tv Outnumbered Overtime With Harris Faulkner FOX News November 19, 2019 10:00am-11:00am PST
>> mr. eisenberg, he told me to take my concerns to him. >> and, there's a period of time in it wasn't that long a period of time, but it was enough time for me to -- >> enough time to talk to someone who you want i will assume it is, right? >> i've been instructed not to, representative jordan. >> he's what i'm getting. he told you not to talk to any of the people and you interpret that as not talking to your boss. but you talked to your brother, you talked to the lawyers, you talked to secretary kent, and the one guy adam schiff will let you tell us who he is. is that right? >> representative jordan, i did my job. >> i'm not saying you didn't. all i'm saying is the instructions from the lawyer where that you shouldn't talk to
anybody, and you interpret that as "don't talk to my boss, but i'm gonna go talk to someone that we can't even ask you if that individual is." >> that is incorrect. >> i just read what you said. "i shouldn't talk to any of the people." >> the time of the gentleman has expired. >> i'm sorry, mr. chairman, that sequence is not the way it played out. >> please, let the colonel answer. speak of the sequence played out where immediately afterwards i expressed my concerns, i did my coordination function, mr. eisenberg circle background and told me how to talk to anybody else. in that period of time i did not manage to -- >> so that's what happened. that's when he talked to someone. >> that's right. >> think you, mr. chairman. colonel vindman, let's go back to that pair of meetings on jul. about scrambled eggs office and down in the boardroom, were you witnessed ambassador sondland informed the ukrainian officials that, as a prerequisite, "ukrainians would have to deliver an investigation into the bidens."
you said that ambassador sondland was "calling for an investigation that didn't exist into the bidens and burisma." is that correct? >> that is correct. >> that same afternoon he went to mr. eisenberg, correct? >> that occurred in the afternoon, and i'm sure it was a been within a couple hours i talk to mr. eisenberg. >> how did he react? >> he was cool, calm, and collected. he said he would look into it and you took notes. >> did he tell you you would be free to come back if you have additional concerns? >> he did, mr. congressman. >> ambassador sondland said his request to the ukrainians had been coordinated with the acting chief of staff, mick mulvaney. did you report that to mr. eisenberg? >> i did. >> what was his reaction? >> he took notes and he said he would follow up or look into it. i don't recall exactly what he said. >> colonel, you also testified
that on the july 25th call between the two presidents "there was no doubt" president trump asked for investigations into the 2016 election, and vice president biden's son, in return for a white house meeting. within an hour of that call, you reported that mr. eisenberg, did you not? >> i did. >> went back to them to see if it was appropriate? >> he's an assistant to the president. it was less a suggestion and more of an instruction. >> did you tell the lawyers that president trump asked president zelensky to speak to mr. giuliani? >> yes. >> and the lawyers, it was at this point, told you not to talk to anyone else? >> that is not correct with regard to timing. they didn't follow up -- they didn't circle back around. what ended up happening is, in my coordination role, i spoke to a member of the intelligence community.
general counsel from one of the intelligence bodies notified mr. eisenberg that there was information on the call, on the july 25th call. at that point mr. eisenberg told me i shouldn't talk to anybody else about it. >> colonel, i want to go bac bao 2014. in iraq. when you were blown up. i presume that, given the point in your military career and what else was going on in the world, that upon recovery there was the very real prospect or possibility that you might once again find yourself in harm's way. is that correct? >> yes, congressman. it happened in 2004, but yes. >> 2004, excuse me. thank you. did you consider leaving the military service at that point? >> no. frankly, congressman, i suffered light winds. i was fortunate compared to my counterparts in the same
vehicle, and i returned to duty -- i think it may have been that same day. >> but you could have been subjected to additional harm. you chose to continue service in uniform? >> i continued to serve in combat for the remaining ten or 11 months of the tour. >> you know, colonel, i have to say i find it a rich but incredibly painful irony that, within a week of the president, contrary to all advice of the senior military officials, he pardons those who were convicted of war crimes. which was widely decried in the military community. within the week of him doing that, he is engaged in an effo effort, allies on his behalf including some here today, to demean your record of service and the sacrifice and the contribution you have made. indeed, sir, less than 20 minutes ago the white house
officially quoted out, out of context, the comments referred to earlier by mr. morrison in your judgment. i can only conclude, sir, that what we thought was just the president as the subject of our deliberations in this inquiry isn't sufficient to capture what is happening here. indeed, what subject to this inquiry and what is at peril as our constitution, and the very values upon which it is based. i want to say thank you for your service, but thank you doesn't cut it. please know, however, that it comes from the bottom of my heart, and i know on the bottoms of the hearts of countless other americans. thank you for your service, sir. i'll back. >> mr. jordan? >> thank you, mr. chairman. sunday, the speaker of the united states house of representatives called the
president of the united states "an imposter." speaker of the house called the president "an imposter." 63 million people voted for him. the guy who went on an electoral college landslide. the people calls "an imposter." that has what has happened to or country come to this congress. the speaker's statement says it all. the democrats have never accepted the will of the american people. democrats don't trust the american people. the american people who want to defend someone in this town who was willing to shake it up a bit. they don't trust that. they have tried to do everything they can to undo what the american people decided on november 8th, 2016. they've been out to get the president since the day he was elected. the whistleblower's lawyer, the whistleblower's legal team, said this -- january 30th, 2017.
