Skip to main content

tv   Afternoon Live  BBC News  November 13, 2019 2:00pm-5:00pm GMT

2:00 pm
hello, you're watching afternoon live. i'm simon mccoy. today at 2pm: labour vows to outspend the conservatives on the nhs in england — promising to invest cash, reduce waiting times and improve mental health services. wrenching and well—being will be at the heart of our mission, to help people live happier, healthier and longer lives. the quality care that patients deserve. a rescue plan for oui’ patients deserve. a rescue plan for our nhs. getting into deep water — borisjohnson is heckled as he meets people who've lost everything in the floods. i think the shock of seeing your property engulfed by water is huge, and also the anxiety about what may still be to come. i do thank very much the emergency services and the army for everything a historic task — democrats say they aim to prove donald trump's actions warrant impeachment, as the first public hearings begin in washington this afternoon.
2:01 pm
the worst is still ahead — australian authorities warn that massive bushfires raging in two states will continue to pose a threat to life. coming up on afternoon live, all the sport. hello. it is being seen as one of the biggest coups in women's football. sam occurred, one of the best strikers in the world, has signed for chelsea women. she is the all—time top scorer in the american and australian lea ks. thanks,jane, and nick miller has the weather. it may be dry now, but there is more rain on the way two areas that might not be wanting it. and the role that the weather is playing on the floods in venice. thanks, nick. also coming up: is the drive for electric cars risking damage to the ocean bed? we have exclusive access to a project assessing the impact of deep sea—mining.
2:02 pm
good afternoon. labour has unveiled plans to outspend the conservatives on health care in england, with a warning that the nhs is "crying out for a financial rescue plan". labour is pledging a real terms increase in funding of £26 billion a year by 2024 — about £6 billion more than current government plans. it says it will use the money to cut waiting times and increase investment in mental health treatment, but the conservatives have warned that labour's plan for a shorter working week would send staff costs soaring. our political correspondent, jessica parker, reports. it is, they feel, their territory. labour will go big on the nhs at this election. £6 billion big to be precise, to be added in time to england's annual health budget. we will give mental
2:03 pm
health the greatest priority it has ever had. we will introduce free prescriptions, prevention and well—being will be at the heart of our mission to help people live healthier, happier, longer lives. the quality care patients deserve. a rescue plan for our nhs. labour's plans are costly and unworkable, so the conservatives, especially with jeremy corbyn‘s long term aim for a four—day working week. but the tories have had a rebuke of their own. on the right, a young david gauke. he has been a party member for nearly 30 years, and served in theresa may's cabinet. now he is saying this. traditional conservative voters like me should lend their support to the liberal democrats. he lost the party whip in september, and now... you are going to stand as an independent? why? yes, lam. the reason being, and this pains me to say it, but a conservative majority after the next general election will take us in
2:04 pm
the direction of a very hard brexit. this intervention from a man who was until recently a serving member of a conservative cabinet surely remarkable in the midst of a general election campaign. except it doesn't quite feel that way. it's the latest example of how politics recently, particularly brexit, has pushed party loyalties to and beyond breaking point. last week, the former labour mp ian austin urged voters to back boris johnson, claiming jeremy corbyn was unfit to lead the country. visiting flood hit yorkshire today, not everyone was receptive to the prime minister. is there anything in particular you would like us to do? no, thank you! later he will try to reinforce his mantra of getting brexit done so the country can move on. and reacting to david gauke... we are fighting for every vote we can get, and we regret we haven't
2:05 pm
got his support, but we will do our best in the campaign ahead. every politician will attract their critics and fans. but today, a push on all sides to convey core messages. jessica parker, bbc news. as we've heard, labour is promising to spend more on the nhs in england. so do their pledges add up? our reality check correspondent, sophie hutchinson, explains. the cost to patients has been long waits in a&e, delays for treatments for illnesses such as cancer and reductions in services was not labour says it will reverse that. a20 £6 billion real term health care funding boost for 2018 — 19 to 2010 to 3-24. a funding boost for 2018 — 19 to 2010 to 3—211. a real annual increase of 4.3% in real terms for health spending over the next four years. so how generous is that pledge? drilling into the figures, you look
2:06 pm
at nhs front line funding in england. labour is promising an annual increase of 3.9% over five yea rs. annual increase of 3.9% over five years. compare that to the last decade under the coalition, there we re decade under the coalition, there were 1.1% decade under the coalition, there were1.1% and 1.4% decade under the coalition, there were 1.1% and 1.4% rises under the conservatives. the lowest sustained rates in the history of the service. the 3.9% pledge is a whisker away from the 4% needed to cope with rising demand. it is something like a sustainable long—term position. but it will take a long time to deal with the backlog of problems that have accumulated, and there is a serious issue with the lack of nurses and resources that it will ta ke nurses and resources that it will take a long time to put right. how does labour compare to the
2:07 pm
conservatives on the nhs? the pa rti esa re conservatives on the nhs? the partiesare not so different. labour are planning to spend more by 2024, but that is out of a total budget of £155 billion. so both parties are proposing significant increases which should help to stop the current crisis. but they don't come close to the large 6% rises given to the nhs under new labour. labour says that if it wins the election, it won't allow another referendum on scottish independence in theirfirst term. speaking in glasgow, jeremy corbyn said a labour government would "concentrate completely in investment in scotland". the party had previously suggested it would not block a second referendum. ifa if a labour government is elected on december 12, our priority will be investment all across the uk, including over 70 billion of capital investment in scotland and a green industrial revolution, and the
2:08 pm
social justice for bring industrial revolution, and the socialjustice for bring to many of the poorest people in scotland, who live in great poverty and great difficulty. the prime minister borisjohnson has moved to warwickshire this afternoon. 0ur political correspondent, alex forsyth, is there. we are respecting to hear from we are respecting to hearfrom him this afternoon. the pace of this campaign is picking up on all sides. yes, campaigns always do. i think today was about boris johnson yes, campaigns always do. i think today was about borisjohnson trying today was about borisjohnson trying to bring it back to what is effectively his court message in this campaign, which wrapped up in a nutshell is, give me a majority in parliament, i will get brexit done and then i can move onto everything else, all of the other good bits. in his mind, a focus on the good bits todayis his mind, a focus on the good bits today is something he is calling a clea n today is something he is calling a clean energy revolution, which is investment in science, technology, innovation, to try to stimulus to the economy but also tackle climate change will stop it is part of his pitch and it is those lines we will hear from pitch and it is those lines we will hearfrom him pitch and it is those lines we will hear from him today when he turns up inafew hear from him today when he turns up in a few hours at a manufacturer
2:09 pm
here in warwickshire. he faced questions earlier in the flood hit areas about the way he handled that, and questions as well about david gauke, what he said this morning. he has effectively criticised the prime minister's approach to brexit, saying that getting it done quickly could result in a hard brexit, which is why he advocates against a boris johnson majority government. while the prime minister will be trying to bring things back to his core message on brexit today, there will be undoubtedly, inevitably questions on the other points as well. we are sort of aware of what he will say this afternoon, but it is one of those check against delivery once, isn't it? it certainly is. as we have come to expect from boris johnson, it certainly is. as we have come to expect from borisjohnson, there is some interesting land was that we might expect he can say. we will have to be listening carefully. not only is he accusing jeremy corbyn of wanting to go around the houses
2:10 pm
again with a second referendum, which borisjohnson again with a second referendum, which boris johnson has again with a second referendum, which borisjohnson has criticised in the past, contrasting it to what he calls his quick delivery of brexit, but he is also accusing jeremy corbyn and the labour party of something called onanism. i will let viewers make up their mind about what that means if they want to google it, but it is about self—indulgence. you have totally thrown me! in terms of the front line of this, the nhs, and not for the first time at a not for the last time in this campaign, absolutely on the front line of this. as happens in election campaigns, there are areas which the parties think are there particular strengths. they try to bring the
2:11 pm
campaign back to those points, which is why we have been hearing from labour about the investment it will make the nhs today. some dispute around another labour policy to do with the four—day working week, whichjohn macdonald with the four—day working week, which john macdonald has with the four—day working week, whichjohn macdonald has been promoting over the course of a long period, some decade or so, saying label consider moving towards that. whether or not that will apply to the nhs, there is not imminent move towards that, but there has been a question over it. labour feel like the nhs is comfortable to for them, they are moving that front and centre, talking about the investment they will make, with the conservatives leaping onto the spending plans, which has become an attack line for them. they are trying to move the rhetoric back onto their turf, which is brexit. the parties can talk about all of this as much as they want, but the ones who make the choice of the end of the day are the voters. there you are, standing in for
2:12 pm
of the day are the voters. there you are, standing inforvicky of the day are the voters. there you are, standing in for vicky young, who has lost her voice today, that is her story. that was one what you do not want to say in any rod because this afternoon. thank you. let's take a look at some of the other stories from the election campaign. campaiging at a boxing club in north london this morning, the lib dems have pledged half a billion pounds to tackle knife crime. the party's leaderjo swinson said the fund would provide opportunites to prevent young people being drawn into youth violence and gang—related crime. the snp leader nicola sturgeon has challenged westminster to "get its act together" on green energy, and "stop obsessing" about nuclear power. campaigning in edinburgh, she vowed snp mps would pressure the government to take stronger action on climate change. the green party says that the new government needs to put the "climate emergency front and centre" and make it "the priority for all financial commitments". its co—leader jonathan ba rtley also called for the role of chancellor to be replaced with a "carbon chancellor" to oversee the treasury and a new department for the green new deal.
2:13 pm
members of the army have arrived in south yorkshire to help with flood relief as people in some flooded areas have been told they could be out of their homes for weeks. this morning, the prime minister has been visiting the flood—affected town of stainforth and was asked if the government's response had been too little, too late. i perfectly understand how people feel, and there's no... you cannot underestimate the anguish that a flood causes. you saw the couple earlier on, everybody i've talked to, the shock of seeing your property engulfed by what is huge, and also the anxiety about what may still be to come. i do thank very much the emergency services and the army for everything they've been doing. obviously we are working very hard, notjust with... we decided last night to send some of the troops here that you see, and they're doing a greatjob
2:14 pm
in trying to repair the flood bank there. earlier, our correspondent, robert hall, sent this update from stainforth. the prime minister has moved on from here, across the flooded fields to the village officially, he just left there. has been talking to more residents and those rallying to help them. before we talk to my guests, them. before we talk to my guests, the news is that 200 more troops have been called into help with the effort. let's come back to the prime minister's visit here. the prime minister's visit here. the prime minister came to the central club. i gather he had a mixed reaction. did. he did get a mixed reaction. for a lot of people around here, it's not been about brownie points for either of the parties. we have had most of the leaders here. we are not bothered about politics at this moment in time. for us, it is about getting the help we need. more could
2:15 pm
have been done earlier. it's not been done. wejust have been done earlier. it's not been done. we just want to help them, and that is what we are trying to do. you are one of three centres. i think it is extraordinary, the way people have rallied, especially here. the whole village has been rallying around and doing everything they can, that is what we set this up they can, that is what we set this up for, because they have got the brunt of it around here. we didn't get much because of the bridges. they have had the brunt of it and we set it up for them on saturday morning. we have been doing what we can. thank you, gentlemen. there is still this remarkable effort going on. three centres here, and elsewhere, concentrated on those most in need. that is likely to continue for some time yet. the cost of living rose at the slowest rate for almost three years last month. the office for national statistics confirmed inflation fell to 1.5% in october — down from 1.7%. it was caused in part
2:16 pm
by the price cap on energy bills being reduced. you're watching afternoon live. these are our headlines: labour pledges to outspend the conservatives on the nhs in england as it unveils its spending plans. as the army arrive in south yorkshire, the prime minister meets people who've lost everything in the floods. the first public hearings in president trump's impeachment inquiry begin shortly in washington, following weeks of testimony behind closed doors. in sport, the breaking news in the last few minutes, the fa have confirmed that bernardo silva has been suspended for one match and fined £50,000. he was charged after sending a tweet to a team—mate where he compared him to a spanish confectionery character. it's being seen as one of the biggest coups in women's football,
2:17 pm
sam kerr has been signed for chelsea. she is the top scorer in the american and australian leaks. i will be back with more and all of those stories after 2:30pm. as you've been hearing, the impeachment inquiry into president trump is set to go public. the first televised impeachment hearings are due to begin in washington in around one hour's time. democrats are aiming to show that the president used his office to put pressure on a foreign leader for his own domestic political gain. 0ur washington correspondent gary 0'donoghue reports. there was no quid pro quo. no quid pro quo. quid pro quo! three short latin words. in essence, "you scratch my back, i'll scratch yours." thank you very much, mr president. that's what the president stands accused of. pressuring ukraine's volodymyr zelensky to investigate mr trump's opponents in return for hundreds
2:18 pm
of millions of dollars in aid. and that allegation has persuaded the top house democrat to drop her resistance. i'm announcing the house of representatives moving forward with an official impeachment inquiry. everything centres on a july phone call with president zelensky, in which mr trump brought up joe biden and his son, hunter, who'd worked for a ukrainian gas company. in the partial transcript of the call, donald trump asks for a favour. he then asks about a conspiracy theory surrounding the 2016 election, but goes on to say... "there's a lot of talk about biden's son, so whatever you can do with the attorney general would be great. so if you can look into it? it sounds horrible to me." i had a perfect phone call... perfect, it was a perfect conversation. it was absolutely perfect! a week before the call, the military aid had been put on hold by the white house. the president insists the two things were not linked,
2:19 pm
and has doubled down on his demand for an investigation despite there being no substantive evidence against the bidens. people have got to know whether or not their president's a crook. well, i'm not a crook. richard nixon resigned when he knew for sure he was going to be impeached and thrown out after the watergate scandal. but this place has only formally impeached two presidents in more than 230 years, and neither of them was removed from office. chances are, donald trump won't be either. so, why are the democrats bothering? those open hearings will be an opportunity for the american people to evaluate the witnesses for themselves, to make their own determinations about the credibility of the witnesses, but also to learn first—hand about the facts of their president's misconduct. the first witness in public will be the serving ambassador to ukraine, william taylor. he's already stunned washington by telling congress that military aid was tied to investigating the bidens for domestic political gain.
2:20 pm
and it's evidence like that that democrats will hope can damage president trump in the run—up to next year's election. gary 0'donoghue, bbc news. ajury in auckland has been shown cctv of a man, accused of murdering a british backpacker, pushing a suitcase said to contain her body. grace millane died on the night before her 22nd birthday while travelling in new zealand. the footage showed the suspect, who cannot be named for legal reasons, buying a suitcase, shovel and cleaning products in the days after ms millane's death. he denies murder. fire chiefs are warning that the worst of australia's bushfires are still to come. more than a million hectares of land has already burned and the emergency services say they're currently fighting more than 150 bushfires across the country. while eastern states are the worst affected, parts of western australia are now under threat. phil mercer has more.
