Skip to main content

tv   CBS This Morning  CBS  November 19, 2019 7:00am-9:01am PST

7:00 am
that you find it striking that zelensky would bring up burisma, that it indicated to you that he had been prepped for the call to expect this issue to come up. what led you to that conclusion? >> it seemed unlikely that he would be familiar with a in the context of a call that was on the broader bilateral relationship. and it seemed to me that he was either tracking this issue because it was in the press, or he was otherwise prepped. >> mr. goldman? >> thank you, mr. chairman. good morning, to both of you. on july 25 at approximately 9:00 a.m. awe were both sitting in the situation room. probably not too much further away than you are right now. you were preparing for a long-awaited phone call between president trump and president
7:01 am
zelensky. colonel vindman in advance of this phone call did you prepare talking points as did you for the april 21st call? >> yes, i did. >> what were those talking points based upon. >> this is not in the public record and i can't comment too deeply. in areas that we talked about in public was cooperation on supporting reform agenda. anti-corruption efforts and helping president zelensky implement his plans to end russia's war against ukraine. >> in other words they're based on official u.s. policy? >> correct. >> and is there a process to determine official u.s. policy? >> yes. that is my job is to coordinate u.s. policy so throughout the preceding year that i had been on staff, i had undertaken an
7:02 am
effort to make sure we had a cohesive, coherent and just policy. >> as you listened to the call, did you observe whether president trump was following the talking points based on the official u.s. policy? >> counsel, the president could choose to use the talking points or not. he's the president. but they were not consistent with what i provided, yes. >> let's take a look at a couple of excerpts from this call. and right after president zelensky thanked president trump for the united states support in the area of defense, president trump asks president zelensky for a favor. and then raises this theory of ukrainian interference in the 2016 election. he says in the highlighted portion, i would like to you do us a favor, though, because our country has been through a lot, and ukraine knows a lot about it.
7:03 am
i would like you to find out what happened with this whole situation with ukraine. they say crowd strike. i guess you have one of your wealthy people. the server, they say ukraine has it. now, colonel vindman was this statement based on the official talking points that you had prepared? >> no. and was this statement related to the 2016 ukraine interference in the 2016 election part of the official u.s. policy? >> no, it was not. now at the time of this july 25th call, colonel vindman were you aware of a theory that ukraine had interfered in the 2016 u.s. election? >> i was. >> are you aware of any credible evidence to support this theory? >> i am not. >> are you also aware that vladimir putin had promoted this
7:04 am
theory of ukrainian interference in the 2016 election? >> i am well aware of that fact? >> and ultimately, which country did u.s. intelligence services determine to have interfered in the 2016 election? >> it is the consensus of the entire intelligence community that the russians interfered in the u.s. elections in 2016. >> let's go to another excerpt from this call where president trump asked president zelensky to investigate his political opponent, vice president joe biden. here president trump says the other thing, there's a lot of talk about biden's son, that biden stopped the prosecution. and a lot of people want to find out about that. so whatever can you do w the attorney general would be great. biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution. >> it sounds horrible to me, he said. again, colonel vindman was this included in your talking points?
7:05 am
>> it was not. >> such a request to investigate a political opponent consistent with official u.s. policy? >> it was not consistent with the policies as i understood it. >> are you aware of any credible allegations or evidence to support this notion that vice president biden did something wrong or against u.s. policy with regard to ukraine? >> i am not. >> ms. williams, are you familiar with any credible evidence to support this theory of against vice president biden? >> no. i'm not. >> now ms. williams, prior to the july 25th call, approximately how many calls between president, president of the united states and foreign leaders had you listened to? >> i would say roughly a dozen. >> had you ever heard a call like this? >> as i testified before, i believe what i found unusual or different about this call was the president's reference to
7:06 am
specific investigations. and that struck me as different than other calls i had listened to. >> you testified you thought it was political in nature. why did you think that? >> i thought the references to specific individuals and investigations such as former vice president biden and his son struck me as political in nature. given that the former vice president is a political opponent of the president. >> and so you thought that it could potentially be designed to assist president trump's re-election effort? >> i can't speak to what the president's motivation was in referencing it. but i just noted that the reference to biden sounded political to me. >> colonel vindman, you said in your deposition, that it doesn't take a rocket scientist so see the political benefits of the president's demands. for those of us who are not rocket scientists, can you explain what you meant by that?
7:07 am
>> my understanding is that it was, the connection to vekting a political opponent was inappropriate and improper. i made that connection as soon as the president brought up the biden investigation. >> colonel vindman, testified that president trump's request for a favor from president zelensky would be considered as a demand. to president zelensky. after this call, did you ever hear from any ukrainians either in the united states or ukraine, about any pressure that they felt to do these investigations that president trump demanded? >> not that i can recall. >> did you have any discussions with officials at the embassy here, the ukrainian embassy here in washington, d.c.? >> yes. i did.
7:08 am
>> did you discuss at all the demand for investigations with them? >> i did not. >> did you discuss at all at any point their concerns about the hold on security assistance? >> to the best of my recollection, in the august timeframe, the ukrainian embassy started to become aware of the hold on security assistance and they were asking if i had any comment on that or if i could substantiate that. >> that was before it became public, is that right? >> yes. >> what did you respond? >> i believe i said that i don't recall, frankly. i don't recall what i said. i believe it may have been something along the lines of, i'm not aware of it. >> you testified that one of your concerns about the request
7:09 am
for investigations related to u.s. domestic politics with a that ukraine may lose bipartisan support. why was that a concern of you'res? >> ukraine is in a war with russia. and the the security assistance that we provide ukraine is significant. absent that security assistance and maybe even more importantly, the signal of support for ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity, that would likely encourage russia to pursue potentially escalate, to pursue further aggression. fund undermining ukrainian sovereignty, european security and u.s. security. >> so in other words, ukraine is heavily dependant on united states support. both diplomatically financially and also militarily? >> correct. >> colonel vindman, what language does you speak?
