what the head of state calls are normally used for. talk to a former occupant of the oval office they will take you the disparity of power between the president of the united states and other heads of state is vast and since world war ii to be consistent with the requirement to faithfully execute their oath of office, president office from both parties made good use of the disparity of power in their telephone calls with foreign leaders and use those'v calls to secure commitments to bolster american security and prosperit prosperity. acting as our chief diplomat president reagan used his calls to european allies to rally the world against the soviet threats the shining city on the hill standing up to the evil empire laying the onfoundation for those agreements avoiding nuclear armageddon christmas day 1991
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the president george h.w. bush learned mikhail gorbachev would resign as soviet premier marking the end of the soviet union. with the diplomacy with numerous one-on-one phone calls to bring about a peaceful end to the cold war. following september 11 president george w. bush used his calls to heads of state to rally global support for the us campaign to defeat al qaeda and work with our allies to defend us national security and combat terrorism. president obama use his call to contain the fallout from the global economic crisis to alsemble an international coalition and rally support for ukraine following russia's invasion of crimea the matter what you think of the policy views of the priorities of these presidents there is no
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question they are examples of the normal diplomacy that happens during presidential telephone calls and no doubt when you are the president of the united states and you call a 4-meter, you are on the clock for the american people. consistent with the playful execution of his or her oath of office presidents first and only objective is to get for leaders to do what's in the best interest of the united states. that's not what happened on july 25th. that date the president used a head of state call with the inader of ukraine to help himself to investigate the political opponent to help with his reelection campaign abusing his authority as chief efdiplomat to benefit himself and betray the interest of the american people when he did so
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let's go to the third reason the president put his interest first. the third is the investigations were politically motivated is a central role played by president trump's personal attorneyp' mister giuliani who ovver had an official role in government but at this time representing the president in a personal capacity. there is no dispute about this pickle mister giuliani made m sthis point it is may 10 letter to the president of ukraine himself. where he wrote dear president zelensky i am private counsel to president donald j. trump just to be precise i represent him as a private citizen not as president of the united states. this is quite common under american law as the duties and privileges of the president and private citizen are not the same. separate representationnt is the
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usual process. mister giuliani also repeated this publicly unconfirmed may 9h new york times where he said we are meddling in election , were not meddling in elections but in investigations. somebody could say this is an foreign-policy. he went on to say basically the president knows that i'm doing. sure. i am his lawyer my only client is the president of the united states. he is the one i have an obligation to report to and to tell him what happened. think about that the president is using his personal lawyer to ask for investigations that
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are not foreign-policy that that will be very very helpful to the president personally. not often you get it so graphically as we do here. let's go to the fourth reason these investigations were never part of us policy. not just the president used his personal lawyer, but also what he was asking for was never a part of us policy witnesses told us the investigation was not in his official talking points or briefing but to go against official policy and diverge from national security interests. all three witnesses morrison at the national security council lieutenant colonel vindman, jennifer williams
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listening to the july 25th call when president trump demanded that president zelensky investigate the bidens yet completely the departed from the talking pointsor they had prepare prepared. before we go to the video i want to underscore he's not s.obligated to use the talking points or follow the recommendations of the staff matter how sound they mayha be. but this makes clear it was not us policy he was conducting but private personal interest if it was us policy it probably would've been in the talking points and briefing materials but it wasas not. look at mister morrison's ctestimony. >> were these references to crowd strike and the server with the election into vice president his son included in
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the president's talking points? >> they were not. >> here is vindman on this point. >> on the national security council director for ukraine did you hear the talking points for the presidents calls? >> i prepared them. >> you prepared them then they were reviewed and edited by multiple officers at the white house. >> correct. >> did the talking points contain any discussion of investigations into the 2016 election of the bidens or burisma? >> they did not. >> are you aware of any written product from the nsc suggesting investigations into the 2016 election, the bidens or burisma are part of the official policy of the united
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states back. >> no i am not. >> doctor hill also elaborated on this point. >> my point is we at the national security council were not told by ambassador bolton we need to be focused on these issues toward ukraine. so bad we talk about ukraine we haven't heard the president say anything specific but i was not given the directive on jul july 10th by ambassador bolton to very clear to stay out of domestic politics. >> so to be clear president trump asked for these investigations he was not asking for b them based on the official us policy his top advisers had not even been told about these investigations to the contrary
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they were told to stay out of us politics. it gets worse not just that he ignored policy and the talking points given but what he was doing was withholding support from ukraine contrary to end harmful to us policy. there is clear and undisputed bipartisan support for ukraine. are our ally. so our role should be helping the president zelensky anticorruption reform and also in any way that we can. president trump so national defense strategy stated that the united states and its european allies mac will deter aggression and adventurism and a clear reference to russia's use of ukrainian territory. consistent with that strategy we have approximately 68000
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troops stationed in europe. but 10000 to countries like poland or hungary and bulgaria. these are literally holding the line against another landgrab from vladimir putin. the author of that strategy virmer national security advisor mcmaster issued the stark warning about russia's aggression. for too long some nations have looked the other way. russia brazenly denies these actions and we have failed to impose sufficient cost as the agents conduct campaigns to undermine our confidence and in ourselves and one another go general mcmaster says makes ,sense and dad is growing and
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that's why we support to help defeat russian aggression so when president zelensky spoke with president trump that is what mcmaster was hoping to discuss. and to support ukraine and its against a huge adversary. spirit this is what president zelensky was most worried about when he was on the line with the president on july 25th if ukraine could have confidence in your support. nearly 70 percent of ukraine's territory have been annexed by russia backed forces. and those in lost in a hot war but president zelensky raised the issue of us military aid
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needed to confront aggression he did nothing to assure the support for the sovereignty. instead he made personal demands. and then against official us policy witnesses confirmed it actually diverge not just from policy but from our own national security. >> as doctor hill testified ambassador sondland to carry out president trump's scheme is involved in a domestic political errand and we were involved in national security policy and those two things had just diverge. our holding up of security systems that is fighting aggression from russia for no good policy reason.
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no good substantive reason no good nationalsa security reason is wrong. and as those were correctly observed there is no question political trumps national security diverge. and for no good reason. but it's more than that. it's a national security policy we are meant to embody the solution to corruption based on promoting the rule of law and another of the united states strengths are that of oures ideals and values.
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part of that is insuring their democracy of the politicalns institutions. a fundamental value that we do not use official powers to ask for investigations of our political opponents to gain a political advantage. and president trump asked a foreign leader and with the president of the united states witnessed t testimony confirms this by the advisor jennifer williams to bepe concerned by the focus on domestic political issues because the president is not supposed to use political errands. here is her testimony.
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>> as the personal views if i had any concern about the july h call. as a testified then i found that call unusual in contrast to others i had observed involving discussions of what appeared to be a domestic political matter. >> that it was unrelated to the talking points drafted for the president. >> it is improper for the president of the unitedstates to demand a foreign government investigate a us citizen and a political opponent . it was also clear if ukraine pursued an investigation that was also clear if ukraine pursued an investigation into the 2016 elections the bidens and burisma it would be interpreted as a partisan play, undermining us security and investing russia's strategic observances in the region. >> lieutenant colonel vindman
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as a reminder is a purple heart veteran. as we all know clearly it's improper for the president of the united states to demand a foreign government to investigate a us citizen and a political opponent . and it wasn't just that colonel vindman thought it was was so concerned he warned the ukraine to not to get involved in our domestic politics. in may lieutenant colonel vindman grew concerned by the pressure campaign he witnessed in the media waged primarily by rudy giuliani area during a meeting with president zelensky on may 20, lieutenant colonel vindman were the ukrainian leader to stay out of us politics because that is our official us policy . >> during a bilateral meeting in which the delegation was meeting with president zelensky and his team i offered to pieces of advice. to be particularly cautious with regards to ukraine, to
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be cautious with regards to russia and its desire to provoke ukraine and the second one was to stay out of us domesticpolicy . >> you mean politics? >> i mean politics. >> why did you feel it appropriate to advise president zelensky to stayout of us politics ? >> chairman, in the march and april time frame it became clear that there were actors in the us public actors, nongovernmental actors that were promoting the idea of investigations and into the 2016 ukrainian interference and it was consistent with us policy to advise any country, all the countries in my portfolio, any country in the world cannot participate in the us domestic politics so i
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was passing the sameadvice consistent with us policy . >> he once again makes this clear. it was consistent with us policy to advise any country, all the countries in my portfolio, any country in the world, we do not participate in us domestic politics . deputy secretary of state george kent testified the president's political investigations had nothing to do with american anticorruption efforts in the ukraine. which have consistently focused on building institutions and never pacific investigations and that if we do ask countries to do our political errands, it threatens our credibility as a democracy. >> you also testified on october 15 in the deposition about on the mental reforms necessary for ukraine to fight corruption and to
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transform the country and you cited the importance of reforming certain institutions, notably the security service in the prosecutor general's office. was investigating president trumps political opponents a part of those necessary reforms? was it on that list ofyours and indeed wasn't on any list ? >> know they weren't. >> in fact historically is it not true that a major problem in ukraine has been its misuse of prosecutors, precisely to conduct investigations of political opponents? that's a legacy i dare suggest from the soviet era where as you stated as in your testimony prosecutors like the kgb were instruments of oppression . >> i said that and i believe it's true. >> finally mister kent, for as long as i can remember us foreign policy has been predicated on advancing principled entrance into
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democratic values, notably freedom of speech, press, assembly, religion, re-, fair and open elections and the rule of law. mister kent, when american leaders ask foreign governments to investigate their potential rivals, doesn't that make it harder for us to advocate on behalf of of those democratic values? >> i believe it makes it more difficult for our diplomatic representatives overseas to carry out those policy goals . >> how is that sir? >> there is the question of credibility. they hear diplomats on the ground saying one thing and usleaders and something else . >> the bottom line is this. it was in the best interest of our country to help the ukraine, to give them the military aid , to fight one of our greatest adversaries and help promote the rule of law.
