tv Ambassadorship Confirmations CSPAN June 21, 2018 2:16pm-3:43pm EDT
users data with devices made by huwai. do you believe facebook can say definitely that facebook user data was never stored on huawei servers. >> the issue at hand providing partners using to data partners got to override user privacy settings. like having administrative access in some way to facebook data. and my understanding is that once that data is off and transferred to those partners hand sets it can be used in whatever way. you can watch this cambridge analytical hearing any time online at c-span.org. type that in the video library search bar on the home page. again at c-span.org. going live now capitol hill as the senate foreign relations committee is meeting. they are holding a confirmation hearing for president trump's
nominees to be u.s. ambassadors to the european union, belgium, zimbabwe and united nations management and reform. gordon sondland is president's pick to european union and ronald getwitz has been named as ambassador to belgium. this is live coverage on c-span 3. >> good afternoon. this hring on the senate foreign relation hearing will come toward. we come together to consider four nomination. brian nichols. mr. gordon sondland. mr. round getwitz. and miss sheri nolay with a rank
of ambassador and alternative u.s. representative to sessions of the united nations general assembly. that's a mouthful. i want to welcome the nominees and their families and in your opening statements i hope you'll introduce your families and friends to this committee and i congratulate all of you on your selection by the president for these positions. and i want to thank you for your willingness to serve. before moving to opening statements i would like to welcome several distinguished colleagues who will help introduce our nominees. senator tillis, sator durbin. senator tillis, if you would like to begin. >> thank you, mr. chair. members, i should say members of the committee, it is my great privilege to introduce mr. gordon sondland who has been nominated to serve as the united states ambassador to the european union. mr. sondland was born in seattle, washington. and as first generation american, his family history is
both fascinating and instructive as to why he has the experience and understanding to serve as u.s. ambassador to the eu. his parents were born in berlin, germany and were married in 1937. they were forced to escape the nazi regime in germany. his mother was able to escape because her father was russian and those with russian passports could leave. she ended up in uruguay where mr. sondland's sister was born. his father of not so fortunate. he had to be smuggled out of germany. he wound up in france where he joined the french foreign legion and fought in north africa. he was put in a concentration camp in africa where he was rescued by a british army. he then joined the british army, being fluent in german assisted with decoding gear minute cy r minute cyphers.
gordon went on to graduate from the universityf washington and seattle and began his business career in commercial real estate before manage the aspen group an investment group. mr. sondland is currently the founder, chairman and ceo of providence hotels. he originally purchased a bankrupt hotel and transformed it into the enterprise he manages today a national company which now employs nearly 1,000 employees and owns and manages hotel across the geographical diverse environment in the united states. mr. sondland has been heavily involved in a number of philanthropy activities. he's co-founder of the gordon second lad foundation which helps families. he's served on a local aboard ad
state board. oregon health and science university foundation. and the george w. bush center. his family history and his contextural understanding coming with it comes with his extensive business enterprise and problem solving relationship building and managing competing interests, ideally suit him for the task. i would also tell you he's a man of great character and a great mentor to two of his kids who had the good sense to go to a north carolina school. they are at duke university. i'm sorry you didn't have the grades to get into unc chapel hill but duke is a good plan b. mr. chair, thank you so much for holding this hearing. i could not think of a better person to take the post as ambassador to the eu, mr. gordon sondland. >> thank you, senator tillis. senator. >> thank you very much mr.
chairman and let me make this a filibuster free zone and perhaps just have my remarks put in the record and give you a sense of why i'm here. i have known gordon sondland, known him in the pacific nohwest as gordony for well over a quarter of a century. senator murphy asked how did it come about. did he want to play in the nba too? isasketball did it? not really. there is a really small jewish community in oregon. we pretty much know each other. so the seidels and rosenfield and the sondlands, we're just people who get-together and back good causes and try to stand up for our state and particularly have an interest in global kind
of matters because of our family background. we are both gordon sondland and i, we are the children of german parents. and both of our families fled the nazis in the '30s. gordon's father used his foreign language fluency to help the british army. my dad to w.h.o. lived for a while in richfield, connecticut wrote the propaganda pamphlets for our army that we dropped on the nazis. i'm telling you those pamphlets smoked. it told the nazis they were going to freeze if they didn't pack it in and give up to the red, white and blue. so both gordon's family and mine ended up in the united states as
refugees. i think we all know america has always called to our shores from every nation on earth the industriest and the devout. we had a constant infusion of individuals who share red, white and blue values of hard work and love of country, the very core ofur greatness. my sense is and gordon and i have kind of touched on this over the years that families like ours and kids like us who are really first generation kids of refugees, there's a word for it. where you try to perfect the world. but i think what i would say is gordon and families like ours, we always fought it was our job
to give back. always tried to find a way to give back with the way people talked about it in jewish families in oregon, whether it was the sondlands or rosen felds. gordon and his wife katie have been supporters of so many causes. one of the things that i especially like about the family is they have been very generous to the portland art museum and as a result now kids can go to this terrific museum in oregon, and we're 3,000 miles away from some of what people think of as the museums of new york and washington, d.c. but now because testify sondlands kids can go to an art museum free. gordony has been involved in a number of other things that i feel very strongly about. i know both the chair and the ranking minority member care greatly about health care.
gordon has been involved in the oregon health and science university foundation where doing good work and phil knight as well who made a very generous donation recently, some cutting-edge work to deal with cancer. so i'll just close by way of saying that i think if you look at the totality of the experience that the sondlands bring to this post at a time when lots of politics is polarized and divisive, gordon sondland will be a good fit. i'll close with one kind of comment about our state. what i come tofeel we sort of have an oregon way about us. it's not like written down somewhere. it's not, you know, in our pioneer square in downtown portland. but it's all about -- take a good idea wherever you can get it. caring about people. having a good heart.