7:10 am
>> i speak russian and ukrainian, and a little bit of english. >> do you know what, do you recall what language president zelensky spoke on this july 25 phone call? >> i know he made a valiant effort to speak english. he had practicing up his english. but he also spoke ukrainian. >> i want to look at the third excerpt of the july 25th call. and chairman schiff addressed this with you in his questioning. you see in the highlighted portion, it says specifically to the company that you mentioned, in this issue, is that the portion of the call record that colonel vindman, you thought president zelensky actually said burisma? >> correct. >> and you testified earlier that his use understanding that
7:11 am
when president trump mentioned the bidens, that that referred to the company burisma, sounded to you like he was prepped or prepared tore this call, is that right? >> that's correct. >> i want to go to the next slide if we could. which is actually a text message that neither of you is on. but this is from ambassador kurt volker to andre yermac. and who is andre yermak in. >> a senior adviser within the ukrainian presidential zlings, a senior adviser to president zelensky. >> this text message is less than a half hour before the call on july 25th. it says from ambassador volker, good lunch, thanks. heard from white house. assuming president z convinces trump he will investigate quote get to the bottom of what
7:12 am
happened unquote in 2016, we will nail down date for visit to washington. good luck. see you tomorrow. kurt. >> is this the sort of thing that you're referring to when you say it sounded like president zelensky was prepared for this call? >> this would be consistent, yes. >> now turning -- to the fourth excerpt from the july 25th call, where ukraine's president zelensky links the white house meeting to the investigations that president trump requests. president zelensky says i also wanted to thank you for your invitation to visit the united states. specifically washington, d.c. on the other hand, i also wanted to insure you that we will be very serious about the case and will work on the investigation. colonel vindman, when president zelensky says "on the other hand" would you agree he's acknowledging a lingage between
7:13 am
the white house visit he mentions in the first sentence and the investigations he mentions in the second sentence? >> it could be taken that way. i'm not sure if i -- it seems like a reasonable conclusion. >> and if that is the case, that would be consistent with the text message that vabs volker send to andre yermak right before the call, is that right? >> seemingly so. >> now you've testified in your deposition that a white house visit, an oval office visit is very important to president zelensky. why is that? >> the show of support for president zelensky, still a brand new president, a new politician on the ukrainian political scene, looking to
7:14 am
establish his bona fides as a regional or maybe even a world leader, would want to have a meeting with the united states, the most powerful country in the world and ukraine's most significant been factor. in order to be able to implement his agenda. >> they would provide him with some additional legitimacy at home? >> yes. >> just to summarize in this july 25 call between the presidents of the united states and ukraine, president trump demanded a favor of president zelensky. to conduct investigations that both of you acknowledge were for president trump's political interest, not the national interest. and in return for his promise of a much desired white house meeting for president zelensky. colonel vindman, is that an accurate summary of the excerpts we just looked at? >> yes. >> ms. williams? >> yes. >> colonel vindman, you
7:15 am
immediately reported this call to the nsc lawyers. why did you do that? >> at this point i had already been tracking this initially what i would describe as alternative narrative, false narrative. and i was certainly aware of the fact that it was starting to reverberate, gain traction. the fact that it, in the july 10 call, ended up being pronounced by a public official, ambassador sondland, had me alerted to this. and i was subsequent to that report, i was invited to follow up with any other concerns to mr. isenberg. >> and we're going to discuss that july 10 meeting in a moment. when you say alternative false narratives, are you referring to the two investigations that president trump referenced in the call? >> yes.
7:16 am
>> now at some point did you also discuss how the written summary of the call records should be handled with the nsc lawyers? >> following the report, there was a discussion in the legal shop on the best way to manage the transcript, yes. >> what did you understand they concluded? >> my understanding is that this was viewed as a sensitive transcript. and to avoid leaks, if i recall the term properly or something along the lines of preserve the integrity of the transcript. it should be segregated to a smaller group of folks. >> preserve the integrity of the transcript? what did that mean? >> it seems like a legal term. i'm not an attorney. i didn't take it as anything nefarious. i understood that they wanted to keep it in a smaller group. >> if there was real in preserving the integrity of the
7:17 am
transcript, don't you think they would have accepted your contribution that burisma should have been included? >> not necessarily. the way these edits occur, they, they go through like everything else, an approval process. i made my contribution, it was cleared by mr. morrison. then when i returned it, you know, sometimes that doesn't happen. there are administrative errors. i think in this case i didn't see, when i first saw the transcript without the two substantive items i had attempted to include, i didn't see it as nefarious, i just saw it as these might be meaningful, but it's not a big deal. >> you said two substantive issues. what was the other one? >> there was a reference in a section -- on page 4, the top
7:18 am
paragraph. let me find the right spot. okay. yes, you could look into it, elipse, there are videos. recordings. >> instead of an elipses, it should have said to what you heard, that there are record sngs. >> correct. >> did you ultimately learn where the call record was put? >> i understood it was being segregated into a separate system. separate secure system. >> why would it be put on a separate secure system? >> this is definitely not unprecedented. but at times you, if you want to limit access to a smaller group of folks you put it on the secure system. to insure that a smaller group of people with access to the secure system have it. >> can't you also limit the number of people who can access it on the regular system?