2:21 pm
conditions in new south wales have eased following tuesday's catastrophic warning. the toxic case that smothered sydney has gone, but still these fires are burning. they are extremely intense across eastern australia, dozens of places are burning, many of them out of control. it has been a dangerous day in the state of queensland. communities there have been evacuated. it's been very warm, the winds have been erratic, and it's these factors that have conspired to make conditions in queensland so very dangerous stop on the other is of the continent, in western australia, there have been bushfire emergencies in the city of geraldton. back in the east, the forecast for the nikki days is not good. more hot and windy conditions are expected. what this region badly needsis are expected. what this region badly needs is rain, but the forecast is
2:22 pm
showing very little rain on the horizon. we are still in spring here in australia, and the expectation is that summer could be very long and very dangerous. phil mercer, bbc news, on sydney. severe flooding in venice is the result of climate change, and will leave a permanent mark, the mayor luigi brugnaro has said. the floods are the worst since 1966, with many parts of the historic city underwater. one of the city's main landmarks, saint mark's square, was under a metre of water overnight. andy moore reports. this is something you don't see very often. the world famous st mark's basilica, and a single man splashing about in the floodwaters in front of it. this is what the square normally looks like when it's flooded with tourists, not with water. in the basilica itself, lagoon water is welling up. it's been flooded for only the sixth time in its 1200 year history. it is feared that serious damage may have been done
2:23 pm
to its many treasures. venice often experiences acqua alta, or high waters. but this is higher than most. the second highest, in fact. translation: we've reached another record. we need everyone to lend a hand, and we need to be united in the face of this, which is evidently the effect of climate change. a crane had to be used to move this ferry after it got stuck under a bridge. the mayor says he will declare a disaster zone and asked the government for more emergency funds. translation: as a venetian, i should say all the bad things i think about those who run the city, but that's the way it is. what do you want to do? work on a multi—billion project to protect the city started in 2003. the movable gates will eventually stop the most serious flooding, but the scheme is not due for completion for several years. so, for the time being, venice and its invaluable heritage will continue to suffer.
2:24 pm
andy moore, bbc news. we are expecting a speech from nigel farage of the brexit party in the next few minutes. that is the scene right now in east london. i show you that now because i'm having to apologise because we might be interrupting him to go to that. let's pick up with what the mayor of venice has been talking about, and what has been happening in venice. incredible scenes. that is not the unusual part of the story, it is how high this tight has been. when you get tied to this high, two factors come together. the astronomical, so that i tap in, but the meteorological as well, which is why this tight has been so high. it is the second highest on record. just seven centimetres height of what
2:25 pm
happened in 1966. some amazing scenes will stop devastation coming out of venice, but we will talk about those meteorological factors that we have seen playing a part here. one of those is this area of low pressure in the mediterranean that has been there this week. anticlockwise winds around that, blowing up from africa, they have been gusting at 50 or 60 mph through the adriatic. they have been funnelling through towards venice. this is... it is like a storm surge. you hear about those around hurricane swiss water is fed up along the coastline. these things have come together to produce an exceptionally high tide. not unusual to get them coming together, but thatis to get them coming together, but that is when you get them together. we had from the mayor, who said that climate change is behind this was not do we know? it is difficult in venice. there are meteorological things, but venice is
2:26 pm
sinking. how you put those together to see the impact is having. there are other things going on. there is are other things going on. there is a big dip in thejet stream across the western side of europe. it is a wavy looking jet stream. interestingly, it was quite similar backin interestingly, it was quite similar back in 19 six to six with the record flooding and tide that venice had. a wavyjet stream pattern... it could be that climate change is feeding into that as well, meaning it can be more wavy, so you can get low pressure sitting in a place for a longer amount of time, or you get high pressure in a certain place and you get droughts. you might be more familiar with it going from west to east, carrying high pressure. how will be monitoring the jet stream in 19 626? we have records of its position going back quite a long way, you can see the changes going back decades.
2:27 pm
this is not just. .. see the changes going back decades. this is notjust... there were not that many satellites around in 1966 was not we have got measures through the atmosphere, we sent up balloons into the atmosphere that measured wind speeds higher up you go, you have ways of measuring that through planes and other things. it is not just planes and other things. it is notjust satellites that keep out the records, but lots of other things. we can go back a long way. there is an end point where we go back to as far as we can reliably say. but it is becoming more wavy, weather systems are staying in a certain place for a longer period of time that may lead to more of these events. the final point of this, you will be relieved, five out of the last ten high tides in venice, five of them have happened in the last 20 yea rs. of them have happened in the last 20 years. the evidence is suggesting
2:28 pm
that it years. the evidence is suggesting thatitis years. the evidence is suggesting that it is becoming more frequent, producing these tights. you are going to tell us what is happening closer to home. yes, there is a lot going on here as well, the horrible flooding that has been taking place, a lot of water out there. there is rain in the forecast, a subject you will need to get onto. dry at the moment across the midlands and yorkshire. the clouds of ingathering in south—west england because wet weather is beginning to move in here. this area of low pressure is the one that will bring us our rain, initially towards parts of wales and south—west england. it pushes this weather front further north was those areas that have had the flooding, meaning more rain in areas that do not want it. more persistent rain pushing in towards more south and west wales as
2:29 pm
it goes into the evening. quite gusty winds around some of the coast here, but dry weather elsewhere across the uk, thankfully. into tonight, this area of wet weather feeds in across more of southern england, into the midlands and wales was up some snow in the hills of wales late in the night. it could turn icy as we are below freezing, a frost across much of the northern half of the uk. into tomorrow, we are focusing on this area of wet weather. through this band of rain, it will be a very wet afternoon, but some of the higher totals probably towards parts of distal mud bath, wiltshire and somerset, easing into the afternoon, but then it moves further north, so we get more rain pushing in towards the east midlands, into parts of yorkshire as well. we do not have the same rain totals as last week, but more rain is coming back to where it is not wanted, where there are still flood warnings. we need to keep across the impacts of that. much of scotland and northern ireland looking dry,
2:30 pm
except for eastern scotland into the early evening. low pressure is still close by into the weekend. that will bring some outbreaks of rain on friday. not as wet on friday, but it could pep up towards east anglia and south—east england. thank you very much. let's ta ke let's take you to nigel farage. we are back in the ring again. a lot of people over the last week have tried to land some very heavy blows on me. virtually everybody in establishment politics, many sections of the media. but tell you what, we are still moving. and would you believe it, the one thing we do in the brexit party is innovative, different things, and the others copy us. so this morning, jo swinson
2:31 pm
was in the ring at a boxing club in north london. but there are two big differences between jo north london. but there are two big differences betweenjo swinson's event this morning an hour event this afternoon. her event was about cancelling the greatest democratic exercise in the history of our nation, and our event is about democracy and is becoming an independent country. there is one other big difference between swinson's event and our event. we have got heavyweight star boxer dereck chisora with us! welcome. i went to watch him fight at the o2 the other week. any of you, just don't pick an argument with dereck.
2:32 pm
it has been a very interesting week and it has been a challenging week. i had and it has been a challenging week. ihada and it has been a challenging week. i had a big decision to make over the course of last weekend i do not like one little bit the withdrawal agreement that was brought back from brussels and that ben has talked about this afternoon. it wasn't brexit. but clearly, under pressure, because he knew we would stand in every seat in the country, boris did something that i hope he sticks with. if not, he will come to regret. he made two big statements on sunday, one, that we would leave next year but secondly and more importantly, that we are now going to negotiate a free—trade deal along the lines of canada, without any political alignment. he has effectively said we are tearing up pa rt effectively said we are tearing up part of that agreement and we are going to change it. boris is very
2:33 pm
good at making promises. very good at saying we will leave on the 31st of october, come what may, do or die, i would of october, come what may, do or die, iwould rather of october, come what may, do or die, i would rather be dead in a ditch and the rest of it. i will tell you what we are going to do for this election. we will take him at his word, but we will hold him to his word, but we will hold him to his word. and in parts of east london like this, there are constituencies that voted by 69%, by 70%, to leave the european union. they are now represented by labour mps who are standing on a manifesto that says... diane abbott articulated it beautifully on question time the other week. yeah, don't send your kids for maths
2:34 pm
lessons with diane abbott, all right? but she laid it out beautifully. if labour the election, they will go back to brussels, negotiate an even worse deal than has been done by borisjohnson. they will put it to the country in a referendum. remember, as far as labour are now concerned, leave voters didn't know what they were voting for. how patronising can you be? we are going to teach them a lesson for that. and we will have a choice of remain or the form of remain that they have negotiated, and they will then vote against the very deal they negotiated. i mean, you simply couldn't make this stuff up. it is a complete betrayal by the labour party. all their senior figure said during the referendum, after the referendum and indeed in their election manifesto, they said
2:35 pm
they would honour the result of the referendum, and they have completely betrayed the trust of labour voters in this country. we are going to stand against every single one of them. science million led —— 5 million labour voters, and many of them would never vote for the conservative party as long as they live, but they will vote for the brexit party. our strongest scores in those european elections were in the strongest old labour areas of this country. so we are fighting a serious campaign. we are taking on labour and all the remainers. and it isn't just brexit we labour and all the remainers. and it isn'tjust brexit we need, because what i have seen this week in my dealings with the conservative party
2:36 pm
isa dealings with the conservative party is a political party, like labour, who want to get a form of brexit and then they want everything to go back to the way it was before. our country, our democracy, the way the system works now needs absolutely fundamental reform. the very fact that this government think they can buy me off with a peerage so i will simply go quietly tells me two things. firstly, by the way, i am not for sale. i keep telling them, i have got principles. i'm not for sale. but it tells me that actually, this whole system where people get appointed to the house of lords is a
2:37 pm
form of political corruption. it's the kind of thing i would expect to see in south america. the slogan that we launched the brexit party on, ican that we launched the brexit party on, i can see one being held up their and one over there, and one over there, why don't you all hold them up? because we want to change politics for good, and we can only do that by getting brexit party mps into the house of commons. we want to hold borisjohnson to his promise, and then let's transform the political landscape. let's re—establish trust between voters and those that represent us and let's start to believe in our great country and our great people once again. thank you very much indeed. studio: sur, nigel farage. no new announcements particularly made at that brexit event. suggesting...
2:38 pm
let's bring in tom barton, who is at the back of the room. is he saying that he has been offered a peerage? it sounds like it, yes. he was certainly suggesting that he had been offered a peerage but that he turned it down. even so, he has stood down candidates around the country where they were standing in seats which the conservatives had won. but the crucial thing today is that nigel farage had been under a lot of pressure from across the brexit movement, including from his old ally arron banks, who funded the leave. eu campaign during old ally arron banks, who funded the leave.eu campaign during the referendum, to stand down notjust in those seats which the conservatives had won at the last election, but those seats that they thought they could win from labour at this election including seats like where we are standing out in
2:39 pm
ilford north, held by labour. in the past it has been held by the conservatives, we have just heard from one of the brexit party candidates on stage, with nigel farage confirming that they will stand against every labour mp in the country and not backing down to that pressure both from the conservatives and from some of his allies to stand down in those seats. remember, boris johnson cannot get a majority in parliament and he makes gains against the labour party at this election next month. well handled, is nigel farage continues to speak behind you! thank you very much. let's show you what is happening in washington, dc. this is the scene of the united states prepares for the curtain going up on that impeachment enquiry into donald trump and his dealings with ukraine. this is going to be broadcast on all american networks because this week we will
2:40 pm
be hearing from three witnesses and the focus eventually will be on somebody. we will hear from public serva nts somebody. we will hear from public servants who have privately testified that mr trump withheld military aid to pressure ukraine into investigating his political rival, joe biden. huge sense of anticipation in washington as the assembled media get ready to hear the start of that evidence is that impeachment hearing goes public. we will take you to washington when that gets under way. environmental groups fear that mining the deep ocean will cause lasting damage, so research is now under way into its impact off the coast of spain.
2:41 pm
in the waters off malaga, an experiment with a strange—looking machine. lowered underwater to test a new and controversial kind of mining on the ocean floor. a camera on the machine monitors its advance over the sea bed. a soft coral stands in its path. mining would involve excavating rocks down here, and no—one knows the implications. the project is run from this spanish research ship, funded by the eu to find new sources of important metals. it's a challenging operation, but there's momentum behind an emerging industry. what this project shows is how the technology is advancing in a way that makes deep sea mining seem much more plausible, which confronts us with a very difficult question. is it the right thing to do, given how little we know about the potential impact it could have on life on the ocean floor? operating underwater,
2:42 pm
mining the sea bed has never been tried before. it would destroy whatever is directly in front of the machines and they'd create clouds of sand and silt, which could smother marine plants and creatures even a long way away. so it's actually sands or sediments from the sea floor being whipped up by the tracks and creating big clouds. sabine haalboom is one of the researchers studying the effects of the experiment to see what might happen when mining starts for real in the pacific. so normally in the deep pacific, at four or five kilometres depth, there's hardly any material in the water, so the water is crystal clear. but if you then make a massive plume of a cloud of sediments, all the animals that are living there aren't used to it so, yeah, they will probably suffocate. but there's growing pressure for mining to start. rocks like these, billions of them, are the target. because they're amazingly rich in important metals,
2:43 pm
especially cobalt, which is needed for batteries. the future is electric. so the boom in electric cars means there's growing demand for cobalt, and mining companies think the deep ocean could provide it. if you want to make a fast change, you need cobalt quick, and you need a lot of it. if you want to make a lot of batteries, you need the resources to do that. and there's a lot of it in the ocean? and there's a lot of it in the ocean. so, if mining goes ahead, can the damage be limited? the machine being tested here in spain is designed to minimise the impact. the starting point is down here. this device slices into the sea bed to lift the rocks that are valuable. the concept is to keep the machine as light as possible so the tracks don't sink too much into the sea bed, and all the sand and silt that will be whipped up, these vents should channel that to stop it spreading too far. scientists are now analysing the cloud and measuring the distance it travels. a pivotal moment in deciding how
2:44 pm
we treat the oceans. we're on the brink of a new time that we'll go down to the deep sea and start changing the landscape of the deep sea and the deep sea life. and then we have to consider, is it worth it? do we want to do that in the same way as we did already with land? this is a trial device. the machines that will actually do mining will be about ten times bigger. dozens of ventures are planning to open mines on the sea bed. this is a glimpse of how they might look. david shukman, bbc news, in the bay of malaga. some breaking news from the high court. we have just heard that royal mail's strike has been blocked. postal workers have just heard that they can't go ahead
2:45 pm
with strike action in december in a high court ruling. now, let's go to the united states. the first televised hearings in the impeachment inquiry into us president donald trump are set to begin in a few minutes' time. key witness will give evidence — on camera — with the public watching. live now to capitol hill in washington and a bbc news special with michele fleury. welcome to capitol hill and the bbc news special. we are just a matter of minutes away from the first day of minutes away from the first day of public impeachment hearings, a big day in washington, a momentous moment for the nation. this is after all only the fourth time that a sitting us president has been up for impeachment. the allegations being made against president donald trump are that he tried to influence a foreign government to dig up dirt on
2:46 pm
a potential presidential rival, joe biden. during the course of the next few minutes, we will bring you lots more on this and of course, after weeks of lea ks and more on this and of course, after weeks of leaks and testimony behind closed doors, things are due to move into the public and we are waiting for the televised hearings. let's go to the room and show you what that looks like. this is where we are expecting to hear the testimony. it isa expecting to hear the testimony. it is a large room to try and accommodate what is expected to be a historic day in the united states. we will be following proceedings throughout the day and we will be going to our correspondents and guests for analysis and context of what we are seeing and what we will be hearing. we will also be live at the white house, where laura trevelya n the white house, where laura trevelyan is following events. we know that donald trump will be watching the proceedings from there. he has already been tweeting this morning, basically dismissing the proceedings as a witch—hunt. there
2:47 pm
are going to be a lot of people we are going to be a lot of people we are going to be a lot of people we are going to be hearing from. two key witnesses today, and a third will be testifying on friday. let's talk you through who you should be watching for. william taylor is the top ambassador to ukraine. he will be speaking shortly. you will also be speaking shortly. you will also be hearing from george kent. he was the deputy assistant secretary for european and eurasian affairs at the state department. and on friday, the former us ambassador to ukraine is due to testify. we will also be hearing from eight more witnesses next week, all of this trying to build a case for the public to decide whether or not donald trump should be impeached. we are going to try and bring you much more analysis over the next few minutes but for now, let's just remind over the next few minutes but for
2:48 pm
now, let'sjust remind ourselves over the next few minutes but for now, let's just remind ourselves of how we got here with the bbc‘s gary donohue. there was no quid pro quo. no quid pro quo. quid pro quo! three short latin words. in essence, "you scratch my back, i'll scratch yours." thank you very much, mr president. that's what the president stands accused of. pressuring ukraine's volodymyr zelensky to investigate mr trump's opponents in return for hundreds of millions of dollars in aid. and that allegation has persuaded the top house democrat to drop her resistance. i'm announcing the house of representatives moving forward with an official impeachment inquiry. everything centres on a july phone call with president zelensky, in which mr trump brought up joe biden and his son, hunter, who'd worked for a ukrainian gas company. in the partial transcript of the call, donald trump asks for a favour. he then asks about a conspiracy theory surrounding the 2016 election, but goes on to say...