our late colleague here in the senate, mark hatfield really practiced the oregon way. our late mayor in portland practiced the oregon way. i think when gordon sondland assumes this post and i'm going to say i really hope he's confirmed he'll speak with real impact with an oregon way type impact for problem solving, for values that we hold dear, particularly on issues like anti-semitism, respect for human rights and it's pleasure to be able to be, i guess, part of the oregon caucus on behalf of the nominee gordon d.sondland. >> thanks, senator. without objection your written statement will be entered into the record. senator gardner. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thanks for holding this hearing. let me welcome first christina goodwitz. her love of our nominee as
ambassador to belgium is the love of her life. ron didn't get married until his 40s because he spent all of the time before that time trying to convince christina to say yes. i think that's the story, corr i also want to welcome scott who is here today, his son and new fiancee as in the last week and alexander his son who is in australia. welcome to the family for b here day. thank you. first time i met ron i knew immediately i was going to get along great with him. walking in to his office in chicago the last poster on his wall. a piece of farm equipment. a company called caulkins. as somebody who grew up in a very small town who sold farm equipment, i knew a heck of a lot about equipment called a rod weeder and didn't think anybody else in america off of the farm would know about it until i met ron. we had a long conversation about
midwest companies that have a legacy presence in colorado and beyond. ron that morning talked about these household names that helped my commune, my hometown live the that he was a part of. his resume we can talk about. he's more qualified to serve our great nation in this capacity as anyone else. he has decades of business experience leading nationally recognized brands and companies. been a national leader as business executives for national security, leader of boys and girls clubs across the nation. didn't take me the long recognize he just wasn't a business leader or a political leader. his bio is filled with far more than job experience. he's a mentor, philanthropy, community leader. he's deputy into leadership of the artser and incredible field museum in chicago. he lives up to that adage to whom much is given much is expected.
none of it is done seeking for recogniti recognition. truly is to live up to that commitment much is expected and they have indeed lived up to this gribl standard. the gidwitz have never stopped giving and championing others. this is just one more step to give back. this is why those close to him call him father ron. he's one that serves everyone. people come to him for wisdom, guidance and when need some hard truth telling. peer to peer, ceo to ceo or young leaders and students. in the words of some of his closest friends he serves as a source of strength and wisdom for all. his greatest achievement is not how much he has given but how he's influenced and inspired those around him. the mission in belgium is more than ever. whether addressing the
challenges in europe he'll be a point much pride that will give comfort to all of us. the leadership that an ambassador provides and ability of selfless leadership. i'm honored to support ron and his family and i encourage my colleagues to do the same. >> senator durbin. >> thanks mr. chairman. great to be back. i'm on leave of absence. i promise some day il return like macarthur. i wanted to be here today especially because of the nomination of ron gidwitz to be our next ambassador to belgium. i won't replicate the remarks of the senator from colorado but i'll tell you ron and i share something in common, a life experience that goes back a few years. we were both interns in the united states senate the same year working for the same senator. morris udall a congressman from
arizona said if you have politics in your bloodstream only embalming fluid will replace it. ron took a different path. he went back to chicago, into the business world. successful in that world. with private business as well as with his investments and other endeavors. did well for himself. as corey reminded us he just didn't sit on that success and bank the money and walkway from his responsibilities to many others. and i've known that for a long time where an area where there's arguments made about hyper partisanship but i know when it came to service for public ron was stepping up to serve chicago's democratic mayors as much as his own republican friends. he included chairing the city's economic commission under mayor washington and sawyer.
he chaired the city colleges of chicago under mayor daly. he chaired the state board of education and served as well as corey mentioned as chairman and chairman emeritus for the boys and girls club. over and over he stepped up for public service. he'll do it again. belgium is an important ally to the united states. european union's future is an important question for the united states. the future of the nato alliance is something we need to address. it's been peace in the world for a long period of time. ron gidwitz is the right attorney serve as america's face and voice in belgium and i'm happy to endorse his nomination. >> i want to thank our senate colleagues for coming here. the bipartisan support for these nominees speaks well of them and of this process. you're welcome to stay just not sitting there.
we really do appreciate you making those introductions. i want to thank my other colleagues for attending and i want to be respectful of their time. rather than read an opening statement i'll ask for consent to enter into the record. i'll turn to senator murphy. >> i will take your cue and we can get right to the nominees. >> good. so let me, again, begin by thanking our nominee, your families for your willingness to serve in these very important capacities. these postings involve significant sacrifice not only from just you, but, you know, for your families. the positions you're in will be extremely important from the standpoint of representing america to your countries, your institutions but also representing those countries and institutions back to this body. and i'm sure you'll do a great job. so we would like to start with the honorable brian nichols.
ambassador nichols is the president's nominee to zimbabwe. he's a career member of the foreign service and served as u.s. ambassador to peru from 2014 to 2017. his prior postings include principal deputy secretary of state for narcotics law enforcement affairs from 2011 to 2013 and deputy chief admission at the u.s. embassy in bogota. ambassador nichols. >> chairman johnson, ranking member murphy and distinguished members of the committee. it is an honor to appear before you today as the president's nominee to be the next united states ambassador to the republic of zimbabwe. i'm profoundly grateful to have the confidence of the president and the secretary of state. as i approach 30 years in the foreign service, serving at some of our most challenging missions it is a humbling distinction to appear before the senate for the second time as a nominee to serve the american people. as ambassador. my pfeiol achievements owed to the wonderful whom join
me today. my wife gerry, senior foreign officer and my daughters alex and sophie. they've all pushed me to be a bett person, sacrificed for my career and nurtured me with their love and support. i would like to recognize my older brothers david and keith for the powerful example that they have set for me although they could not be here today. i've had the good fortune to represent the country that i love in fascinating countries around the world. i have advanced american values of respect for democracy, human rights and the rule of law throughout my career. those are values that my late father charles nichols a fulbright scholar and founder of brown university's african studies instilled in me and my brothers. my mother served the people of rhode island promoting higher education, vocational training and charitable programs to lift people out of poverty for 50 years. should i be confirmed i will
draw upon those values and my experience to strengthen our relations with zimbabwe as it reforms. promote american principles and help the people of zimbabwe build a better future. as i have in all of my previous assignments i will have no higher priority than the welfare and security of american citizens. after 38 years of independence, zimbabwe approaches a crossroads. the government and people o zimbabwe have the opportunity to follow a new path, to become a stable and democratic country while returning to the prosperity of the past. this is what the zimbabwean people need and deserve, to fulfill this goal the zimbabwean government so intensify its efforts. absolutely critical test will be the zimbabwe authorities ability to deliver on july 30th a free, fair and credible national election in accordance with international standards.