7:19 am
>> you can do that. but to the best of my recollection the decision was made frankly on the fly. after my, after the fact i could, after i conveyed my concerns to mr. isenberg. mr. ellis came in. he hadn't heard the entire conversation and when it was mentioned that it was sensitive, it was an on-the-fly decision to segregate it in this other system. >> mr. isenberg and mr. ellis are the nsc lawyers? >> correct. >> it was your understanding it was not a mistake to put it on the highly classified system, is that right? >> i'm not sure i understand. >> was it intended to be put on the highly classified system by the lawyers? or was it a mistake that it was put there? >> i think it was intended. but it was intended to prevent leaks and to limit access. >> you testified, both of you, about the april 21 call a little earlier. and colonel vindman, you indicated that you did include
7:20 am
in your talking points, the idea of ukraine rooting out corruption. but that president trump did not mention corruption. i want to go to the white house read-out from the april 21st call. and at the, i'm not going to read the whole thing. you see the highlighted portion where it says "root out corruption"? >> yes. >> in the end this readout was false, is that right? >> maybe that's a bit of a -- it's not entirely accurate. but i'm not sure if i would describe it as false. it was consistent with u.s. policy and these items are used as messaging tools. a statement that goes out, in addition to reading out the meeting itself. is also a messaging platform to indicate what is important with regards to u.s. policy. >> it is a part of u.s. official
7:21 am
policy that ukraine should root out corruption even if president trump did not mention it in that april 21 phone call, is that right? >> certainly. >> he also did not mention it in the july 25 phone call, is that right? >> correct. >> so even though it was included in his talking points for the april 21 call and presumably you can't talk about it for the july 21 call. it was not included in either, is that right? >> for the april 21 call -- >> he didn't mention it in either, rather? >> correct. >> when the president says now that he held up security assistance because he was concerned about rooting out corruption in ukraine, that concern was not expressed in the two phone conversations that he had with president zelensky earlier this year, is that right? >> correct. >> now ms. williams, you testified that earlier, that
7:22 am
after this april 21 call, president trump asked vice president pence to attend president zelensky's inauguration, is that right? >> that's correct. >> and that on may 13, you were just informed by the chief of staff's office that vice president pence should not, will not be going, per request of the president, is that right? >> that's what i was informed, yes. >> and you didn't know what had changed from april 21 to may 13, is that right? >> no, not in terms of that decision. >> well colonel vindman, since you in particular are a little bit more perhaps than ms. williams who has a broader portfolio, focuses on ukraine. i want to ask you if you're aware of the following things that happened from april 21 to may 13. were you aware that ambassador yovanovitch was abruptly recalled from ukraine in that time? >> yes. >> were you aware that president
7:23 am
trump -- >> i'm sorry to correct it. she was recalled prior, let me see -- she, the notification occurred towards the end of april and she was finally recalled in the may timeframe, may 25 if i recall correctly. >> she learned about it after april 21, on april 24, is that right? >> correct. >> were you aware that president trump had a telephone call with president putin during this time period in early may. >> i was. >> and were you aware that rudy giuliani had planned a trip to go to ukraine to pressure the ukrainians to initiate the two investigations that president trump mentioned on the july 25th call, in this time period? >> i was aware that he was traveling there and that he was, he had been promoting the idea of these investigations. >> i want to move now to that july 10 meeting that you referenced colonel vindman. what exactly did ambassador
7:24 am
sondland say when the ukrainian officials raised the idea of a white house meeting? >> as i recall he referred to specific investigations. that ukrainians would have to deliver in order to get these meetings. >> and what happened -- >> what happened to the broader meeting after he made that reference? >> ambassador bolton very abruptly ended the meeting. >> did you, did you have any conversations with ambassador bolten about this meeting? >> no, i did not. >> did you follow ambassador sondland and others to the war room for a meeting follow-up? >> there was a photo opportunity that we leveraged in order to demonstrate u.s. support. so the white house visit demonstrating u.s. support for ukraine. and the new national security
7:25 am
adviser, who is a technocrat and after that we went down to a short post-meeting huddle or debrief. >> were the investigations, the specific investigations that ambassador sondland referenced in the larger meeting also discussed in the ward room meeting? >> they were. >> what did ambassador sondland say in. >> ambassador sondland referred to investigations into the bidens, burisma in 2016. >> how did you respond if at all? >> i said that these requests to, to conduct these meetings was inappropriate. these investigations was inappropriate and had nothing to do with national security policy. >> was ambassador volker in this meeting as well? >> i don't recall specifically. i believe he was there for at least a portion of the time. i don't recall if he was there for the whole meeting. >> was this statement made in front of the ukrainian officials?
