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tv   Impeachment Inquiry House Hearings Impeachment Hearing With Lt. Col....  CSPAN  November 19, 2019 10:36am-12:00pm EST

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conflict of interest with hunter biden sitting on the board? >> only thing i'm aware of is pertains through his deposition. >> as you know, financial records show a ukrainian natural gas company routed $3 million to hunter biden. >> i'm not aware of this fact. >> until recently. >> i guess i didn't independently look into it. i'm just not aware of, you know, what kind of payments mr. biden may have received. this is not something i'm aware of. >> did you no he that burisma's legal representatives met with officials after he forced the firing of the chief prosecutor?
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>> i'm not aware of the meetings. >> did you know that lawyers pressured the state department that they invoked hunter biden's name as a reason to intervene? >> i'm not aware of any of the facts. >> did you no he that joe biden called ukrainian president at least three times in february 2016 after the president and owner of burisma's home was raided by the state prosecutor's office? >> i'm aware of the fact that president biden -- or vice president biden was very engaged on ukraine and had numerous engagements. that's what i'm aware of. >> ms. williams and lieutenant colonel vindman, as you may or may not know, this committee spent three years conducting many many investigations starting with the russia collusion hoax, democratic hysteria over the lack of
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collusion and the mueller report and now this impeachment charade. one of most concerning things regarding all of these investigations is the amount of classified or otherwise sensitive information i read in the press that derive either from this committee or sources in the administration. to be clear, i'm not accusing either one of you of leaking information or given that you are the first witnesses who actually have some firsthand knowledge of the president's call by listening in on july 25th, it's imperative to the american public's understanding of the events that we get a quick matters -- few matters out of the way first. miss williams, let many he go you to first. for the purposes of the following questions, i'm only asking about the time period between july 25th through september 25th. >> okay. >> did you discuss the july 25th
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phone call between president trump and president zelenskyy or any matters associated with the phone call with any members of the press? >> no. >> to be clear, you never discussed these matters with "the new york times," "washington post," owe littlic yoe, cnn or any other media outlet? >> no, i did not. >> did you ask or encourage any individual to share the substance of the july 25th phone call or any matter associated with the call with any member of the press? >> i did not. >> do you know of any individual who discussed the substance of the july 25th phone call or matters associated with the qual any member of the press? >> no, i do not. >> colonel vindman, same questions for you. did you discuss the july 25th phone call between president trump and president zelenskyy or any matter associated with the phone call with any member of the press? >> i did not. >> to be clear, you did not
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discuss this with "the new york times," "washington post," poe litke yoe, cnn, or any other media outlet? >> i did not. >> did you ask for or encourage any individual to share the substance of the july 25th phone call or any matter associated with the call of any member of the press? >> i did not. >> do you know of any individual who discussed the substance of the july 25th phone call or any matter associated with the call with any member of the press? >> we have an nsc press shop and they field any of these types of questions. i do not engage with the press at all. >> let me ask the question again. do you know of any individual who discussed the substance of the july 25th phone call or any matter associated with the call with any member of the press? >> we have an nsc press shop whose job is to engage on these types of questions. i'm not aware. it is possible and likely that press shop would have had -- would field these types of
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questions. >> the question -- >> i'm sorry. >> the question is, do you know any individual? do you personally know any individual who discussed the substance of the july 25th phone call or any matter of associated with the call with any member of the press? >> thank you, ranking member for clarifying. i do not. >> miss williams, did you discuss july 25th phone call with anyone outside the white house on july 25th or july 26th and if so, with whom? >> no, i did not discuss the call with anyone outside or inside the white house. >> miss williams, during your time on the nsc, have you ever accessed a colleague's work computer without their prior authorization or approval? >> i have not. and just to clarify, i'm in the office of the vice president, no the nsc. i have not. >> thank you. lieutenant colonel vindman, did you discuss the july 25th phone
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call with anyone outside the white house on july 25th or the 26th and if so with whom? >> yes. i did. my core function is to coordinate u.s. government policy and i spoke to two individual with regards to providing a -- some sort of readout of the call. >> two individual that were not in the white house? >> not in the white house. cleared u.s. government officials with the appropriate need to know. >> and what agencies were these officials with? >> department of state, department of state deputy assistant secretary george kent who is responsible for the portfolio, eastern europe including ukraine and the individual in the intelligence community. >> what, as you know, the intelligence community has 17 different agencies.