2:49 pm
i had a perfect phone call... perfect, it was a perfect conversation. it was absolutely perfect! a week before the call, a military aide had been put on hold by the white house. the president insists the two things were not linked, and has doubled down on his demand for an investigation despite there being no substantive evidence against the bidens. people have got to know whether or not their president's a crook. well, i'm not a crook. richard nixon resigned when he knew for sure he was going to be impeached and thrown out after the watergate scandal. but this place has only formally impeached two presidents in more than 230 years, and neither of them was removed from office. chances are, donald trump won't be either. so why are the democrats bothering? those open hearings will be an opportunity for the american people to evaluate the witnesses
2:50 pm
for themselves, to make their own determinations about the credibility of the witnesses, but also to learn first—hand about the facts of their president's misconduct. the first witness in public will be the serving ambassador to ukraine, william taylor. he's already stunned washington by telling congress that military aid was tied to investigating the bidens for domestic political gain. and it's evidence like that that democrats will hope can damage president trump in the run—up to next year's election. gary o'donoghue, bbc news. iam now i am now standing 50 yards from where that hearing is due to take place. the room is expected to be filled to the rafters. earlier, there was a huge long line of people waiting to get in. as i mentioned,
2:51 pm
the last time there was a televised hearing on impeachment was of course during bill clinton. let me bring in our guest, joseph marano, a former prosecutor. he is in our washington, dc studio. i want to start with gary o'donohue's reports. he used the term quid pro quo. that really is at the heart of this. can you explain what it means? sure. it is not in itself a crime. it is a latin phrase for i give you something, i get something in return. the closest thing we can compare it to in our system is that it is effectively a form of bribery. i give you something and in exchange, i get something and in exchange, i get something back that benefits me personally. there is the contours of what the democrats are trying to do here. they are trying to say, that this is akin to a bribery prosecution. it may not be a formal crime but in the democrat be my eyes, it is at least worthy of
2:52 pm
considering impeachment by the executive. so right now we are in the investigation phase was that thatis the investigation phase was that that is very different to what we have seen in the past with bill clinton and richard nixon and those impeachment hearings. we haven't yet got those articles of impeachment but it sounds like the democrats are leaning towards bringing in one of bribery? that certainly seems like where this is going. the democrats know what these witnesses are going to say because they have already had close depositions. so this is effectively a show for the american public. the democrats, who control this process, effectively know where this process, effectively know where this is going to go. i don't expect bombshells or major revelations. they know what is going to happen. they know what is going to happen. they know what happened in the transcript between president trump and president zelensky, and they are most likely racking into some sort ofa most likely racking into some sort of a bribery allegation, perhaps coupled with some obstruction of
2:53 pm
justice allegations that the president has not cooperated with the process and has not been forthcoming. this proceeding is not going to go is passed impeachment public hearings have gone before. we have learned that the head of the house intelligence committee will ta ke 45 house intelligence committee will take 45 minutes. then the ranking top republican on the committee will ta ke 45 top republican on the committee will take 45 minutes. they may give some of that to lawyers. give us a sense of that to lawyers. give us a sense of what we can expect from the republicans. the republicans are probably passed attacking the process. they are now going to have to attack the substance. they will say a few things. one, they will say there was no quid pro quo because there was no quid pro quo because the aid to ukraine was ultimately released and nothing was received in exchange. that is subject to argument, but i think that is one of the best position is the republicans can make. they will also imply that the president in our system has
2:54 pm
broad authority when it comes to foreign policy. he can do things that many people might not think are right. but it is effectively his co re right. but it is effectively his core and if you don't like it, impeachment is not the answer. we have an election in less than a year from now. we will see a combination of those two arguments from republicans. the question will be, how much will they resonate with the viewers at home? joseph marano, thanks for talking us through what we can expect from the democrats and republicans today. we were talking earlier about donald trump watching from the white house. perhaps you could call it a case of counter programming, but we are expecting him later today to meet the leader of turkey and he will be holding a press co nfe re nce of turkey and he will be holding a press conference later, so a chance possibly for him to respond publicly to what happens here today. i want to what happens here today. i want to bring in laura trevelyan now. what are you hearing in terms of what is going on inside the white house? well, the president has had a
2:55 pm
busy morning already on twitter. he was up and tweeting just after 7am, watching his favourite programme, fox and friends, approvingly quoting conservative commentators saying the whole process is a partisan hoax. and then he tweeted just two lines separately. one tweet said read the transcript, referring to the transcript, referring to the transcript of his phone call with ukraine's president in which mr trump says it is perfect, even though in that transcript, he does ask ukraine's president to "do us a favou r" ask ukraine's president to "do us a favour". the president says that was all about investigating corruption. and his second tweet was, never trump ass. that is supposed to undermine those witnesses we will hear from undermine those witnesses we will hearfrom one undermine those witnesses we will hear from one capitol hill undermine those witnesses we will hearfrom one capitol hill and imply that they are so—called never trumpers, part of the bureaucracy of the civil service who never wanted donald trump to be elected because he represents radical change. that will be the line of attack that republicans will probably go for in
2:56 pm
the enquiry. meanwhile in the white house, there is a rapid response room that has been set up and they will be monitoring those hearings live and tweeting out their responses, making videos on social media, the whole nine yards. thank you for the latest from a very chilly scene outside the white house. we can get more farm a la north america editorjon sopel. took us through the significance of this today and where this sits in impeachment proceedings? well, this is an epic day. blockbuster, use whatever word you like to describe whatever word you like to describe what is going to unfold. in sport, you have things like the super bowl or the world cup final. this has a similar feel to or the world cup final. this has a similarfeel to it in the atmospherics and build up to it. if the house of representatives votes to impeach donald trump, this will only be the third president ever to
2:57 pm
have been impeached in the country's history. richard nixon of course resigned before it got to that point. so it is a big moment for america and a big moment for the democrats and the republicans. and it isa democrats and the republicans. and it is a high wire act for both sides, because if the democratic pa rty‘s sides, because if the democratic party's witnesses are seen to fumble, or can't ask difficult questions, the republicans will feel reinforced in their argument that this has all been a partisan witch hunt. if the people perform well and you have the eyes of america on these people giving their evidence today and on friday and next week, there may be that shifts the terms of debate, with people saying may be the president should be impeached, maybe he should be removed from office. and that of course means that the stakes could not be higher. when the son schiff, the prosecutor in all of this, the head of the
2:58 pm
house intelligence committee, has arrived. you can see him. we are waiting for the witnesses to arrive and we will cross over there when the hearing begins. jon, i want to get back to this idea of swaying the public. how important is that an that move the needle on the other thing we yet seen, which is that so far, if you look at the impeachment proceedings, those in favour and those against seem to follow along party lines, republicans not breaking away. that is something democrats need to happen if they don't want this to be seen as a partisan process. exactly. you will have the democrats trying to keep the temperature down in the committee room. they want drama, but they want the people who have been called to give evidence to be able to tell their stories and set it out for the american people and the allegation that there was a quid pro quo, that donald trump wanted something in return from the
2:59 pm
ukrainians for the military aid that congress had agreed to pass. i think what you will see from the republicans is an attempt to dismantle various bits of the evidence. why does it matter? because public opinion at the moment is showing that the americans, like on everything else, are split down the middle on the merits and demerits of impeaching the president and removing him from office. but if you get people thinking there was wrongdoing here and that the president has abused his position and that he did go too far in what he was expecting from the ukrainians, and the way the rudy giuliani, his personal lawyer, was getting involved in what should be state department policy, if they come to the view that that is too much, that puts pressure on moderate republicans who might feel that if we don't impeach him, will there be a blowback at the presidential elections in 2020, where our seats that are up for grabs might be in danger? and if you get republican
3:00 pm
senators starting to pull away from the president and put an air between the president and put an air between the two of them, you could find yourself in a position where support builds in the senate vote, which is a trial where the jurors suddenly decide, i think there is reason to impeach the president and remove him from office. and that is what the white house will be fearing. at the moment, there is no sign of that. if you were to ask me to bet, i would still say it is incredibly unlikely that donald trump will be removed from office. but as we have learned in politics over the last three or four years, everything is possible in politics and no one should think that everything is locked down. there is a lot to play for in these hearings, and that is why what unfolds in the ways and means committee room today and on friday and next week really matters.