the president had been in office about a week. "coup has started, first of many steps." next sentence, "impeachment will follow ultimately." i guess you are in the final step. it started three and a half years ago. congressman tlaib, first day of congress, said "impeach the president." representative greene said, "if you don't impeach him, the president will win reelection. he got to do it." most important income of five democrat members of this committee voted to move forward with impeachment before the phone call ever happened. the truth is that the attacks actually started before the inauguration, even before the election. the ranking member talked about this. his opening statement. july 2016. fbi opens an investigation,
so-called trump-russia coordination, collusion, which was never there. open an investigation, spied on two american citizens associated with the presidential campaign. that's probably never happen in american history, but they did it. and for ten months, jim comey's fbi investigated the president. guess what? after ten months, they had nothing. you know why we know that? we deposed mr. comey last congress, he told us they didn't have a thing. no matter. special counsel mueller gets appointed, and they do a 2-year, $40 million, 19-lawyer, unbelievable investigation. guess what? they come back and they've got nothing. but the democrats don't care. so now we get this. a bunch of depositions in the bunker in the basement of the capital, witnesses who aren't allowed to answer questions about who they talked to you about the phone call. we get this. all based on some anonymous
whistleblower. no first-hand knowledge, bias against the president. these facts have never change. we learned these right away. who worked with vice president biden, who wrote a memo the day after somebody talked him about about the call. awaited 18 days to file a complaint. 18 days to file a complete prewhat do you do in those 18 days? we all know. ran off and talked with chairman schiff's staff. and then hired the legal team that i just talked about. that i just talked about. one of the steps in the whole impeachment coup, as his legal team has said. this is scary, what these guys are putting our country through. it is sad, it is scary, it is wrong. the good news is the american people see through it all. they know the facts are all on the president's side. as representative stefanik said, four facts will never change.
we got the transcript, which they never thought the president would release. it shows nor could, no conditionality, no language. we got the guys in the call. president trump, president zelinski. no pressure, no pushing here. about the fact ukrainians didn't even know it was held up at the time of the call, and most important, we have yet to have one witness tell us that any evidence from anyone that president zelensky did anything on investigations to get the eight release. those facts will never change. the facts on the president's side. the process is certainly not. it has been the most unfair process we have ever seen, and the american people understand that there was 63 million americans understand it. i think others do as well. to see this for what it is. they know this is wrong. especially wrong just 11 months before the next election. i yield back. >> mr. welch? >> thank you. what this hearing is about, i
think, what's best stated by colonel vindman's opening statement. the question before us is this -- is it improper for the president of the united states to demand a foreign government investigate the united states citizen and political opponents? it is very well-stated. i just listened to mr. jordan, as you did, as well, and i heard his criticisms of the process. nothing really happened. a lot of people are out to get the president. i didn't hear an answer to the question as to whether it's proper for the president of the united states to demand a foreign government to investigate a u.s. citizen and political opponent. and, to date, i haven't heard any one of my republican colleagues address that questi question.
colonel vindman and ms. williams, thank you. i want to ask some questions that go through the background. what has come out during this process is that we had two ukraine policies. one was bipartisan and long-standing. that was to assist ukraine, which had freed itself from the domination of russia, to fight corruption and to resist russian aggression. is that a fair statement, colonel vindman? >> i think that is a fair characterization, congressman. >> and to give folks a reminder of the extent of corruption -- by the way, a legacy of putin's russia. is it your understanding that when the prior president fled to russia, into the arms of mr. putin, he took with him for 30 to $40 billion of that impoverished country? >> there are different
estimates, but it's on that scale, yes. >> a vast scale for a poor country. is it your understanding that powerless but motivated ukrainians rose up in protest to this incredible graft and theft and abuse by the president? >> that is correct. >> and that was called the maidan revolution. the revolution of dignity. correct? >> correct. >> and young people went into that square in downtown kyiv and demonstrated for months. correct? >> correct. and 100 died. >> 106 young people died, and older people died. correct? that was between february 18th, 2014 and february 22nd. is that correct? >> correct. >> 106 died, including people
who were shot by snipers. kids. and yanukovych had put snipers on the rooftop of buildings to shoot into that square and kill, murder, slaughter those young people. is that your understanding? >> that is correct. >> our bipartisan support -- by the way, i want to say to mary public and colleagues, a lot of leadership to have this support came from your side. thank you. but our whole commitment was to get rid of corruption and to stop that russian aggression. is that correct? >> the amounts to some of the key pillars. >> that's right. and the giuliana, sondland, and it appears current policy was not about that. it was about investigations into a political opponents. correct? i will take the question back. we know it.