given zimbabwe's enormous potential reforms can yield great benefits for her people. if confirmed i look forward t close and continued collaboration with our congress to help zimbabwe along a path of positive change. as we don't support zimbabwe's democratic development we must also continue to invest in the people of zimbabwe in health care, people to people exchanges, humanitarian aid and business development. to preserve the human capital needed to grow and improve zimbabwe in the future. today zimbabweans can look back across the centuries at a civilization that built great zimbabwe and influenced and entire continent. i have faith that with our support once given the opportunity to communicate, organize and express their will the people of zimbabwe will find the best path forward and pursue it successfully. my reason foreign service assignments provide rich experience should the senate confirm me to serve as
ambassador to zimbabwe. as ambassador to peru i led a large mission that focused on improving rule of law, fighting transnational crime and promoting respect for human rights particularly of women, girls and disadvantaged groups. in that role i led a unified mission itiative to promote american businesses and grow american jobs earning the department's award. prior to that i directed the state department rule of law anti-crime and narcotics program around the world including africa. i directed a team of nearly 7,000 professionals who work every day to expand access to justice, protect civilians and combat crime around the world. i'm proud of our efforts to expand our partnerships in africa combat wildlife trafficking and build more professional police and prosecutors. in those positions as well as
deputy chief of mission in b bogota i shaped organizations. improved morale. effectively advanced our nation's policies and priorities. should the senate confirm me i will aim to exemplify the highest standards of our great nation while doing so. i look for to partnering with you to advance america's interest in zimbabwe and stand ready to answer your questions now and in the future. thank you, ambassador nichols. our next nominee is mr. gordon sondland, the president's nominee to be representative to the european union. i think after the introductions i don't think any further introduction is necessary. so mr. sondland. >> before i begin i want to thank both senators tillis and widen for an overly generous introduction. much appreciated. chairman, distinguished members of the foreign relations committee good afternoon. it's an honor to appear before
you as the president's nominee to serve as the united states ambassador to the european union. i'm grateful to the president trump for the faith and confidence he placed in me and to secretary pompeo for his support and i'm grateful to you for your consideration of my nomination. before we begin please allow me to introduce the members of my family all here in attendance with me. first my wife katie without whose intelligence, kindness, patience and wit i might have achieved very little. she's a formidable success in business as well as in our home and she's been an enduring sense of strength and humbling smart advice since the day i was fortunate to meet her nearly 30 years ago. sitting next to katie, our children max and lucy. they are undergraduates at duke. absent today but with me in spirit this past decade are my
parents. having emigrated here in 1953 after so many years of extreme tradition vale they adopted america and america adopted them. with a passion unrivalled by anyone i sense have encountered. theirs was a story of intense personal sacrifice, unshakeable spirit and faith, hard work, good luck and a deep commitment devoted in equal parts to the united states and to each other. having met and married in berlin in 1938, they and my sister lucy unlike so many of their less fortunate relatives were able to flee the scourge of nazism. in 1939 my mother and sister found safe-haven in south america while my father took up arms from the regime from which they just escaped. first with the french foreign army. world war ii came to a close. two years later so did my
parents eight year separation when they were reunited in uruguay in 1947. along with tens of thousands of other jews, my father's surviving family sought shelter in shanghai. soon they found permanent refuge in seattle, washington on the northwestern edge of our great country. here they raised two children including me, the first of my family ever to claim natural born citizenship in the united states. here they embarked on their own unique american dream. american citizens eventually starting and running a small successful dry-cleaning business for the next 30 years. here they labored, loved, made many friends and had a positive impact on their community. here they never creased to be grateful to a country that gave them a new beginning. they fought hard for their american citizen thin. they cherished in and nurtured it. they had a deep love of god,
family and country, faith in the rule of law and finally the certainty that self-governance is central to happiness prosperity and liberty. deni so man of these for so long, my parents embrace these american values with fervor. if confirmed, everything i say and do will be in advancement of american interests and these principles first and foremost. they are certainly the principles that guide me throughout my life. most of them, of course, compromise the foundational western principles that und undergird the u.s.-eu relationship. between us the united states and eu member nations wield the largest economic and military power in the world. they dominate global trade and they lead economic developments. it's why our unique relationship
with europe must only be strengthened and protect. as president trump said last year in his warsaw speech establishing the preservation of the west as his primary foreign policy goal in europe, quote there's nothing like this community of nations. the world has never known anything like it. we must have the courage to preserve it. as you know better than most there are many challenges that confront us. trade, security, the migrant crisis, brexit and the disposition of jcpoa is very much at the forefront. no one should doubt that temp u has an essential role in perpetuating our shared values of freedom, peace and prosperity across europe and around the world. to the benefit of our european friends but also to a vast swath of american people the 5.5 trillion in annual commerce we share is just one compelling testament to that. finally while much has been said about the tensions currently
exist in the u.s.-eu partnership it's important to remember historically these ups and downs, these instances of public posturing have been the norm. that's just the nature of complicated relationships. while it won't be always easy our shared goals and values will triumph over our differences. i believe that my professional experience over the last several decades are instrumental in preparing me to lead the mission at the eu should you confirm my nomination. i'm gratified to have launched a hospitality holding company larger than i ever managed and sustaining several thousand individuals and their families. i've traveled extensively throughout the world including across europe and have a knowledge and deep respect for european culture and politics. while i've been fortunate to visit the vast majority of the eu member countries, if confirmed i look forward to visiting them all. i'm proud that the first language i spoke at home was german and if confirmed i look