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and what was in president trumps personal interest was the opposite. to pressure the ukraine to conduct investigations against his 20/20 rival to helpensure his reelection . and when what is best for the country and what was best for donald trump diverged, president trump put himself above the bestinterests of our country . let's now go to the fifth reason that you know the presidentput himself first . the fifth reason is that the request for these investigations departed not just from us policy from established us government channels. on the july 25 call president trump told president zelensky that he should mister giuliani and attorney general bar but after the july 25 transcript was released the department of justice disclaimed any knowledge or involvement in the president
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political investigations. the department of justice statement from the day, the july 25 call wasreleased says this . this was from september 25. the president has not spoken with the attorney general about having ukraine investigate anything relating to former vice president biden or his son. the president has not asked the attorney general to contact ukraine on this or any other matter . the attorney general has not communicated with the ukraine on this or any other subject. nor has the attorney general discussed this matter or anything relating to the ukraine with rudy giuliani. and this is pretty extraordinary. you can say a lot of things about the attorney general. but you cannot say that he ever has looked to pursue something he thought was not in the president's interest. this is pretty extraordinary. where he is saying the moment
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this transcript was publicly released, i've got nothing to do with this scheme. i don't know why they brought me up in this call, i don't know why the president brought me up in this call,he hasn't asked me to do anything about this . i want nothing to do with this business . i suspect the attorney general can recognize a drug deal when he sees it to. and he wanted nothing todo with it . now, if this was some legitimate investigation, you would think the department of justice would have a role, that's traditionally how an investigation with an international component would work . but this wasn't the case . this wasn't the case. andthe attorney general wanted nothing to do with it . if these were legitimate investigations that were in the national interest, why was bill barr's justice department soquick to divorce themselves from it ?
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the simple answer is that as we see so clearly, they were against us official policy and our national security. the justice department wanted nothing to do with it and by asking for these investigations, the president was abusing his power. let's go to the six reason you know president trump put himself first. it wasn't just that these witnesses told us in the impeachment hearings about this being wrong. they reported the president's conduct in real-time it's not just that they came forward later. they came forward in real-time to report the president's conduct and of course you've seen over the last couple of days how many times people are told go talk to the lawyers. tim morrison, a former public and congressional staffer and kernel vindman were
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sufficiently concerned by what they heard president trump solicit on july 25 call that they both immediately went to thelawyers . john eisenberg,the nsc legal advisor . let's take a look. >> mister morrison shortly after you heard the july 25 call, you testified that you alerted the nsc legal advisor john eisenberg pretty much right away, is that right? >> correct. >> you indicated in your opening statement or at least from your deposition that you went to mister eisenberg out of concern over the potential political fallout if the call record became public and not because you thought it was illegal, is that right ? >> correct. >> what you would agree right asking a foreign government to investigate a domestic political rival is inappropriate, would you not ? >> it's not what we recommend the president discuss. >> i think that's a profound understatement.
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mister morrison clearly recognized that the request to investigate biden and burisma was about us domestic politics and not national security. lieutenant colonel vindman knew this to and he reported his concerns to the white house counsel. >> you said you also reported this incident to the nsc lawyers, is that right? >> correct. >> what was their response? >> john eisenberg said he took notes while i was talking and hesaid that he would look into it . >> why did you report this meeting and this conversation to the nsc lawyers ? >> because it was inappropriate and following the meeting i had a short conversation on the post meeting meeting in the war room, a short conversation with doctor hill and we discussed the idea of meeting
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to report this. >> in fact, colonel vindman reported concerns twice. mister morrison didso multiple times as well . they were of course the only ones. at this slide shows doctor hill reported her concerns to the nsc legal advisor, mister kent reported his concerns of the state department's failure to respond to house document requests. the lawyers were awfully busy. and why did president trump's own officials, not so-called never trumpers report this conduct in real time? because they knew it was wrong. doctor hill said it was improper and it was inappropriate and we've said that in real time. lieutenant colonel vindman said the july 25 call was
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wrong and he had a duty to report. ambassador taylor said quote, holding up of security assistance for no good policy reason, no good substantive reason, no good national security reason is wrong. mister morrison reported the call pretty much right away. and recommended to them that we restrict access to the package. and ms. williams said that the july 25 call struck me as unusual and inappropriate and more political in nature. the consensus is once again clear. presidents demand for political investigations was improper , inappropriate and wrong and again confirms that these requested investigations were not about anything except donald trump's political gain. let's go to the seventh reason why you know president trump put himself first. american officials weren't
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the only ones who recognized the political nature of these requests. ukrainian officials did too. and that brings us to the seventh reason we know that this was against our national interest. ukrainian officials themselves expressed concern that these corrupt investigations would drag them into us domestic politics. for example in mid july july ambassador taylor texted sondland and taylor explained president zelensky's reluctance to become a pawn in us politics. ambassador taylor said gordon, one thing kurt and i talked about yesterday was sasha! and he's a top adviser to president zelensky, sasha's point that president zelensky is sensitive about ukraine being taken seriously. not merely as an instrument in washingtondomestic reelection politics .
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so here you have sasha damiuk affirming his president wants to be takenseriously . it's pretty extraordinary when a foreign leader asked to communicate to this country that they want to be taken seriously and not just as some kind of pawn for political purposes. when an ally wholly dependent on us for military support, for economic support, for diplomatic support has to say please take us seriously, but this is what the ukrainians are saying. they understood this wasn't american policy. as much as we did. and they didn't want to be used as upon . ambassador taylor explained
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his text during his testimony . the whole thrust of this irregular channel was to get these investigations which danyliuk and presumably zelensky were resisting because they didn't want to be seen to be interfering, but also to be a pawn. so this is an important point to inches it wasn't just that they didn't want to be seen as getting involved in us politics because if they did and it looked like they were getting involved on the side of donald trump than it would hurt the support with democrats, it looked like they were getting involved in the other side . it wasn'tjust that , there was nobenefit to the ukraine to be dragged into this . there was no benefit to the ukraine by this. but they also didn't want to be viewed as upon. president zelensky has his own electorate. he's this new leader, a
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former comedian. and he wants to be taken seriously. he needs to be taken seriously because if the us won't taken seriously, you can bet vladimir putin isn't going to taken seriously the perception not just that there's a rift that he can't get military aid or it's in doubt or in question but the impression that he's nothing more than upon, you could see howproblematic that was for president zelensky . in other words, ukrainian officials understood just as our officials understood, just as all those folks you just saw, morrison and vindman and hill and others that had to go to the lawyers, all the people who listen to that call and understood this is wrong . and morrison goes on to say that he's no legal expert and can't really opine on the legality of what happened in
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this call. but they all knew it was wrong. they also knew that it was damaging to bipartisan support. they knew it was damaging to our national security, but here we see it wasn't just our people, it was ukrainians who also understood that it was a pure political errand were being asked to perform. that's no way to treat an ally at war. now, it wasn't just the testimony of us officials on this area and we know that directly from the ukrainians. indeed, we notice directly from president zelensky himself. who said quote, i'm sorry but i don't want to be involved to democratic open elections of the usa. here's zelensky saying i
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don't want to be involved. i don't want to beinvolved . and he shouldn't be involved. he shouldn't be involved in our elections, that's not his job and he knows that and is a tragic fact that the world's oldest democracy has to be told by this struggling democracy, this isn't what you are supposed to do. but that's what's happening here. let's go to the eighth reason why you can know that president trump put himself first . and that is there's no serious dispute that the white house tried to bury the call record. they tried to bury the call record. although president trump has repeatedly insisted that his july 25 conversation with president zelensky was perfect , the white house apparently believes otherwise.
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their own lawyers apparently believe otherwise . following a head of state call the white house normally issues a public summary or readout to lock in any commitments made by the foreign leader and publicly reinforce the core elements of the president's message. however, no public readout was posted on the white house website following the july 25 call. i wonder why that was area the white house instead provided reporters in a short incomplete summary of course omitted that major elements of that conversation. the short summary said today, president donald rick j trump spoke by telephone with president vladimir zelensky to congratulate him on his recent election. president trump and the president zelensky discussed ways to strengthen the
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relationship between the united states and ukraine including energy and economic cooperation . both leaders expressed they look forward to the opportunity to meet. that was it. i don't know about you but that does not seem like an accurate summary of that call. as you can see, that summary did not mention president trumps repetition of a debunked conspiracy theory about the 2016 election promoted by russian president putin. the summary did not mention president trumps demand that ukraine announced an investigation into his domestic political rival, former vice president biden. the summary did not mention that president trump raised, praised a corrupt ukrainian prosecutor who to this day continues to feed false claims to the president through rudy giuliani. if the call was perfect, if these investigations were legitimate, if the white house had nothing to hide, then ask yourselves why did the white house readout omit
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any mention of these investigations? why not publicly confirm that ukraine had been asked by the president to pursue them? why? because it would have exposed the president's corruption. but sanitizing the call readout wasn't the only step taken to cover-up the presidents wrongdoing. the white house counsel's office also took irregular efforts to hide the call record away on a secure server used to store highly classified information area national security council senior director tim morrison use all video clips of testified that he requested that access to the electronic file of the call record the restricted that it couldn't leak . mister morrison said the call record did not meet the requirements to be placed on the highly classified system. and mister heisenberg later claimed the call record had
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been placed on a highly classified system by mistake. sure, it was a very innocent mistake. however, mistake or no mistake, it remained on that system until at least the third week of september 2019. so that mistake continued from july all the way through september. why were they trying to hide what the president did? this was us policy. if they were proud of it, if they were interested in corruption, if this was about corruption, it had it had nothing to do with the president'sreelection campaign, if biden was an interesting coincidence, why did they bury the record ? why did they hide the record? why did they put the record on a system meant for highly classified information which the folks in the intelligence committee and many others can tell you is usually used for things like covert action
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operations. the most sensitive secrets. well, this was a very sensitive political secrets. this was a covert action of a different kind and character . this was a corrupt action. and it was in and they knew it was wrong and that's why they hit it. innocent people don't behave that way. let's go to the ninth reason that you know president trump put himself first. this is perhaps the clearest reason that we can tell that all president trump cared about is that president trump confirmed his desire for theseinvestigations . in his statements to his agents and when the scheme was discovered to the american people. the very day after he
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solicited foreign interference to help him cheat in the 20/20 election, president trump spoke with gordon sondland who was in ukraine. president trump had only one question for ambassador sondland. so, he's going to do the investigation? here is david holmes recounting the call between president trump and sondland. >> i then heard president trump ask is he going to do the investigation? ambassador sondland replied he's going to do it adding president zelensky will do anything you ask him to do. >> here we are this is july 26. president zelensky doesn't want to be used as upon, he was drawn into us politics. at this point he feels he has no choice. sondland tells david holmes he's going to do it.