7:26 am
>> i believe there was some discussion prior to the fact, to the ukrainians leaving when it was apparent there was some discord between the senior folks, ambassador sondland and other white house staff. myself. they were asked to step out. so i don't recall if they were there for the entire discussion. >> the senior white house staff, does that include fiona hill, your immediate supervisor at the time? >> correct. >> you said you also reported this incident to the nsc lawyers, is that right? >> correct. >> and what was their response? >> john isenberg said that he, he took, he took notes while i was talking and he said that he would look into it. >> why did you report this meeting and this conversation to the nsc lawyers? >> because it was inappropriate. and following the meeting i had a short conversation following
7:27 am
the post-meeting, meeting, in the ward room i had a short conversation with dr. hill and we discussed the idea of needing to report this. >> so am i correct, colonel vindman, that at least no later that that july 10 meeting, the ukrainians had understood or at least heard that the oval office meeting that they so desperately wanted, was conditioned on these specific investigations into burisma and the 2016 election? >> that was the first time i was aware of the ukrainians being approached directly by a government official. >> and directly linking the white house meeting to the investigations? >> correct. >> ms. williams, you testified that in your opening statement that you attended the september 1 meeting between vice president
7:28 am
pennsylvania and president zelensky in warsaw, is that right? >> that's correct. >> what was the first thing that president zelensky asked vice president pence about at that meeting? >> president zelensky asked the vice president about this status of security assistance for ukraine. because he had seen the politico article and other news reporting that the security assistance was being held. >> and you testified in your deposition that in that conversation, president zelensky emphasized that the military assistance, the security assistance was not just important to assist ukraine in fighting a war against russia, but that it was also symbolic in nature. what did you, what did you understand him to mean by that? >> president zelensky explained that more than or just equally with the financial and physical value of the assistance, that it was the symbolic nature of that
7:29 am
assistance, that really was the show of u.s. support for ukraine. and for ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity. and i think he was, he was stressing that to the vice president, to really underscore the need for the security assistance to be released. >> and that if the united states was holding the security assistance, is it also true then that russia could see that as a sign of weakening u.s. support for ukraine and take advantage of that? >> i believe that's what the president zelensky was indicating. that any signal or sign that u.s. support was wavering would be construed by russia as potentially an opportunity for them to strengthen their own hand in ukraine. >> did vice president pence provide a reason for the hold on security assistance to the ukrainian president in that meetin meeting? >> the vice president did not specifically discuss the reason behind the hold. but he did reassure president
7:30 am
zelensky of the strongest u.s. unwavering support for ukraine. and they talked about the need for european countries to step up and provide more assistance to ukraine as well. >> did vice president pence report back to president trump on that meeting, to your knowledge? >> the vice president conveyed to president zelensky that he would follow up with president trump that evening. and convey to president trump what he had heard from president zelensky with regard to his efforts to implement reforms in ukraine. i'm aware that the vice president spoke to president trump that evening. but i was not privy to the conversation. >> are you also aware, however, that the security assistance hold was not lifted for another ten days after this meeting? >> that's correct. >> and am i correct that you didn't learn the reason why the hold was lifted? >> that's correct. >> colonel vindman, you didn't
7:31 am
learn a reason why the hold was lifted, either, is that right? >> correct. >> colonel vindman, are you aware that the committee has launched an investigation into ukraine matters on september 9, two days before the hold was lifted? >> i am aware and i was aware of. >> and on september 10, the intelligence committee requested the whistleblower complaint from the department of national intelligence? are you aware of that? >> i don't believe i was aware of that. >> were you aware that the white house was aware of this whistleblower complaint prior to that date? >> the first i heard of the whistleblower complaint is i believe when the news broke. i was only aware of the committees investigating the hold on security assistance. >> so is it accurate to say colonel vindman, that whatever reason that was provided for the hold, including the administrative policies.
7:32 am
which would, well which would support the hold, would support the security assistance, is that right, to your understanding? >> i'm sorry. i didn't understand that. >> i was asking, the administrative policies of president trump supported the security assistance, is that your understanding? the interagency policy was to support security assistance for ukraine. >> thank you, i yield back. >> now recognize ranking member nunes for 45 minutes. >> thank you, ms. williams, welcome. i want to just establish a few basic facts about your knowledge, ukraine, burisma and the role of the bidens. you spend an extraordinary amount of your time on ukraine, correct? >> ukraine is one of the countries in my portfolio. i was not say an extraordinary amount of time, but certainly
7:33 am
the vice president has engaged in on ukraine policy quite a bit in my eight months. >> and it's in your portfolio? >> that's correct. >> first off, were you aware in september of 2015, then u.s. ambassador to ukraine, jeffrey pyatt publicly called for an investigation into the president of burisma, were you aware of these public statements? >> no, not at the time. >> you are today, though? >> i have heard them. >> did you know by anti-trump efforts by various ukrainian officials, as well as alexander chalupa, a dnc assistant? >> i was not aware. >> did you know about secretary of state ace sisant kent's concern in. >> i did not work on ukraine policy during that timeframe. >> in the last year or so? >> i've become aware of it
7:34 am
through mr. kent's testimony. in this process. >> did you know that financial records show a ukrainian natural gas krngs burisma, routed more than $3 million to american accounts tied to hunter biden? >> i was not aware. >> until -- >> until -- >> you prepared for this hearing? >> until others have been testifying in more detail on those issues, that's correct. >> and you've been following it more closely. >> correct. >> did you know that burisma's american legal representatives met with ukrainian officials days after vice president biden forced the hiring of the country's chief prosecutor? >> again, sir, i was not working on ukraine policy during that time. >> none of these are trick questions. >> i understand. >> did you know that burisma lawyers pressured the state department in february 2016 after the raid and month before the firing of shoeken, they invoked hunter biden's name as a reason to intervene?