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what agency was this individual from? >> if i could interject here. we don't want to use the proceedings -- >> it's our time. >> but we need to protect the whistle-blower. please stop. i want to make sure that there is no effort to out the whistle-blower through these proceedings. if the witness has a good faith belief that this may reveal the identity of the whistle-blower, that is not the purpose that we're here for. i want to advise the witness accordingly. >> mr. vindman, you testified in your deposition that you did not know the whistle-blower. >> ranking member, lieutenant colonel vindman please. >> lieutenant colonel vindman, you testified did you not know who the whistle-blower is. >> i do not know who the whistle-blower is. >> how it is possible for you to
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name the people and then out the whistle-blower? >> per the advice of my counsel, i have been adviced no the to answer specific questions about members of the intelligence community. >> this is -- are awe ware this is the intelligence committee that is conducting the impeachment hearing? >> of course i am. >> wouldn't it be appropriate for you to come to to testify to the intelligence community about somebody about the intelligence community? >> from the instructions from the chairman and my counsel, i've been advised not to provide any specifics on who i spoke to inside the intelligence community. what i can offer is that these were properly cleared individuals or was a properly cleared individual with a need to know. >> this is -- you can really plead the fifth. but you're here to answer
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questions and you're here under subpoena. so you can either answer the question or you can plead the fifth. >> excuse me. on behalf of my client, we're following the rule of the committee. the rule the chair with regard to this issue. and this does not call for an answer that is invoking the fifth or any thing like that. we're following the ruling of the chair. >> counsellor, what ruling is that? >> i can interject. counsel is correct. the whistle-blower has statutory rite to anonymity. the proceedings will not be used to out the whistle-blower. >> and i advise mid client accordingly. he's going to follow the ruling of the chair. if there's an altertive or you want to work something out with the chair, that's up to you. >> well, we've attempted to subpoena the whistle-blower, to set for a deposition the chair
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has tabled that motion and has an unwilling to recognize the motions over the last few days of this impeachment process. with that i'll go to mr. castor. >> thank you ranking member. the call transcript as published on september 25th is complete and accurate. will both of you attest to that, miss williams? >> i didn't take a word for word accounting when i first saw the publicly released version it looked subinstant live correct to me. >> colonel vindman? >> i certainly would describe it as substantively correct. >> i think in this your testimony you said very accurate. >> correct. >> okay. and you flagged a couple edits, colonel vindman, i think you had burisma on page four where president zelenskyy was talking about the company. mentioned in the issue? >> i'm sorry, can you say that question again? >> in your testimony you
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explained that you offered an edit that on page four of the transcript that was ultimately published, you thought president zelenskyy mentioned the word burisma. >> i had in my notes, that is what he said. >> that was on page four? >> yes. >> and miss williams, you went back and checked your notes and you had president zelenskyy using the term burisma as well. is that correct? >> that's correct. >> but that came up on a different part of the transcript and what colonel vindman related, to correct? >> yes, i believe so. >> yours came up on page five. it would have been in substitution for the word case? >> that's right. that's where i have it in my notes. >> we had some discussion earlier today and your discussion about whether the president had a demand for president zelenskyy. and, you know, i suggested to you in the deposition that the president's words are in fact
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ambiguous. and he uses some phrases that certainly could be characterized as hedging on page 3 in the first paragraph, he talks about whatever can you do. he talks about that's possible. on page four, he mentions if you can speak to him, he talked about the attorney general rudy giuliani. and then at the end of first paragraph he says whatever can you do. the president also says, you know, if you can look into it. and i asked you during your deposition whether you saw or acknowledged the fact that certain people could read that to be ambiguous? >> i said correct. >> and i believe you said i think people want to hear what they have already preconceived. is that what you testified? >> i'd like to ask for a page cite. >> 256. >> 256. thank you. just a minute, please.
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>> okay. we got the page. >> okay. and then you went on to say, yeah, you agreed with me. you said, yeah, i guess you can interpret it different ways. is that correct? >> yes. >> okay. turning attention to the preparation of the transcripts, that followed the ordinary process, correct? >> i -- so i think they followed the appropriate process in terms of making sure that eventually it came around for clearances, for accuracy. but it was in a different system. >> i'll get to that in a second. that relates to the storage of it. you had some concerns, mr. morrison articulated concerns about if the transcript was leaked out. and i think both you and mr. morrison agreed it needed to be protected? >> just correction. i don't think it was mr. morris.
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it was mr. eisenberg. right? >> mr. morrison testified at his deposition. >> okay. we don't have that in front of us. if you can give us that, we'll take a look. >> i think i can say for myself, there were concerns about leaks, seemed valid. and i wasn't particularly critical. i thought this was sensitive and i was not going to question the attorney's judgement on that. >> even on the codeword server, you had access to it. >> yes. >> so no point in time during the course of why you are official duties were you denied access to the information? >> >> correct. miss williams, you testified b you believe the transcript is complete and accurate other than the one issue you mentioned. >> substantively accurate, yes.
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>> now did you express any concerns to anyone in your office about what you heard on the call? >> my supervisor was listening on the call as well so because he had heard the same information, i did not feel the need to have a further c conversation with him. >> and you did not have a conversation with anyone else. >> i did not. >> so you didn't flag it for chief of staff or vice president's counsel or anyone of that sort? >> my immediate supervisor was in the room with me. >> after the call, did you and general kellogg discuss the call? >> i did not. >> in the meeting in the run up to warsaw, president trump was meeting with zelensky. you were involved with braefing materials. >> i was. >> did you flag for the vice president h parks the call that had concerned you?