3:01 pm
the bbc‘s north america correspond there on a blockbuster day here on capitol hill. you were watching a bbc news special on the first day of public impeachment hearings. we will cross over to the room where that is happening as soon as it begins. you can see the head of the house intelligence committee is already there. we are waiting for the witnesses to arrive, and we will cross that room when it does begin. i want to return to a former prosecutor who is in our washington studio. as a former prosecutor, what is the challenge facing those inside the room? is the challenge facing those inside the room ? we is the challenge facing those inside the room? we are also not going to hear questions, we will hear legal counsel coming forward to ask questions as well. i think that analysis was right. the perception
3:02 pm
has been that the advantages are to the democrats right now because they control the house and they control the rules, the witness flow, and they control in many respects the questions and the parameters around the questions. at the end of the day, what they are trying to do is a fairly momentous task, they are try to get a slice of the population, a small slice that is undecided about all of this, to understand further what has happened and then perhaps change their mind about the perception of what the president did. the questions have to be seen as fair, they have to be seen as basic and understandable. they have to elicit the response is that the democrats will be hoping for. the republicans have their own narrative and they will be trying to underplay what the witnesses say that is contrary to the president's position and at the same time try to extract from them issues that help them. these are always difficult because witnesses are tricky. these are not witnesses, unlike a criminal trial
3:03 pm
where there is prep in advance, you don't get that here. these witnesses have given closed—door testimony and there's a sense of what they will say, but there is also a sense of uncertainty. for both sides, it is in real time uncertainty. for both sides, it is in realtime in uncertainty. for both sides, it is in real time in front the cameras, what will these witnesses say and how will that sway public opinion one way or the other?” how will that sway public opinion one way or the other? i want to pick up one way or the other? i want to pick up on that point you made about the democrats in many way controlling the early phase of this investigation. this is the first time the republicans, at least publicly, get to question some of these witnesses. that's right. the republicans have had opportunities to go before the cameras and go on twitter in the last few weeks and voice their opinions and what little bits of the depositions they were allowed to talk about. at the end of the day, you are right, this is their chance to provide their side of the story in their questions, certainly into speeches they will give in the time allotted to sort of
3:04 pm
put forward a story that's in defence of the president, downplaying the witnesses personally, downplaying the efficacy of the testimony, they will say it is second—hand, opinion testimony today and it doesn't get to the heart of what happened. at the end of the day, we know what happened, and there is certainly nothing that rises to the impeachment of a president, the republicans will say. that is what the republicans will do in the time allotted to them. we know the contours of dead arguments, because they will suggest to distance the president from the events that happened, they will try to portray the fact the ukrainian president doesn't see anything wrong, or didn't recognise any pressure. do those arguments hold 7
3:05 pm
pressure. do those arguments hold t pressure. do those arguments hold up? it is essentially going to be a no harm, no foul argument. they will say, look, it was not clear there was a quid pro quo. the ukrainian president did not think he was being pressured, and the aid was released was not there a province with those arguments and the democrats will be prepared to poke holes in them. that'll be the crux of it, and the story to the american people is going to be, look, the ukrainians the eight they were promised. yes, it may have been delayed by a few weeks, but at the president's discretion. he was trying to root out corruption, whether you believe that not, but that is the argument for the republicans. they are the underdog as they don't control the house of representatives. they do control the senate, so they will control the senate, so they will control any trial that follows, and they will have a lot of input into they will have a lot of input into the public narrative. i do think the democrats have an uphill battle in trying to convince the public,
3:06 pm
beyond those who have made up their minds, that this was an impeachable offence. stay with us for now. when i think back to past impeachment hearings, certainly if you look back to watergate and richard nixon, you saw lawmakers on both sides trying to understand what happened and what the facts were. in these polarised times, it will be interesting to see whether or not that changes things in the era of social media. we will go to the hearing, because they have just started speaking. we will have the opportunity to make a statement. we will go to witness statements and then to questions. for audience members, we welcome you and we respect your interest in being here. we ask for your respect as we proceed with today's hearing. it is the intention of the committee to proceed without disruptions was up to proceed without disruptions was yo to proceed without disruptions was
3:07 pm
up mayo make a parliamentary enquiry? this is our first hearing under these new sets of rules, house resolution 660 allows you to have extended periods of questions of up to 45 minutes each before other members are allowed to ask questions. if possible, would like to know the rules of engagement before we get started. have you made a decision as to how many 45 minutes around siew will allow yourself and the ranking member?” around siew will allow yourself and the ranking member? i have not, as i informed the marital yesterday, we will see how it goes and how much material we get through. then the chair will announce the period, if there is a period of the second round, or we will go straight to five minute questions by members. for audience members, we welcome you and your interest. in turn, we expect and will insist on decorum in
3:08 pm
the committee. as chairman, i will ta ke the committee. as chairman, i will take all necessary steps to maintain order and ensure the committee is run in accordance with house rules and house resolution 660. i recognise myself to give an opening statement into the enquiry into the impeachment of president trump. russia invaded usa's ally, ukraine. it was part of president putin's desire to rebuild the russian empire. ukrainians died as they battled superior russian forces. earlier this year, a new president of ukraine was elected, on a platform of ending conflict. he was new to politics. the questions
3:09 pm
presented by this committee is to whether president trump sought to exploit that ally's vulnerability. and whether or not there and whether resident trump 's approach is suitable for a president of the united states will stop these curtains will not only affect the future of this presidency but the future of this presidency but the future of this presidency but the future of the presidency itself. and what kind of conduct or misconduct the american people may come to expect from their commander—in—chief. there are few actions as consequential as the impeachment of the president. while
3:10 pm
the founders did not intend that impeachment be employed over differences of policy, they also made it a constitutional process that congress must utilise as necessary. the facts of the present enquiry are not contested. in january this year, the president's personal attorney pressured ukraine to investigate biggest petroleum juicerand to investigate biggest petroleum juicer and alsojoe to investigate biggest petroleum juicer and also joe biden to investigate biggest petroleum juicer and alsojoe biden and his son. the nation's intelligence agencies have stated that it was russia, not ukraine that interfered in our election. but the attorney believed this conspiracy theory, known as crowd strikes, would aid his client's re—election. he also
3:11 pm
conducted a smear campaign against the us ambassador to ukraine, maria ivanovic. a state official was told her that although she had not done anything wrong, president trump had lost confidence in her. with the sidelining of her, there was an regular channel in which many, including an inferential donor, now serving as an a buzzard to the european union, could advance the president's personal and political interests. ivanovic's replacement, bill taylor, is a west point graduate and a vietnam veteran. as he began to better understand the schemes through 2019, he pushed back, informing deputy kent, about funding and political favours by the ukrainian government, favours
3:12 pm
intended for president trump that would undermine our security and our elections. several key events in this scheme took place in the month ofjuly. onjuly this scheme took place in the month of july. on july ten, this scheme took place in the month ofjuly. onjuly ten, the ambassador ...a ofjuly. onjuly ten, the ambassador awhite ofjuly. onjuly ten, the ambassador a white house meeting was sought by the ukrainian president, but would only be allowed in return for an investigation into joe would only be allowed in return for an investigation intojoe biden and his son. aweek his son. a week later, on july 18, representatives of the office of management and budget announced that more vainly, at the direction of the
3:13 pm
president, with freezing daily for hundred million dollars in security assistance allocated by congress in which the supplement supported. one week after that, donotreply have the now infamousjuly week after that, donotreply have the now infamous july 20 for phone call with —— donald trump would have the now infamous phone call with the ukrainian president. the president thanks trump for their support in the area of defence and said there we re the area of defence and said there were “— the area of defence and said there were —— they were willing to buy more javelins, and a potent weapon. —— an important weapon. trump requested that the president investigate the discredited crowd strike theory, and also look into the bidens. neither of these
3:14 pm
investigations was in the us national interest. neither was part of the property material for the core. both were in trump is my personal interest, and any interest of his re—election campaign in 2020. ukrainian president knew about both in advance, because they had been pressing ukraine for weeks about investigations into the 2016 election and the bidens. it was important enough to be referred to the top lawyer. the white house would then take the extraordinary step of moving the call records to a highly classified server, exclusively reserved for the most sensitive intelligence matters. in the weeks that followed, ambassador taylor learned new facts about a scheme that would be described as
3:15 pm
insidious was the quote, are we now saying that white house meetings are based on conditions? it kept getting more insidious, as mrs on and testified. mr taylor, who took notes of his conversation said, the acid told him on a phone call that everything on the public announcement of investigations, including security assistance. president trump wanted the ukrainian president in a public box was top president trump is a businessman, sonland said later. a businessman asks that person to pay up before signing a cheque. ina signing a cheque. in a sworn declaration after taylor pot testimony, sonland would admit
3:16 pm
to telling ukrainians as a meeting in warsaw, the resumption of us aid would likely not occur until ukraine provided the public anti—corruption statement that we have been discussing for many weeks. the president's chief of staff responded by mentioning withholding aid. the response was breathtaking. we do that all the time with foreign policy, he said. i have news for everybody, get over it. there is going to be political influence in foreign policy. that is going to happen. the video of that confession is plain for all to see. some have argued that the aid was ultimately released, and that is true. but only after congress began an investigation. only after the president's lawyer learned of a
3:17 pm
whistle—blower president's lawyer learned of a whistle— blower complaint, president's lawyer learned of a whistle—blower complaint, and only after members of congress asked uncomfortable questions about quid pro quo. a scheme to condition official acts to gain a personal bliss could benefit does not become less odious because it is discovered before it is fully consummated. in fa ct, before it is fully consummated. in fact, the assistance had been delayed so long it would take another act of congress to ensure that it could still go out. that oval office meeting at the ukrainian president sought? it still hasn't happened. although we have learned a great deal about these events in the la st great deal about these events in the last several weeks, there are still missing pieces. the president has instructed the state department and other agencies to ignore congressional subpoenas for documents. he has instructed witnesses to defy subpoenas and refused to appear, and he has suggested that those who do expose wrongdoing should be treated like traitors and spies. these actions
3:18 pm
will force congress to consider as it did with president nixon whether trump's obstruction of the constitutional duties of congress constitute grounds for impeachment. the balance of power between our two branches of government will be irrevocably altered. that is not what the founders intended. the prospects for further corruption and abuse of power in this administration or any other will be exponentially increased. this is what we believe the testimony will show, both as to the president's contact and as to his obstruction of congress was up the issue we confront is the one imposed by the chief of staff when he challenged americans to get over it. if we find
3:19 pm
that the president of the united states abused his power and encouraged foreign influence in our elections, oil feet try to bribe foreign powers to aid his action campaigns by withholding aid, should be get over it? is this what americans should expect from their president? if this is not impeachable conduct, what is? does the oath of office itself, requiring that our laws be faithfully executed, setting ambition against ambition so we have no monarchy, still have meaning? these are the questions we must ask and answer. without rancour if we can, without delay regardless. and without party
3:20 pm
favour and without prejudice if we are true to our responsibilities. benjamin franklin was asked what kind of country america was to become. a republic, he answered, if you can keep it. the issue raised by the impeachment is, can we keep it? i now recognise my colleague for a statement if he has one. the democrats engaged in a last—ditch effort to convince the american people that president trump is a russian agent. that hearing was the pivotal phenolic of a three year long operation by the democrats, the corrupt media and partisan bureaucrats to overturn the result of the 2016 election. after the
3:21 pm
spectacular implosion of the russia hoax onjuly spectacular implosion of the russia hoax on july 24, spectacular implosion of the russia hoax onjuly 24, in which they spent yea rs hoax onjuly 24, in which they spent years denouncing any republican ever shook hands with a russian, onjuly 25, they turned on a dime and now claim the real malfeasance is dealings with ukraine. in the bling ofan eye, dealings with ukraine. in the bling of an eye, we are asked to simply forget about democrats on this committee falsely claiming they had more than circumstantial evidence of collusion between president trump and russians. we should forget about them reading fabrications over trump stroke —— trump— russia collusion is from the record. we should forget about them trying to obtain new pictures from russian ranks those who pretended to be officials was to we should forget about them licking a. a2 cnn while he was testifying to
3:22 pm
our committee claiming that donald trump junior was conspiring with wikileaks, and forget about cou ntless wikileaks, and forget about countless other deceptions, large and small, that make them the last people on earth with the credibility to hell or preposterous accusations at their opponent. —— more preposterous accusations was yet now, here we are, we are supposed to ta ke now, here we are, we are supposed to take these people at face value when they trot out a new batch of allegations. anyone familiar with the scorched earth war against donald trump will not be surprised to see the typical signs that this isa to see the typical signs that this is a carefully orchestrated media smear campaign. for example, after vowing publicly that impeachment requires partisan support, democrats are pushing it forward without the backing of a sickle republican. the witnesses deemed suitable for television were put through a closed door audition process in a cult—like
3:23 pm
atmosphere in the basement of the capital, where democrats conducted secret depositions, released a flood of misleading and one—sided leaks and later selectively released transcripts in a highly staged manner. violating the own guidelines, they repeatedly redacted from the transcripts the name of a contractor for the democratic national committee who worked with the ukrainian officials to collect dirt on the trump campaign, which they provided to the dnc at the hillary clinton campaign. the democrats rejected most of the republicans' democrats rejected most of the republica ns‘ witness requests, resulting in a horrifically one—sided process, whether crucial witnesses are denied a platform if their testimony does not support the democrats' absurd accusations was notably, they are trying to impeach the president for enquiring about
3:24 pm
hunter biden's activities. they refuse a request to hear from hunter biden's activities. they refuse a request to hearfrom biden himself. the whistle—blower was acknowledged to have a bias against president trump, and his attorney touted a coup against the president and called for his impeachment. just weeks after the election. at a prior hearing, democrats on this committee read out a purely fictitious rendition of the president's phone call with the ukrainian president. they clearly found the real conversation to be insufficient for the impeachment narrative, so they just made up a new one. most agree justly, the staff of the democrats on this committee had direct discussions with the whistle—blower before his or her complaint was submitted to the inspector general. republicans cannot get a full account of these contacts because democrats broke their promise to have the whistle—blower testify to
3:25 pm
this committee. democrats had these reports, and then lied about them on national television. i have noted before that democrats have a long habit of accusing republicans of offences they themselves are committing. let's recall, for years, they accuse the trump campaign of colluding with russia when they themselves were colluding with russia, spreading a dossier which required russian influence. the democrats cooperated in ukrainian election meddling, and they defend hunter biden's securing of a position with a corrupt ukrainian company, all while his father served as vice president. despite this hypocrisy, the democrats are advancing the impeachment sham. but
3:26 pm
we should not hold any hearings at all until we get answers to three crucial questions the democrats are determined to avoid asking. first, what is the full extent of the democrats' relationship with the whistle—blower, and he will stick to the whistle—blower coordinate with? what is the full extent of the meddling against president trump? and did hunter biden's actions affect business under the obama administration? what we witness todayis administration? what we witness today is a televised the article performance, staged by the democrats. ambassador taylor and mr kent, i would like to welcome you
3:27 pm
here. i would like to congratulate you for passing the democrats' auditions held in the basements of the capital. it seems you agreed, wittingly, or unwittingly, to participate in a drama. the main performance, a russia hoax, has ended. you have been cast in the low rent ukrainian sequel. i will conclude by noting the immense damage politicised bureaucracy has done to americans mfaith in government. our president was elected and responsible to the american people. element of the civil service have decided that they, not the president, are really in charge. that's what we will learn in these hearings. after expressing scepticism of foreign aid and concern about corruption on the campaign trail, president trump
3:28 pm
average the bureaucracy by acting sceptically about foreign aid and expressing concerns about foreign corruption. officials multi macro alarm at the president's action was based on second—hand, third—hand and even fourth had rumours and innuendo. they believed it was an outrage for the president to fire an ambassador, even though the president has full authority to retain or remove formats for any reason, at any time. —— foreign ambassadors. despite all their dissatisfaction with president trump smack ukraine policy, the president approved the supply of weapons to ukraine, unlike the previous administration, which provided bla nkets administration, which provided blankets as defence against invading
3:29 pm
russians. by undermining the president, who are they supposed —— they are supposed to be supporting, they are supposed to be supporting, they have lost the confidence of millions of americans, who believe their vote should count for something. it will take years if not decades to restore faith in these institutions. the spectacles are doing great damage to our country. it is nothing more than impeachment process in search of a crime. i yield back. today we are joined by william taylor, and george kent, both of whom are appearing under subpoenaed. ambassador william taylor has served a country for over half a century, he attended the us military academy at west point, graduating in the top 1% of his class before serving as an infantry
3:30 pm
officer in the us army, including during the vietnam war. ambassador taylor led a rifle platoon in vietnam and was awarded the bronze star medal and develop a medal —— the medal for valour. he worked as a staff in the us senate as an adviser as well to us ambassador to nato. in the 1990s, ambassador taylor coordinated us assistance to the former soviet union and later served in afghanistan, iraq and worked on the middle east peace process. he said until 2009 and then was appointed by president barack obama to be special coordinator for middle east transitions. it tella served as the executive vice—president of the nonpartisan us institute for peace when, injune 2019, secretary of state mike pompeo asked him to
3:31 pm
return to lead the us embassy in kiev as charged affair. mr george kent currently serves as deputy assistant secretary in the department of state 's bureau of european and eurasian affairs, overseeing policy towards ukraine in other countries. he has served twice in ukraine from 2000 and 42,007. he was the deputy political counsel including during the orange revolution, and from 2015 to 2018, he served as deputy chief of mission in care. sincejoining he served as deputy chief of mission in care. since joining the foreign service in 1992 mr kent has served in poland, uzbekistan and thailand. he also served as the senior anti—corruption coordinator to strengthen the rule of law. all witness depositions, as part of this enquiry, were unclassified in nature and all hearings will also be at the unclassified level. any information that may touch on classified information will be addressed separately. congress will not tolerate any reprisal, threat of
3:32 pm
reprisal or attempt to retaliate against any us government official testifying before congress, including you or any of your colleagues. if you would both rise and raise your right hand, i will begin by swearing you in. do you swear or affirm that the testimony you are about to give is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help you god? let the re cord truth, so help you god? let the record show that the witnesses answered in the affirmative. thank you and please be seated. mr chairman, before we hear from the witnesses, i have a parliamentary inquiry. when can we anticipate a response to our november the 9th letter requesting certain individual witnesses to be called? the gentlewoman should be aware that three of the witnesses the minority has requested are scheduled for next week. maybe those were your witnesses, what about the additional six witnesses? the general enquire about additional witnesses or make a
3:33 pm
request following the witness testimony. i have a point of order. will you be prohibiting witnesses from answering members' questions, as you have in the closed door depositions? is the gentlewoman should know if she was present... which i was. for some of them. the only times i prevented witnesses from answering questions, along with our counsel, was when it was apparent that the members were seeking to out the whistle—blower. we will do everything necessary to protect whistle— blower's identity andl protect whistle— blower's identity and i am disturbed to hear members of the committee who have in the past voiced strong support for whistle—blower past voiced strong support for whistle— blower protections, past voiced strong support for whistle—blower protections, seek to undermine those protections by outing the whistle—blower. undermine those protections by outing the whistle-blower. only one member has direct knowledge of the identity of the whistle—blower.