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of course, that's the only thing the president asked about in the call. sondland says he going to do it adding zelensky will do anything you ask them to do including apparently be his pawn. now, although sondland didn't remember the details of this conversation he did not dispute holmes recollection of it. ambassador sondland had an interesting take on it which you should hear. >> actually, i would have been more surprised if president trump had not mentioned investigations, particularly given what we were hearing from mister giuliani about the president's concerns . >>that's pretty telling . that in this call the day after he's had this head of state call, they finally got the call arranged between these two presidents , and ambassador sondland, this
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major supporter of the president says i would have been more surprised if he didn't bring it up. the president doesn't bringup the war with russia. doesn't bring up anything else . he just brings this up and sondland confirms yes, frankly i would have been surprised if it were any different because we were all in the loop here . everybody understood what this president wanted and apparently everybody understood how wrong it was, how damaging. september 2019, even after president trump learned his scheme was in danger of becoming publicly exposed, he would not give up. he is still expected ukraine to announce the investigations into joe biden
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and this alleged ukrainian interference in 2016. according to three witnesses president trump emphasized ambassador sondland on a call september 7 that president zelensky quote, should want to do it . and then you know the president's remarks on october 3 . >>. [inaudible] i would think that if they were honest about it, they'd start a major investigation into the bidens. it's a very simple answer. >> here we hear again from the president's own words what his primary object is. and his primary object is helping his reelection campaign . helping to cheat in his reelection campaign. after all that we've been through, after all that we wentthrough with the russian interference in our election and all that cost , he was at it again. unrepentant, undeterred . if anything, and bold and by
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escaping accountability from his invitation and willful use of russian hacked materials in the last election and unconstrained. this is a president who truly feels that under article 2 he can do whatever he wants . and that includes coercing an ally to help him cheat in an election. and if he is successful, the election is not a remedy for that . a remedy in which the president can cheat is no remedy at all. which is why we are here. this was not about corruption which brings me to number 10. the 10 reasons you know president trump put himself first. ironically the president has argued his current corrupt
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conduct in soliciting shannon investigations from the ukraine was driven by his concerns about corruption in the ukraine. as attempt to legitimize his efforts is simply not credible, not the least bit believable given the mountain of evidence and record of president trump's corrupt intent. there is no evidence that president trump cared one wit about anticorruption efforts at all. that's the 10th reason you know this was all political. first, the evidence and the president trump's own public statements that make clear that when the presidenttalks about corruption in ukraine , he's only talking about that little sliver of alleged corruption that just somehow happened to the affected by his own political interests, specifically to investigations that would benefit his reelection. for example on september 25 in a joint press availability with president zelensky the man who doesn't want to be
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upon at the united nations general assembly president trump emphasized his understanding of corruption to relate tothe biden investigation . >> now, when biden's son walks away with billions of dollars from the ukraine and he knows nothing and they're paying him millions of dollars, that's corruption. >> you can imagine how president zelensky feels sitting there and hearing this. the man who does not want to be upon. the man who doesn't want to be pulled into american politics and there is the president at it again trying to draw his nation in even while they've got a war to fight. another example was on september 30 when president trump stated: >> the new president of the ukraine ran on the basis of no corruption. that's how he got elected and i believe he really means it but there was a lot of corruption having to do with the 2016 election against us.
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and we want to get to the bottom of it and it's very important that we do . thankyou . >> this is bringing up the crowd strikes conspiracy theory but the president says corruption against us. he's notconcerned about actual corruption cases, only matters that affect him personally . two days later presidenttrump again tried to link corruption with the biden investigation . >> the only thing that matters is the transcript of the actual conversation that i had with the president of the ukraine. it was perfect. we're looking at congratulations, we're looking at doing things together and what are we looking at? we're looking at corruption and i believe in 1999 there was a corruption bill passed between both countries.
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where i have a duty to report corruption and let me tell you something, biden's son is corrupt and biden is corrupt . >> two days after that the president again equated corruption with actions by others to hurt him politically. >> if we feel there's corruption like i feel there was in the 2016 campaign, there was tremendous corruption against me. if we feel there's corruption we have a right to go to a foreign country. >> here again the president is pushing out the kremlin talking point of ukrainian interference in 2016 and the crowdstrike conspiracy theory.
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when he's talking about corruption he talking about perceived efforts to hurt him. it's personal, it's political but it is not anticorruption policy. ambassador volker confirmed this fact. fighting corruption in the ukraine in fact refers to the investigation of the bidens and 2016. volker said. >> in hindsight i understood others saw the idea of investing in corruption involving the ukrainian company of burisma as equivalent toinvestigating vice president biden . >> again, although president trump, mister giuliani have used the general term corruption to describe what they want the ukraine to investigate, it wasn't about anything actually related to corruption. the evidence including the president's own statements made clear this is simply code for the specific investigations that president trump wanted ukraine to pursue. second, as we've discussed, the president's timing of his purported concerns about
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corruption and ukraine make them all the more suspect. before news of vice president biden's candidacy broke, president trump showed no interest in ukraine. he gave the ukrainehundreds of millions of dollars under a regime that lost power because of melting concerns about corruption. so here we are , the president and these prior years giving money to a government of mister poroschenko and zelensky runs an underdog campaign. underdog campaign, zelensky against poroschenko and what's the heart of zelensky's campaign? the poroschenko government is corrupt and he's ready to clean it up . he's the reformer. and he succeeds because the ukrainians really want to clean up their government area we see this reformer win
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. and carry the hopes of ukrainian people. now, president trump had no problem giving money appropriated by congress to the ukraine under the corrupt regime of poroschenko. or the corruption that existed during poroschenko, but a reformer gets elected, devoted to fighting corruption, suddenly there's a problem.there was a reason to give more support to the ukraine. this was the central pillar of his campaign. he came from outside the government. people placed their hopes in him. you can see president zelensky trying to flatter the president in that call saying i'm for draining the swamp to. he ran on a campaign of reform.
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so no problem giving money to the prior regime where there were abundant concerns about corruption but you get a reformer and in office and now there's a problem? we know what changed. theemergence of joe biden as a candidate . prior regime, corruption was no problem. reformer comes into office, suddenly there's a problem. if you need any more graphic example, you looked at that call . no one disputes that marie yovanovitch was and is a devoted fighter against corruption. that's her reputation, that was part of the reason they had to get rid of her. you look at that july 25 call , the president is badmouthing this person fighting corruption. he's praising the former ukrainian prosecutor who is corrupt area are we really believing thisis about fighting corruption ?
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no problem supporting aformer regime with corruption problems , but problems supporting areformer trying to clean it up . no problems with a corrupt former ukrainian prosecutor that he praises in that call. good man. problems with a us ambassador who has devoted her life to this country. it wasn't until 2019 after biden emerged as a considerable opponent, after special counsel mueller confirmed thatpresident trump's campaign had welcomed russianassistance in 2016 . that president trump , we are to believe, suddenly developed an interest in anticorruption reforms in the ukraine. never mind that his own defense department said they were meeting all the benchmarks. this new administration, the
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reform or was doing exactly what we wanted them to do, never mind that. now that biden is in the picture he's got a problem. and third, when given the opportunity to raise the issue of corruption with ukrainians, the president never did. despite the request of his staff, the word corruption never crosses his lips. just the bidens and crowdstrike. when the president first spoke to president zelenskyon april 21 he was supposed to, he was asked to by his staff bring up corruption . i think, go back and checkbut i think the readout of that call, that congratulatory call said he brought up corruption . am i right?