you know, i will say this to president trump. you want to investigate joe biden? you ought to investigate huntern cannot go at it. do it. do it hard, do it dirty. do it the way you do it. just don't do it by asking a foreign leader to help you in your campaign. that's your job, it's not his. my goal in these hearings is two things. one is to get an answer to colonel vindman's question. the second coming out of this is for us as a congress to return to the ukraine policy that nancy pelosi and kevin mccarthy both support. it's not investigations. it's the restoration of democracy in ukraine, and the resistance of russian aggression. i yield back. >> mr. maloney? >> thank you both for being he
here. you know, lieutenant colonel vindman, this might be one of your first congressional hearings like this. >> and i hope the last. [laughter] >> i can't blame you for feeling that way, sir. particularly when i've been sitting here listening to my republican colleagues, one of the advantages of being down here at the kids table is that you get to hear the folks above you ask their questions. i've been listening closely to my republican colleagues, and i've heard them say just about everything except to contradict any of the substantive testimony you've both given. you may have noticed there's been a lot of complaints, and there's been a lot of insinuations and a lot of suggestions, maybe, that your service is somehow not to be trusted. you were treated to questions about your loyalty because of some half-baked job offer i guess the ukrainians made you,
which you of course dutifully reported. mr. castor is implying that you have some dual loyalty, which is of course an old smear we've heard many times in our history. they've tried to demean you as though maybe you've overstated your importance of your job, and of course you are the guy on the national security council responsible for directing ukrainian policy. we've heard them air out some allegations with no basis in proof, but they just want to get them out there and hope maybe some of those strands of spaghetti, i guess, we'll stick on the wall. they keep throwing them. we've even had a member of this committee question -- this is my favorite -- question why you would wear your dress uniform today. even though that dress uniform includes a breastplate that has a convent, combat infantry badge on and a purple heart ribbon. it seems like if anybody gets to wear the uniform, it is somebody who's got a breastplate with those commendations on it. so, let's do it again.
let's do the substance. can we do that connect because we've had a lot of dust kicked up. ms. williams, you heard the call with your own ears, right? >> yes, sir. >> not secondhand, not hearsay. you are the president speak. you heard his voice on the call. >> correct. >> your conclusion was what he said about investigating the biden's was, your words, "unusual and inappropriate." in my right? >> that was my testimony. >> mr. vindman, you were treated to a july 25th meeting where you heard ambassador sondland raise investigations that you thought were unduly political. i believe that's how you describe them. he went to nsc council and reported it. correct? >> correct. >> later, you come too come around the copy you read it with your own ears. >> correct. >> not secondhand, not from somebody else, not hearsay. >> correct. >> you heard the voice of the president on the call. >> i did. >> you heard him raise what ambassador sondland andries
before, about investigating the bidens. >> i did. >> when you heard him say that, was the first thought that went through your mind? >> frankly, i couldn't believe what i was hearing. it was probably an element of shock. that maybe in certain regards my worst fear of how our ukraine policy could play out was playing out. how this is likely to have significant implications for u.s. national security. >> and he went immediately and reported it, didn't you? >> i did. >> why? >> because that was my duty. >> you still have your opening statement and he? >> i do. >> would you read the last paragraph for megan? not the very last one, the second to last one. would you read that again for me? i think the american public deserves to hear it again. >> i think my dad would appreciate that one, too. dad, my sitting here today in the u.s. capitol and talking to
our elected officials as proof you made the right decision 40 years ago to leave the soviet union and come here to the united states of america in search of a better life for our family. do not worry -- i will be fine for telling the truth. >> you realize when you came forward out of sense of duty that you are putting yourself in direct opposition to the most powerful person in the world. do you realize that, sir? >> i knew i was assuming a lot of risk. >> i am struck by that phrase, "do not worry." you addressed your dad. was your data warrior? >> he did serve. it was a different military. >> and he would have worried if you put yourself against presence of the united states, is that correct? >> he deeply worried about it. in this context, it was the ultimate risk. >> and why do you have confidence that you can do that, and tell your dad not to worry? >> congressman, because this is america. this is the country i've served and defended, that all my brothers have served.