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no, we did not. we don't normally include u previous calls in trip briefing books. if the concerns were so significant, how come nobody on the vice president's staff at least alerted him to the issue that president zelensky might have been on edge on something that had been mentioned on the 7/25 call. >> again, my supervisor had been b in the call with me and i am sure the vice president had access to the transcript in the moment on that day. as we were preparing for the september meeting with president zelensky, the more immediate issue at hand was two days prior the news had broken about the hold on the security assistance so we were much more focused on the discussion that was likely to occur about the hold on security assistance for that meeting. >> and to your recollection, you were in the meeting with president zelensky and vice president pence. >> i was. >> and burisma didn't come up or the bidens or any of these investigations? >> no, it did not. >> colonel vindman, you
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testified that the president has well standing or long standing concerns about corruption in ukraine, correct? >> i don't, yoi don't recall, b there are broad concerns about corruptions. >> but you agree if the u.s. is giving hundreds of millions of doll hars to a foreign nation with a corruption problem, that's something the u.s. government officials and the president would want to be concerned about. >> yes. >> if a foreign country has a problem with oligarchs taking u.s. taxpayer dollars, that's something the president ought to be concern ed ab about in advane of dispensing the aid. >> yes. >> i believe you did testify that corruption is indemic in ukraine? >> correct. >> are are you alwayou also awaf the president's skepticism of foreign aid generally? >> i am. >> and it's something that he's made part of his priorities to
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make sure that u.s. foreign aid is spent wisely? >> that is correct. >> and you're also aware the president has concerns about burden sharing among our allies. >> yes. >> and with respect to ukraine, he was very interested and engaged in seeing if there was a possibility for our european allies to step up and contribute more? >> i think that would be in the context of military assistance. in terms of burden sharing, the european union provides over $15 million. >> but you are aware of the president's concern of burden sharing, right? >> yes, i am. >> turning our attention to the company of burisma. the cofounder of burisma, it's one of ukraine's largest natural gas producers, correct? >> that is my understanding, yes. >> and it's been b subject to numerous investigations over the
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years. >> i'm not aware, i guess i couldn't point to specific investigations, but there is a what i would call a, a pattern of questionable dealings and questions about corruption. >> he had served as minister of e kole ji during president yamakovich's tenure? >> yes. >> george kent testified about this that under the obama administration, the u.s. government encouraged ukraine to investigate whether he used his government position to grant himself or burisma exploration licenses? are you aware of that? >> i would defer to george kent. he's a fount of knowledge on ukraine. much deeper than p i have. if he, if he attested to that, then i take his word for it. >> and he testified that the
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u.s. along with the united kingdom was engaged in trying recoup u about 23 million in taxpayer dollars. >> yes. >> okay. mr. kent also testified the investigation was moving along then there was a bribe paid and the investigation went away. did you hear him mention that? >> i heard him mention that. these are events that occurred before my time so frankly beyond what he said, i don't know much more. >> fair enough. right around the time it was made, the company sought to bolster their board. are you aware they tapped some luminary for their corporate board? >> yes. >> include iing the president o poland, b i believe! yes. >> and hunter biden. >> yes, i came to learn that as well. >> are you aware of any specific experience biden has in the
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corporate governance world? >> i don't know much about mr. hunter biden. >> and we talked a little bit about your deposition about whether mr. biden was qualified to serve on this board and i believe you ak a knowledged that he was not in fact qualified? >> as far as i can tell, he didn't seem to be, but like i said, i don't know his qualifications. >> okay. miss williams, i want to turn our attention to the inaugural trip. at one point, the vice president and the vice president's office was focusing on attending that, correct? >> that's right! and somewhat complicated because as i understand it, the white house didn't want the president and vice president to be out of the country at the same time. >> correct. >> during the time frame, the president was in japan. i believe he was in japan may 24th through the 28th then returned to europe for the d day
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ceremonies. june 2nd to 7th and i think you told us that there was a window you provided of four days at the end of may that if the vice president was going to attend the inauguration, it had to be 29, 30th, 31th or 1th? >> our embassy had been in discussions with president zelensky's team and as we had learned obviously the ukrainian parliament was not going to come back into session until midday so we wouldn't know what the date would be, but we understood that the initial thinking was that they were looking at dates at the end of may so honing in on that time frame, we were ware of president trump's plan to travel on either end so that's why we advised the ukrainians that if pence were to participate, the only available days would be may 30th, 31th or june 1st. >> before the vice president travel to a foreign nation, you
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have to send a secret service, do advanced work, book hotels. it's a relatively involved preparation experience, right? >> that's correct. >> do you know if the secret service ever deployed, booked hotels? >> my understanding is that our advanced team was looking into those prep appreciatiarations, hotel availability and we were trying to determine when it would be appropriate to send out secret service and other advanced personnel in order to lay groundwork for a trip but because we weren't sure yet when the date would be, we hesitated to send those officials out. >> but ultimately, the secret service, as i understand it, did not deploy. >> i don't believe, no. >> president zelensky's inauguration was may 20th? >> correct. >> and you had about four day's notice. >> in the end, the parliament decided on may 16th to set the date for may 20th. >> so you would acknowledge that made it quite difficult for the vice president and the whole operation to mobilize and get over to ukraine, correct?
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>> it would have been, but we had already stopped the trip planning by that point. >> and when did that happen? >> stopping the trip planning? >> yeah. >> on may 13th. >> and how did you hear about that? >> i was called by a colleague and the vice president's chief of staff's office and told to stop the trip planning. >> okay and as i understand it, it was the assistant to the chief of staff? >> that's correct. >> okay and so you don't hear about it from general kellogg or the chief of staff or the president or vice president. from mr. schwartz' assistant. >> right. >> did you have any knowledge of the reasoning for stopping the trip? >> i asked my colleague why we should stop trip plan ining and why the vice president would not be attending and i was informed the president had decideded the vice president would not attend the inauguration. >> do you know why the president decided? >> no, she did not have that information. >> okay, and ultimately, the vice president went to canada for a usmca event during this