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my staff says i'm right. so april 21 he's asked to bring up corruption. thecongratulatory call with president zelensky, great reformer . he doesn't bring it up but you know, the readout says that hedid . it was just like the readout of the july 25 call. misleading. of course, the readout in the second call is far more misleading because there was far more to mislead about. but in those two conversations, there's never a mention of the word corruption . but we are to believe according to the bidens this is what our president was concerned about in the ukraine . here's lieutenant colonel vindman. >> colonel vindman, if i could turn your attention to the april 21 call, the first
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call between president trump and president zelensky , did you prepare a talking point for the president to use during that call ? >> yes i did. >> did those talking points include rooting out corruption in the ukraine west and mark. >> yes, that was something the president was supposed to raise in the conversation with president zelensky those were the recommended talking pointscleared through the nsc staff . >> yes. >> you listen in on that call? >> yes i did. >> the white house has now released the record of that call. did president trump ever mentioned corruption in the april 21 call? >> to the best of my recollection he did not. >> president trump alsodid not mention the word corruption on the july 25 call. here's lieutenant colonel vindman confirming that as
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well . actually, that slide is what i was referring to earlier with the good work of my staff. this is the readout of the april 21 call which ends by saying, it says president trump spoke today with vladimir zelensky to congratulate him in the april 21 election. the president wish him success and called the election an important moment in ukraine's history noting the peaceful and democratic matter of the electoral process. president trump underscored the support of the united states for ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders and expressed his
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commitment to work together with president zelensky and the ukrainian people to implement reformsthat strengthen democracy, increase prosperity and root out corruption . except that he didn't. let's hear colonel vindman . we don't have that? okay. we've heard enough from colonel vindman but president trump had the ear of president zelensky during the april 21 and july 25 calls. he did not raise the issue, the word corruption a single time. there's ample other evidence as well. white house officials made clear to president trump that president zelensky was anticorruption, that president trump should help him fight corruption. the president agencies and departments supported this too. the defense department and state department certified that ukraine satisfied all anticorruption benchmarks before president trump froze the aid. thepoint is this. the evidence is consistent . it establishes clearly that president trump did not care about corruption . to the contrary he was pursuing a corrupt aim.
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he wanted ukraine to do the exact thing that american policy officials have tried for years to stop foreign governments from doing. corrupt investigations of political rivals. to sum up: the evidence is unmistakably clear. on july 25 while acting as our nation's chief diplomat and speaking to the leader of the ukraine, president trump solicited foreign interference in the us election for one particular objective: to benefit his own reelection. to seek help in cheating in a us election.he requested, effectively demanded, a personal political favor. that ukraine announce two bogus investigations that were only of value to himself .
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this was not about foreign policy. in fact, it was inconsistent with anddiverged from american national security and american values . his own officials knew this and they reported it. ukraine knew this and his own white house attempted to bury the call. the president has confirmed what he wanted in his own words . he has made it clear he didn't care about corruption. he cared only abouthimself . now it is up to us to do something about it. to make sure that a president, that this president, cannot pursue an objective that places himself above our country. >> well, we've gone through the object of president trump's scheme. getting ukraine to announce
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that investigations would be held that would help him cheat and gain an advantage in the 20/20 election. those sham investigations were to advance his personal political interests, not the national interestsof america . let's drill down on how. how the president abused the power of his office and executed his corrupt scheme. as noted earlier, the president executed his scheme through three official actions. first, by soliciting for an election interference. second, by conditioning and official oval office meeting on ukraine doing or at least announcing the political investigations and third, by withholding military aid to pressure ukraine to announce
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those investigations. all three of president from official actions were an abuse of his power as president and done for personal gain. but the original view was president trump elicitation of election interference from a foreign country, ukraine. he tried to get an announcement of investigations designed to help him in 2020 presidential elections so let's start there. resident trumps corrupt demands of president zelensky in the july 25 phone call were not just a spontaneous outburst area they were a dramatic crescendo in a month-long scheme to extort ukraine into assisting his 20/20 reelection campaign. as was shown, there's evidence of president trump himself demanding that ukraine conduct the
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investigation. but president trump also delegated his authority to his political agent, rudy giuliani. to oversee and direct this scheme was beginning in late 2018 and early 2019. andhere's how that scheme worked . first, in january 2019, mister giuliani and his associates discussed the investigations with the then current and former prosecutor general of ukraine. as we discussed, both were corrupt. then in late april 2019, the scheme hit a roadblock the reform candidate , zelensky won the ukrainian presidential election. here was president-elect zelensky would replace the corrupt ukrainian prosecutor giuliani had been dealing with area president trump removed ambassador
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yovanovitch because his agents including giuliani believe she was another roadblock to the corrupt scheme they were undertaking in hisbehalf . in her place, president trump directed a team of hand-picked political appointees, us officials who were supposed to work in the public interest to instead work with mister giuliani to advance the president's personal interests. those were the three amigos. as ambassador sondland said, those officials quote, follow the president's orders. but even with ambassador yovanovitch von, president sondland zelensky resisted mister giuliani's overtures so giuliani at the president's direction throughout may and june ratcheted up public pressure on ukraine to announce the investigations.
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no luck, it was only then when mister giuliani did not get the deal done that president trump turned to the second official action using the oval office meeting to pressure ukraine. before we turn to the scheme for soliciting for an election interference, we need to understand how mister giuliani, the president's private agent assumed a leadership role in this scheme. applied escalating pressure on the ukraine to announce investigations helpful to the president's political interests . why is that so important? let's be clear, mister giuliani, is president trump's personal lawyer. he represented president trump with his knowledge and consent. the evidence showed mister giuliani and president trump were in constant contact in
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this time period. both us and ukrainian officials knew mister giuliani was the key to ukraine. let's review the president use of mistergiuliani to advance his scheme . first, no one disputes that mister giuliani was and is president trump's personal lawyer. president trump has said this, giuliani says it, we all know it's true. second president trump at all times directed andknew about mister giuliani's actions . how do we knowthis ? let's start with a letter signed by giuliani to president zelensky and here is that letter. on may 10, 2019 , mister giuliani wrote to a foreign leader, president-elect zelensky. the letter reads and i quote,
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in my capacity as a personal counsel to president trump and with his knowledge and consent, rudy giuliani, not a government official to speak about president trumps specific request and he makes it clear it was in his role as the president's counsel. now, mister giuliani didn't just tell the foreign leader that, he also told the press. the day before mister giuliani's letter to zelensky, the new york times published an article about mister giuliani's upcoming trip to ukraine. and here is the slide about that article. it said and i quote, rudy giuliani plans ukraine trip to push for inquiries that could help trump . mister giuliani said his trip was to press ukraine to initiate investigations into false allegations against the
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bidens and the 2016 election and that it was at the request of the president. he stated that president trump and i quote, basically knows what i'm doing, sure. as his lawyer. president trump repeatedly admitted knowledge of mister giuliani's activities and to coordinating with him about the ukrainianactivities . politico reported on may 11 2019 and i quote, in a telephone interview with politico on friday, trump said he didn't know much about giuliani's planned trip to the ukraine but wanted to speak with him about it. i'm not, and this is a quote of the president, i've not spoken to him in any great length but i will. trump said in the interview. i will him about it before he leaves . president trump new and directed mister giuliani's
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activities in may 2019 when mister giuliani was planning his visit to ts and that remains true today. the wall street journal reported that when rudy giuliani returned from atrip to he had last month , the president called him as the plane was still taxiing down the runway. is it from ask his lawyers quote, whatdid you get ? giuliani answered, more than you can imagine. even as president trump face impeachment in the house of representatives, he was coordinating with his personal attorney on the ukraine scheme. the president asked rudy what did you get weston mark the evidence also shows mister giuliani and the president were infrequent contact. during the investigation and in response to a lawful subpoena, the house got call
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records.they show contacts, not content between giuliani, the white house and other people involved in the president's scheme. forexample, on april 23 , rudy giuliani learned president trump had decided to fire ambassador yovanovitch. on that day, according to phone records, giuliani had an eight minute and 28 seconds call with a white house number. let's look at what happened the next day on april 24. giuliani was again repeated contact with the white house. for example, he had one eight minute and 42 seconds call with the white house number and hour and a half later yet another call. which allowed in three minutes 15 seconds with the white house area now, when a reporter recently asked who
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he called up the white house, mister giuliani said this. i talked to the president mostly. rudy giuliani remained in close contact with the white house after the disclosure of his planned trip to the ukraine inmid-2019 . >> .. but it wasn't just the frequency of mr. giuliani's contacts that were significant. here's what mattered. president trump direct did u.s. officials to work with his personal agent who was pursuing investigations not at all related to foreign-policy. u.s. officials including the president on national security
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adviser new there was no getting around rudy giuliani when he came to ukraine. witnesses repeatedly testified to the constant presence of rudy giuliani on television and in the newspaper. a state department official christopher anderson said that john bolton quote joked about every time ukraine is mentioned giuliani pops up. after ambassador yovanovitch's dismissal ambassador bolton told dr. hill there rudy giuliani was a quote hand grenade that's going to blow everybody up. dr. hill testified that ambassador bolton issued guidance for the national security council staff did not engage with rudy giuliani. why? because mr. giuliani was not conducting official u.s.
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foreign-policy. he was doing a domestic political errand for president trump. now these phone records as i say lawfully obtained revealed potential context between ambassador bolton and rudy giuliani on may 9, the day "the news york times" reported his trip to kyiv. rudy giuliani's role in ukraine policy is yet another topic that ambassador bolton could speak to you should call in here what he has to say about it. even without ambassador bolton's testimony multiple other administration officials confirmed mr. giuliani's central role. ambassador sondland said quote it was apparent to everyone that the key to changing the president's mind on ukraine was giuliani. david holmes, u.s. political counselor said giuliani, a private lawyer was taking a
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direct role in ukrainian diplomacy. it's bad enough that the president ordered u.s. diplomat to quote talk to rudy about ukraine. the scheme got worse. the evidence showed that ukrainian officials also came to recognize the important role of mr. giuliani. on july 10, 2019 andriy yermak the top aide to president zelensky sent a text to ambassador volker about rudy giuliani here do not text the ukrainian officials said this quote thank you for meeting and your clear and logical position. will be great to meet with you before my departure and discuss. i feel that the key for many things is rudy and i'm ready to talk with him at any time. let me repeat that.