and here, right matters. >> thank you, sir. i yield back. [applause] >> ms. deming's >> thank you, mr. chairman. first of all, ms. williams, let me think you for your service to our nation. it truly matters. lieutenant colonel vindman, i have the honor of speaking to a group of veterans this past weekend. what i said to them was that no words are really adequate or sufficient to fully express our gratitude for their service to our nation. so, lieutenant colonel vindman, today i say to you there are no words that are sufficient to fully express our gratitude to you for what you have done for
our nation. amazingly, what you are still willing to do for our nation. it is vitally important that the american people understand how president trump's unethical demand that ukraine deliver politically-motivated investigations in exchange for military assistance created a security risk for our -- the united states of america's -- national security. the president was not just playing a political game by upholding military aid and meetings with ukraine. threatening the hundreds of millions of dollars of military assistance that congress had appropriated has real-life consequences for ukraine and the usa. in your deposition, the 11, you testified -- and i quote -- "a strong and independent ukraine
is critical to our security interest." could you please explain why a strong and independent ukraine is so critical, and why it is so vital u.s. interests? >> we sometimes refer to ukraine as our front line state. on the front line of europe. they have actually described to me, the ukrainians, that it is -- they consider themselves as a barrier between russian aggression and europe. what i have heard them describe is a need for u.s. support in order to serve this role, in order to protect european and western security. >> lieutenant colonel, this is not just a theoretical conflict between ukraine and russia. you have already said this morning that russia is actively fighting to expand into ukraine.
that ukraine is in a hot war with russia right now. is that correct? >> it is stable, but is still a hot war. >> isn't it true, lieutenant colonel, that even if the security assistance was eventually delivered to ukraine, the fact that it was delayed, just that fact, could signal to russia that the bond between ukraine and the u.s. was beginning? >> that was the concern of myself and my colleagues >> was the risk of even the appearance that the u.s.-ukraine bond is shaky, is that it could embolden russia to act with more aggression? would you say that is correct? >> i believe that was my testimony. >> just last month during an interview, president putin joked about interviewing dominic interfering in our political elections. i can only guess that is what we have become to russia and its president.
i think he felt emboldened by the president's reckless actions, both attempts to hold critical military aid from ukraine and president trump's effort to blame ukraine -- not russia -- for election interference. ms. williams and lieutenant colonel vindman, i can only say that every american, regardless of our politics, should be critically concerned about that. let me just say this -- yes, we do trust the american people. you know what? the american people trust us, too, as members of congress, to support, protect, and defend the constitution of the united states against all enemies, foreign and domestic. we intend to do just that. thank you again for your service, mr. chairman. i yield back
>> mr. krishnamoorthi? steel good afternoon, lieutenant colonel vindman and ms. williams. thank you for your service. colonel vindman, i'm concerned your loyalty is question not because you are bringing evidence of wrongdoing against the president of the united states, but because you are an immigrant. recently, fox news host brian kilmeade said he, meaning you, were born in the soviet union. emigrated with his family young. he tends to feel simpatico with the ukraine." i find the statement representablor principle, because it appears your status is being used against you i came to this country when i was three months old. your family for the soviet union and move to america when you were just three and half years old, right? >> correct. >> i understand her father worked multiple jobs well so
learning english, right? >> correct. >> he stressed the importance of embracing what it means to be an american, correct? >> all-america>> that is correc. >> all your childhood memories relate to being american, correct? >> correct. >> you and your family faced difficult times during your childhood, correct? >> correct. >> i can relate. that's my story, too. but your father went on to become an engineer, right? >> yeah, he reestablished himself and his former profession, in the united states. >> i can relate. i got a b.s. in engineering. of course, some people claim i practiced the b.s. part now. [laughter] your father never give up working hard to build his very own american dream, did he? >> he did not. >> lieutenant colonel vindman, your father achieve the american dream, and so did you and your family. from one immigrant american to another immigrant american, i want to say to you that you and
your family represent the very best of america. i assume that you are as proud to be un-american as i am, correct? >> yes, sir. >> sir, i want to turn your attention to lutsenko. he called me disruptive actor in your opening statement, correct? >> correct. >> mr. lutsenko, the former prosecutor general in ukraine, has made various claims about various americans, right? >> correct. >> you were unaware of any factual basis for his accusations against ambassador yovanovitch, right? >> correct. >> he also was a source for john solomon and "the hill," correct? >> that is correct. >> you said a key element of article as well as his accusations are false, correct?