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window of time. correct? >> correct. >> so it's entirely conceivable that the president decided he want ed the vice president to go to canada on behalf of the usmca instead of doing anything else, correct. >> i'm really not in a position to speculate what the motivations were behind the president's decision. >> you know the vice president's done quite a bit of usmca events. >> yes, sir. >> are you aware of whether the anyone at the state department inquired with your office about the vice president's availability for the trip to canada? >> for the trip, at what point? >> early may. maybe may 8th? >> i -- i was not involved in the trip planning for canada. one of my colleagues who covers western hem streisphere was in e of that. i was aware from my colleague who was planning that trip that we had competing trips potentially for the same window, but i was told that the ukraine
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trip would take priority. >> okay. but ultimately, you don't know. >> i don't know about the canada trip? >> you don't know the reason as to why the vice president was sent to canada for a usmca event instead of going to the ewe ukraine. >> i would say i don't know the reason behind why the president directed the vice president not to go to ukraine. i can't speak to the motivations about the canada trip. >> okay. colonel vindman, i'd like to turn a little bit to the july 10th meeting in ambassador bolton's office and the subsequent post meeting in the war room. who all was in the meeting? >> are we talking about the board room or the actual meeting with bolton? >> we'll start with the first meeting in the ambassador's office. >> so from the u.s. side, we had am ambassador bolton, dr. hill,
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i believe there was another special assistant to the president, wells griffith was in there and myself from the ukraine -- >> who from the ukrainians, sorry. >> from the ukrainian side, we had alexander danulok, andre yearmack and his adviser. >> you testify ied that you couldn't recall exactly why ambassador bolton stopped the meeting short and you only learned it skently talking to dr. hill. >> i noted that it ended abruptly, but i didn't frankly you know, i didn't exactly know why. >> in the bolton meeting, you don't remember sondland using the word, biden? >> he did not. to the best of my recollection,
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i don't think he did. >> and the group decamped to take a photo, correct? >> correct. >> so the general feeling of the group was a positive one even though it may have ended abruptly. >> i think ambassador bolton was exceptionally qualified. he understood the strategic communications opportunity of having a photo and we prompted him to before we adjourned to see if he was willing to do a photo and he did. >> went out the west executive and took a photo. i think he said you took it. >> i certainly took a couple of them, yes. >> in the photo was secretary perry, bolton, ambassador volcker. mr. danulook and mr. yearmark? >> and i apologize when i was running through the u.s. side, of course ambassador bolton, volcker and sondland and secretary perry was there. >> okay. now you testified that before
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the july 10th meeting, you had developed concerns about the narrative involving juligiulian. correct? >> correct. >> had you heard a firsthand account from anyone on the inside or just been following news accounts? >> i certainly was following news accounts. from the ukrainian side and u.s. press and my colleagues in the interagency also were concerned about this as this had started in the march time frame kind of emanating from the john solomon story all the way through, there had been ongoing conversations, so several different sources. >> and so when ambassador sondland mentioned the investigations, you sort of had a little bit of a clue of what the issue was? >> oh, definitely. zpl okay then you took the photo, very nice photo, then went to the war room. >> correct.
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>> i think you said to us you had a hard time remembering exactly what was said in the ward room. again, it's four months ago, hard to be precise about whether sondland, what specific words he used, burisma 2016, investigations. is -- >> yeah, so i believe in the deposition, the three elements, burisma, bidens and the 2016 elections were all mentioned. >> in the ward room. >> correct. >> i think on page 64 of your testimony, you told us that you don't remember him using 2016 in the ward room? >> i believe i followed up because this question was asked multiple times. i said all three elements were in there. >> okay, so when we asked the question, it sort of refreshes your recollection. >> yes, i guess that's the term now.
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>> there was some discussion of whether when mr. morrison took over the port fofolio for dr. h, whether you were sidelined at all. did you feel like you were? >> so certainly was excluded or didn't participate in the trip to ukraine, belarus at the end of august and i wasn't initially before it changed from a potus trip to a vice president trip to warsaw, i wasn't participating in that one. so didn't miss that, no. >> did you express any concerns to mr. morrison about why you weren't included on those trips? >> mr. morrison, i was on leave, supposed to be on leave from the 3rd of august through about the 16th or so of august and he called me and asked me to
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return. there was obviously a high priority travel to the region. he needed my stance the help plan for it and in asking me to return early from leave, which i had taken frequently, i assumed i would be going on the trip. so when i was after returning from leave early when i was told i wasn't going, i inquired b about it, correct. >> okay. what feedback did he give you? >> he initially told me that the aircraft that was acquired was too small and there wasn't enough room. >> did, had you ever had any discussions with mr. morrison about concerns that he or dr. hill had with your judgment? >> did i ever have any conversations with mr. morrison about it? no. >> okay. did mr. morrison after express concerns to you that he thought maybe you weren't following the chain of command in all instances? >> he did not.
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>> did dr. hill or mr. morrison ever ask you questions about whether you were trying to access information outside of your lane? >> they did not. >> and another aspect of the ukraine portfolio that you were not a part of were some of the communications mr. morrison was having with ambassador taylor. >> correct. >> did you ever express concerns that he was leave iing you off those calls? >> well certainly it was concerning. he had just come on board. he didn't have the you know, he wasn't steeped in all the items that we were working on including the policy that we had developed over the proceeding months. and i thought i could contribute to that, to his, to the performance of his duties. >> okay. when you were, you went to ukraine for the inauguration? >> correct. >> at any point during that trip
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did mr. dannylook offer you a position with the ukrainian government? >> he did. >> how many times? >> i believe it was three times. >> do you have any reason why he asked you to do that? >> i don't know, but every single time, i dismissed it. upon returning, i notified my chain of command and the appropriate counterintelligence folks about this, the offer. >> ukraine's a country that's experienced a war with russia. certainly their minister of defense is a pretty key position for the ukrainians. president zelensky, mr. dannylook to bestow that honor, at least asking you. that was a big honor, correct? >> i think it would be a great honor and frankly i'm aware of service members that have left service to help nurture developing democracies in that part of the world.