forward to once again conversing with our friends throughout europe in english but also in german where spoken. during the course of my life i had significant experience in policy making, working with lawmakers from both parties and at every level of government in negotiating business deals across borders and in advising several large companies with both domestic and international operations. i've always been comfortable working on a bipartisan basis, if confirmed i can assure you i'll bring my life's experiences and skills to represent the united states at the european union. thank you for your consideration and i would be pleased to answer your questions. >> thank you, mr. sondland. our next nominee is mr. ronald gidwitz. following the introductions i don't think we need any further introduction. >> thank you, mr. chairman. it's a tremendous honor to
appear before you today as president trump's nominee to be the united states ambassador to the kingdom of belgium. for me, it's humbling that the president and secretary pompeo have the confidencen hopefully with your approve to engaging an important ally in the key center of europe. i would like to thank senator durbin and senator gardner for speaking on behalf. i want to thank several members of my family. first and foremost is christina to whom i've been married for almost 43 years. we have two sons alexander who lives in australia and scott who joins us here today. alex is married to a lovely young lady marlene and she recently gave birth to our third grandson christopher. scott is accompanied by his newly minted fiancee. my family's love and support has been a constant. during my career i've had
multiple experiences in government service, private sector as well as extensive exposure to the noth profit arena. i had the privilege of serving as president and ceo of helenee curtis a toiletry and cosmetic company. when i took over they had sales of just over $100 million. when the business was sold 17 years later company was closing in on $1.5 billion and the fortune 300 list with 40% of sales coming from outside of the u.s. i served on a number of private-sector board of directors. one was american national can, a subsidiary of the french aluminum company. in the public sector i was a founding executive committee member of the national committee for employers support of the garden reserve and served in that capacity for ten years. in addition i was the chairman of the economic development commission of the city of chicago at a time when the
midwest was undergreat stress. i also served as the chairman of the city colleges of chicago the second largest community college district in the company as well i served two terms as the chairman of the illinois state board appointed to these and other public service positions by both republicans and democrats. i believe the record will show that i can work well and lead organizations no matter their politic political strife in. the not for profit i've worked in many organizations, from institutions to education. i served in virtually every position over my 44 years tenure of boys and girls club of america as well as chairing. i served as chairman of the chicago chamber of commerce. short, i've led large and small, public and private and not for profit. i feel confident in my past experience in government,
business, and fill philanthropy. if confirmed, i'll work closely with the teams across the government to strengthen our relationship and focus on the following areas of our alliance. first and foremost, i'll work with belgium officials at all levels to advance american interests, protect american citizens, and promote american democratic values. the freedom of speech, press, and of religion are values that cannot and should not be compromised. if confirmed, i'll work closely with the belgium government to address collective security concerns. i'll encourage our belgium partners to move aggressively to fulfill their wales declaration commitment to spending 2 prg of gdp on defense by the year 2024. working together, we can further
strengthen communication between law enforcement and counter terrorism communities, enhance nato and further global security. if confirmed, i hope to advance our economic interests, more than 900 american companies are represented in belgium. in 2017, u.s. exports of goods and services to belgium were $35.5 billion. imports from belgium were $20.4 creating a surplus of $15.1 billion. we are belgium's largest trading partner outside the european union. if confirmed, i'll work with our commerce department and our embassy economics experts to further a successful partnership. and finally if confirmed i'll work diligently to work closely with all agencies to deepen our historic cal alliance with the belgium government and the belgium people.
mr. chairman, ranking members and members of th committee, i thank you for the honor of appearing before you today and i look forward to answering your questions. >> thank you, mr. good wits, our last but not least, our nominee to the representative for the united nations to the sessions of the united nations general assembly. he has served as the u.n. management for u.s. mission for the u.n. since 2014. as deputy keenl lore from 2012 to 2014. also served as u.s. u.n. senior adviser legislative a feels from 2003 to 2007. prior to working for the state department, she was a staffer for jim demint in south carolina. miss chalet. >> thank you. i am honored to appear before you today as the president's nominee to serve as the
representative of the united states of america to the united nations for u.n. management and reform. i am grateful to president trump and ambassador haley for their confidence and for this opportunity. i am joined here today by my husband george, whose love and support has been inter gal to me being a working mother and working for ten years. and my oldest nick a lie being a diplomate after going true meetings after msing mom during all night northbouegotia. my other two daughters could not unfortunately be here they are 3 and 1. also joined by my family, my parents scott an and mary aly norman whose love and support led the foundation that led me here today. as well as my sister peggy and her daughters and my brother-in-law eli.
enabling the united nations to deliver international peace and security, and development needs is no simple task. the united states continues to be a champion for greater effectiveness and efficiency by emphasizing the need for the united nations to show tangible impact and results and by encouraging better ways of working. president trump, secretary pompeo, and ambassador haley have all prioritized showing the value of the u.n. to the american taxpayer. this falls squarely on my shoulders, if confirmed, as the u.s. representative to the united nations for management and reform. through my experience as the u.n. management reform counselor for the united states mission to the u.n., i have seen firsthand the value of positive reform and the good that can be achieved through an effectively managed one, but also the consequences when it is not effectively managed. for example, when we hold acekeepe accountable for
their performance, better results for the intended beneficiaries of peacekeeping operations. i'll assume the job if confirmed at an auspicious time as cretary general plan to reform the u.n. system is underway. this presents real opportunities to align the u.n. internal management with u.s. values and priorities. i am honored to work alongside ambassador haley and under her leadership to expand our efforts including greater transparency, strengthen whistleblower, fiscal discline and making the u.n. fit for purpose. if confirmed, i intends to work closely with other member states in the general assembly to advance these priorities and other issues related to sound management and reform. thank you for this opportunity to appear before this committee today. and i look forward to taking your questions. >> thank you, miss chalet. there has been a vote called. senator murphy has gone to vote.