>> correct. >> lutsenko is not a credible source, correct? >> correct. >> sir, the other side claims there is absolutely no pressure on this july 25th phone call. i think that's we heard earlier, right? >> i believe so. >> and you have termed what president trump asked, in terms of the investigations on that phone call, is a demand. correct? >> correct. >> and you pointed out the large power disparity between president trump on the one hand and president zelensky on the other. correct? >> yes. >> there was pressure on that phone call, right? >> the ukrainians needed the meeting. the ukrainians subsequently, when they found out about it, needed the security assistance. >> so pressure was brought to bear on them, correct? >> i believe so. >> sir, colonel vindman, last
week we heard a decorated military veteran -- namely, ambassador bill taylor -- come before us. you interacted regularly with ambassador taylor, and you know him to be a man of integrity. he is a patriotic american, isn't that right? >> a superb individual. >> asked ambassador taylor a series of questions based on his experience as an infantry commander. i asked him, "is an officer allowed to hold up action pleasing his troops at risk until someone provides him a personal benefit?" ambassador taylor responded, "no, sir." colonel vindman, do you agree with ambassador taylor? >> i do. >> i then asked ambassador taylor, "is that because they would be betraying the responsibility to the nation?" ambassador taylor responded, "yes, sir." colonel vindman, do you agree with ambassador taylor? >> i do. >> i then asked him, "could that type of conduct trigger a court-martial," he said, "yes, sir." do you agree with ambassador
taylor, colonel denman? >> i do. >> thank you for your service. >> this concludes the question. you are recognized for any concluding remarks. >> act one of today's circus is over. for those of you who have been watching it at home, the democrats are no closer to impeachment then where they were three years ago. in the process, they have -- the department of justice, fbi, state department, elements within the ic, the icig, have all suffered long-term damage. the democrats can continue to put -- to poison the american people with this nonsense. we have sat here all morning without any evidence for impeachment, which would be a very serious crime, high crime and misdemeanor, as it says in the constitution. no such thing. policy disagreements and the democrats' failure to acknowledge their involvement in
the 2016 election. i would say it's astonishing that that would be putting too little emphasis on their actions. with that, you'll back the balance of my time. >> i think the gentleman i want to thank our witnesses today, ms. williams, colonel vindman, both of you, for your service to the country. for your testimony here today. i just want to address briefly some of the evidence he presented, as well as others thus far in the impeachment inquiry. first of all, i want to join my colleagues in thinking you, colonel vindman, for your military service. i should tell you that, notwithstanding all of the questions you got on, "why didn't you talk to your supervisor? went in to talk to mr. morrison? why didn't you go to the national security lawyer?" as if there something wrong with going to the national security lawyer. are you aware we asked
mr. morrison where he went to the national security lawyer, right after the call? and that he did? >> i am. >> are you aware also that we asked him, "if you have this problem with colonel vindman not going to you instead of the lawyer, naturally, you must have got to your supervisor." his answer was that he didn't go to his supervisor either. he went directly to the national security council lawyer. so i hope my colleagues would give him the same hard time for not following his chain of command that they complained about with you, apparently. the president may attack you, and as. others on right-wing tv might attack you, and they have. i thought you should know, and maybe you know already, that this is what the former chairman of the joint chiefs of staff had to say about you, colonel vindman. "he is a professional, competent, patriotic, and loyal officer. he has made an extraordinary contribution to the security of our nation in both peacetime and
combat." i'm sure your dad is proud to hear that. my colleagues have tried to make the argument here today -- and we've heard it before -- but the president was just interested in fighting corruption. that's our goal, fighting corruption in ukraine, this terribly corrupt country. the problem, of course, with that is there is no evidence of the president trying to fight corruption. the evidence all points in the other direction. the evidence points in the direction of the president inviting ukraine to engage in the corrupt act of investigating a u.s. political opponent. ambassador yovanovitch was known as a strong fighter of corruption, so what does the president do? he recalls her from her post. ambassador yovanovitch, in fact, was at a meeting celebrating other anticorruption fighters, including a woman who had acid thrown in her face on the day
she was told to get on the next. you prepared talking points for the president's first conversation with zelensky. he is supposed to talk about rooting up corruption. if this president had such a deep interest in rooting out corruption in ukraine, surely he would have brought it up in the call. but of course we now know he did not. we then see rudy giuliani not fighting corruption but asking for an investigation of the bidens, and my colleagues say, "maybe he was acting on his own, even though he says he's acting as the president's lawyer. maybe he was really acting on his own." the two investigations that rudy giuliani wanted coming up in the meeting you participate in on july 10th at the white house. when ambassador sondland brings up the bidens and burisma in 2016. tells the ukrainians that want to meet with the white house, "you've got to do these investigations." they would say ambassador sondland was acting on his own, but that doesn't quite work,
either. we have the call record from july 25th. which the president was forced to release. in which the president doesn't bring up corruption. he doesn't say, "how are those anticorruption cords going?" or, "great work in the rada." of course not. what does he say? "i want to investigate the bidens, and this debunked conspiracy theory by vladimir putin. that helps me in reelection." so much for fighting corruption. the real u.s. policy message is, "don't engage in political investigations." the message from president, however, was the exact opposite. "do engage in political corruption , and ultimately come if they want $400 million in u.s. aid, this is what they have to do. the only lament i hear from my colleagues is that it wasn't
successful. they got caught. they didn't get the political investigations, and they still had to release the money. now they still haven't gotten the white house meeting, but they had to release the money. because a whistleblower blew the whistle. whistleblower the president wants to punish, and because congress announced it was during investigations, and very soon thereafter the president was forced to lift the old on the aide. they argue, "this makes it okay." that it was a failed effort to bribe ukraine. a failed effort to extort ukraine. that doesn't make it better. it is no less odious because it was discovered and it was stopped. and we have courageous people like yourself who come forward, who report things, who do but they should do, who have a sense, as you put it, colonel, of duty. of duty. not to the person or the president, but to the country. we thank you for that. at the end of the day, i think