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it was an air force officer that became minister of des, but i'm an american. i came here when i was toddler. and i immediately dismissed these offers. did not entertain them. >> when he made this offer to you initially, did you leave the door open? was there a reason he had to come back and ask a second or third time? >> counselor, you know what, it's the whole notion is rather comical that i was being asked to consider whether i'd want to be the minister of defense. i did not leave the door open at all. >> okay. >> but it is pretty funny for a lieutenant colonel of the united states army, which really isn't that senior, to be offered that illustrious a position. >> when he made this offer to you, was he speaking in english or ukrainiaukrainian? >> he is an absolutely flawless english speaker who was speaking in english b and just to be clear, there were two other staff officers, embassy kiev staff officers that were sitting
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next to me when this offer was made. >> okay. and who were they? >> so one of them, you may have met. it was mr. david holmes and the other one was i don't know, i guess i could, it's another foreign service officer, keith bean. >> okay. we met mr. holmes last friday evening. >> i understand. delightful fellow. >> and you said when you returned to the united states, you know with clearance, when ever a foreign government makes an overture like that, you paper it up it up u and tell your chain of command? >> i did, but i don't know if i fully entertained it as a legitimate offer. i was making sure i did the right thing in terms of reporting this. >> did any of your supervisors, dr. hill at the time or dr. cupperman or ambassador bolton ever follow up you about that?
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it's rather significant, the ukrainians offered you the post of defense minister. you know did you tell anyone in your chain of command about it? >> after i spoke to what i believe the deputy, our deputy senior director, john eric was there. i spoke, once i mentioned it to both of them, i don't believe there was ever a follow up discussion. >> okay, so it never came up with dr. cupperman or dr. hill? >> following that conversation i had with dr. hill, i don't believe there was a subsequent conversation and i don't recall ever having a conversation with dr. cupperman b about it. >> did you brief director morrison when he came on board? >> no, i completely forgot about it. >> did mr. dannylook ever ask you to reconsider? is were there any other offers? is. >> no. >> when he visited for the july 10th meeting, did it come up
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again? >> it did not. >> did you ever think b possipo if this information got out, it might create at least the per senpgs of a conflict, that they thought so high of you to offer you the defense ministry post. on one hand, but on the other, you're responsible for ukrainian poll thesy. >> so frankly, it's more important about what my american leadership, chain of command, thinks than any, these are honorable people. not sure if it was meant as a joke or not, but it's more important what any white house chain of command thinks more so than anyone else and if they were concerned about me conti e continuing my duties, they would have brought that to my attention. dr. hill stayed on for several
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more months and we workeded to continue policy. >> during the times relevant of the committee's investigation, did you have any communications with the mr. yarmack or dannylook outside of the meeting? >> i recall a courtesy note for mr. yearmark within days of his return to july in which he wanted to preserve an open channel communication. i said please feel free to contact me with any concerns. >> were you following this, there's sort of two tracks, ambassador taylor walked us through it weindnesday he calle it an regular channel, but not outlandish channel with ambassador sondland and ambassador volcker. were you track iing the sondlan and volcker channel? >> i'm trying to recall at which point i became aware of ambassador, certainly i was aware of the fact they were
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working together. ambassador sondland and ambassador volcker secretary perry were working together to advance u.s. policy interests that were in support of what had been agreed to. but i didn't really learn like i said until the july 10th, actually that's, there may have been a slightly lly earlier po. i recall a meeting in which ambassador bolton facilitated a meeting between ambassador volcker and bolton in the june time frame and there may have been some discussion about this external channel. but i frankly didn't become aware of these particular u.s. government officials being involved in this alternate track until on july 10th. >> okay. i think we had some discussion that you know, mr. giuliani was promoting a negative narrative about the ukraine and certain officials were trying to help the president understand that with zelensky, it was a new day
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and ukraine's going to be different. is that your understanding? >> that is correct. exactly what was being reported by the intelligence committee, but the policy channels and the voices of the various people that had met with him, including foreign officials. >> to the extent that you're aware of what ambassador sondland's goals were here and ambassador volcker's goals here, you think they were just trying to do the best they could and try to advocate in the best interest of the united states? >> that's what i believe and that is what i still believe, frankly. >> so to the extent mr. giuliani may have had different views, they were trying to help him understand it was time to change those views? >> i think they were try iing t bring him into the tent and have him kind of support the direction that was, that we had settled on. >> and you never conferred with mr. giuliani? >> no. >> never had any meetings, phone calls, anything of that sort.
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>> i did not. only know him as new york's finest mayor. >> america's mayor. and did you have any discussions, communiques during this relevant time period with the president? >> i have never had any contact with the president of the united states. >> my time's expired, mr. chairman. thank you. >> thank you, gentlemen. we're going to move to the five minute member rounds. are you good to go forward or do you need a break? >> i think we'd like to take a short break. >> let's try to take a five or ten-minute break and we'll resume with the five-minute rounds. if i could ask the audience and members to let the witnesses leave the room first. committee is in recess.
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>> there's one command ner chief and while you might question personally the commander in chief or your commander at all, your job is to take the mission and duty and do back. period. i think clearly see he has opinions that are counter. when he says it's not in that, when he states that it was not in a national security interest or these matters did involve national security while he works on the national security counsel, the president will decide that. september he's an expert, but
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didn't know a whole lot of answers to the questions they asked him about ukraine, yet he's the expert. >> seems like the republicans are not -- as much today. has there been some kind of shift in points of order and you know -- >> i think it's pretty clear at this point that the chairman's not going to allow certain questions. and certain discussion. that's been made evident and i think the american people know that we don't need the continue to belabor that point. it's very clear. >> my question's about the offer to become defense minister. what language he spoke in ukraine. what do you think -- do you have any reason to question? >> no, i don't have any reason to question his loyalty, but again and i don't think anybody on the committee is either, but ipg we just need to see the entire picture and the american people need to see what happens in these discussions with foreign governments and the people that work for our
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government. >> would you want somebody in his position to be able to speak ukrainian and russian? >> yes, absolutely. >> so why did it matter what language he spoke? >> i'm not sure. well, it does matter in the con the tecontext that we want our people who work in the foreign service to be able to speak the question. >> so what's the point of the question? >> you'll have to ask mr. castor. >> what about the issue that said he was offered to be defense minister. does it surprise you? >> no. what i think it shows the american people is that foreign governments witry and curry fav with individuals in the united states of all level to try and meet their objectives and there's a specific case where it could be viewed that way. >> do you think he was trying to -- [ inaudible ] or because he's respected enough that people thought he would
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make a good defense minister? >> look, i can offer an opinion based on no facts but then i'd be bno better than our witnesse so i'm not going to offer that opinion. i don't know why they would select him for that discussion. >> curried favor. >> i said it could be. i don't know what their motivations were. i'm not in their head so i'm not going to assign what i believe to be their motivations without any information whatsoever.