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the key for many things is rudy. so the president used his personal agent to conduct his scheme with ukraine. they were in frequent contact, everyone white house officials and ukrainian officials knew they had no choice but to deal with giuliani. what was mr. giuliani doing that was so important to ukraine? again the evidence is clear. mr. giuliani's focus was to get investigations into president trump's political rifle to help the president's re-election. we have walked through some of the timelines of mr. giuliani's actions in statements about ukraine but let's just lined them up briefly because it makes the story so clear. april 2019 vice president biden officially announced his campaign for democratic party's presidential nomination. and a reminder at the time of
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biden's announcement and for months after public polling including from "fox news" showed that biden would teach president trump. the "fox news" polling data is up on the chart. right after president biden announced his candidacy and while biden was beating president trump in the polls mr. giuliani said in a public interview with "the news york times" that he was traveling to ukraine to pursue investigations. he wanted to make sure that both biden will not get to election day without reading investigated the scheme was all about president trump's re-election. this continued in june. mr. giuliani tweeted on june 21 and urged president zelensky to pursue the investigation. the scheme continues even now. mr. giuliani has tweeted about
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joe biden over 65 times since september. and president trump told you himself. he admitted on october 2 quote we have been investigating on a personal basis through rudy and others lawyers corruption in the 2016 election. president trump is the personal agent for ukraine. he's made this clear to u.s. officials and to the ukrainians. the evidence shows president trump and rudy giuliani were in constant contact during this period. president trump directed him to pursue investigations. he told the u.s. officials to work with rudy. he told ukrainians to work with rudy. rudy and his associates pressed to ukraine for investigations into the president's political rival. giuliani said quote biden will
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not get to election day without being investigated. keeping all this in mind let's turn to the president's first official act, soliciting for an interference. as we mentioned him the 2018th and early 19 rudy giuliani and his associates lev parnas and igor fruman were busy soliciting information from corrupt ukrainians to help president trump. they pursued a month-long campaign to dig up dirt on biden in late 2018 and early 2019 parnas, fruman and giuliani met extensively with two corrupt ukrainians -- yuriy lutsenko to
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gather information would president trump it as you will recall viktor shokin was correct. can't described shokin living far in excess of his government salary he never prosecuted anybody known for having committed a crime and too covered up crimes that were known to have been committed. and remember because viktor shokin was corrupted vice president biden had urged his removal. this was in accordance with u.s. policy. shokin blamed former vice president for his dismissal by the ukrainian parliament. he wanted to revive his political fortune in ukraine by assisting with giuliani's efforts. at the end of january giuliani parnas and fruman participated in a conference call with shokin. he made allegations about vice president wyden and burisma.
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shokin also falsely claimed that ambassador yovanovitch had improperly denied him a u.s. visa and that she was close to vice president biden. also in january giuliani parnas and fruman met with let's thank in new york. they discuss investigations to burisma and the bidens and whether ambassador yovanovitch was quote loyal to president trump. lutsenko held a grudge against ambassador yovanovitch because she had the broader state department were critical of lutsenko's failures. they were critical of his failure to prosecute corruption in ukraine. this was the motivation for lutsenko to give giuliani and his associates false information on biden and burisma and here's the point.
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lutsenko and shokin had grudges against biden and ambassador yovanovitch. why? because they were implementing u.s. policy to fight corruption in ukraine. giuliani and his associates had motives to harm biden, to help get president trump reelected. they had motives to remove ambassador yovanovitch or anyone else who got in their way and their efforts to smear biden. giuliani admitted this. he told "the news york times" that he spoke to president trump about how invested are yovanovitch frustrated efforts that would be politically helpful to president trump. giuliani admitted this was all to benefit president trump. documents give us evidence. whatsapp exchanges that parnas recently gave lutsenko made clear that it in exchange for
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derogatory information about biden lutsenko wanted yovanovitch removed from her post in kyiv. here is that whatsapp report. for example on march 22 lutsenko wrote quote if you don't make a decision about madam you are bringing into question all my allegations including about the mac. here b could either be biden or burisma or both but m madam is ambassador yovanovitch. in a march 22 text lutsenko implied that if parnas wanted dirt on biden orb or his mahi needed to do something about ambassador yovanovitch. days later on march 28 parnas assured lutsenko he was being recognized in the united states and he'd be rewarded. parnas wrote quote i was asked
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personally to convey to you that america supports you and will not let you be harmed no matter how things look now. soon everything will turn around and we will be on the right course. just so you know here people are talking about you as a true ukrainian hero. lutsenko responded with the dirt that president trump wanted. he wrote quote i have copies of payments from burisma to seneca minutes after being assured -- reassured that america supports you and will not let you be harmed. lutsenko claimed he had records of payments from burisma to rosemont's seneca partners affirmed -- by hunter biden. this text message along with other show that lutsenko was providing derogatory information on the bidens and exchange for parnas pushing for ambassador yovanovitch removal.
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now in late march and throughout april 2019 the smear campaign against the bidens and against ambassador yovanovitch and -- entered a more public space through a series of opinion pieces published on the hill. the public airing of these allegations was orchestrated, orchestrated by giuliani, parnas and lutsenko. we know from records produced by parnas that he played an important role in getting derogatory information from lutsenko and his deputy john solomon who wrote the opinion pieces in the hill. according to the hill articles ukrainian officials falsely claimed to have evidence of wrongdoing about the following. one, that vice president biden's efforts in 2015 to remove shokin , hunter biden's role at burisma, three ukrainian
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interference in the 2016 election in favor of hillary clinton, for that misappropriation and transfer of ukrainian funds abroad. this is what president trump wanted from the ukrainians. the same information mr. giuliani and his agents were scheming with ukraine to hurt ride in and in exchange to have ambassador yovanovitch removed. now mr. giuliani was very open about this and here is a clip worth watching. >> let me tell you my interest in that. i got information three or four months ago that a lot of the explanations for how this whole phony investigation started will be in ukraine. there were a group of people in ukraine working to help hillary clinton and were colluding really with the clinton campaign and the stems around the ambassador and the embassy being
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used for political purposes. i began getting some people coming forward to tell me about that and all of a sudden they revealed the story about her is not in biden's son. hunter biden was on board. >> mr. giuliani got laughed at on "fox news" for a dancing the crowdsourced conspiracy theory but the clip shows that he had been making an effort to get tori information from the ukrainians on behalf of his client president trump. my colleague ms. demings will now further detail how the scheme evolved. >> the majority leader is recognized. >> let me suggest that i
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understand presentations will continue for a while and i would suggest a dinner break at at 6:30 for 30 minutes. >> without objection, agreed to. >> chief justice roberts to the senators and the council for the president at this point everything was going to plan. mr. giuliani was scheming with the corrupt ukrainian prosecutors who were offering dirt on biden that would help president trump get reelected. they were pressuring -- they were pressing president trump to remove ambassador yovanovitch including publicly tarnishing her reputation through false and baseless claims. but then the president scheme hit a roadblock. on april 21, president zelensky
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then the anticorruption candidate won a landslide victory in ukraine's presidential election. u.s. officials unanimously testified that president zelensky's mandate to resume reform would be good for our national security. however it was potentially bad news for president trump. mr. giuliani did not have a relationship with zelensky. as a reformer he would be less amenable to announcing the sham investigation. zelensky would not want to get dragged into u.s. domestic policy at -- politics. additionally the election of a new ukrainian president raise concern that lutsenko with him mr. giuliani had been watching would be replaced by a new
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ukrainian prosecutor general. a new prosecutor general especially one appointed by an anticorruption regime would likely be less willing to conduct sham investigations to please an american president. mr. giuliani decided to attack the issue from both sides. he pressed president trump to remove ambassador yovanovitch which would keep lutsenko happy. he continued to work hard to get dirt on biden and he tried to get a meeting with zelensky to secure the new ukrainian leaders commitment to press the investigation. the strategy played out on april 23 and 24th. first on april 23 parnas and fruman were in israel trying to arrange a meeting between
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giuliani and the newly minted ukrainian president zelensky. on april 23, giuliani left a voicemail message for parnas. let's play that voicemail. well i was going to say would be difficult to hear but i'm sure you cannot hear it at all. let me tell you what it says. he says it's rudy. when you get a chance give me a call and bring me up to date, okay? i have got a couple of things to tell you to. parnas and giuliani eventually spoke on that same day. we have the phone records that prove that. according to phone records parnas and giuliani had a one minute, 52nd call.