this comes back to something we heard from another career foreign service officer just last friday, in a conversation he overheard with the president in a restaurant in ukraine, in which the president -- not rudy giuliani, not anyone else, but the president of the united states -- wanted to know, are they going to the investigations? this is the day after that july 25th call. are they going to the investigations? he is assured by ambassador sondland that they are going to do it. what does sondland relate to this foreign service officer? paying support call. "the presen president doesn't gn expletive about ukraine. he only cares about the big things that help his personal interests." that's all you need to know. it's not just about ukraine, of course. ukraine is fighting our fight against the russians, against
their expansionism. that is our fight, too. that is our fight, too. at least we thought so on a bipartisan basis. that is our fight, too. that is why we support ukraine with the military aid that we have. well, the president may not care about it, but we do. we care about our defense, we care about the defense of our allies, and we darn well care about our constitution. we are adjourned. [gavel] i please ask the audience to allow the witnesses and the members who have to go vote to leave first. >> adam schiff banging the gavel, and jennifer williams and colonel vindman are finished with this part of the impeachment proceedings that we've been watching carried out today, as we continue our coverage from new york and from washington, d.c. it was clear that republicans wanted to portray mr. vindman is someone who thought he was the top expert on ukraine, who perhaps had his feathers ruffled
by the fact that his policy and the talking points he suggested were not carried out. he clearly said he felt it was his duty to report to the attorney at the nsc what he saw as the president behaving in a way that was seeking his own political gain and not carrying out the policy of ukraine. jennifer williams did not reach out and that way to express her concerns, but i think perhaps one of the most salient things that she established was that when vice president pence had meetings with members of ukraine, he did not push for the investigations into politics and did not push for investigations into the 2016. bret, we've been watching it with our panel here in your panel here. your takeaways from what we saw this morning? >> martha: till next he went a couple of key moments. a lot of focus on the tenant colonel vindman service to the country. he's a decorated veteran, served in the iraq war.
in 2014, outside of falluja in iraq, there was a lot of focus but his uniform from what he was wearing to this testimony. and democrats pointing at his service to the country. he said he felt empowered to do this because this is america, that he had a sense of duty, and here right matters. at that point there was a pause in the hearing room. i thought some of the questioning from republicans was powerful. john ratcliffe from texas, the congressman questioning about the word "bribery," how it has not come up in the depositions and stacks up all of the depositions. they asked whether they felt this is bribery. they couldn't say that. it also was interesting to see that they laid out their case. essentially the transcript is out. you can read it. the two people on that call, president trump and president zelensky, don't believe there was any pressure. that the ukrainians didn't know the aide was held up at the
time, and that nothing was done before that aide continued to flow. that is essentially the republican argument against this bribery. but it was a compelling testimony from both witnesses today. we have our panel, chris wallace, dana perino, one williams, andy mccarthy, ken starr, and john roberts. chris, first to you. >> i don't know that we heard a lot more from the five-minute questioning of the witnesses that we heard in the first 45 minutes from devin nunes and his lawyer and adam schiff and his lawyer. what basically happened today is that we have had a lot of complaints, a lot about policy and how it changed, the irregular channel through rudy giuliani, and gordon sondland. but everybody had to say they hadn't heard it directly from the president. a lot of them haven't heard it directly from somebody else. it was second or third hand. on the one thing i think was accomplished today is that he had two people who were on the call. so neither of them, i don't
think, had ever spoken to the president outside of listening in on phone calls. certainly vindman has never spoken to the president. but they heard the phone call and they provided first-hand evidence as to what they heard and how they assessed it. both of them had set off immediate alarm bells, so much so that colonel vindman went immediately to the chief lawyer of the national security council to report this. i think it was also somewhat telling -- certainly not evidence of an impeachable crime -- that he saw it as a demand. this was a person in the superior position, the president of the united states, asking "for a fever" from somebody in the lesser position, the president of zelensky, and that he said from his military experience -- and he believed in this case it wasn't a request or a favor. that that was a demand. the other thing that i think obviously was telling today is that two of the republicans made a real effort to find out who
vindman talked to after the phone call. he said he talked to somebody in the intelligence community, both devon nunes and jim jordan wanted to find out who that was. as soon as either of them broach that subject immediately adam schiff came in interrupted, gaveled him down and said, "we are not going to do anything to out the whistleblower." no certainty the person he told as a whistleblower. vindman said, "i don't know the whistleblower is." schiff says, "i don't know who o the whistleblower is." but he's concerned that the person he told is perhaps the whistleblower, and he is clearly determined not to do that in the course of these hearings. >> martha: just wanted to get back to new york and get to our panel here. one of the things that continues to be very intriguing is this meeting that john bolton cut short. one of the representatives from ukraine came to d.c. on
july 10th for a meeting. he was there with fiona hill during that meeting gordon sondland, who we will hear frome e.u. ambassador, brings up once again this issue of pushing for these investigations into joe biden and his son, hunter biden. at this point, john bolton, according to the testimony we heard from his own voice today, from colonel vindman, said "that's it, we are done." he ends the meeting, he said there were more points on me intended to be taken care of. he said after that they had pictures taken but then they went into another room and it was sort of continued controversy over what happened that meeting, how upset john bolton was about the line of questioning that was brought in by gordon sondland. john bolton continues to be someone so central to this in terms of the weights that could be there in his opinion on how he understood the president in terms of his intentions, and mick mulvaney also falls into that category. of course, we have not -- and will not, at least at this point -- hear from either one of them.