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committee will come back to
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order. we'll now begin a period of five-minute questions from the members. i recognize myself for five minutes. i want to ask you both about some of the questions you were asked by my colleagues in the minority. first, if i could ask you miss williams and colonel vindman, you were asked a series of questions by the ranking member at the outset. were you aware of the fact that and then there was a recitation of information about burisma, the bidens. is it fair the say you have no firsthand knowledge of any of the matters that were asked in those questions? >> that's correct. >> that is correct. >> miss williams, you were also asked a series of questions about the vice president's schedule and whether he could have made the inauguration, was he traveling or the trip to canada. let's be clear about something. you were instructed the
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president told the vice president not to go before he knew the date of the inauguration. is that correct? >> yes. that's correct. >> so at the time he was told not to go, there was no calculation about where he might be or where the president might be because the date hadn't even been set yet. is that right? >> right. the date hadn't been set so we were weighing a number of different scenarios of when the inauguration might fall. >> i think you said originally the president told him to go then you received the instruction that the president no longer want ed him to go. were you aware in the interim between the president telling him to go and the president telling him not to go that rudy giuliani had to board a trip he was going to make to ukraine? >> i had seen that in the press, yes. >> had you u seen that rudy giuliani blamed people around zelensky that he blamed for for having to blame the trip?
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>> i read that in the press reporting, yes. >> and did you read that jewel u ianni wanted to go to ukraine as he put it, not meddle in an investigation, but u meddle in investigations. >> i did read that, yes. >> and that occurred prior the to the president canceling the vice president's trip to the inauguration. >> it did. i believe it was around may 10th or so. >> colonel vindman, you were asked by the minority counsel about the president's words in the july 25th call. and whether the president's words were ambiguous. was there any ambiguity about the president's use of the word, biden? >> there was not. >> it was pretty clear the president wanted zelensky to commit to investigating the bidens, was it not? >> that is correct. >> that is one of the favors that you thought should be properly characterized as a
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demand? >> that is correct. >> and there's no ambiguity about that. >> in my mind, there was not. >> it's also true, is it not, that these two investigations that the president asked zelensky for into 2016 and then into the bidens were precisely the two investigations that rudy giuliani was calling for publicly, were they not? >> that is correct. >> so when people suggest that maybe rudy giuliani was acting on his own and maybe he was a freelancer or whatever, the president referred to exactly the same two investigations rudy giuliani was out pushing on his behalf. is that correct? >> that is correct. >> now miss williams, you were asked about the meeting the vice president had with sclen ski in september. in which ukrainians brought up their concern about the hold on the security stance.
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is that right? >> that's right. >> and you were asked about whether in that meeting between the vice president sclzelensky,e bidens or burisma came up. >> that's correct. they did not come up. >> now that bilateral meeting was a large meeting that involved two or three dozen people, wasn't it? >> it was. >> so in the context of this meeting with two or three dozen people, the vice president didn't bring up those investigations, correct? >> no, he did not. he never has. >> were you aware that immedi e immediately and i mean immediately after that meeting broke up, ambassador sondland has said that he went over to mr. yearmack, one of the top advisers to zelensky and told him that if they wanted the military aid, they were going to have to do these veinvestigatio or words to that effect? >> i was not aware at the time of any side meetings mr. sondland had following the vice president's meeting with
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zelensky. >> so at the big public meeting, it didn't come up and you can speak to the private moeeting held immediately after? >> correct, the vice president moved on with his schedule immediately after his meeting with president zelensky. >> now colonel vindman, i want to go back to that july 10th meeting or meetings. the one with ambassador bolton then the one in the ward room that followed quickly on its heels. were you aware that ambassador bolton instructed your sue p eeo talk to the lawyers after that meeting? >> i learned shortly after she was finished talk iing to ambassador bolton and after we rapped up with the ward room that she did have a meeting with him and that's what was expressed express
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ed. >> now you thought you should go talk to the lawyers on your own, correct? >> that is my recollection, yes. >> but bolton also thought that dr. hill should go talk to the lawyers because of his concern over this drug deal that sondland and mulvaney were cooking up, is that right? >> that is my understanding. >> and in fact, this, this drug deal as bolton called it, involved this conditioning of the white house meeting on these investigations that sondland brought up. is that right? >> that is my understanding. >> and in fact, this same conditioning or this same issue of wanting these political investigations and tieing it to the white house meeting, this came up in the july 25th call, did it not. when the president asked for these investigations? >> that is correct. >> so the very same issue that bolton said to hill go talk to the lawyers, the very same issue that prompted you to go talk to the lawyers, ends up coming up
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in that call with the president. is that right? >> that is correct. and it w >> and it was that conversation that led you back to the lawyer's office. >> that is correct. >> i yield to the ranking member. >> mr. chairman, you took seven minutes so i assume you're going to give us equal time. >> yes, mr. nunes. >> thank you, gentlemen. lieutenant colonel, before i turn to mr. jordan, i asked miss williams about this. if she had ever accessed without authorization fellow employee's computer system. she answered no to the question. have you ever accessed anyone's computer system without authorization? >> without their knowledge, no. >> knowledge or authorization? >> i'm sorry?