7:35 am
>> i was not aware. >> did you know that joe biden called ukrainian president poroshenko three times in february 2016 after the president and owner of burisma's home was raided on february 2 by the state prosecutor's office? >> not at the time, again i've become aware of that through this proceeding. >> thank you. lieutenant colonel vindman i'm going to ask you the same questions. just to establish basic facts about your knowledge about ukraine, burisma and the role of the bidens. >> in september 2015 called for an investigation into the president of burisma, were you aware of these public statements? >> i wasn't aware of them at the time. >> when did you become aware of them. >> during the course of the testimony and the depositions after this impeachment inquiry began. >> did you know of anti-trump efforts by various ukrainian
7:36 am
government officials, as well as alexander chalupa, a dnc consultant? >> i'm not aware of anebraska o these interference efforts. >> did you know about deputy assistant kent's concerns about the hunter biden sitting on the board of burisma? >> it pertains to his deposition. >> did you know that financial records show a ukrainian natural gas company, burisma routed more than $3 million to the american accounts tied to hunter biden? >> i'm not aware of this fact. >> until recently? >> i didn't independently look into it. i'm not aware of what kind of payments mr. biden may have received. this is not something i'm aware of. >> did you know that burisma's american legal representatives met with ukrainian officials days after vice president biden
7:37 am
forced the firing of these prosecutors? >> i'm not aware of these meetings. >> did you know that after the raid and a month before the firing of shokin, they invoked hunter biden's name as a reason to intervene? >> i'm not a ware of any of these facts. >> doe no joe biden called ukrainian president poroshenko three times in february 2016 after the president and owner of burisma's home was raided on february 2 by the state prosecutor's office? >> i'm aware 69 fact that president, 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, this committee has spent three years on investigations starting with the russia collusion hoax, fisa abuse, democratic her tearia
7:38 am
over lack of collusion in the mueller report and now this impeachment charade. one of the most concerning things regarding these investigations is the amount of classified or sensitive information i read in the press that derived from this committee or sources in the administration, to be clear i'm not accusing either one of you of leaking information, however given that you are the first witnesses who have firsthand knowledge of the president's call by listening in on july 25, it's imperative to the american public's understanding of the events, that we get a quick few matters out of the way first. >> ms. williams to you first. for the purposes of the following questions, i'm only asking about the time period between, from july 25 to september 25th. >> okay. >> did you discuss the july 25
7:39 am
phone call between president trump and president zelensky 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," the "washington post," politico, cnn, or any other media outlet? >> no, i did not. >> did you ask or encourage any individual to share the substance of the july 25 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 25 phone call or matter associated with the call with any member of the press? >> no, i do not. >> lieutenant colonel vindman, same questions for you. did you discuss the july 25th phone call between president trump and president zelensky or any matter associated with the phone call with any member of the press? >> i did not. >> just to be clear, you did not discuss this with "the new york
7:40 am
times," the "washington post," politico, cnn or any other media outlet? >> i did not. >> did you ask or encourage any individual to share the substance of the july 25 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 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 25 phone call or any matter associated with the call, with any member of the press? >> we have an nsc press shop whose job it is to engage on any of these types of questions. i am not aware, but it is possible and likely that the press shop would have had, would field these types of questions.
7:41 am
>> the question is do you know any individual, do you personally know any have had who discussed the substance of the july 25 phone call or any matter associated with the call, any individual who discussed with any member of the press. >> i do not. >> ms. williams, did you discuss july 25 phone call with anyone outside the white house on july 25, or july 26? and with so, whom? >> i did not discuss the call with anyone inside or outside the white house. >> ms. 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. just to clarify, i'm in the office of the vice president, so not on the nsc. no, i have not. >> thank you for that clarification. >> lieutenant colonel vindman did you discuss the july 25
7:42 am
phone call with anyone outside the white house on july 25 or the 26th? and if so, with whom. >> yes, i did, my core function is to coordinate u.s. government policy, interagency policy and i spoke to two individuals with regards to providing a, some sort of read-out of the call. >> two individuals that were not in the white house? >> not in the white house, cleared u.s. government officials, with appropriate need to know. >> 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 an individual from the office of, individual in the intelligence community. >> as you know the intelligence community has 17 different agencies. what agency was this individual
7:43 am
from? >> if i could interject here, we don't want to use these proceedings -- >> it's our time. >> but we need to protect the whistleblower. >> please stop. i want to make sure that there's no effort to out the whistleblower through the use of these proceedings. if the witness has a good-faith belief that this may reveal the identity of the whistleblower, that is not the purpose that we're here for and i want to advise the witness accordingly. >> mr. vindman you testified at your deposition, that you did not know the whistleblower? >> ranking member, lieutenant colonel vindman, please. >> lieutenant colonel vindman, you testified in the deposition that you did not know who the whistleblower was. >> i did not know who the whistleblower is, that's correct. >> 0 how is it possible for to you name these people and then
7:44 am
out the whistleblower? >> per the advice of my counsel i've been advised not to answer a specific questions about members of the intelligence community. >> this, are you aware that this is the intelligence committee that's conducting an impeachment hearing? >> you of course i am. >> wouldn't be the appropriate place for you come to to testify would be the intelligence committee about someone within the intelligence community? >> ranking member, per the advice of my counsel and the instructions from the chairman, i've been advised not to provide any specifics on who i have spoken to inside the intelligence community. what i can offer is that these were properly cleared individuals, or it was a properly cleared individual with a need to know. >> well this is -- you can really plead the fifth. but you're here to answer questions and you're here under
7:45 am
subpoena. so you can either answer the question or you can plead the fifth. >> excuse me. on behalf of my client we are following the rule of the committee. rule of the chair. with regard to this issue. and this does not call for an answer that is invoking the fifth or any theoretical issue like that. we're following the ruling of the chair. >> counselor, what ruling is that? >> if i could interject, counsel is correct. the whistleblower has the right, statutory right to anonymity. these proceedings will not be used to out the whistleblower. >> and i've advised my client accordingly and he's going to follow the ruling of the chair. if there's an alternative or you want to work something out with the chair, that's up to you. mr. nunes. >> we've attempted to subpoena the whistleblower to sit for a deposition, the chair has tabled that motion and has been
7:46 am
unwilling to recognize those motions. over the last few days of impeachment inquisition process. with that i'll go to mr. castor. >> thank you ranking member nunes. the call transcript as published on september 25th is complete and accurate, both of you attest to that, ms. williams? >> i didn't take a word for word accounting when i first saw the publicly released version it looked substantially correct to me. >> colonel vindman? >> i would subscribe it as substantively correct. >> i think in your testimony in your deposition you said very accurate? >> correct. >> you flagged a couple of edits, colonel vindman. think you had burisma on page, on major 4. where president zelensky was talking about the company. mentioned in the issue. >> could you say that question again? >> i believe in your testimony
7:47 am
you explained that you offered an edit on page 4 of the transcript that was ultimately published. you thought president zelensky mentioned the word burisma. >> i had it in my notes, i know that's what he said. >> that was on page 4, correct in. >> correct. >> ms. williams i believe after your deposition you went back and checked your notes and you had president zelensky using the term burisma as well, is that correct? >> that's correct. >> but that came up on a different part of the transcript than where colonel vindman was relating to, correct? >> yes, i believe so. >> yours came up on page 5 and it would have been in substitution with the word case? >> that's where i have it in my notes. >> colonel vindman we've had some discussion earlier today and also your deposition about whether the president had a demand for president zelensky. you know i suggested to you in the deposition to the president's words are in fact
7:48 am
ambiguous and he uses some phrases that certainly could be characterized as hedging on page 3. in the first paragraph. he talks about whatever you can do. he talks about that's possible. on page 4. he mentions if you could speak to him. he talked about the attorney gener general, ruj. at the end of the first paragraph on page 4. he said whatever you can 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. >> and i said correct, yes. >> and you said i think people want to hear what they have already preskeeconceived is tha what you testified? >> if i could ask you for a page cite? >> 256. >> 256? thank you. just a minute.