let's bring in dana perino, who is joining us now, as well. dana, your take on what we watch this morning? >> i think a couple of things. one thing i noticed is that once again you have these two witnesses both confirmed in questioning from questioning from elise stefanik, the republican from upstate new york, she asked about whether, in their experience, they might have had a concern about an appearance of a conflict of interest because of hunter biden's involvement with burisma. both of them said yes, that the concern about an appearance of a conflict of interest was there. of course, this is lieutenant colonel vindman and his brother leaving the capital. i'm sure they are very glad to be leaving and getting into taxis to go somewhere else. another thing is i think that -- i would maybe defer to andy and ken starr on this, but it seems to me that we go back to this phone call. it's almost like eyewitness
testimony, where a lot of people can see an event and have different interpretations of it. enough somebody like vindman who says, "wow, i'm so alarmed, i'm going to report this." and some did like jennifer williams who says, "that's odd, that might be inappropriate," but doesn't tell anybody about it. that is then what we go over and over in these hearings, is that interpretation -- i think the third thing i would say is that when you are a white house staff, or a federal government staffer, as i remember when getting commission to be that staffer, the chief of staff set us down. he said, "remember, you don't work with the president of the united states or the republican party. you work for the united states of america. therefore, it is incumbent upon you that if you ever feel comfortable, if you see something you feel is an appropriate, you are to raise it. you can raise it to your direct report, you can come to me. if you don't think you can come to me, you can go to the lawyers, the president, whatever you think you need to do." i just think about that point
you made, martha. it's a good one. about bolton cutting that meeting short. i wasn't there, so i don't exactly know, but i wonder if bolton -- kept telling people, "watch yourself, be careful." remember fiona hill, "follow them and see what they're talking about." he's not necessarily thinking there will be huge problem right then. sometimes you think about the future and that if you don't report something you saw you can find yourself in a hearing like this regardless. sometimes people go beyond what they need to do, perhaps, in a moment of trying to exercise caution. >> bret: let's bring in our legal eagles if you can. judge ken starr and andy mccarthy. judge starr, first to you. daniel goldman asked whether u.s. policy, whether the president was falling u.s. policy. basically, colonel vindman said that he put this in talking points. he had never met the president. he has never briefed the president one-on-one.
but his talking points for this call -- he says, "the president can use to use the talking poins or not. he's the president." >> exactly right. under the constitution, the president is commander in chief. the president guides and shapes foreign policy. the lieutenant colonel is a staff person. god bless him for serving our country in uniform, and all the things that have been said about him in terms of his courage and the fact that he is an immigrant. this is a great american story. at the same time, the republicans are pretty firm with him in essentially saying there have been questions about his judgment. not about loyalty, not about patriotism, but about judgment. i think what we saw today was a lieutenant colonel who is by the book. and the president was not going by the book. not simply the talking points, but simply injecting, which the
lieutenant colonel thought was odd. he thought it was a demand, which is a matter of interpretation. injecting domestic political considerations that did relate to corruption in ukraine. that is one of the contextual points that i think we tend to overlook. i also wanted to say that in about an hour ago a very helpful to the president's conversation in terms of the hold, the impetus on the hold and releasing the security assistant funds, was there any illegality? is a judgment call, if the conduct of foreign relations. and the lieutenant colonel said, "we looked at that." or, the lawyer said. and determined -- i think mr. quigley was a little surprised at the answer, because he came back. with the lieutenant colonel made absolutely clear is that it was legal to do what omb and presumably the
president directed in terms of this hold. what was missing today is any conversation about the geopolitical situation, the president's concerns about whether the europeans are conducting themselves in the right way. the july 25th transcript mentions angela merkel specifically. president zelensky agrees with that. so there is this broader context that i think largely got ignored today. final point, i think the republican members are doing a fabulous job and asking questions in a very effective way. buteo let's bring it back andy mccarthy. andy >> i think ken hits the nail that distant wishing inappropriate for impeachable. inappropriate as we heard again and again today. now that we've been through this for a number of days, i feel like we are spending hours trying to inflate something that, if i can go back to the parlance of my upbringing, is a
venal sand and trying to turn into a mortal sin or cardinal sin. we started out with adam schiff at the beginning of the proceedings. i think this is worth remembering. he characterized the conversation between the presidents, trump and zelensky, as the following. "i have a favor i want from you, though, and i'm going to say this only seven times, so you better listen good. i want you to make up dirt on my political opponent. understand?" that is very telling parody, because what it suggests on the part of schiff is if we had something actually like fat, where president trump have been asking not just to have an of something that warranted investigating, but where he was asked getting him to make up political dirt on an appointment. to manufacture out of whole cloth. that would be something