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15 minutes after they hung up the records also show that mr. giuliani placed three short phonecalls to the white house shortly thereafter the white house called giuliani back the giuliani spoke with someone at the white house for eight minutes and 28 seconds. i will just quickly note that at the time the intelligence committee issued its report in mid-december we did not know whether that eight-minute and 282nd call was from the white house. we have since received information from a telecom company that it was indeed the white house. now we don't have a recording of that call. neither the white house nor giuliani produced any information to congress about what was discussed. of course the white house has reviewed as urj no -- refused as
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you go to cooperate in any way but even without the evidence that the white house is hiding or the evidence we do have, these phone records prove that mr. giuliani was keeping president trump informed about what was going on but he was trying to meet president zelensky and get ukraine to commit to the investigation. now let's look at president trump's decision to remove ambassador yovanovitch. following the calls between mr. giuliani and the white house on april 23, parnas as giuliani for an update. and parnas texts and that quote going to sleep my brother. please text me or call me if you have any news. giuliani responded, he fired her again. that was of course in reference
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to ambassador yovanovitch. her removal would no doubt flee the corrupt prosecutor lutsenko who offer derogatory information about hunter biden. it also eliminated a potential obstacle identified by giuliani. parnas responded and that quote i pray it happens this time. i will call you tomorrow my brother. and it did. because we know that the very next day on april 24, ambassador yovanovitch received two frantic phonecalls from ambassador carol koran at the state department. the second call came at 1:00 a.m.. according to ambassador yovanovitch as you can see from
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the slide on the screen the director general of the foreign service told her and that quote there is a lot of concern for me , that i needed to be on the next plane to washington. yovanovitch recalled, and i was like what? what happened? and perez said i don't know but this is about your security. you need to come home immediately. you need to come home on the next plane. yovanovitch asks what perez meant by quote physical security perez didn't get that impression but preceded that yovanovitch needed and that quote to come back immediately. this was no coincidence. mr. giuliani and his agents
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conspired to meet president zelensky. they conspired for ambassador yovanovitch to be removed and within hours of mr. giuliani saying he prayed ambassador yovanovitch would get fired, ambassador yovanovitch got a frantic phonecall to get on the next plane. that same day on april 24, giuliani appeared on "fox & friends" and promoted the false conspiracy theories about ukraine and vice president biden that were all part of this agreement. let's look and listen to what he said. >> they ask you to keep your eye on ukraine because in ukraine a lot of the work was done in digging up the information. american officials used ukrainian officials who used collusion with the ukrainians and horror in this case
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conspiracy with the ukrainians. i think you'll get interesting information about joe biden from the ukraine's about his son hunter biden about a company he was on the board of for years which may be one of the most crooked companies in ukraine. ukrainian russian company. not a ukrainian company. yanukovich the guy they tossed out, the guy who owns it pulled $10 billion out of ukraine has been a fugitive when biden's kid went to work there and biden bragged about the fact that he got the prosecutor general fire. the prosecutor general was investigating his son and the investigation went south. >> ambassador yovanovitch was never provided justification for her removal. she was anticorruption crusader, a highly respect did diplomat
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and she had been recently asked to extend her stay in ukraine. while american ambassador served at the pleasure of the president we do understand that. i am sure you would all agree that the manner and circumstances surrounding the ambassador's removal were unusual and raise questions of motive. every witness who testified confirmed that there was no factual basis to the accusations lutsenko lodged against ambassador yovanovitch. undersecretary of state david hail the most senior career diplomat at the state department testified that marie yovanovitch was an outstanding ambassador and should have been permitted to remain in kyiv are even more
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significant several witnesses testified that president trump's decision to remove ambassador yovanovitch undercut u.s. national security objectives in ukraine during a critical time. doc or hill for example explained that many of the key u.s. policies towards ukraine were being implemented by the u.s. embassy in kyiv and then suddenly quote we had just been lost the leadership. this created but hill labeled and i quote a period of uncertainty as to how our government was going to execute u.s. policy. george kent testified the ouster of ambassador yovanovitch hampered u.s. efforts to establish rapport with the new
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zelensky administration in ukraine. so why did president trump remove a distinguished career public servant, and anticorruption crusader and a top diplomat in the state department? we know why. the answer is simple. president trump removed ambassador yovanovitch because she was in the way. she was in the way of a sham investigation that he sowed desperately wanted. investigations that would hurt former vice president biden vice president biden and undermine them all are investigation into russia election interference. investigations that would help them cheat and the 2020
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elections. rudy giuliani admitted that he personally told president trump about is concerned that ambassador yovanovitch was an obstacle procure her ukrainian corporation on the two bogus investigations they solicited from ukraine. and rudy giuliani confirmed that president trump decided to remove ambassador yovanovitch based on the bogus claim that she was obstructing his scheme to secure ukraine's cooperation. indeed mr. giuliani was explicit about this when he told "the new yorker" last month. he said and that quote i believe that i need yovanovitch out of the way. she was going to make the investigations difficult for everybody. so let's recap.
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mr. giuliani and his agents on behalf of president trump, the united states president worked with corrupt ukrainians to get dirt on president trump's political opponent. mr. giuliani said this in press interviews. he texted about it with his agents and he repeatedly called the white house. following the election of a new ukrainian leader committed to fighting biden corruption, president trump removed ambassador yovanovitch. an anti-corruption crusader. and mr. giuliani told us why, to get her out of the way for the investigation.
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that is how far president trump was willing to go to get his investigation to smear a highly respected, dedicated foreign service officer who had served this country unselfishly, for his own selfish political interests and i think that is disgraceful. even with the removal of ambassador yovanovitch president zelensky's election victory threw a wrench into the president scheme. that's because lutsenko was reportedly going to be replaced. after mr. giuliani told "the news york times" on may 9 that he intended to travel to ukraine on behalf of president trump in order to and that quote metal in an investigation ukrainian officials publicly pushed back.
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now please hear what i said. ukrainians officials publicly pushed back on the suggestions of corruption proposed by mr. giuliani who was working on behalf of the u.s. president. mr. giuliani canceled his trip on may 10 and claimed on "fox news" that president zelensky was surrounded by and i quote enemies. of president trump. let's listen to. >> i decided sharon not going to go to the ukraine. >> you're not going to go? >> i think i'm walking into a group of people who are enemies of the president. >> it appears to giuliani's statement influenced president
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trump of ukraine as well and an oval office meeting -- at an oval office meeting on may 23 u.s. officials learned of giuliani's influence. ambassador volker testified that president trump quote didn't believe the positive assessment government officials gave the new ukrainian president. instead president trump told them that giuliani quote knows all of these things and said that president zelensky had some bad people around him. at this point the scheme had stalled. mr. giuliani and the president knew that they were going to have trouble with president zelensky for filling his corrupt demands for an investigation that would benefit president
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trump's re-election campaign. that ranks us to the next phase of the scheme. although his corrupt scheme was in trouble due to the results, the unexpected results of ukrainian election, the election would yield that and anticorruption reformer president trump doubled down on his scheme to solicit investigations for his personal benefit. on may 19, -- and may of 2019 with a gap in american leadership in ukraine after ambassador yovanovitch was removed president trump enlisted u.s. officials to help to do his political work. the scheme grew from false allegations by disgruntled
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corrupt ukrainians prosecutors to a plot that the president of the united states to extort the new ukrainian president into announcing his political investigations. during the may 23 oval office meeting president trump directed ambassador sondland, ambassador volker and secretary perry to work with mr. giuliani on ukraine. giuliani had made clear he was pursuing investigations for president trump in a personal capacity. he said that publicly on numerous instances and he was only working for the president in a personal capacity and not on foreign-policy.
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yet, president trump still told white house officials that they had to work with mr. giuliani to get anywhere on ukraine. we heard significant testimony on this point. for example ambassador volker recall that at the oval office meeting on may 23 president trump directed the u.s. officials to talk to rudy. ambassador sondland testified president trump directed them to talk to rudy and in that moment the u.s. diplomat saw the writing on the wall and concluded quote that if we did not talk to rudy nothing would move forward, nothing would move forward on ukraine. pay attention to ambassador
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sondland's testimony. >> to respond to our persistent efforts in that meeting to change the views, president trump directed us to quote talk with rudy. we understood that a talk with rudy meant to talk with mr. rudy giuliani the president's personal lawyer. let me say again we weren't happy with the president's directive to talk with rudy. we did not want to involve mr. giuliani. i believed then as i do now that the men and women of the state department, not the president's personal lawyer should take responsibility for ukraine matters. nonetheless based on the president's direction we were faced with a choice. we could abandon the effort to schedule the white house phonecall and a white house visit between president trump and zelensky which was unquestionably in our foreign-policy interest or we
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could do as president trump had directed and talk with rudy. we chose the latter course, not because we like it but because it was the only constructive path open to us. >> and just like that, u.s. officials charged with advancing u.s. foreign-policy. u.s. officials who were supposed to act in our country's interests were directed to instead a mass president trump's personal interest. from that part on they worked with the president's personal agent on political investigations to benefit the president's re-election. their work on president trump's behalf to illicit foreign interference in our elections
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continued throughout all of june for instance on june 21, mr. giuliani treated -- tweeted that president zelensky had not yet publicly committed onto politically motivated investigations designed to benefit president trump. when mr. giuliani's public efforts and his tweets didn't move president zelensky to announce the investigations he used u.s. diplomats as directed by president trump. this is important. after giuliani canceled his trip to ukraine in may and commented that president-elect zelensky and enemy of president trump around him. giuliani had minimal access to the new ukrainian leaders inner circle. his primary ukraine connection
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was prosecutor general poroshenko and he had already been informed that he would be removed as soon as the new parliament convened. so president trump gave him u.s. diplomat and directed them to work with mr. giuliani on his scheme. as you heard, president trump told ambassador sondland and volker talk with rudy and work with rudy on ukraine. and what did that mean? mr. giuliani tried to use ambassador sondland and volker to gain access to president zelensky and his inner circle through their official state department channel and made clear to president zelensky that he had to announce the
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investigation. on june 27 ambassador sondland brought ambassador taylor up to speed on ukraine because ambassador taylor had just arrived in the country a few weeks beforehand. ambassador sondland explained that president zelensky needed to make clear that he had -- that he was not standing in the way of the investigation that president trump wanted. president zelensky needed to make clear that he was not standing in the way of the investigations that president trump wanted and here is his testimony. >> june 27 ambassador sondland told me during the phone conversation that president zelensky needed to make clear to president trump that p.m. president zelensky was not standing in the way of investigations.