3:34 pm
member has direct knowledge of the identity of the whistle—blowerlj member has direct knowledge of the identity of the whistle-blower. i am responding to the point of order. we will not permit the outing of the whistle—blower will not permit the outing of the whistle— blower and will not permit the outing of the whistle—blower and questions along those lines, council will inform their clients not to respond to. if necessary, i will intervene. otherwise, members can ask whichever questions they like. the gentleman is not recognised. i am responding to the gentlewoman's point of order. otherwise, members can ask whichever questions they like. i seek recognition to make a motion that we subpoenaed a whistle—blower for a closed door secret deposition so that the question should be appropriately asked of the whistle—blower by your site and our side. i would whistle—blower by your site and our side. iwould prefer that, whistle—blower by your site and our side. iwould preferthat, rather thanit side. iwould preferthat, rather than it being your single decision that the committee speak to that issue rather than just the chairman. i thank the gentleman. it will not be my single decision. we will
3:35 pm
entertaina be my single decision. we will entertain a motion to subpoena any witness, but after the witnesses have had an opportunity to test —— testify. do you anticipate when we would vote? do you anticipate when we might vote on the ability to have the whistle—blower in front of us, something new, the 435 members of congress, you are the only one who knows who that member is and your staff is the only star who has had a chance to talk with that individual. when might that happen for us in this proceeding today? is the gentleman knows, that is a false statement. i do not know the identity of the whistle—blower and i'm determined to make sure that identity is protected. but as i said, you have an opportunity after the witnesses testify, to make a motion to subpoena any witness and compel about. with that, i now recognise their weaknesses. before i
3:36 pm
do, iwant recognise their weaknesses. before i do, i want to emphasise that the microphones are sensitive, so please speak directly into them. your written statements will be made part of the record. and with that, deputy assistant secretary kent, you are recognised for your opening statement and matt taylor, you are recognised thereafter for your opening statement. -- master tailor. good morning. my name is george kent and i'm the deputy assistant secretary of state for eastern europe and the caucasus. have served proudly as a nonpartisan career foreign service officer for more than 27 years under five presidents, three republican and two democrats. asi three republican and two democrats. as i mentioned in my opening comments last month in the closed door depositions, i represent the third generation of my family who have chosen a career in public service, and sworn the oath of office that all us public servants do in defence of our constitution.
3:37 pm
indeed, there has been a george kent sworn to defend the constitution continuously for nearly 60 years, ever since my father reported to annapolis. after graduating first in his naval academy class in 1965, the year best known for his classmate, my father served a full 30 years including as captain of a nuclear ballistic missile submarine during the height of the cold war. five great uncle served honourably in the navy and the army in world war ii, in particular, tom taggart was stationed in the philippines at the time of the attack on pearl harbor. he survived the brutal death march and three and a half years in a japanese prisoner of war camp, and broken. he returned to service as an air forcejet broken. he returned to service as an air force jet advocate, upholding the rule of law until his death in 1965. today i appear before you once again under subpoena is a fact
3:38 pm
witness, ready to answer all of your questions about the events and developments examined in this inquiry. to the best of my ability and recollection, subject to the limits placed on me by the law and this process. i will begin with some opening comments on the key principles at the heart of what brings me before you today. to wit, principled public service in pursuit of our enduring national interests and the place of ukraine in our national and security interests. for the past five years we have this focused our efforts across the atla ntic to focused our efforts across the atlantic to support ukraine in its fight for the cause of freedom and the rebirth of a country free from russian dominion and the legacy of soviet institutions and post—soviet behaviour. as i stated in my closed door depositions last month, you don't step into the public arena of international diplomacy in active pursuit of principled us interests
3:39 pm
without expecting vigorous pushback, including personal attacks. such attacks came from the russians, their proxies and corrupt ukrainians. that tells me our effo rts ukrainians. that tells me our efforts were hitting their mark. it was unexpected and unfortunate however to watch some americans, including those who allied themselves with corrupt ukrainians, in pursuit of private agendas, launched attacks on dedicated public serva nts launched attacks on dedicated public servants advancing us interests in ukraine. in my opinion, there attacks undermined us and ukrainian national interests and damaged our critical bilateral relationship. the united states has a clear national interest at stake in ukraine. ukraine's success is very much in our national interest, and the way we had defined our national interest broadly in europe for the past 75 yea rs. after world war broadly in europe for the past 75 years. after world war ii us leadership furthered far—sighted
3:40 pm
policies like the marshall plan and the creation of a rules —based international order, protected by the collective security provided by nato, western europe recovered and thrived. after the carnage of world war ii, notwithstanding the shadow of the iron curtain. europe's security and prosperity contributed to our security and prosperity. support of ukraine's success also fits into our strategy for central and eastern europe since the fall of the wall 30 years ago this past week. a europe truly whole, free and at peace, our strategic aim for the entirety of my foreign service career, is not possible without a ukraine hole, free and at peace, including crimea and territories currently occupied by russia, represented by the red on the map. looking forward, the trump administration's national security strategy makes clear that global strategic challenge now before us.
3:41 pm
great power competition, with rivals such as russia and china, and the need to compete for positive influence without taking countries for granted. influence without taking countries forgranted. in influence without taking countries for granted. in that sense, ukraine has been on the front line is not just of russia's conventional war in eastern europe since 2014 and its broader campaign of malign influence, but of the greater geopolitical challenges now facing the united states. ukraine's popular revelation of dignity in 2014 forced a corrupt pro—russian leadership to flee to moscow. after that a russia invaded ukraine, occupying 7% of its territory, roughly equivalent to the size of texas in the united states. at that time, ukraine's state institutions were on the verge of collapse. ukrainian civil society a nswered collapse. ukrainian civil society answered the challenge. they formed volunteer battalions of citizens including technology professionals and medics. a crowd sourced funding for their own weapons, body armour
3:42 pm
and supplies. they were the 21st century ukrainian equivalent of our own minutemen in 1776, buying time for a regular army to constitute. since then, more than 13,000 ukrainians have died on ukrainian soil defending their territorial integrity and sovereignty from russian aggression. america's support and you can's and effect a war of independence has been critical in this regard —— ukraine's the factor war of independence. in an echo of la fayette's organised assistance to general george washington's army and admiral paul jones' navy, congress generously appropriated $1.5 billion over the past five years and shipped training and assistance to ukraine. these funds increased ukrainian ability to
3:43 pm
fight russian aggression. ultimately, ukraine is on a path to become a full security partner of the united states within nato. similarto training the united states within nato. similar to training colonials at valley forge, us and nato allied trainers developed the skills to trainers developed the skills to train ukrainian soldiers at the politt bot and as well. they have to rewrite military education for ukraine's next generation. in supporting ukraine's resistance to russian aggression, we have a front row seat to the russian way of war in the 21st century, gaining priceless insights that contribute to our own security. this year in 2019, ukrainian citizens passed the political torch to a new generation, one that came of age not in the final years of the soviet union, but in an independent ukraine. presidential and parliamentary election swept out much of ukraine's previous governing elite and seeded 41—year—old president zelensky
3:44 pm
cabinets with an average age of 39 in parliament with an average age of 41. at the heart of that change mandate, five years after ukraine's revelation of dignity, is a thirst forjustice, revelation of dignity, is a thirst for justice, because revelation of dignity, is a thirst forjustice, because there cannot be dignity without justice. without a reformed judicial sector that delivers justice with integrity for all, ukrainian society will remain u nsettled. all, ukrainian society will remain unsettled. foreign investors including american investors will not bring a great investment needed to ensure that ukraine's long—term prosperity is secured. this is why the promotion of the rule of law and institutional integrity is so necessary to our strategy for a successful ukraine. it is also true for other former captive nations still recovering from the ashes of soviet and communist misrule. it is by acting inconsistently with the co re by acting inconsistently with the core principle of the rule of law comes at great peril. i am grateful to all of the members of congress and staffers including many of you here today who have travelled to
3:45 pm
ukraine over the past five years and appropriated billions of dollars of assistance in support of our primary policy goals. those funds increased ukraine's ability to fight russian aggression in the defence, energy and cyber spheres and they also empowered state institutions and civil society to undertake systemic reforms and tackle corruption. i believe all of us can be proud of our efforts in ukraine over the past five years, even though much remains to be done in. and by all of us, i mean those of us in the legislative and executive branches in both parties, the interagency community working out of our embassy in kiev, with ukrainians in government, the military and civil society and our transatlantic allies and partners. we cannot allow our resolve to waver since two much is at stake notjust for ukraine in the future of european security, but for the national interests of the united states broadly defined. my pride a position covered a lot of ground over ten hours. here are the main
3:46 pm
ten themes from my testimony. i outlined my experience with long—standing us interests in supporting anti—corruption long—standing us interests in supporting anti—corru ption efforts in ukraine. this work gave me a front row seat to problematic activities by successive prosecutors general in ukraine. for many of the issues this committee is investigating, my knowledge is sometimes first—hand and sometimes comes from others involved in specific meetings. this is no different than how anyone learns and carries out his or herjob responsibilities. i have been and remain willing to share my factual observations with the committee and will make clear when there are based on personal knowledge or from information gleaned from others. us effo rts information gleaned from others. us efforts to counter corruption in ukraine focus on building institutional capacity so that the ukrainian government has the ability to go after corruption and effectively investigate, prosecute and judge alleged criminal activities using appropriate institutional mechanisms. that is,
3:47 pm
to create and follow the rule of law. that means that if there are criminal nexus is for activity in the united states, us law enforcement should pursue the case. if we think there has been a criminal act overseas that violates us law, we have the institutional mechanisms to address that. it could be through the justice department and fbi agents assigned overseas or through treaty mechanisms such as the mutual legal assistance treaty. asa the mutual legal assistance treaty. as a general principle, i do not believe the united states should ask other countries to engage in selective politically associated investigations or prosecutions against opponents of those in power, because such selective actions undermine the rule of law regardless of the country. the pervasive and long—standing problem of corruption in ukraine included exposure to a situation involving the energy company. the prime concern of the us government was their owner. his frozen assets abroad we had
3:48 pm
attempted to recover and you can's be her. in 2015! raised questions with the deputy prosecutor general about how the investigation had been terminated based on our belief that securities had accepted bribes to close the case. later, i became aware that hunter biden was on the board of burisma. soon afterwards i raised my concern that hunter biden's status as a board member would create the perception of a conflict—of—interest. but let me be clear. i did not waste any effort to shield burisma from scrutiny. in fa ct, shield burisma from scrutiny. in fact, i advocated shield burisma from scrutiny. in fact, iadvocated reintroducing shield burisma from scrutiny. in fact, i advocated reintroducing an investigation of burisma's founder as well as holding the correct prosecutors who have the case to account. over the course of 2018 and 2019, i became increasingly aware of an effort by rudy giuliani and others including his associates to
3:49 pm
runa campaign others including his associates to run a campaign to smear the ambassador and other officials that the us embassy in kiev. the chief agitators on the ukrainian side where some of the same corrupt former prosecutors i had encountered,. they were now peddling false information to extract revenge against those who had exposed their misconduct including us diplomats, ukrainian anti—corruption officials and reform minded civil society groups in ukraine. during the late spring and summer of 2019, i became alarmed as those efforts bore fruit. they led to the ousting of the ambassador and hampered us efforts to establish rapport with the new zelenskiy administration in ukraine. in mid—august it became clear that giuliani's efforts were now infecting us engagement with ukraine, leveraging president zele ns ky‘s ukraine, leveraging president zelensky‘s desire for a white house meeting. there are and always have been conditionality placed on our
3:50 pm
sovereign guarantees for ukraine. they include anti—corru ption sovereign guarantees for ukraine. they include anti—corruption reforms as well as meeting stability goals and social safety nets. the international monetary fund does the same thing. congress and the executive branch work together to put conditionality on some security assistance in ukraine's security assistance in ukraine's security assistance initiative. regarding my testimony today, i will do my best to a nswer testimony today, i will do my best to answer your questions, questions that will involve issues, conversations and documents that spana number of conversations and documents that span a number of years. i may be limited by three considerations. first, the state department has collected all materials in response to the september 27 subpoena that may contain facts relevant to my testimony. i have no such documents with me. i will do my best to answer as completely and truthfully as i can to the best of my recollection. second, as this committee knows, throughout this process there have been concerns that questions may be asked about classified information.