tremendously serious. except we don't have anything like that. to bookend it, here is how chairman schiff ended today. he talked about this transaction yet again, this discussion, and responding to the point that nothing actually happen here. in the sense that the ukrainians got the raid , they didn't have to promise to investigate biden. chairman schiff said, "this is no less odious because it was discovered and stops." that's preposterous. of course is less odious because it was discovered and stopped. even if you accept -- which i'm not necessarily sure this is true -- if they have pushed for investigation of the bidens, something that probably ought to be investigated, something that is utterly inappropriate, we don't even have that. the democrats continuing from
the beginning to this very point, groping for a theory of why something that is along the lines of a traffic violation is an impeachable offense. >> martha: juan williams is here with us, as well. juan, where you take away from this? >> i came into it having heard attacks on lieutenant colonel vindman. of course, the dual loyalty aspersion. i thought, "let's see how that plays out." i think it played out to his benefit. i think he let these hearings today smiling and having repeated that now powerful paragraph about how it is right in america. to do right, to speak honestly. that his father, the immigrant, could be very proud of him. secondly, the idea that he and jennifer williams, the vice president's aid, were never trumpers. again, i think both of them, as they left this afternoon in
search of taxicabs, were unscathed on that point. they both said that they were, in fact, nonpartisan. and that they were there to serve the country. there was no evidence introduced that would suggest these are people that were out to somehow diminish or, you know, smear the president of the united states. in fact, they back dolomite both said that the policy prerogative belongs to the president exclusively. but it's up to the president to make the final call. in addition to that, i think the republicans made a big effort to say -- you saw this at the very beginning, in terms of the minority leader's statement -- to go after the press in a suggestion, "did other stomach either view lead to the press?" both indicated they did not. these are not people leaking to the press, they are not people who are never trumpers. these are not people of dual loyalties were stream loyalties. they are not out to smear.
i think that was the heart and soul of what the republicans sought to do here grade for the democrats, i think they obviously want to play up the uniform. the idea that you had someone of military service, someone of great gratitude to united states, sitting there. and not sitting there, again, based on partisanship, but on a sense -- and this is what vindman repeated several times -- a sense of duty. >> martha: is interesting to remember, he talked so passionately about it and was questioned about what happened in the square in ukraine, and the 106 people who were killed. it's just interesting to go back to the actions and not words part of the story. this president to give li flee to ukraine, which is something everything recent testify so far very much wanted. so the administration's actions have certainly been along the policy that these people wanted to see carried out. john roberts, let me go to you for the moments before the top of the hour. colonel vindman, it appears, was
a vehicle. perhaps, at least based on what we are today, forgetting where it outside the circle that force the release of president conversation. >> he spoke of to people outside of the warehouse about the call, in between the time he went to the nsc general counsel eisenberg and the time that eisenberg came back to him and said, "don't tell anybody else about this." he went to george kent at the state department, who was first witnessing these impeachment increase. proceedings. the public ones, at least, last wednesday. and he talked to some deals in the intelligence community. we saw, as devin nunes tried to drill down on who that person was, adam schiff stopped all of that and said, "we are not going to do anything that could potentially unmask the whistleblower," which got a lot of people in the administration because they were texting me wondering, was he the conduit through which the information got the whistleblower? not necessarily the person you talk directly to the whistleblower, but did he talk to somebody who then we talk to whistleblower?
and got through an even longer chain than that. but the white house's perspective on all of this today is that this has been a debate the white house believes over minutia. nobody has talked about what the president did here, and vindman confirmed the couple of things of the white house believes were correct, that the aide was withheld to ensure consistency with u.s. policy, and the transcript of that telephone call that the white house believed back in september was essentially accurate. the big question in all of this, though, is it doesn't matter what the white house thinks. it doesn't matter what republicans think. it is all, "do the democrats believe they have enough information here to develop articles of impeachment, if and when this goes to the judiciary committee?" and will they be the votes among democrats in the house to vote on those articles of impeachment and send the whole matter over to the senate? that's a big wild card here
another big wild card too, martha, is gordon sondland's testimony tomorrow. even the white house concerned about what he might say. >> martha: john, thank you very much. we have more testimony from tim morrison and mr. volker, kurt volker, should be very interesting, as well. this afternoon, as we get ready to turn over the main chair here to >> dana: it is a fascinating day, and that's why you were all going to stay right here. will continue to cover this. we have some more commentary, but we also have word from president trump. he just book a moment ago when we are going to listen to that now. >> pelosi can't get it off her desk. the unions wanted, the farmers want to come of the manufacturers want it. the woman is grossly incompetent and we are having a problem because mexico had canada are calling us saying what is going on? she doesn't need democrats because they're going to vote for it. all she