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>> ambassador taylor relayed this conversation to one of his deputies u.s. diplomat david holmes food testified in the understood the investigation to mean the arista my biden investigation that mr. giuliani and his associates had been speaking about publicly. let's listen to mr. holmes. >> on june 27 ambassador sondland told ambassador taylor at the phone conversation the gist of which ambassador taylor shared with me at the time president zelensky needed to make clear to president trump the president zelensky was not standing in the way of quote investigations are they understood that this meant the biden and burisma investigation by mr. gillani and associates have been speaking about in the media since march. >> even with the addition of president trump's political appointees to aid mr. giuliani's efforts president zelensky did not announce the investigation.
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ed mr. giuliani's june 21 we chose the president of ukraine was resisting president trump's pressure. so what happened? well that brings us to the president next official asked, turning up the pressure by conditioning and official white house meeting on ukraine announcing his political investigation. senators i know we have covered a lot of ground but as we have shown there is overwhelming and uncontradicted evidence of the president's scheme to solicit foreign interference in this year's presidential election.
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now let me say this also. each time that we have remind this body of the president scheme to cheat to win some of his defenders say that we are only concerned about winning the next election and democrats are only doing this to win the next election but you know better. because this trial is much bigger than anyone in election and it's much bigger than any one president. this moment is about the american people. this moment is about ensuring that every voter, whether a maid or a janitor, whether a nurse, a teacher or a truck driver, whether a doctor or a mechanic,
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that their vote matters and that america's elections are decided by the american people. president trump acted corruptly. he abused the power of his office by ordering u.s. diplomats to work with his political agents to solicit politically motivated investigations by ukraine. the investigations were designed solely to help his personal interest, not our national interests. neither investigations alyssa did i president trump had anything to do with promoting u.s. foreign-policy or u.s. national security. indeed as we will discuss later
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both investigations and in the president's broader scheme to secure ukraine's interference was a threat. it was a threat. it was a threat to our national security. the only person who stood to benefit from the abuse of office and solicitation of these investigations was donald trump, the 45th president of the united states. a violation of public trust, a failure to take care that the laws be faithfully executed. when it came down to choosing between the national interest of the country and his own personal interest, his re-election,
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president trump chose himself. >> mr. chief justice, the distinguished members of the senate, counsel to the president and all those who are simple peer today earlier this morning i was on my way to the office and i ran into a fellow new yorker who just happened to work here in washington d.c.. he said to me congressmen have you heard the latest outrage. i wasn't really sure what he was
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talking about so to be honest i thought to myself well, the president is now back in town. what has donald trump done now? so i said to him, what outrage are you talking about? he paused for a moment and then he said to me someone voted against derek jeter on his hall of fame ballot. live is all about perspective. i understand that house managers we certainly hope we can subpoena john bolton, subpoena mick mulvaney and perhaps we can all agree to subpoena the baseball hall of fame. try to figure out who out of 397
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individuals, one person voted against derek jeter. i was thinking about that as i prepared to rise today because what is more american than baseball and apple pie? what is more american than baseball and apple pie? perhaps the one thing that falls into that category is the sanctity and continuity of the united states constitution. house managers we are here in this body because we believe it's necessary to defend our democracy. some of you may agree with us at the end of the day and others most likely will not but we do
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want to thank you for your courtesy and for your patience and extending to us the opportunity to present our case with dignity to you and to the american people during the solemn constitutional moment. i want to speak for some time on the second official at that president trump used to corruptly abuse his power which was the withholding of an oval office meeting with the president of ukraine. as discussed yesterday quid pro quo is a latin term this or that. president trump refused to schedule an oval office meeting until ukrainian leaders
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announced the phony political investigation that he demanded on july 25. he knew president zelensky needed the meeting to bolster his standing. he knew that ukraine is a fragile democracy. he knew that mr. zelensky needed the meeting to show vladimir pulte -- vladimir putin that he had the support of donald trump. president trump exploited that desperation for his own political benefit. this, or that. if the quid pro quo exists, the answer is yes. let's listen to ambassador sondland on this point. >> i know that members of this committee frequently framed these complicated issues in the form of the simple question was
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there a quid pro quo? s8 testified previously with regard to the requested white house meeting, the answer is yes >> did president trump abuse his power and commit an impeachable offense? the answer is yes. the phony political investigations that president trump demanded from ukraine were part of a scheme to sabotage a political rival, joe biden to and cheat in the 2020 election. no national interest was served. the president used his awesome power to help himself and not the american people. he must be held accountable. the president argued that mick mulvaney tried to do that quid pro quo arrangement are common
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aspect of u.s. foreign-policy. nonsense. there situations where official united states had to stay meetings or the provision of foreign assistance are used to advance the national interest of the united states. fat that is not what has happened here. here, president trump sought to advance his own personal political interests facilitated by rudolph giuliani the human hand grenades. let's walk through the overwhelming evidence of how president trump with health and official white house meeting that was vitally important to ukraine as part of a corrupt scheme to convince president zelensky to announce to phony political investigations. first, the oval office meeting
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president trump corruptly withheld constitutes an official act. president trump chose to withhold this meeting for a reason. it was not some run-of-the-mill meeting. it was one of the most powerful tools he could wield in his role as a leader of the free world. it would have demonstrated u.s. support for ukraine's newly-elected leader as a critical time. ukraine is under relentless attack by russian backed separatists in crimea and in the east. ukraine desperately needed an oval office meeting and president trump knew it. second president trump withheld that oval office meeting to increase pressure on ukraine to resist his re-election campaign by announcing to phony investigations.
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my colleagues have detailed extensively throughout the day. this is a classic quid pro quo. multiple administration officials including the president's own handpicked supporters and appointees confirmed that a corrupt exchange was being sought. finally contemporaneous documentation makes clear that the president corruptly abused his power to advance his scheme to try and cheat and the 2020 election. this, or that. the granting or the denial of an official oval office meeting constitutes an official act. as we discussed earlier today and abuse of power occurs when a president exercises his official
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power to obtain a corrupt personal benefit while ignoring or injuring the national interest. pursuant to the constitution and more than 200 years of tradition as president donald trump is america's head of state and chief diplomat. article ii grants the president wide latitude to conduct diplomacy and specifically receive ambassadors and other public ministers. the president decides which head of state meetings to advance the national interest in which foreign leaders are deserving of an official reception in the oval office. perhaps one of the most prestigious nonreligious venues in the world. in diplomacy, perception matters
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meetings between heads of state are make or break moments back and determined the charge at drake of global events and a meeting with the president of the united states in the oval office is unquestionably monumental particularly for a fragile democracy like ukraine. the oval office is where foreign leaders facing challenges at home like a war with russia. pursuit of a strong and public demonstration of american support. that is especially true in this particular case. the decision to grant or withhold an oval office meeting with president zelensky had her found consequences for the national security interest of both ukraine and the united states. to understand the full context
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of president trump's corrupt demands of the ukrainian leader it's important to consider the geopolitical context that all of you are very familiar with confronting the american ukrainian people. ukraine is at war with russia. in 2014 russia annexed crimea by force. the united states and other european countries rallied to ukraine's defense providing economic assistance, diplomatic support and later with strong advocacy from this body, legal aid. this support meant russia faced consequences for its aggression. here is ambassador yovanovitch's testimony explaining just how important the united states is to ukraine.
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>> the u.s. relationship for ukraine is the single most important relationship and so i think that president zelensky or any president would do what they could do you know leaned in. i'm not saying that's a guess. i'm saying they would try to lean in and see what they could do. >> it's fair to say that the president of ukraine that is so dependent on the united states would do just about anything within his power to please the president of the united states he could? >> you know, if he could. i am sure there are limits and there were a lot of discussions with the ukrainian government about all of this but yes, we are an important relationship on the security side and the political side and the president of ukraine one of the most
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important functions that individual has is to make sure the relationship with the u.s. is rock solid. .. >> a meeting with the president of the united states in the oval office is one of the most diplomatic signals of support that the united states in send. better in diplomat testified to this. >> new leaders, particularly countries that are trying to have good footing in the international arena, seek a meeting with the u.s. president in oval office at the white house. as the ultimate sign of endorsement in support of the
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united states. >> president zelinski with a newly elected leader. he was swept into office regarding corruption in he also had a mandate to negotiate an end to the war with russia. to achieve both goals, he needed strong u.s. support. particularly from resident trump. which zelinski sought in the form of white house meeting. david holmes, political counselor to the embassy in chief, described the particular importance of a white house visit to ukraine. in the context of war with russia. soon if it is important to understand the white house visit was critical to president zelinski. president zelinski needed to show u.s. support at the highest levels in order to demonstrate to the russian president clinton
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that he had u.s. as well as to advances in vicious anti- corruption agenda at home. >> in other words, ukraine new that russia was watching carefully. now is particularly true in the spring of 2019. when donald trump launched the scheme at the center of the abuse of power charged in during this time. , vladimir putin was preparing for peace negotiations with the new ukrainian leader. putting could choose to escalate, or he could choose to de-escalate. putin could choose to diss de-escalate. in it was an assessment of whether president trump had ukraine their back.