3:51 pm
we have asked the state department for guidance about classification concerns related to the public release of my deposition and the state department has declined to provide any. so if i'm asked the question today that i believe may implicate classified information, i will respectfully decline to answer in this public forum. third, there may be questions about the identity of people in the intelligence committee. these questions were redacted from the deposition transcript. if such questions follow today, i will decline to answer. i would like to conclude my opening remarks with an observation about some of my fellow public servants who have come under personal attacks. the ambassador and dr hill, attacks. the ambassador and dr hill, at least one of whom will appear before this body in the coming days. they were born abroad before their families or they themselves personally chose to emigrate to the united states. they all made the professional choice to serve the
3:52 pm
united states as public officials, helping shape our national security policy towards russia in particular. we and our national security are the better for it. in this sense, they are the 21st century as of two giants of 20th century us national security policy who also were born abroad, my former professor is a big new business key and his fellow immigrant henry kissinger. like them, they fled nazi and communist oppression to contribute to a stronger and more secure america. that honourable tradition of transatlantic ties goes back to the founding of our republic, our 18th—century independence would not have been secured without the choice of european officers to come to the new world and fight for our cause of freedom and the birth of a new country free from imperial dominion. it is my privilege to sit next to my
3:53 pm
former boss, ambassador taylor, today, and it is my honour to serve with all of these patriotic americans. thank you. thank you, ambassador taylor. mr chairman, i americans. thank you. thank you, ambassadortaylor. mr chairman, lam appearing today at the committee's request to provide my perspective on the events that are the subject of the events that are the subject of the committee's inquiry. while i am aware that the committee has requested my testimony as part of impeachment proceedings, i am not here to take one side or the other orto here to take one side or the other or to advocate for any particular outcome of these proceedings. my cell purpose is to provide the facts asi cell purpose is to provide the facts as i know them about the incidents in question as well as my views about the strategic importance of ukraine to the united states. by way of background, it has been a privilege for me to serve our country and the american people for more than 50 years. i was an
3:54 pm
infa ntry more than 50 years. i was an infantry officer with the airborne first division in vietnam and then with the department of energy and then asa with the department of energy and then as a member of senate staff and then as a member of senate staff and then at nato, then with the state department here and abroad, in afghanistan, iraq, jerusalem and ukraine. i afghanistan, iraq, jerusalem and ukraine. lam afghanistan, iraq, jerusalem and ukraine. i am neither a afghanistan, iraq, jerusalem and ukraine. lam neithera career memberof the ukraine. lam neithera career member of the foreign service nor of the civil service. i'm nonpartisan and have been appointed to my positions by every president from present reagan to president trump. let me summarise my main points. first, ukraine is a strategic partner of the united states. important for the security of our country, as well as europe. ukraine is on the front line of the conflict with a newly aggressive russia. second, as we sit here today, the russians are attacking ukrainian
3:55 pm
soldiers in their own country and have been for the last four years. i saw this on the front line last week. the day i was there, a ukrainian soldier was killed and four were wounded. third, the security assistance we provide is crucial to ukraine? security assistance we provide is crucial to ukraine ? defence security assistance we provide is crucial to ukraine? defence and protection of the soldiers i met on the front line last week. it demonstrates to ukrainians and russians that we are ukraine's reliable strategic partner. it is clearly in our national interest to deter further russian aggression. finally, as the committee is aware, i wrote that withholding security assistance in exchange for help with the domestic political campaign in the domestic political campaign in the united states would be crazy. i believed that then and i believe it now. on may the 20th this year i met with secretary of state mike pompeo, who asked me to rejoin the state department and return to kiev to
3:56 pm
lead our embassy in ukraine. it was and isa lead our embassy in ukraine. it was and is a critical time for us — ukraine relations. i had served as ambassador to ukraine from 2006 to 2009. having been nominated by george w bush and in the intervening ten years had engaged with ukraine. across the response that is i have had in public service, ukraine is the highlight. so secretary pompeo's offer to return as chief of mission was compelling. since i left ukraine in 2009 the country had continued to turn towards the west. but in 2013, vladimir putin was so threatened by the prospect of ukraine joining the european union that he tried to bribe the ukrainian president. this triggered mass protests in the winter of 2013 that drove that president to flee to russia in 2014, but not before his forces killed 100 ukrainian protesters in central
3:57 pm
kiev. days later mr putin invaded crimea, holding a sham referendum at the point of russian army rifles. the russians absurdly claimed that 9796 the russians absurdly claimed that 97% voted tojoin the russians absurdly claimed that 97% voted to join russia. the russians absurdly claimed that 97% voted tojoin russia. in early april putin sent his army and security forces into south—eastern ukraine to generate illegal armed formations and puppet governments in what we know is an area you can see on the map in the right—hand portion of the east of the country. 14,000 ukrainians have died in the war over there and more die each week. in july 2014, these russian led forces shut down a civilian airliner en route from amsterdam to malaysia, killing all 298 people on board. we, the europeans and most of the west imposed economic sanctions and kicked the russians out of the g8.
3:58 pm
beginning in 2014, we aren't nato began to provide military assistance to ukraine's armed forces in the form of training, advice, military equipment and weapons. it is the security assistance that is at the heart of the controversy that we are discussing today. the proud russian president who was run out of kiev in 2014 and let the armed forces deteriorate to the point of ruin in response to the russian invasion, the new ukrainian authorities, with an amazing outpouring of support from regular ukrainian people, rebuilt the army, nearly from scratch, spending more than 5% of ukrainian gdp on defence since the war started. the whole ukrainian nation fiercely responded to the russian attack. the nation united like never before. a ragtag army developed into a strong fighting force and the united states played a
3:59 pm
vital role. since 2014, the un congress have provided $1.6 billion in military assistance to ukraine. the security assistance provides training at an army base in the rest of the country. it provides ambulances, night vision devices, communications equipment, radar and navy ships and finally, weapons. the security systems demonstrate our commitment to resist aggression and defend freedom. during the 2014—2016 period i was serving outside of government and joined two other former ambassador to ukraine in urging the obama administration officials at the state department, defence department and other agencies to provide lethal defensive weapons to ukraine in order to deter further russian aggression. i also supported a much stronger sanctions on russia. i was pleased when the trump administration provided javelin anti—tank missiles and enacted stronger sanctions. i care
4:00 pm
about ukraine because my future and the important us interests there. so when secretary pompeo asked me to get back to kiev, i wanted to say yes. but it was not an easy decision. the former ambassador has been treated poorly, caught in a web of political machinations both in kiev and washington. kiev and in washington... studio: live on capitol hill, the impeachment enquiry holds its first public hearing, this is william taylor, top us diplomat, in the ukraine. let's return. in certain terms, strongly opposed the idea. if your country ask you to do something, you do it, if you can be effective. i can be effective only if the us policy of strong support for ukraine, strong diplomatic support along with robust security, economic, technical assistance, were to continue, if i had the backing of the secretary of state to implement
4:01 pm
that policy, but are worried about what i heard concerning the role of rudy giuliani, who had made several controversial statements about ukraine and us policy for the country. during my meeting with secretary pompeo on may 28, i made clear to him and the others present that if us policy towards ukraine changed, he would not want me posted there andl he would not want me posted there and i could not stay. he assured me that the policy of strong support for ukraine would continue, and that he would support me in defending that policy. with that understanding, i agree to go back to kiev, because i was appointed by the secretary but not re—confirmed by the senate, my official position was in effect the acting ambassador to ukraine. i returned to kiev onjune 17, carrying the original copy of a letter president trump signed the day after i met with the secretary
4:02 pm
and in that letter president trump regulated the president on his election victory, and invited him to a meeting in the oval office. once i arrived in kiev, i discovered a weird combination of encouraging, confusing and ultimately alarming circumstances. first, encouraging: the president, volodymyr zelensky, was reforming ukraine in a hurry, appointing reformist ministers and installed long stalled anti—corruption legislation, he opened an anti—corruption court, with a new parliamentary majority, stemming from snap elections, president zelensky change the ukrainian constitution, to remove absolute immunity from deputies, the source of raw corruption for two decades. the excitement in kiev was culpable, this was the new ukraine finally breaking from its corrupt
4:03 pm
soviet past. —— was palpable. confusing: an arrangement for making us policy talks, there appear to be two channels of us policy— making and plantation, one was regular and one was highly irregular. as the acting ambassador, i had authority over the regular, formal dramatic policy— making. — — policy— making regular, formal dramatic policy—making. —— policy—making and implementation. my colleague, deputy assistant secretary of state george kent, and our colleagues at the national security council were my main point of contact in washington during this regular channel. this channel is formally responsible for formulating and overseeing the implementation of us foreign policy with respect to ukraine, a policy that has consistently enjoyed strong bipartisan support, both in congress and all administration since ukrainian independence from russia in1991. at ukrainian independence from russia in 1991. at the same time, i
4:04 pm
encountered an irregular informal channel of us policy— making, encountered an irregular informal channel of us policy—making, with respect to ukraine, unaccountable to congress, a channel that included then special envoy kurt volker, us ambassador to the european union gordon sutherland, secretary of energy rick perry, white house chief of staff mir, veiny and, as i subsequently learned, rudy giuliani. i was clearly in the regular channel, but i was also in the irregular one, to the extent that the ambassadors, kurt falk and sutherland, included me in certain situations, although this regular channel was well connected in washington, it operated mostly outside official state department channels. the irregular channel began when the ambassador, kurt volker, ronjohnson began when the ambassador, kurt volker, ron johnson and began when the ambassador, kurt volker, ronjohnson and gordon sondland briefed president trump on may 23 upon their return from the inauguration of president zelensky.
4:05 pm
the delegation was as enthusiastic asi the delegation was as enthusiastic as i would soon become about the new ukrainian president, and urged president trump to meet with him early on. to cement the us ukraine relationship. —— gordon sondland. but from what i understood from the participants, president trump did not share their enthusiasm for meeting with president zelensky. when i arrived in kiev, the actions of both the regular and the irregular channels of foreign policy appear to serve the same goal: strong us ukraine partnership. it became clear to me by august that the channels had diverged in their objectives, as this occurred, i became increasingly concerned. in late june, both channels were trying to facilitate a visit by president zelensky to the white house for a meeting with donald trump at the white house, which had been promised in the congratulatory letter of may 29, ukrainians were clearly eager for the meeting to happen. during my
4:06 pm
subsequent communications with ambassadors kurt volker and gordon sondland, they relayed that the president wanted to hear from president zelensky before scheduling the meeting in the oval office, it was not clear to me what this meant. onjune 27, was not clear to me what this meant. on june 27, ambassador sondland was not clear to me what this meant. onjune 27, ambassador sondland told me during a phone conversation that president zelensky had to make clear that he, president zelensky, was not standing on the way of investigations. i sensed something odd when ambassador sondland told me onjune 28 odd when ambassador sondland told me on june 28 that odd when ambassador sondland told me onjune 28 that he did not wish to include most of the regular inter—agency participants for a call planned with president zelensky later that day. the ambassadors, the secretary perry, and i, were on the call, dialling in from different locations. however, ambassador sondland said he wanted to make sure that no one was transcribing or monitoring as president zelensky was added to the call. also, before president zelensky joined the
4:07 pm
added to the call. also, before president zelenskyjoined the call, ambassadorvolker separately told the us participants that ambassador volker plan to be explicit with president zelensky in a one—on—one meeting in toronto on july two. president zelensky in a one—on—one meeting in toronto onjuly two. in that meeting, ambassador volker plans to make clear what president zelensky should do to get the white house meeting. i did not understand what this meant, but ambassador volker said that he would relay president trump wanted to see rule of law, transparency, but also, specifically, cooperation on investigations to get to the bottom of things. once president zelensky joined the call, the conversation was focused on energy policy and the war in donbass, president barack president zelensky obama also said he looked forward to the white house visits that had been offered by president trump in the letter of may 29. by mid—july, it became clear that the meeting that president zelensky wanted was conditioned on the investigations of the alleged
4:08 pm
ukrainian interference in the us elections. it was also clear that this condition was driven by the irregular policy channel i had come to understand was guided by rudy giuliani. -- to understand was guided by rudy giuliani. —— president zelensky said he also look forward to the white house visits that had been offered. i heard it said that there was a hole on security assistance to ukraine, but could not say why. towards the end of an otherwise normal meeting, a voice on the call, the person off screen, said that she was from omb and her boss had said that no additional spending could be approved until further notice, i, and others, sat in astonishment, ukrainians were fighting russians, and counted on not only the training and counted on not only the training and weapons but also the assurance of us support. all that they omb person said was that the directive had come from the president, the
4:09 pm
chief of staff of the omb. in an instance, i realise that one of the key pillars of our strong support for ukraine was written, irregular policy channel was running contrary to the goals of long—standing us policy. there followed a series of interagency meeting starting at staff level and quickly reaching the level of cabinet secretaries, at every meeting, the unanimous conclusion was that the security syste m conclusion was that the security system should be resumed, the hold should be lifted, at one point the defence department was asked to perform an analysis of the effectiveness of the assistance and within a day they came back with a determination that the assistance was effective and should be resumed, my understanding was that the secretaries of defence and state, cia director and the national security advisers sought a joint meeting with the president to convince him to release the hold, but such a meeting was hard to schedule, and it lasted well into september. july nine, in a phone
4:10 pm
call with the then senior director for european and russian affairs, fiona hill, and director of european affairs, lieutenant colonel alex inman, of the lsc, they tried to assure me that they were not a fair of any official change in us policy towards the ukraine, the announcement notwithstanding. they did confirm that the hold came from mick mulvaney, who maintained a sceptical view. —— alexander vindman. in the same july 19 phone call, they gave me an account of a july ten meeting with ukrainian and american officials at the white house, they told me that partway through the meeting, ambassador sondland had connected investigations within oval office meeting for president zelensky, which so irritated then national security adviserjohn bolton, that he abruptly ended the meeting, telling doctor hill, and lieutenant colonel alexander vindman, they should have nothing to do with domestic politics. he also directed
4:11 pm
doctor hill to "briefed the lawye rs " . doctor hill to "briefed the lawyers". doctor hill said that ambassador bolton refer to this deal asa ambassador bolton refer to this deal as a "drug deal" after the july ten meeting. a call between president zelensky and president trump was opposed byjohn bolton, on the concern that it would be a disaster. needless to say, ukrainians in the meetings were confused, ambassador bolton and the regular ukraine policy to making channel wanted to talk about security, energy, and reform. ambassador sondland, participating in the irregular channel, wanted to talk about the connection between a white house meeting and ukrainian investigations. also during ourjuly 19 call, doctor hill informed me that ambassador volker had met with rudolph giuliani to discuss ukraine, which took me by surprise. the next day i asked ambassador volker about meeting but received no response. —— dr hill. i began to sense that these
4:12 pm
two separate decision—making channels, the regular and the irregular, were separate and at odds with one another. later that day, i received text messages on a three way whats app text conversation with the ambassadors, ambassador volker and ambassador sondland, a record of which was provided by ambassador sondland. the call between president trump and president zelensky would ta ke trump and president zelensky would take place soon, we were told, ambassador volker said that what was most important was for residents and ski to say that he would help the investigation and address specific personnel issues if there were any. the next day, july 20, phone conversation with ambassador sondland while he was on a train from paris to london, ambassador sondland told me that he had recommended to president zelensky that he used the phrase "i will leave no stone unturned" with regard to investigations, when president zelensky spoke with president trump.