7:49 am
>> we have the page. >> and then you went on to say. you agreed with me. and you said yeah i guess you could interpret it in different ways. is that correct? >> yes. >> turning attention to the preparation of the transcript, that followed the ordinary process, correct? >> i think it 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. so -- >> i'll get to that in a second that relates to the storage of it. you had some concerns, mr. morrison articulated his concerns about if the transcript was leaked out. and i think both you and mr. morrison agreed that it needed to be protected? >> just a correction. i don't think it was mr.
7:50 am
morrison. it was mr. isenberg. right? >> mr. morrison testified at his deposition -- >> we don't have that in front of us. if you can give us that. we'll take a look. >> i can say for myself. i didn't -- there were the 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 judgment on that. >> even on the code word server, you had access to it? >> yes. >> at no point in time during your official duties were you denied access to this information, correct? >> correct. >> ms. williams i want to turn to you for a moment, you testified that you believe that the transcript is complete and accurate other than the one issue you mentioned? >> substantively accurate, yes.
7:51 am
>> 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 a need to have a further conversation with him about it. >> and you never had any concerns with anyone else in the vice president's office? >> i did not discuss the call further with anyone in the vice president's office. >> you didn't flag it for the chief of staff or the vice president's counsel or anyone of that sort? >> again my immediate supervisor, lieutenant general kellogg was in the room with me. >> after the call did you and general kellogg ever discuss the contents of the call? >> we did not. >> in the run-up to the meeting in warsaw, the vice president was meeting with president zelensky september 1. in warsaw. were you involved with the preparation of the vice president's briefing materials? >> i was. >> and did you flag for the vice president this, this parks call that had concerned? >> we did not include the call
7:52 am
transcript in the trip briefing book. we don't normally include previous calls in the trip briefing book. >> if the calls were so significant, how come nobody on the vice president's staff alerted him to the issue that president zelensky might be on edge about something that had been mentioned on the 7-25 call? >> i insured that the 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. >> you were in the meeting with president zelensky and vice president pence? >> i was. >> and burisma did not come up in any of these conversations in. >> no.
7:53 am
>> colonel vindman you testified that the longstanding concerns about corruption in ukraine, correct? >> there are concerns, there are broad concerns about corruption, yes. >> would you agree if the u.s. is giving you know, hundreds of millions of dollars to a foreign nation, that has a corruption problem, that that's certainly something that the u.s. government officials and the president would want to be concerned about? >> yes. >> and if a foreign country, has a problem with oligarchs taking money, taking u.s. taxpayer dollars, that's something that the president ought to be concerned about in advance of dispensing the aid? >> yes. >> and i believe you did testify that corruption is endemic in ukraine? >> correct. >> are you also aware of the president's skepticism of foreign aid generally? >> i am. >> and it's something that he's made part of his priorities to
7:54 am
make sure that u.s. foreign aid is spent wisely? >> that's correct. >> 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? >> yes, i think that would be in the context of military assistance, in terms of burden-sharing, the european union provides over $15 billion. >> okay. >> has provided since 2014. >> you are aware of the president's concern of bushed-sharing, right? >> yes, i am. >> turning our attention to specifically the company burisma. >> zlochevsky, the co-founder of burisma, is one of ukraine's largest natural gas producers, correct? >> that is my understanding, yes. >> and it's been subject to numerous investigations over the
7:55 am
years. >> i couldn't point to specific investigations, but there is a pattern of questionable dealings and questions about corruption. >> zlochevsky had served as minister of ecology during president yanukovych's tenure? >> that is correct. yes. >> and george kent testified a little bit about this last week, under the obama administration, the u.s. government encouraged ukraine to investigate whether zlochevsky 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 font of knowledge on ukraine, much deeper knowledge than i have. and if he had attested to that, i would take his word for it. >> he testified that the the u.s. along with the united
7:56 am
kingdom was prying to recoup money from burisma? >> i i understand he testified to that, yes. >> and mr. kent also testified that the investigation was moving along and then all of a sudden 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 i frankly beyond what he said, i don't know much more. >> fair enough. >> right around the time the bribe was paid, the company sought to bolster their board. are you aware that they tapped some luminaries for their corporate board? >> certainly i learned that at some point, yes. >> including the president of poland, i believe? >> yes. >> and hunter biden? >> yes, i came to learn that as well. >> are you aware of any specific experience hunter biden has in the ukrainian corporate governance world? >> i don't know much about mr.