as soon as he gets back, we'll vote. but in the meantime i'll turn it over for questions. >> thank you, i want to congratulate you tall and your families. i know tremendous sacrifice for families to have you serve like this. and, ron, it's good to see you here in this capacity. and i know of your good work in chicago. so ambassador nichols, we had a good visit in my office yesterday. we all know, and if you don't, zimbabwe is going through an election. so for the first time in about 40 years, a free and fair election after the departure of the last president. so it's an important time there. can you talk about the importance you are hoping to get there i think by the 17th of february or i'm sorry of july? why is that important? why is it important for us to have an ambassador thereor the election? >> thank you, senator flake, and it's an honor to talk with someone who has such deep experience in the continent and in zimbabwe in particular.
the voice of the united states in calling for a free, fair, credible election that gives the zimbabwean people greater confidence in their leaders and the forcefulness with which we consider dislocation important in zimbabwe is a priority for me and for the united states government. having a person on the ground with the full force of the president of the united states as his personal representative is vitally important to advance our interests. and having had the honor to serve as ambassador in the past, it is something that someone who does not have that invest tour can't match. and i certainly hope that i would be able to receive you and your colleagues in zimbabwe in the future if confirmed. >> well, thank you. i spent time in the 1980s in zimbabwe, and i look forward to
this day for a long time when they would have free and fair elections and maybe have a post robert mc-gabbie era. we do have a good team there. but we need an ambassador. so i'm glad that hopefully we can get this process done and have you there. and as i say in zimbabwe and show na language, congratulations. >> thank you. >> thank you, senator flake. let me ask you a general question of all the nominees. i know you covered to a certain extent in your opening statement but i want to hone in on each one of you what are your priorities. give you ta chance to expand on it a little more. i'll start with you mr. sondland. >> thank you, senator johnson. i think it's an under statement to say that the relationship currently between the united states and the european union is
tense. and one of my top priorities is to do a listening tour of all 28 member countries to bring the temperature down a little. while these very delicate negotiations are going on over trade. once i'm through with that, one of my greatest priorities is to, once again, reestablish the close relationship that the eu and the u.s. have on a whole his of issues. when we work together, we are almost unstoppable as a team. and i'd like to get us back to that place. >> ambassador nichols. >> thank you, mr. chairman. as alluded to earlier, the july 30th elections will be a crucial moment in zimbabwe's history, an opportunity to have free, fair, credible elections will be my earliest and top priority there. but there are many other challenges that zimbabwe faces. profound reform to its
institutions, to insure the rule of law, to promote a private sector led economy, to encourage tranls p transparency in its governance and give the zimbabwe people to succeed through the work of their own labor. these are profound challenges. these are challenges that did not arise overnight. and they will not be solved immediately. but we must work together. and i look forward to working with you, sir, and your colleagues to advance american interests in zimbabwe. >> miss chalet. >> senator, i am looking forward to building on the efforts under way in the few years. but right sizing the organization and continue to in still fiscal discipline but also accountability and transparency. i think it dove tails with efforts under way right now and we need to ensure that becomes a reality and we do increase the
accountability be it through whistleblower protection or sexual exploitation that peacekeepers have committed. i look forward to continuing those and ramping up those efforts. >> mr. good wiidwitz. >> thank you, senator. given the difficulties of the last couple of years with respect to attacks that have occurred in belgium, one of my top priorities, in fact my top priority is to ensure the safety of the 23,000 americans that are living in belgium, plus the many tourists that come through the country on an annual basis. secondly, to work with the belgium government and the belgium agencies to strengthen the relationship and the multi lateral programs and organizations that we share together. and then, thirdly, given the fact that there are 900 plus amican corporations, to find ways that we can build a stronger, build on that strong
relationship to bring jobs both to our country as well as to the country of belgium. >> well, thank you much. i'll go vote and turn it over to senator murphy and woalk as fas as i can. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman, thank you to tall of you for joining us today. let me get your bearings here coming back into the room. i don't know what the senator asked, so i hopefully won't cover the same territory that he did. but let me start with you, mr. gidwitz, i don't know to what extent you talked about some of the work we have done with belgium and our multi lateral relationship on counter terrorism. this is a very sort of fractured country from a governance standpoint which makes it hard often to communicate with them about what they know regarding threats against their country
and with the visa waiver program, those are immediate threats against the united states. in prepping for this job, what have you learned about the at we can work with the government to try to enhance counter terrorism cooperation? >> well, thank you for the question. the good funews, if confirmed, i'll work with our folks which is already an ongoing program. prime minister michelle undertook a study several years ago after several of the attacks took place in belgium, and as a result many programs are currently underway. we, if confirmed, i work with the u.s. government agencies, the dea, the fbi, and others to see if we can't continue what is an ongoing program to make belgium a safer place for all of
us. >> great. mr. sondland, thank you very much for spending sometime with me. we were able to talk privately about the mission that you are about to undertake. i'm going to be very supportive of your nomination. i thank you for taking up the job. but as i mentioned privately, and i'll say it publicly, you are going to be asked to carry out a policy which seeks to dissolve the transatlantic alliance, and you may have different views, and mr. gidwitz you may have different views, and there have been many others that have gone to serve the united states in europe sitting exactly where you are sitting who have had different views than that. but you are going to find out that the only views that really matter are the president's and the president has carried out a pretty intentional and consistent policy of trying to undeine our appliance with europe. he cheers countries that try to
leave europe. he uses his social media to publish really terrible awful nationalist anti-europe propaganda. he wants russia to be back into the g 7 without having done their part with respect to the agreement. and so i appat everyone thatoes into this administration, especially those parts that serve the u.s., europe appliance thinking that they can change the president's minds. no one has been successful. and so let me ask you, mr. sondland, a little bit about this issue over russia. . as you've been preparing for this job and no doubt you have begun to be briefed about what the administration policy s i assume given the president's comments as he went to the g7, that the u.s. policy today is for russia to be admitted back into the g7 and that you will be sent to europe to work with our