4:13 pm
also onjuly 20, i had a phone conversation with alexander tonny owuor, president talisca's national security adviser, who emphasised that president zelensky did not want to be used as an instrument in a us real election campaign. and the next day i messaged both ambassadors about the concerns. injuly day i messaged both ambassadors about the concerns. in july 25, president trump and president zelensky had the long—awaited phone conversation. —— alexander danyliuk. even though i was the acting ambassador and was scheduled to meet with president zelensky along with ambassador volker the following day, i received no readout of the call from the white house. the ukrainian government issued a short cryptic summary: " during government issued a short cryptic summary: "during a previously planned july 26 meeting, president talisca told ambassador volker and me that he was happy with the call." but he did not elaborate. president zelensky then asked about the
4:14 pm
face—to—face meeting in the oval office, as promised in the may 29 letter, from president trump. we could give him no firm answer. after the meeting with president zelensky, the meeting with president zelensky, the ambassador volker and i travel to the front line in northern dundas, to receive a briefing on the line of contact from the forces. arriving for the briefing and military headquarters, the commander thanked us for the security assistance, i was aware that the assistance, i was aware that the assistance was on hold, which made me uncomfortable. ambassador volker andl me uncomfortable. ambassador volker and i could see the armed and hostile russian led forces on the other side of the damaged bridge, across the line of contact, russian led forces continue to kill ukrainians in the war, one or two every week. more ukrainians would undoubtedly die without the us assistance. although i spent the morning ofjuly 26 with president zelensky and other ukrainian officials, the first summary of the july 25 trump president zelensky call that i heard from anybody inside the us government was during
4:15 pm
a phone call that i had with tim morrison, the recent replacement of dr hill, at the lsc, onjuly 28. mr morrison told me that the call could have been better. and that president trump had suggested that president zelensky or his staff meet with mr giuliani, and the attorney general, william bach, i did not see any official readout of the call until it was publicly released on september 25. by august i was becoming more concern, august 16, i exchanged text messages with ambassador volker, i learned that a senior adviser to president zelensky, had asked that the united states submit an official request foran states submit an official request for an investigation into the alleged violations of ukrainian law, if that is what the united states desired. a former youth —— form us request to the ukrainians to conduct an investigation based on violations of their own laws struck me as
4:16 pm
improper, andl of their own laws struck me as improper, and i recommended to ambassador volker that we stay clear, to find out the legal aspects of the question however i gave in the name of a deputy assistant to attorney general, whom i thought would be the proper point of contact for seeking out us request for a foreign investigation. —— senior adviser to president zelensky, andriy yermak. security had been hell for a month for no way that i could understand, i was concerned that the support for ukraine were shifting, i called the state department councillor, ulrich fractal, to discuss this, and he said he was not aware of a change in policy but check on the change of the strategy assistance, and my concern deepened the next day during a phone conversation with mr morrison, asking him if there had beena morrison, asking him if there had been a change in policy, strong support for ukraine, he said, it remains to be seen. he also told me during this call that the president
4:17 pm
does not want to provide any assistance at all. —— ulrich brechbuhl that was very controlling to me, as i had told secretary pompeo, if support would change, i would have to resign. based on michael with morrison, i was preparing to do so. just days later, august 27, ambassador bolton arrived in kiev, meeting with president zelensky, during that meeting, security assistance was not discussed, as far as i knew, the ukrainians were not aware of the hold, until august 29. ukrainians were not aware of the hold, untilaugust 29. i, on the other hand, was all too aware of and still troubled by the hold. near the end of ambassador volker's visit i asked to meet him privately, during which i expressed to him my serious concerns about the withholding of military assistance to ukraine, while ukrainians were defending their country russian aggression. ambassador bolton recommended that i say the first person capable to
4:18 pm
secretary pompeo directly, representing my concerns. i wrote the cable on august 29, describing the cable on august 29, describing the folly i saw in withholding military aid to ukraine at a time when hostilities were still active in the east and russia was watching closely to gauge the level of american support for the ukrainian government. the russians, as i said, in my deposition, would love to see the humiliation of president zelensky at the hands of the americans. i told the secretary i could not and would not defend such a policy. although i received no specific response, i heard, soon thereafter, the secretary carried thereafter, the secretary carried the cable with him to a meeting at the cable with him to a meeting at the white house focused on security assistance with ukraine. the same day, that i sent my cable to the secretary, andriy yermak contacted me, very concerned asking about the withheld security clearance. the hold had just been made public that day, ina hold had just been made public that day, in a political story. at that
4:19 pm
point, i was embarrassed that i could give him no explanation for why it was withheld. it has still not occurred to me that the hold on security assistance could be related to the investigations. that, however, would change. on september one, just three days after mike able to secretary pompeo, president zelensky met vice president mike pence at a bilateral meeting in warsaw, president trump had planned to travel to warsaw but at the last moment had cancelled because of hurricane dorian. just hours before the meeting between president lenski and mike pence, i contacted to let him know that it was an all or nothing proposition, in the sense that if they did not lift the whole prior to the end of the fiscal year, the funds would expire, ukraine would receive nothing. iwas the funds would expire, ukraine would receive nothing. i was hopeful that at the bilateral meeting, or shortly thereafter, the white house would lift the hold, but this was not to be. on the evening of
4:20 pm
septemberone, i not to be. on the evening of september one, i received a readout of the mike pence president zelensky meeting over the phone from mr morrison during which he told me that president zelensky had opened the meeting by immediately asking the meeting by immediately asking the vice president about the security cooperation. the vice president did not respond but said he would talk to president trump that night. the vice president did say that president trump wanted the europeans to do more to support ukraine, and that he wanted the ukrainians to do more to fight corruption. during the same phone call with mr morrison, he described the conversation ambassador son had with andriy yermak in warsaw, ambassador sondland told andriy yermak that the security assistance money would not come until president zelensky committed to pursuing the investigation. i was alarmed by what mr morrison told me about the conversation between ambassador sondland and andriy yermak, i understand mr morrison testified in his disposition that ambassador
4:21 pm
sondland proposed it might be sufficient for the ukrainian prosecutor general to commit to pursue the investigations as opposed to president zelensky. this was the first time that i had heard that the security assistance, not just the white house meeting, was conditioned on the investigations. very concerned, on that same day, septemberone, isent concerned, on that same day, september one, i sent ambassador sondland a text message, asking if we are now saying that the security assistance and the white house meeting are conditioned on investigations. ambassador sondland responded, asking me to call him, which i did. during that phone call, ambassador sondland told me that president trump had told him that he watched president zelensky —— wants president zelensky to state publicly that ukraine will investigate alleged ukrainian interference in the election, he also told me that he now recognised that he had made a mistake by earlier telling ukrainian officials that only a white house
4:22 pm
meeting with president zelensky was dependent on a public announcement of the investigations. in fact, ambassador sondland said, everything was dependent on such an announcement, including security assistance. he said president trump wanted president zelensky in a public box, by making a public statement about ordering such investigations. the same september one call, i told ambassador sondland that president trump should have more respect for another head of state and that what he described was not in the interests of either president trump or president zelensky. at that point i asked ambassador sondland to push back on the demand by president trump, he pledged to try. i suggested the possibility that ukrainian prosecutor general, rather than president zelensky, would make a statement about the investigation, potentially incoordination with attorney general bar's probe into the investigation into interference
4:23 pm
in the 2016 elections, next day, september two, in the 2016 elections, next day, septembertwo, mr in the 2016 elections, next day, september two, mr morrison called tim informed me that mr dana look had asked him to come to his hotel in warsaw, he expressed concern about the possible loss of us support for ukraine. —— alexander danyliuk. in particular he relate to me that the inability of us officials to restrain to —— respond to solicit the questions by the ukrainians about security questions was troubling him, i was experiencing the same tension in my dealings with the ukraine, including a meeting i had with the defence minister that day. on september five, i accompanied senatorsjohnson and murphy, during their visit to kiev, and when we met with president zelensky, his first question to the senators was about the withheld security clearance, — — senators was about the withheld security clearance, —— assistance, my recollection is that both senators stressed that bipartisan support for ukraine in washington
4:24 pm
was ukraine's most important strategic assets, and that president zelensky should not jeopardise that bipartisan support by getting drawn into us domestic politics. i had been making and continue to make this point to all of my official ukrainian contacts, but the odd push to make president zelensky publicly commit to investigations of burisma and alleged interference in the 2016 election showed how the official foreign policy of the united states was undercut by the irregular efforts led by mr giuliani. two days later, september seven, conversation with mr morrison in which he described a phone conversation earlier that day between ambassador sondland and president trump. mr morrison said he had a sinking feeling after learning about this conversation from ambassador sondland. according to mr morrison, president trump told the ambassador he was not asking for a quid pro quo. this president trump did insist
4:25 pm
that president zelensky go to a microphone, and say he is opening investigations ofjoe microphone, and say he is opening investigations of joe biden microphone, and say he is opening investigations ofjoe biden and 2016 election interference. and that president zelensky should want to do this himself, morrison said he told ambassador bolton and nse lawyers office phone call of the phone call between president trump and ambassador sondland. following day, septembereight, ambassador sondland. following day, september eight, ambassador sondland andl september eight, ambassador sondland and i spoke on the phone, he confirmed he had talked to president trump, asi confirmed he had talked to president trump, as i had suggested one week earlier, but president trump was adamant that president zelensky himself had to clear things up and do it in public. president trump said it was not a quid pro quo. i believe this was the same conversation between ambassador sondland and president trump that mr morrison had described to me, september seven. ambassador sondland also said he had talked to president zelensky and
4:26 pm
andriy yermak, and had told them that although this was not a quid pro quo, if president zelensky did not clear things up in public, we would be at a stalemate. i understood a stalemate to mean that ukraine would not receive the much needed military assistance, ambassador sondland said this conversation concluded with president zelensky agreeing to make a public statement in an interview on cnn, shortly after that call, i express my strong reservations in a text message to ambassador sondland, stating that my nightmare is that they, the ukrainians, give the interview but do not get the security support. the russians love it, and! security support. the russians love it, and i would quit. i was serious. the message to the ukrainians and russians we send with a decision on security assistance is key, i said, with the hold that we have already —— with a whole, we have already
4:27 pm
shaken their faith —— with a whole, we have already shaken theirfaith in —— with a whole, we have already shaken their faith in us. i also said, it is crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign. ambassador sondland responded five hours later that i was incorrect about president trump's intentions, the president has been crystal clear, no quid pro quos of any kind. during the meeting, during the call, on septembereight, meeting, during the call, on september eight, ambassador sondland tried to explain to me that president trump is a businessman, and a businessman when he is about to signa and a businessman when he is about to sign a cheque to someone who owes him something, the businessman asks that person to pay up before signing the cheque. ambassador volker use the cheque. ambassador volker use the same language several days later when we were together at the yalta european strategy conference, and i argue to both that the explanation made no sense. ukrainians did not owe president trump anything. and holding up security assistance for domestic political gain was crazy, asi domestic political gain was crazy, as i had said in my text message to
4:28 pm
ambassador sondland and ambassador volker, september nine. finally, septemberii, volker, september nine. finally, september11,l volker, september nine. finally, september 11, i learned that the hold had been lifted and security assistance would be provided. i was not told the reason why the hold had been lifted. the next day, i personally conveyed the news to president zelensky and the ukrainian foreign minister, and i again reminded andriy yermak of the highest strategic value of bipartisan support for the ukraine and the importance of not getting involved in other countries elections. my fear at the time was that since ambassador sondland had told me president zelensky had already agreed to do a cnn interview, president zelensky would make a statement regarding investigations that would have played into domestic us politics. i sought to confirm through alexander danyliuk sought to confirm through alexander da nyliuk that sought to confirm through alexander danyliuk that president zelensky was not planning to give such an interview to the media, while alexander da nyliuk initially confirmed that it had been noticed during a meeting on the morning of september13, during a meeting on the morning of september 13, president zelinsky's office, that mr yermak looked uncomfortable in response to the
4:29 pm
question and again i asked mr danyliuk question and again i asked mr da nyliuk to confirm question and again i asked mr danyliuk to confirm that there would be no cnn interview, which he did. on september25, at be no cnn interview, which he did. on september 25, at the un general assembly session in new york city, president trump met presidents and ski, face—to—face, and he also released the transcript of the july 25 call, states gave the ukrainians virtually no notice of the release, and they were livid. although this was the first time i had seen the details of president trump's july 25 call, with president zelensky, in which he mentioned vice president joe biden, i had come to understand well before then that "investigations" was a term used by the ambassadors which meant matters related to the 2016 elections and investigations of burisma and the bidens. last friday, a member of my staff told me of events that occurred onjuly 26. while
4:30 pm
ambassador volker and i visited the front, a memberof ambassador volker and i visited the front, a member of my staff accompanied ambassador sondland, and ambassador sondland met with mr yermak, following that meeting, in the presence of my staff, at a restaurant, ambassador sondland called president trump and told him of his meetings in kiev. a member of my staff could hear president trump on the phone, asking ambassador sondland about the investigations. ambassador sondland told president trump that the ukrainians were ready to move forward. following the call with president trump, a member of my staff ask ambassador sondland what president trump thought about ukraine. ambassador sondland responded that president trump cares more about the investigations ofjoe biden, which giuliani was pressing for, at the time, i gave my deposition on october 22, i was not aware of this information. i am including it here for completeness, as the committee knows, i reported this information through counsel to
4:31 pm
the state department's legal adviser, as well as to counsel for both the majority and minority of this committee. it is my understanding the committee is following up on this matter. mrchairman, i mr chairman, i recognise that this rather lengthy recitation of the events of the past few months, told from my vantage point in kiev, but i also recognise the importance of the matter is your committee is investigating and i hope that this chronology will provide some framework for your questions. as i mentioned in my october the 22nd deposition, the information in my testimony is based on my best recollection as well as a review of my personal notes. let me return to the points i made at the outset. ukraine is important to the security of the united states, ukraine is a young democracy struggling to join europe an ally itself with the
4:32 pm
united states. it has been violently attacked by russia. if we believe in the principle of the sovereignty of nations, on which our security and the security of our friends and allies believe that we and our friends get to decide on their own political and security alliances, we must support ukraine in its fight against its bullying neighbour. russian aggression cannot stand. republican and democratic administrations over three decades have been generous with assistance funding both civilian and military and political support. with overwhelming bipartisan majorities, congress has imposed harsh sanctions on russia for invading and occupying ukraine. mrchairman, on russia for invading and occupying ukraine. mr chairman, there are two ukraine. mr chairman, there are two ukraine stories today. the first is the one we are discussing this morning that you have been hearing about for the past two weeks. it's a
4:33 pm
rancorous story about whistle—blowers, rancorous story about whistle— blowers, mr rancorous story about whistle—blowers, mr giuliani, side channels, quid pro quo is, corruption and interference in elections. in this story, ukraine is merely an object. but there's another story, a positive and bipartisan one. in this second story, ukraine is the subject. this one is about young people in a young nation, struggling to break free of its past, hopeful that their new government will finally usher in a new ukraine, proud of its independence from russia, eager to join western institutions and enjoy a more secure and prosperous life. this story describes a nation developing an inclusive, democratic nationalism not unlike what we in america, in our best moments, feel about our diverse country, less concerned about what language we speak, what religion if any we practise, where our parents or
4:34 pm