7:57 am
hunter biden. >> and we talked a little bit about, at your deposition about whether mr. biden was qualified to serve on this board. and you know, i believe you acknowledged that apparently 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. >> ms. 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 it's somewhat complicate because as i understand it the white house doesn't want the president and the vice president to be out of the country at the same time? >> yes, that's correct. >> and during the timeframe, the president was in japan, i believe he was in japan may 24-28. and then he returned to europe for the d-day ceremonies.
7:58 am
june 2-7. and i think you told us there was a window you provided at the four days at the end of may, that if the vice president was going to attend the inauguration, it had to be the 29, 30, 31, or 1? >> our embassy in kiev had been in discussions with the ukrainian, with president zelensky's team. and as we had learned, obviously the ukrainian parliament was not going to come back into session until mid may. so we wouldn't know formally what the date would be. but we understood that the initial thinking was that the they were looking at dates at the end of may. and so honing in on that timeframe. we were aware of president trump's plans to travel on either end. and so that's why we advised the ukrainians that if vice president pence wrb able to participate. the only available days would be may 30, may 31 or june 1. >> before the vice president travels to a foreign nation, and you have to send the secret
7:59 am
service, to do advance work, book hotels, it's relatively involved preparation experience, right? >> that's correct. >> and do you know if the secret service ever deployed, booked hotels or anything of that sort? >> my understanding is that our advanced team was looking into those preparations. including 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 did not deploy? >> i don't believe they did, no. >> and the president zelensky's inauguration was may 20, if i'm not mistaken? >> yes, that's correct. >> and you had about four days' notice? >> in the end the ukrainian parliament decided on may 16 to set the date for may 20, that's correct. >> you would acknowledge that a made it quite difficult for the president and the whole operation to mobilize and get over to ukraine, correct?
8:00 am
>> it would have been. but we had stopped the trip planning by that point. >> when did that happen? >> stopping the trip planning? >> yes. >> may 13. >> how did you hear about that? >> i was called bay colleague, the vice president's chief of staff's office >> as i understand it, it was the assistant to the chief of staff? >> that's correct. >> so you didn't hear about it from general kellogg or the chief of staff -- >> correct. >> or the president or the vice president. >> correct. >> you heard about it from mr. short's assistant? >> that's right. >> did you have any knowledge of the reasoning for stopping the trip? >> i asked my colleague why we should stop trip planning, why the vice president would not be attending. i was informed that the president had decided the vice president would not attend the inauguration. >> but 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 --
8:01 am
>> that's right. >> -- during this window of time, correct? >> correct. >> so it's entirely conceivable that the president decided that he wanted 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 has done quite a bit of usmca event, correct? >> 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 was not involved in the trip planning for canada. one of my colleagues who covers western hemisphere was in charge of that so i'm not aware of specific requests about the vice president's availability. 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 trip would take priority.
8:02 am
>> 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 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. >> 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 july 10th meeting to the best of your recollection? >> are we talking about the ward room or the meeting with ambassador bolton. >> we'll start with the first meeting in the ambassador's office. >> from the u.s. side we had ambassador bolton, dr. hill, i
8:03 am
believe there was another special assistant to the president, wells griffith was in there and myself -- >> for the ukraines. >> for the ukrainian side we could alexander danyliuk and his advisor. >> you testified that you couldn't recall exactly why ambassador bolton stopped the meeting short and you only learned it subsequently talking to dr. fiona 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 ambassador sondland using the word biden? >> he did not to the best of my recollection. i don't think he did. >> and then the group decamped
8:04 am
to take a photo, correct? >> correct. >> so the general feeling of the group was a positive one at that time, 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 completely adjourned to see if he was willing to do a photo and he did. >> so you went out to west executive av or wherever in the white house and took a photo? i think you said you took it? >> i certainly took a couple of them, yes. >> in the photo, secretary perry, ambassador bolton, ambassador volker. >> that's right. >> mr. danyliuk and mr. yarmark. >> volker, sondland and secretary perry was there. >> now, you testified that before the july 10th meeting you had developed concerns about the
8:05 am
narrative involving rudy giuliani. is that correct? >> this is correct. >> and had you heard like a firsthand account from anyone on the inside or had you just been following news accounts? >> so i certainly was following news accounts and that's from the ukrainian side, ukrainian press and u.s. press. >> and then -- >> 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. so there had been ongoing conversations. so several different sources, counsel. >> 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. >> and then you took the photo, a very nice photo and then you went to the ward room? >> correct. >> and do you remember -- i think you conceded to us that you had a hard time remembering
8:06 am
exactly what was said in the ward room. again, it's four months ago, it's hard to be precise about whether sondland -- what specific words he used, whether he use burisma or 2016 investigations. >> in the deposition, the three elements, burisma, bidens and the 2016 elections were all mentioned. >> in the ward room? >> correct. >> and i think -- i think we can maybe go back to this, but 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 that i actually followed up and -- because this question was asked multiple times. i said all three elements were in there. >> when they asked the question it sort of refreshed your recollection? >> yes, i guess that's the term now.
8:07 am
>> there was some discussion of, you know, whether when mr. morrison took over the portfolio for dr. hill, whether you were sidelined at all. did you feel like you were? >> so i certainly was excluded or didn't participate in the trip to ukraine, moldova, belarus, at the end of august. 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. i didn't miss that, no. >> did you express any concerns to mr. morrison about why you weren't included on those trips? >> so mr. morrison -- i was on leave -- i was supposed to be on leave from the 3rd of august through about the 16th or so of august. he called me and asked me to return.
8:08 am
there was obviously high priority travel to the region and needed my assistance to help plan for it. in asking me to return early from leave, which i had taken frequently, i assumed that i'd be going on the trip. so when i was -- after returning from leave early when i was told i wasn't going, i inquired about it, correct. >> and 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. >> 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. morris about it? >> yeah. >> no. >> did mr. morrison ever express concerns to you that he thought maybe you weren't following the chain of command in all instances? >> he did not. >> and did dr. hill or mr.