g7 european partners to get russia back in to the g7 given the president's comments from a week ago. do you understand that to be the policy? and do you understand that to be your mission? >> i heard the president's comments in canada. and i don't necessarily know if it is set u.s. policy. i haven't discussed it with the president. if it were to be u.s. policy, then i would work to further it. withoutinimizinghe many, many other issues we have with russia, including a lot of the activities over which we disapprove. so, you know, it's a walking and chewing gum at the same time issue. and, again, haven't been briefed by the president on what his actual policy is vis-a-vie the g7. >> do you -- obviously, you are
not going to create distance with the president. but talk to the committee a little bit about how you plan to approach this question ofhe planned tariffs against the european union and retaliatory tariffs they have announced and are putting together against the united states. how do you plan to approach what right now is in escalating trade war between the two countries? you said, i think, as i am reading bringing the temperature down. how do you do that if the president isn't comtt that, in fact, maybe committed to the opposite? >> well, i disagree with the prem that's the president is trying to unwind the alliance. the president has a very unique negotiating style. and it's now becoming well-known around the world how he doe negotiate. i think that the president is also mindful of the importance of the relationship and the
many, many other things which we share with the eu. and i don't agree that the president's goal is to unwind the relationship. i think the president's goal is to bring about free, fair, and equitable trade. >> so if his goal isn't to unwind the relationship or the european union, then what do you make of his very close association with those that led the brexit campaign and his continued association with the elements inside britain that were seeking to bring that country outside of the european union? that to me would seem a pretty deliberate attempt to use his power, both as candidate and president, to try to cheer on countries that no longer want to be part of the european union, and thus be part of the organization to which you'll be our representative? >> i think the people of the united kingdom made their own
determination as to where they wanted to go vis-a-vie the eu relationship. i don't know i would characterize the president's actions as cheerleading. and i also don't believe the president is necessarily hell bent on dissolving the rest of the union. >> i hear you taking issue with some of my hoping comments to you. i'll in turn take some issue with the way in which you framed your opening comments categorizing the president's relationship with the european union and europe over the last year and a half as being part of the normal give and take. i don't actually think that you can find a period of time that rivals the last year and a half with respect to the u.s. relationship with europe and the post world war ii era, which i think fairly categorizes the modern relationship tweern the continent and our country. and i really worry about nominees that come before this committee and try to normalize what is not a normal time in american foreign policy.
at the same time, i do agree that it would be great if you could take the temperature down a notch. let me ask you a question on a subject that i think we agree on, and that's the future of energy security in the region. nor stream 2 is a project that would allow russia to be able to push an enormous amount of fossil fuel product into europe by passing ukraine. it's bad news for ukraine. it's in the u.s. viewpoint bad news for europe to be more heavily reliant on russian gas. what's your views ton that? and what do you understand is going to be your mission in representing the united states on this issue before the european union? >> well, my primary mission, senator, is to make sure that, and it's again in our selfish interests to see that europe is not heavily dependent on one source of energy.
putting europe in the hands of one supplier of energy who could at will disrupt that energy flow would not be in the united states interest. i also believe there are various countries of the eu that want to participate with various other suppliers of energy, including the united states, and want to do it through contractual means rather than through political means, which give them some form of security if those contracts are breached. >> thank you, mr. sondland. mr. nichols, can you talk to us a little bit about the role of china in zimbabwe. china has developed a very close relationship with mu for a long
time. it hosted them for the first state visit. obviously, china is playing a big role throughout the continent. but talk about this very big play they have made historically and seek to continue in zimbabwe. >> thank you, senator. and that's obviously an excellent question and a crucial issue for us. china has invested heavily in the extract tive resources sector around the world. and zimbabwe, with its extensive mineral wealth, is certainly no exception to that. i believe that private sector led growth for zimbabwe is important. but i also think it's important that the people and government of zimbabwe receive fair and
equitable treatment for their resources. and i hope they are entering into a trade relationship with china with their eyes open, and certainly insisting that all countries that invest in zimbabwe respect the worker rights, respect environmental regulations, and do not allow the resources that they have to be taken without proper compensation. and i believe that it's incumbent upon the united states and our representatives around the world to insist on a level playing field for trade, and engagement, and to make sure that we have an opportunity to succeed as well. >> and the reason that china has been such a big player, at least part of the reason, has been that the united states and many other countries like us have had a series of sanctions on economic participation in zimbabwe and aide. and yet many of those other
donor governments areally gradu scaling back their sanctions during this period of transition, and congress is set to consider legislation that might modify conditions for assistance that were set out in the zimbabwe democracy and economic discovery act back in 1971. so has we start to consider legislation that may scale back some of our restrictions, and learning about some of the ways we mightetter engage, do you have any thoughts or recommendations how we might go about drafting or passing le legislationhat would start to lighten up and start to modify those restrictions? >> thank you, senator. i think news der a sends an important signal that the united states remain committed to democracy, human rights, economic freedom, rule of law, and anti-corruption efforts. the importance of our engagement
is that we are doing so on a principled way. the pe the specifics of the legislation i don't think i can comment on, but i do believe that it sends a message of continued interest and priorityization of our relationship with zimbabwe. i think it's very important also, also, senator, to note that we do not have comprehensive sanctions on zimbabwe. and that tt problems in attracting foreign investment from zimbabwe are driven by the economic conditions there and the economic policies their government has. we don't have dealings with specific individuals and entities. >> thank you very much. initially a couple of questions for you and turn it over to senator markey as we a wait johnson's return.