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>> knowledge or authorization? you never accessed someone's computer without their knowledge or augthorization. >> correct. >> mr. jordan. >> i thank the ranking member. colonel, i want to thank you for your service and sacrifice to our great country. this afternoon, your former boss is going to be sitting right where you're sitting and he's going to testify and i want to give you a chance, i think we're bringing you a copy, i want to give you a chance to respond to some of the things he said in his deposition. page 82. of the transcript from mr. morrison. mr. morrison said this, i had concerns about lieutenant colonel vindman's judgment. among the discussions i had with dr. hill and the transition was our team. its strength, weaknesses and fiona and others raised concerns about alex's judgment and mr. morse was asked by mr. castor, did anyone ever bring concerns that colonel vindman may have leaked something. mr. morrison replied yes.
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so your boss had concerns about your judgment. dr. hill had concerns about your judgment. your colleagues had concerns about your judgment and your colleagues felt r there were times when you leaked information. any idea why they have those impressions? >> yes, representative jordan, i'll start by reading dr. hill's own words as she, she attested to in my last evaluation that was dated middle of july right before she left. alex is a top 1% military officer and the best i've worked with in my 15 years of government service. he's brilliant. unflappable and exercises excellent judgment. i'm sorry. exemplary during numerous visits. mr. morrison, the date of that was -- yeah, let's see, i'm
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sorry. july 13th. so mr. jordan, i would say that i can't say what mr. morrison, why mr. morrison question ed my judgment. we had only recently started working together. he wasn't there very long and we were just trying to figure out our relationship. maybe it was a different culture. military culture versus -- >> and colonel, you never leaked information? >> i never did. never would. that is preposterous that i would do that. >> colonel, it's interesting. we depose a lot of people in the bunkerer and basement of the capitol over the last several weeks, but of all those deposition, only three individuals we te posed were now on the famous phone call. there was you. the individual sitting beside you, miss williams then your boss, mr. morrison, who i just read your deposition. when we asked miss williams she spoke to about the call after the call, she was able to answer
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our questions. when we asked mr. morrison who he speak to after the kaugal the call, he was willing to answer our question and mr. schiff allowed chairman schiff allowed him to answer our question, but when we ask you, you first told us three individuals. your brother and the two lawyers. then you said there was a group of other people you communicated with, but you would only give us one individual in that group. secretary kent and the chairman would only allow you to give us that name. i want to know first how many other people are in that group of people you communicated with outside the four individuals i just named? >> mr. jordan on call readout certain ly after the first call there were probably half a dozen or more people that i read out. those are people with the proper clearance and the need to know. in this case, because of the sensitivity of the call and mr. eisenberg told me not to speak to anybody else, i only read outside of the nfc two individuals.
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>> two individuals. >> kent and one other person. >> and you're not willing to tell us who that other individual is. >> mr. chairman, point of order. point of order. >> counsel. >> mr. chairman, i would ask you to enforce the rule with regard to the disclosure with regard to the intelligence. >> thank you, counsel. you know as i independeicated b this committee will not be used to out the whistleblower. that same -- necessity. >> first stop the time so i don't lose the time. >> you are recognized again, mr. jordan. >> mr. chairman, i don't see how this is outing the whistleblower. the witness has testified in his deposition he doesn't know who the whistleblower is. you have said even though no one believes you, you have said you don't know who the chwhistleblor is so how is this outing the whistleblower to find out who this individual is? >> mr. jordan, this is your time for questioning. you can use it any way you like, but your question should be addressed to the witness and should not be addressed to
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trying to out the whistleblower. >> okay, colonel vindman, there's another thing mr. morrison told us in his deposition. he said he was not concerned about the call itself. he said there was nothing illegal or improper on the call but he was concerned about the call leaking. the contents of the call leaking. he said this. he was concerned how it would play out in washington's polarized environment, how the contents would be used in washington's political process. mr. morrison was right. >> excuse me, mr. jordan, could i get a page? >> page 44. >> mr. morrison was right. the call leaks. whistleblower goes to chairman schiff's staff then he runs off to the lawyer, the same lawyer who said in january of 2017 the coup has started against president trump. the one thing the democrats didn't, one thing they didn't count on. one thing they didn't count on was the president release iing
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call transcript. letting us all see what he said. they didn't count on that. transcript shows no leakage. the two individuals on the call b have said no pressure, no pushing no leakage but security dollars to an veinvestigation. miss williams. after the call on the 25th, we know that colonel vindman talked to several people. after the call on the 25th, how many people did you talk to about the call? >> i did not speak to anybody about the call. >> didn't speak to anybody. >> no. >> i yield back. >> mr. himes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i ask unanimous consent to enter the colonel's performance review into the record. >> may i inquire of colonel vindman whether he would like us to do that. if you would prefer it, i leave that to you. >> i guess with redactions, it has pii in it and should be protected and maybe the only elements that are relevant are the actual narrative.