grandparents came from, more concerned about building a new country. i look forward to your question. thank you both for your testimony. we will now have 45 minutes of questions. mr taylor, i would like to begin by following up on something you have disclosed today and you disclosed earlier to both the majority and minority, but it is some new information for the committee. you said that one of your staff was the president with the ambassador on the day after thejuly the 25th phone call, is that right? that is correct. and as your staff related the event to you, your staff member could overhear the ambassador on the phone with the president, is that right? that is correct. so the president must have been speaking loud enough on the phone for your
4:35 pm
staff member to be able to overhear this. it was. and what your staff member could overhear was president trump asking ambassador sondland about "the investigations". that is correct. you also testified that you had come to understand that the term investigations was a term that ambassador sondland used in matters related to the 2016 elections and to the investigations of burisma and the investigations of burisma and the bidens. current. so your staff member overhears the president asking about the investigations, meaning burisma and the bidens in 2016. and ambassador sondland told president trump that the ukrainians we re president trump that the ukrainians were ready to move forward. he did. and you said that after the call when your staff asked ambassador sondland what president trump thought of ukraine, his response was
4:36 pm
that president trump cares more about the investigations of bite? and burisma, yes. i take it the import of that is that he cares more about that then ukraine. yes, sir. during your testimony, he also said that more ukrainians would undoubtedly die without us assistance. why is that? the security assistance that we provide takes many forms. one component of that assistance is counter battery radar. another component is sniper weapons. these weapons, and this assistance, allows the ukrainian
4:37 pm
military to deter further incursions by the russians against ukrainian territory. if that further aggression were to take place, more ukrainians would die. so it is a deterrent effect that these weapons provide. it's also that it gives the ukrainians the ability to negotiate from a position of a little more strength when they negotiate an end to the war in donbass when negotiating with the russians. this is also a way that would reduce the numberof ukrainians who is also a way that would reduce the number of ukrainians who would die. i take it if the provision of us military assistance would save ukrainian lives, that any delay in that assistance may also cost ukrainian lives? it is hard to draw
4:38 pm
any direct lines between any particular element of security assistance and any particular death on the battlefield, but it is true that that assistance enabled ukrainian armed forces to be effective and deter and to be able to take countermeasures to the attacks from the russians. you said attacks from the russians. you said a ukrainian soldier lost their life while you are visiting donbass? we keep careful track of the casualties, and i noticed on the next day from the information we got that one soldier was killed and four we re that one soldier was killed and four were wounded on that day. and ukrainians lose their lives every week? every week. you also testified that russia was watching closely to gauge the level of american support for the ukrainian government. why is that significant? this is
4:39 pm
significant because ukrainians, in particular under this new administration, are eager to end this war. they are eager to end it ina way this war. they are eager to end it in a way that the russians leave their territory. these negotiations, like all negotiations, are difficult. the ukrainians would like to be able to negotiate from a position of strength, or at least more strength than they have. but of the ability of the ukrainians to negotiate against the russians for an end to the war in donbass depends on the united states and other international support. if we withdraw, or suspend or threaten to withdraw, or suspend or threaten to withdraw our security assistance, thatis withdraw our security assistance, that is a message to the ukrainians, but it is at least as important to the russians, who are looking for any sign of weakness or any sign that we are withdrawing support for
4:40 pm
ukraine. so when the ukrainians learned of the suspension of the military aid either privately or when others learned publicly, the russians would be learning also, and they will take that as a lack of robust support for ukraine. that's correct. and that would weaken ukraine in negotiating an end to the war in donbass? it would. i am sure people watching our interested in how diplomatic support for ukraine affects ukraine, but even more interested in how this affects our national security. you said that if we believe in the sovereignty of nations, where countries get to determine their own political alliances, we have to support ukraine and its fight, the kind of
4:41 pm
aggression we see by russia can't stand. how is it important to american national security that we provide for a robust defence of ukraine sovereignty? as my colleague george kent described, we have a national defence policy that identifies russia and china is at the series. the russians are violating all of the treaties that they committed to that actually kept they committed to that actually kept the peace in europe for nearly 70 years, until they invaded the peace in europe for nearly 70 years, untilthey invaded ukraine in 2014, they had abided by the sovereignty of nations and inviolability of borders. that order
4:42 pm
that kept the peace in europe and allowed for prosperity as well as peace in europe was violated by the russians and if we don't push back on those violations, then that will continue. and that, mr chairman, affects us, it affects the world that we live in and our children and grandchildren will grow up in. this affects the kind of world that we wa nt affects the kind of world that we want to see overall. so that affects our national security directly. ukraine is on the front line of that conflict. thank you both for your decades of service to the country. i will now recognise mr goldman for a question. thank you. and on the heels of you discussing the importance of the security assistance to ukraine, i want to go go to the end of the timeline, where you learned that security assistance
4:43 pm
was conditioned on ukraine announcing the investigations that the president wanted, and in particular on september the 9th of this year, you texted ambassador sondland. the text message should be on the screen in front of you. could you read what you wrote? as i said on the phone, i think it's crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign. what do you mean when you said you thought it was crazy? mr goldman, i meant... simon mccoy: we are going to leave washington and take you to prime minister boris johnson to leave washington and take you to prime minister borisjohnson in the west midlands, making a speech. we will keep watching what is happening in washington, go to bbc parliament. there is flash photography in this. with their lovely traditional contours, burley and bulging,
4:44 pm
faintly reminiscent of a black bowler hat. but underneath the familiar silhouette, there is now technology so advanced that this machine can take you silently from uxbridge to upminster, i think i'm right in saying, with barely a puff of c02. right in saying, with barely a puff of co2. in fact, zero co2. these taxis are beginning to cut thousands of tonnes a year from london's carbon emissions, 10,000 tonnes per year. they are not only popular with the travelling public, but popular with taxi drivers. and they are a pretty demanding client. so in its ambition and its daring, i hope you will not mind if i identify this machine as a symbol of the type of politics that i believe in, my type of conservative politics, what i stand for and the approach i want to take. and what we as a government
4:45 pm
have to offer this country in just a few weeks' time. i believe the job of politicians is to drive change. you're not going to believe this, but i was the midwife of this taxi. orone of but i was the midwife of this taxi. or one of the midwives. i will come to our investment in midwives later. but i remember going to see chairman lee in beijing in 2008. i had my first of several meetings with him, and he said then that he wanted to buy the country that made the london taxis. i said fantastic, let's make them in britain. and chairman lee said yes, he would. and then i chanced my arm because i was determined to tackle air pollution london. i said, fantastic, let's make them electric, zero carbon. and
4:46 pm
chairman lee said he would see what he could do. he said, we will research it. at that time, there we re research it. at that time, there were plenty of cynics, not least some of the other manufacturers who said that diesel was the only way to go. they said there wouldn't be enough sockets for the plants and that the battery would be so heavy that the battery would be so heavy that the battery would be so heavy that the taxi wouldn't move. i don't know where they are now, but i hope they are eating their words, because you hear are making thousands of these wonderful machines here in the west midlands, home of the first industrial revolution. we are seeing a new industrial revolution, a green industrial revolution, creating thousands of environmentally sustainable technologies and thousands of jobs. a sustainable technologies and thousands ofjobs. a glorious rebuttal to the sceptics who said it can be done. and in our —— they said
4:47 pm
it couldn't be done. and the britain of 2019 is in many ways a crushing rejoinder to the post—war pessimism of so many in the british establishment who then believed that this country was fated to decline. today, the uk boasts more nobel prize winners than any country except the us. we dominate the global pop music charts. we even dominate the market in hollywood super heroes, with british actors playing both spider—man and superman under this government. laughter. i will take credit for it. under this government, we have had an economy that has grown solidly, 20% bigger than it was in 2010. and yesterday, it was announced that the rate of unemployment has fallen to a low not seen since 1974. but there
4:48 pm
is still something frustrating for me about this recitation of our country's triumphs, because it is a story of an economy that is still not achieving what it could, of a country like a cup winning racehorse, trying to run on three legs. with so much more potential waiting to be unleashed. that is why it is the mission of this one—nation conservative government to unite and to level up across the whole of the uk, ensuring everyone has safer streets with 20,000 more police lifting up funding from the school in the country, massive investments in health so that you don't have to wait to see your gp, providing vastly better infrastructure, investing in skills that drive up productivity and drive up wages. the biggest ever increase in the living wage. we have announced £10.50, so
4:49 pm
cutting the costs of living across the country. that is the one nation programme on which this government is embarked. and yet, and by the way, i pay tribute to the local mp here in rugby, and he would want me to say that. my friends, he does a fantasticjob. we are blocked, we are stymied. for the last three months, we have a parliament where there is no majority since i have beenin there is no majority since i have been in office, no majority to take forward those people's priorities, a paralysed parliament that refuses time and again to honour the mandate of the people and to deliver brexit. that is why we need this election now. we have got absolutely no choice. we must get brexit done
4:50 pm
because we are democrats, and there are millions who want to get brexit done because they voted leave and they believe that the eu has become something very different from what it was when we signed up to the common market in 1975 with the first referendum. and then of course, there are huge numbers who may have voted remain, but whojust there are huge numbers who may have voted remain, but who just want to respect the result of the referendum. and after three and a half years, they think it's time for the wrangling to end. i don't know about you, but i am with them, aren't you? we have to get brexit done because it is the best thing for our politics and for our psychological health. we have to get brexit done because it is also the best thing for the economy. the uncertainty has become almost unbearable. people can't make decisions. they are waiting to hire new staff, waiting to buy new property. the uk attracts huge quantities of foreign investment, 92
4:51 pm
billion last year, more than any other country in europe. but right now, there is a pent—up tidal wave of new investment, billions more that could come to this country in the next few months, from people who see that we have the right time zone, the right language, great universities, fantastic skills. and they are just waiting to green light their plans. if we could get brexit done, we could end their uncertainty. let me make no bones about it. one of the most important reasons for voting conservative and to help us to get a working majority is that we can get brexit done now. we have a deal. we have a great deal. it is ready to go. just add water, stir in part. the sceptics said it couldn't be done and they we re said it couldn't be done and they were wrong. this deal allows us to
4:52 pm
maximise all the opportunities of brexit from free ports to free trade, deals from cutting vat on tampons to banning the crew export of live animals. we can take back control of our money, borders and laws. we can take back control of our immigration system and decide democratically who gets to come here for the good of the uk economy, and it gives business complete stability and certainty as we make the transition in january and and certainty as we make the transition injanuary and come out. the best thing is that it is done and ready to go. it is the blue peter deal. here is when i made earlier. all we need is a working majority in parliament to make parliament work. just nine more seats, and we can deliver brexit in january and get parliament working for you and unleash the potential of
4:53 pm
the whole country and get on with our agenda. the only thing that has held up that deal in parliament and tripped us up at the final hurdle was, i'm afraid to say, jeremy corbyn and the labour party. what does corbyn want? what would he do in the corbyn— sturgeon coalition thatis in the corbyn— sturgeon coalition that is his only means of forming a government in this country, his only path to power? well, if only we knew what he would do. the only hard crouton fact the great minestrone of model that constitutes labour's brexit policy is that he wants more delay, turning 2020 and to a year of two referendums, as nicola sturgeon confirmed today. one on scotland, which corbyn's position is veiled in mystery. does he want to protect the union, or would he join mystery. does he want to protect the union, orwould hejoin nicola sturgeon in trying to break up the
4:54 pm
most successful political partnership of the last 300 years? who knows? as for his position on the eu, it is positively mind—boggling. he wants to negotiate a new deal. he wants another three months to negotiate a new deal, and then he wants to spend a further six months asking the public to vote on his deal in yet another toxic referendum campaign, and we don't even know what his position will be. will he campaign against the new deal that he hopes to secure? is he for leave, is he for remain, or is he, like schrodinger ‘s cat, capable of occupying two contradictory positions at once? one thing is clear. the sturgeon— corbyn alliance would consign this country to months if not years of dither, delay,
4:55 pm
discord, division. when every month of pointless delay insisted on by corbyn is costing this country £1 billion for nothing to stay in right now. think what we could spend that billion pounds on every month. that isa billion pounds on every month. that is a net contribution, by the way, £1 billion per month, almost 20,000 police officers. we need to get brexit done so we can spend that money on our priorities, end the uncertainty and get on with our programme of uniting and levelling up programme of uniting and levelling up across the whole of the uk, because if the potential of this country is enormous, then so, frankly, is the injustice. some regions are 50% less productive than london. there are parts of the country where people's lives are a decade shorter than in other parts. educational outcomes can be vastly different. imagine if every child
4:56 pm
had the same start, the same encouragement. think of all the untapped talent in this country. and yet the solutions to that inequality are within our grasp. our ambition is to unlock the whole nation's potential through better infrastructure, better education and technology, not just to infrastructure, better education and technology, notjust to close the opportunity gap between rich and poon opportunity gap between rich and poor, but also between the regions of this country. we are so ambitious, we believe we can close those gaps at once. not by decapitating that all poppies, by spreading equality of opportunity. and there are some things that i think everybody should have as a matter of right. freedom to walk the streets without fear of crime. we need to stop our kids getting sucked into the county lines drugs gangs. we need safer streets and proper
4:57 pm
punishments. that means a government that funds the police and that backs the police. that is why we have already begun not just the police. that is why we have already begun notjust by investing in the 20,000 officers, but also backing them up with proper powers to do stop and search, tougher sentences for serious sexual and violent crimes. of course, the best way to stop kids getting caught up in crime is to give every child in this country an excellent education. that is why we are boosting per—pupil funding so that each pupil gets a per—pupil funding so that each pupil getsa minimum per—pupil funding so that each pupil gets a minimum of £4000 in primary school and a gets a minimum of £4000 in primary schooland a minimum gets a minimum of £4000 in primary school and a minimum of £5,000 in secondary schools. we are putting in 780 million more into special educational needs schools. we are spending £2 billion in rebuilding our further education colleges, because they are a vital part of our education. it is notjust about university, it's about giving kids
4:58 pm
across our country the skills that we need. as we leave the eu, we will insist that all big public sector projects must hire british apprentices so that they can learn new skills on the job. at the same time as we improve education, we are ensuring that people are able to exploit the opportunities that are available to them, literally to find work and the high skilled jobs conveniently and affordably. the only way to do that is to invest in superb transport communications. that is why this government is embarking on an infrastructure revolution. and yes, that means some very big projects. i have done loads of them in london. fantastic new electrified rail, but it also means investing in the simple improvements to their lives that people have been craving, modernising roads and
4:59 pm
junctions that have become bottlenecks and sources of massive local frustration and economic inefficiency. it's about better bus services, which can make all the difference to people's lives and prospects in towns, villages and rural communities. better cycleways. iam glad rural communities. better cycleways. i am glad to see some nodding there. cycleways are i am glad to see some nodding there. cycleways a re not i am glad to see some nodding there. cycleways are not always popular with the taxi drivers in my experience. but we need better cycleways across the country. and i wa nt every cycleways across the country. and i want every home and business in the country to have the confidence and convenience that comes with gigabit broadband, 5g n six g mobile telephony. that is how to unite the country and bring us together. education, infrastructure, productivity and technology. that is how to create a platform for growth. that is what the role of government is. if you create that platform,
5:00 pm
then the market will respond in two vital ways. if you have good transport and a safe environment and good schools, then suddenly the market will find that it can build thousands more homes, superb affordable homes on brownfield sites, giving young people the chance to have the keys to their own property, which every survey continues to show is one of our most fundamental instincts. and we will help with a big expansion of art by, pa rt rent help with a big expansion of art by, part rent schemes to help people get onto the housing ladder. if you have safe neighbourhoods, decent skilled workforce, good transport links, what else happens? you get business investment, confidence and jobs. that is why you need a government that believes in business and understands wealth creation. and, they need to support family

56 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on