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>> the russians as a sediment deposition would love to see the humiliation of president zelinski it at the hands of the americans. >> in a full meeting would've set a strong signal of support. that president trump had ukraine spak. the absence of such a meeting, could be devastating. indeed ukraine made very clear to the united states, just how important a white house meeting between the two heads of state was. for his fragile democracy. at the deposition, the one the screen that reveals, that the director for ukraine on a national security council, he recalled that following president zelinski inauguration, in every saying meeting, with
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ukrainian officials, they asked their american counterparts about the status of an oval office meeting. this is between the two presidents. initially, the ukrainians had reason to be optimistic. that a white house meeting would be promptly scheduled. on april 21st, during president zelinskis first call with president trump, the new ukrainian leader asked about the white house visit three times. as part of that brief congratulatory call, president trump himself did extend an invitation. ukraine's dependence on the united states in is desperate need for a white house meeting created an unequal power dynamic between the two presidents.
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as lt. col. testified, is that unequal power dynamic the turn any subsequent request for a favor from the president into a demand. >> nocturnal, you described this as a demand. this favorite that the president asked. what is it about the relationship of the president of the united states in the president of ukraine that these you to conclude that when the president of the united states as a favor like this, it is really demand. >> the cultural i come from, the military culture, when a senior ask you to do something, even it it is unpleasant, it is not to be taken as a request. it is to be taken as an order. in in this case, the power disparity between the two
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leaders, my question is that in order to get the white house meeting president zelinski would have to deliberate these investigations. >> ambassador scotland, trump appointee, also acknowledge the apartments of his power disparity. in how it made president zelinski eager to satisfy president trump's wishes. this was from sandland. >> he heard president trump asked he zelinski going to do the investigation. to achieve replied, is going to do it in then you added the present zelinski will do anything that you meeting president trump asked him to. do you recall that. >> i probably said something to that effect because i remember the president zelinski was very just very willing to work with
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the united states was being very allocable in so putting in an trump speak, by saying he loved your in will do whatever you want. he said he would really work with us. on hold because of issues. it. >> he was not only willing, he was very eager right. he met because ukraine depends on the united states as its most significant allies. >> absolutely. >> in other words, any request, president trump made to ukraine would be difficult to refuse. so when president trump asked ukraine to investigate joe biden, as well as the wild conspiracy theory about the 2016 election, those were absolutely interpreted by present zelinski in his staff as a demand. in that is where the white house
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meeting enters into the equation. in when ukraine did not immediately cave, to rudy giuliani, in the spring in announced the funny investigation, president trump ratcheted up the pressure. as leverage, he chose the white house meeting he dangled during his april 21st call precisely because president trump know how important the meeting was to ukraine. following their visit, for the new ukrainian leader inauguration, ambassador sondland, ambassador volker, in secretary. met with president trump. in each of them encouraged the president to schedule the meeting. here is what ambassador sunderland had to say.
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>> we advise the presence of the strategic importance of ukraine in the value of strengthening that relationship with president zelinski. to support this reform, we asked the white house for two things. first, a working phone call between president trump in zelinski, in second a working oval office visit. in our view, both more vital to cementing the u.s. ukraine relationship. demonstrating support for ukraine in the base of russian aggression, in a broader u.s. foreign policy interest. >> so even though this meeting was critical to both rick ukraine in america, president trump ignored all of the policy advisors in expressed reluctant to meet with the new ukrainian president. he refused to schedule an actual date. he claims that ukraine tried to
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take me down. this was in 2016. in directed at the three officials quote talk to rudy in even though on may 29th, the president signed a letter reiterating his earlier invitation for president zelinski to visit the white house, he still did not specify a date. but then president trump went further. he met with ukraine adversary. ukraine's enemy. our enemy. president trump met with russia. this didn't go unnoticed. ukrainian officials became concerned when president trump
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scheduled that face-to-face meeting with vladimir putin with vladimir. at the g summit in japan on jun. mr. holmes testified on this particular point, in the troubling signal that meeting sent to our friends in ally, ukraine. also in june 28, while president trump was still not moving forward on the meeting president zelinski, we met with russian president putin, at the g20 summit in japan. sending a further signal to lack of support ukraine. >> let's discuss how he used the withholding of the white house meeting to pressure ukraine for his funny investigation. his quid pro quo scheme. it's important to understand that the pressure exerted on ukraine by delaying the white house meeting, didn't just occur
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right before the july 25th call it that pressure existed during the entire scheme in it continues to this day. we know this from the efforts of the administration officials to secure the meeting in from the ukrainians continuously like trying to "lock down" a date. for example, even after president trump expressed reluctance, about ukraine on man officials continued working to secure a white house meeting. on july 10th, the race to again with mr. andriy yermak when he met with john bolton at the white house. >> in then we knew the ukrainians would inevitably have a question about the meeting. in so as we get to the main
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discussion, going into other affairs. they would ask about white house meeting. in mr. bolton was trying to hurry us back. >> as you see present zelinski just didn't raise the oval office meeting on his april 21st call, erase the meeting on july 21st, 5th call with president trump again. president zelinski said in the july 25th call, i also wanted to thank you for your invitation to visit the united states specifically washington dc. after the july 25th call the ukrainians continue to press for the meeting. but that meeting never happened. only on september 25th. after the has announced its investigation into the president's misconduct as it relates to ukraine, in the
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existence of a whistleblower complaint became public, did president trump in president zelinski meet face-to-face. for the first time. that's meeting was on the sidelines of the un general assembly. that was in new york. it was dominated by public relief of the july 25th call record that occurred the end of the day before. the release of that call. it was a far cry from the strong demonstration of the support that would've been achieved by an oval office meeting. even president zelinski recognized that a face-to-face talk on the sidelines of the united nations general assembly, was not the same as an official oval office meeting. sitting next to president trump in new york, he again raised the white house meeting.
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here is what present zelinski said. >> i want to thank you for the invitation to washington in you invited me. but i think you supposed to tell me the date. >> president trump was not just withholding a small thing. the oval office meeting was a big deal. ukraine remains at work with russia. it desperately needs our support in as a result the pressure on ukraine not to upset president trump, who still refuses to meet with president zelinski in the oval office to the state.
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david holmes testified that the ukrainian government bonds in oval office meeting even after the release of the security assistance. in that our own united states national security objectives would also benefit from such a meeting. >> although the fold on the security systems may be lifted, there are still things that they wanted their not getting including the meeting with the present at the oval office. whether they will hold to continue or not, they understood that that's what the president wanted. i think that continues to this day. i think they're being very careful. they still need is now going forward. president zelinski is trying to arrange a meeting with president put it. his first face to face meeting to advance the peace process.
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he needs president putin the support at the highest levels. ukraine still needs us in they are still fighting these words today. >> let's evaluate how exactly president trump made clear to ukraine in white house meeting, was conditioned on the ukraine announcing to phony investigations that would help the president trump's reelection in 2020 in help them cheat in corrupt our democracy in by the end of may, it was clear that president trump pressure campaign to solicit porn election interference wasn't working. president zelinski had been elected.
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in he was talking about mr. giuliani news overtures. even with president trump said work with mr. giuliani an effort to get president zelinski to announce the two phony investigations, that didn't work. so president trump apparently realized that he had to increase the pressure. that is money explicitly made clear to ukraine, that it would not get the desperately sought after oval office meeting unless president zelinski publicly announced the phony investigations that president trump sought. july 2nd, 2019, ambassador volker presley communicated the need for investigations. directly to president zelinski during a meeting in toronto.
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>> after weeks of reassuring there ukrainians that it was just a scheduling issue, i decided to tell president zelinski that we had a problem with the information reaching president trump from mayor giuliani. i did so in a bilateral meeting at a conference on ukrainian economic reform in toronto. this was on july 2nd 2019 when i left the u.s. delegation. i suggested that he call president trump directly. in order to review or renew their personal relationship in ensure president trump that he was committed to investigating in fighting corruption in things in which present zelinski had based his presidential campaign. i was convinced that getting the two presidents to talk with each other, but overcome the negative perception of ukraine the president trump still harbored. >> after ambassador volker, instructed present zelinski in toronto, on what to do, he
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updated ambassador taylor, on his actions. he told ambassador taylor that he had counseled the ukrainian president on how to quote prepare for the phone call with president trump. he also told ambassador taylor that he advised zelinski that president trump would like to hear about the investigation did in addition to invest bar volker news outreach, to present zelinski, in vascular someone at continue to apply pressure as well. during two white house meetings that took place on july 10th, with ukrainian officials. the first meeting included national security advisor john bolton, doctor tannehill, lt. col. alexander penman, secretary
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rick peary, ambassador volker, as well as bolton news ukrainian counterpart in ukrainian presidential aide andriy yermak. after the reform plan, ambassador sondland, approach the subject of the phony investigations. fiona hill, recalled that ambassador scotland blurted out the following. in that meeting. with ukrainians. ambassador sunderland. when agreement with the chief of staff, remaining of these investigations in energy sector. that is code. it is code for the bidens.
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ambassador volker also recalled that ambassador scotland also raise the issue of the 2016 election in investigations. ambassador volker found his comments in that meeting to be inappropriate. >> i participated in the july 10th meeting between national security advisor bolton in the defense counsel in as i remembered, the meeting was essentially over when ambassador sondland mayday comment about investigations. i thought all this thought it was inappropriate. >> exchange, it underscores the by early july, president trump's demand for investigations had come to fully dominate almost every aspect of u.s. foreign
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policy towards ukraine. securing a ukrainian commitment to do the investigations was a major priority of senior u.s. diplomats as directed by president donald john trump in a july 10th meeting also confirmed that the team to pressure ukraine into albany investigations, was not a rogue operation. one plus five senior administration officials as 1600 pennsylvania avenue. as amb sondland testified, everyone was in the loop. >> mr. majority leader, based on the statement that we should break at around 630, i asked your indulgence, this may be a natural breaking point in connections with my
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presentation. thank you. >> mr. majority leader. >> i asked for consent that we
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