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>> chairman. >> did you read the relevant portions? >> i mean that was the short version. there were some other paragraphs in there. >> i'll withdraw my request. thank you. >> thank you both for your testimony. miss williams, you joined the foreign service in 2006, correct? >> correct. >> prior to becoming a nonpartisan career official, you worked as a field representative for the bush cheney foundation in 2004. you have served three presidents. >> yes, sir. >> and in your current position, you're advise the vice preside policy towards russia, that's correct? >> that's correct. >> sunday the president personally targeted in a tweet after he targeted ambassador yovanovitch during her hearing testimony. i would like to read you and show you the tweet. tell jennifer williams, whoever
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that is, to read both transcripts of the presidential call and see the just released statement from ukraine. then she thud meet with the other never-trumpers who i never heard of and work out a better presidential attack. miss williams, are you involved in aid presidential attack? >> no, sir. >> are you a never-trumper? >> i don't know the official definition of a never-trumper -- >> are you? >> no. >> did that make an impact on you when you read it? >> it surprised me. i didn't expect to be called out by name. >> it surprised me, too. it looked like witness tampering in an effect to get you to, perhaps, shape your testimony today. lieutenant colonel, you previously testified that you've dedicated your entire professional life to the united states of america.
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colonel, above your left breast you are wearing a device which is a springfield musket on a blue field. what is that? >> combat infantry badge. >> how do you get that. >> you have to serve in a brigade below tactical unit, front line, in combat. >> under fire? >> correct. >> you are also wearing a purple heart. can you tell us in 20 or 30 seconds why you're wearing a purple heart? >> in 2014 in the ramp-up to probably the largest urban operations -- urban operation in decades, outside of fallujah, we were conducting a patrol in connection with the marines and my vehicle was stuck by an ied that penetrated armor. >> were you injured? >> i was. >> the day after you appeared
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for your deposition, lieutenant colonel, president trump called you a never-trumper. colonel vindman, would you call yourself a never-trumper? >> representative, i'd call myself never partisan. >> thank you. colonel vindman in your military ka year you served under four presidents, two democrats, two republicans. have you ever wafred from the oath you took to defense the constitution? >> no. >> do you have any political motivations for your appearance here today? >> none. >> colonel vindman, multiple right-wing conspiracy theorists, including rudy giuliani, have accused you of harboring loyalty to ukraine. they make these accusations based only on the fact that your family, like many american families, immigrated to the united states. they have accused of you espionage and dual loyalties. we've seen that in this room this morning. the three minutes spent asking you about the offer made to make you the minister of defense, that may have come cloaked in a
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brooks brothers suit but it was given exclusively the right-wing media the ability to question your loyalties. i want people to understand what that was all about. it's the kind of attack -- it's the kind of thing you say when you're defending the indefensible. it's what you say when it's not enough to attack the media the way the ranking member gave over his opening statement or to attack the democrats, but it's what you stoop to when the indefensibility of your case requires that you attack a man who is wearing a springfield rifle on a field of blue above a purple heart. i, sir, thank you for your service and yield back the balance of my time. >> mr. conaway. >> i yield my time. >> i thank the gentleman for yielding. in a press conference last thursday, speaker of the house nancy pelosi said that president trump committed the impeachable offense of bribery, evidenced in his july 25th call transcript
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with president zelensky. in concert with that, multiple democratic members of this committee gave tv and radio interviews over this past week discussing how the president's conduct supported his impeachment for committing bribery, all of which struck me as very odd because for the longest time this was all about quid pro quo, according to the whistle-blower complaint, but after witness after witness began saying there was no quid pro quo or even that quid pro quo was not even possible, we saw a shift from the democrats. they briefly started to refer to the president's conduct on the july 25th call as extortion. and now, it shifted again last week to bribery. miss williams, you used the word unusual to describe the president's call last -- on july 25th. lieutenant colonel vindman, you
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used the word inappropriate and improper. i word searched each of your transcripts. and the word bribery or bribe doesn't appear anywhere in that. ms. williams, you've never used the word bribery or bribe to discuss president trump's conduct, correct? >> correct. >> colonel vindman, you haven't either? >> that's correct. >> the problem is in an impeachment inquiry that the speaker of the house says is all about bribery, where bribery is the impeachable offense, no witness has used the word bribery to describe president trump's conduct. none of them. these aren't all of the deposition transcripts. these are just the ten that have been released. six weeks of witness interviews in this impeachment inquiry, hundreds of hours of testimony, thousands of questions asked
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thousands of answers gwyniven. the number of times any witness has been asked whether president trump's conduct constituted bribery before ambassador yovanovitch was asked by my colleague, congressman stewart last thursday, is zero. the number of times witnesses have used the word bribery or bribe to describe president trump's conduct in the last six weeks of this inquiry is zero. in fact, in these 3,500 pages of sworn testimony in just these ten transcripts released thus far, the word bribery appears in in these 3,500 pages exactly one time. ironically is it appears in a description of not president trump's conduct, it appears in a description of vice president
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biden's conduct next week. this is important because my colleagues will say we need to vote on the impeachment of the president for bribery and they'll send a report to the judiciary committee. because there's more democrats than republicans, it's likely going to pass. when that happens, the american people need to be clear that when the democrats, what they are describing as bribery, not a single witness is describing as bribery. we've heard many times in the course of this proceeding that the facts of the president are not in dispute but the american people are asking, if the facts are the same, why do the crimes that the president is being accused of keep changing? why do we go from quid pro quo to extortion now to bribery? chairman nunes told you the answer. the answer is polling. the washington "times" asked americans what would be the most
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damn i damning accusation, it came back bribery. it's bad enough democrats have forbidden white house lawyers from participating in this proceeding. it's hard enough to defend yourself without your lawyers present. but what's even worse is trying to defend yourself against an accusation that keeps changing in the middle of the proceeding. if democrats accuse the president of high crime or impeachable offense, he ought to know which one it is. when speaker pelosi says this is all about bribery, she's promised us evidence of bribery that would be compelling and overwhelming and, instead, it's invisible. i yield back. >> ms. sewell. >> mr. chairman, i would like to thank both about of our witnesses for your service. lieutenant colonel vindman, as part of your poli >> you can continue watching the impeachment hearing live on our companion network c-span3, on our


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