trump has communicated its intent to reduce u.s. peacekeeping, or peacekeeping assistment 28%, 25%, depending on what legislation is operative from the united states congress. really interesting report that gao published earlier this year in which they compared the cost of the current u.n. peace keeng mission in the central african republic with hypothetical under taking that would be done with the u.s. military. and over all they found it would cost the u.s. twice as much to carry out a comparable mission if it was us versus our participation in u.n. pea peacekeeping. so how do you translate to us how the trump administration plans are on peacekeeping? and in their desire to reduce the american commitment, there was some suggestion there might be peacekeeping missions that could be wrapped up or scaled back without any security
detriment to the united states. any clue as to what those operations may be? have they been identified? tan what do you make of that gao report? you were nodding you might be familiar with that report. >> thank you, senator. i think it's a series, you captured quite a number of initial tifs that we are undertaking. i think the commitment to u.n. peacekeeping, especially is very much there by the united states. and we feel it is absolute critical to our national security. in terms of looking at our assessments, we have said, and the president has said that we would like to see increased burden sharing by other member states. you know the u.n. shouldn't be overly dependent on one single donor. and congress, like you said, through whichever operative language is there, has established 25%, and we feel that is an adequate assessment right and still maintain our largest contribution. i think equally important to
looking at the assessment rates and what the u.s. should pay is looking at the missions themselves and are they designed to promote political solutions and the ambassador haley did outline several principles in that regard. i think there are missions that are currently under review that fit that bill that could look at that. i mean, in dar for right now that's under review, and we are continuing to look at several missions with those lenses. but i think coupled with looking at the efficiencies the u.n. and peacekeeping missions themselves are operating in the most effective matter is critical. and i think the gao did point out the value of peacekeeping and our national security interests to the u.n. >> thank you. one final question. again, miss chalet, to you, the bureau of international organizational affairs state department is obviously one that
you will work very closely with as the liaison office between the state department and the united nations. last week foreign policy reported that a former food and beverage lobbyist who was appointed as senior adviser there, maury stall, quote, had been quietly vetting career diplomats and american institutions to determine whether they are loyal to president trump and political agenda, according to nearly a dozen current and former officials according to this account, miss stall is actively making lists and gathering intel. reports are that the "new york times" and "washington post" are also working on filling in further details on this story. two questions. one, are you personally, have you been personally aware of miss stall's activities to apply what looked to be loyalty, political loyalty tests within the state department?
and international organizations? and whether or not you have personal knowledge of that? what is your opinion -- what's your thoughts on these reports and whether this activity is appropriate? >> senator, thank you for that. i am not personally aware of those charges. and i would refer you back to the state department for that. what i'll say is that the united states has long looked or promoted american citizens employment at the u.n. and we feel as absolute priority given our investment. but also for the american values that we can bring to the u.n. and the ways of working. so if confirmed, i'll continue to do that. i'll also, i think these are serious concerns that have been voiced. i'm aware of the articles and content of them. and i'll work with the international organizations bureau to ensure that we are promoting the most qualified. because we are running p against countries who are putting their best forward as well, and we want to make sure we are
adequately represented. >> i guess the question is, do you believe it's appropriate for the administration to apply a political loyalty test to u.s. employees either at the united nations or within the state department? >> senator, no, i think we should be looking at the most qualified candidates regardless of party. >> thank you. >> senator markey. >> thank you, mr. chairman, very much. mr. sondland, north korea is now hoping that they'll be a relaxation of sanctions upon them. they are visiting china. and ultimately that will be their goal. how can we ensure that we work closely with the eu to make sure not only the existing sanctions are in fact enforced, remain in place, but that we also put additional pressure on
recalcitrant countries who have yet to participate in that sanctions regime? >> good afternoon, senator markey, thank you. >> i think your microphone is not on. >> yeah, it should be. >> okay. >> that actually, senator markey is one of my highest priorities. working in concert with the eu, the united states has the ability to create an enormous amount of economic damage to the north korean economy, which creates the leverage needed for the president to successfully negotiate the change in behavior that he's trying to negotiate. and one of my first priorities would be to enlist the cooperation even more strongly of the eu and its member countries in that regard. >> okay. and as you know, the eu's new privacy regime went into effect about three weeks ago. and they now essentially have a
privacy bill of rights for everyone in the eu. and american companies doing business in europe have to comply with that standard, which is essentially an opt in standard. a data collected by companies in europe not be compromised without getting permission from those consumers. if a company is requested -- required to get consent in order to share a european data and also required to tell european consumers exactly how their data is being used, should that company provide american consumers with those same protections? >> i believe it should. >> you believe it should? >> yes. >> and i agree with you. that's where we are heading. europeans obviously suffered through the german invasion, the
nazi occupation, and subsequently soviet union occupying much of europe as well, and identity was very important during that time. which is why i think there is a heightened sensitivity because within the life times of family members in each one of those european countries they had to basically try to survive basically on identity. and that's why all of this online information is so absolutely essential. now, with regard to tariffs, mr. sondland, the eu remains deeply concerned about what it views as protectionist u.s. trade policies. and president trump's criticism of the $150 billion goods trade deficit with the eu in march of the trump administration announced it would impose tariffs on imports of steel 25%
and slooaluminum 10% on they threaten national security. and on june 1st those tariffs wen went into effect. could you talk about those tariffs? our relationship with the eu nations? and how you would suggest that we deal with this rift that is building based upon these tariffs? >> senator, in my experience in the private sector, a tough economic negotiation between two arms length parties can often create a rift. it doesn't mean that it's an irreparable rift, it just means that you are engaged in some high stakes bar beginning. and, aga -- bargaining. >> and i refer you back to my last statements where the president values the eu relationship. i believe the united states and the eu share a multitude of values and multitude of other
relationships unrelated to the tariffs. and that's one very discreet segment of our relationship that is not going to be easy to resolve, but that's one of the jobs, if i'm confirmed, is to work on that. >> agreed. and again the litany is getting longer. climate change. the iran deal. the european privacy initiative. tariffs h it's just building issue by issue into a situation. and in my opinion it's unnecessary, but ultimately it is a great cause for concern, because the europeans are our closest allies and we need them on other initiatives as well. so thank you all for your willingness to serve our country. and thank you, mr. chairman. >> thanks, senator marey, and i snow senator mark key has no further questions. but i'm going to follow up on my partial first round. so if you have any further questions sochlt let me follow up on my first round.
to remind you i just asked you what the top one, two, three priorities are for you in your new post. i'll start with mr. sondland, you talked about really visiting all the members going on a listening tour which i think is completely appropriate. it's vitally important to understand other nastion's perspective. what is going to be your message to our e uru partners? >> our message, senator, is while we value the relationship, there are problems with the relationship that need to be resolved. and we can be respectful of the relationship. we can appreciate those areas in which we agree, but the relationship in its totality is not hundrgy dorie, and there ar discussions that need to be had to advance the discussion. >> i know from my part, we meet
with representatives as well as from the eu and certainly reinforced that the a lie -- alliances will remain strong. and that's an important part of that. mr. nichols, you talked about the rule of law that we see repeatedly in our dealings particularly in eastern europe. overcoming the legacy of in europe, it's the corruption of soviet era that type of thing. it's very difficult to do. what do you this i is the greatest risk to zimbabwe in phoebing the rule of law? what's going to be the greatest impediment? >> thank you, mr. chairman. the need for profound reform in his country and he's absolutely
right. in tms of the challenges, they are many. it's hard to signal just one. clearly, the professionalization and transparency of the security forces is very important. and insisting upon the rule of law. looking at the past corruption in the country, dealing with the human rights abuses of the past through truth reconciliation process are some of the itch ooh us that need to be addressed for zimbabwe to be able to move forward. and i know that across zimbabwe society people understand and are talking in those issues, and moving in that direction both the president as well as opposition alliance candidate have signalled those issues as priority ones, and we look forward to working with zimbabwe after a frooe free, fair, and trans parent election to address those challenges. >> it's really optimistic time
period. how optimistic are you? >> the president of zimbabwe have said some of the right things and done the right things. i think we have to be clear eyed in our approach and hold them to their own commitments and standards. 20913 constitution, their commitments regionally with sadik, in terms of their commitment human rights and democracy, as well as within the african union and the broader international community. i believe it's a great opportunity and i hope they will live up to their commitments. >> we have been talking about u.n. reforms. what do you think is the single es impediment to reforming the u.n. or impediments?
you talked about whistleblower. but what are the main problems? >> to say the single most is political will of other countries and reaching the common understanding and agreement on those reforms. i think there is cultural within the u.n. bureaucracy and changing mind sets and showing that business has to be done differently. and i think those are primarily the impediments i face in a day-to-day basis. >> in a short period of time how do you overcome that? >> through constant engagement and promoting what our position is and our values and priorities that we place. i think that the rising, interestingly, the rising rates or contributions of member states have changed that mindset in a sense. i've seen more country that ies are more attune to budget ns the past. so there will be differences of agreements, and there are, but
if confirmed i'll continue to work promoting those on human rights and other areas that we will fundamentally and philosopcally face differences with some countries. >> so as we discussed in my office, i think the power of antidote of examples is powerful. and so i certainly want to work with you, whether it's in this committee, or homeland security, to highlight the corruption or waste fraud and abuse that needs to be reformed, i think that's the best way to try to overcome the impediments. finally, mr. gidwitz, youd your top priority is americans, i agree with. and senator murphy talked to you about counter terrorism programs and cooperation. i would kind of like to hear your answer, i'll read your record because i was out, but talk about how important it is for us to cooperate with belgium. they are in a unique situation. i know brussels shut down not because of terrorist act but
because of a threat. >> thank you very much. but they've had, since 2014, troops on the street to augment the police force because of the concern that they've had. the good news is they've taken significant numbers of those military forces off the street in the last few months. but it remains to be a problem, but it's a problem in which is diminishing in the sense that the working of the intelligence organization together seems to be bearing some fruit. there is a couple of short-term, i shouldn't say short-term, serious problems. we have an embassy, for example, both the u.s. bilateral embassy as well as eu embassy is on a busy street. so from a relatively tactical issue, we need to better protect our diplomats and people that are working directly for the state department, other agencies. that's a short term issue that needs to be addressed.
longer term is, of course, as senator murphy suggested, how do we get the various intelligence agencies to work together and several levels of government. because the belgium government is relatively complex with security decisions being made both at the national level, at the regional level, and some community levels, and to get that coordinated takes a lot of engagement by a lot of people. that's one of the things should i have the privilege of representing the united states, work very hard to get done. >> okay. we'll certainly want to support your efforts. again, i want to thank all the nominees for your testimony. your willingness to serve. thank your families for their sacrifices too as you work in these very important positions. with that, the hearing record will remain open for statements or questions for the record until ts close of business on friday june 22nd. this hearing is adjourned.
this weekend on american history tv, c-span3, live coverage from the gettysburg college civil war institute summer conference. starting saturday morning 7:30 a.m. eastern on union troops and pornography followed by author kent brown on battle of gettysburg. and later 3:15 park director wils wilson greene during the siege of petersburg. our coverage continues with jonathan lande on decertification of african-american troops notice civil war. 10:15 brooks simpson on lincoln and his relationship with his commandsing generals, george mcclellan and grant. and then at 2:45 elizabeth
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