8:09 am
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 concern that he was leaving you off those calls? >> certainly it was concerning he had just come on board. he didn't have the -- he wasn't steeped in all the items that we were working on, including the policy that we developed over the preceding months. i thought i could contribute to that, to the performance of his duties. >> okay. when you were -- you went to ukraine for the inauguration? >> correct. >> at any point during that trip
8:10 am
did mr. danyliuk offer you the position of defense minister? >> he did. >> how many times did he do that? >> i believe 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 by chain of command and the appropriate counterintelligence folks about the offer. >> ukraine is 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. daniliuk to bestow that honor on you or at least ask you, that was a big honor, correct? >> i think it would be a great honor. frankly i'm aware of service members that have left service to help nurture the developing democracies in that part of the world, certainly in the baltics, former officers and i believe it was an air force officer that became minister of defense. but i'm an american.
8:11 am
i came here when i was a 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 reason that he had to come back and ask a second and third time or was he just trying to convince you? >> counsel, you know what, 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 in the united states army, which really is not that senior, to be offered that illustrious a position. >> when he made this offer to you, was he speaking in english or ukrainian? >> oh, mr. daniliuk is an absolutely flawless english speaker speaking in english. and just to be clear, there were two other staff officers, embassy kiev staff officers that were sitting next to me when
8:12 am
this offer was made. >> and who are they? >> so one of them you may have met, it was mr. david holmes, and the other one was -- i guess i could -- it's another foreign service officer, keith beam. >> okay. we met mr. holmes last friday evening. >> i understand. he's a delightful fellow. >> and you said when you returned to the united states, you papered it up with sci clearance. whenever a foreign government makes an overture like that, you have to -- you paper it up and you tell your chain of command? >> i did. but i also don't know if i fully entertained it as a legitimate offer. i was just making sure that i did the right thing in terms of reporting this. >> okay. and did any of your supervisors, dr. hill at the time or dr. kupperman or ambassador bolton ever follow up with you about that?
8:13 am
it's a rather significant -- you know, the ukrainians offered you the post of defense minister. did you tell anyone in your chain of command about it? >> after i spoke to i believe the deputy -- our deputy senior director, john arith was there. once i mentioned it to both of them, i don't believe there was ever a follow-up discussion. >> so it never came up with dr. kupperman or dr. hill? >> following that conversation i had with dr. hill, i don't believe there was a subsequent conversation. i don't recall ever having a conversation with dr. kupperman about it. >> did you brief dr. -- or sorry, director morrison when he came on board? >> no. i completely forgot about it. >> subsequent to that did mr. daniliuk ever ask you to reconsider? were there any other offers? >> no. >> when he visited for the july 10th meeting with ambassador bolton, did it come up again? >> it never came up again. >> did you ever think that
8:14 am
possibly if this information was -- you know, got out that it might create at least the perception of a conflict, that the ukrainians thought so highly of you to offer the defense ministry post? on the one hand but on the other hand you're responsible for ukrainian policy at the national security council? >> frankly it's more important about what my american leadership, american chain of command thinks than any of the -- this is -- these are honorable people. i'm not sure if hement it as a joke or not, but it's much more important what my civilian white house national security council chain of command thinks more so than anybody else. frankly, if they were concerned about me being able to continue my duties -- >> of course. >> -- they would have brought that to my attention. dr. hill stayed on for several more months and we continued to work to advance u.s. policy.
8:15 am
>> okay. during the times relevant of the committee's investigation, did you have any communications with mr. yermak or daniliuk outside of the july 10th meeting? >> i recall a courtesy note from mr. yermak within days of his return in july in which he wanted to preserve an open channel communication. i said please feel free to contact me with any concerns. >> and were you following this -- there's sort of two tracks, ambassador taylor walked us through it during his testimony last wednesday. he called it a regular channel and an irregular but not outlandish channel with ambassador sondland and ambassador volker. were you tracking the sondland and volker channel during this time period? >> i'm trying to recall at which point i became aware of ambassador -- certainly i was aware of the fact that they were -- they were working
8:16 am
together, sondland -- ambassador sondland, ambassador volker and 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 there may have been a slightly earlier point. i recall a meeting in which ambassador bolton facilitated a meeting between ambassador volker and ambassador bolton in the june time frame. there may have been some discussion about this external channel. >> okay. >> 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. and i think we had some discussion that mr. guiliani 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 and ukraine is going to be different. is that your understanding?
8:17 am
>> that is correct. that is exactly what was being reported by the intelligence community, by the policy channels within the nsc and the concerted voices of various people that have actually met with him, including foreign officials. >> and to the extent that you're aware of what ambassador sondland's goals were here and ambassador volker's goals were here, you think they were just trying to do the best they could and try to advocate in the best interests of the united states? >> that is what i believed and that is what i still believe, frankly. >> so to the extent mr. guiliani may have had differing views, they were trying to help him understand that it was time to change those views? >> i think they were trying to bring him into the tent and have him kind of support the direction that we had settled on. >> and you never conferred with mr. guiliani? >> no. >> you never had any meetings, phone calls or anything of that sort? >> i did not.
8:18 am
>> and did you have -- >> i only know him as new york's finest mayor. >> america's mayor. >> america's mayor. >> and did you have any discussions, communications during this relevant time period with the president? >> i have never had any contact with the president of the united states. >> my time is expired, mr. chairman. thank you. >> i thank the gentleman. we are now going to move to the five-minute member rounds. are you good to go forward or do you need a break? >> i think we'll elect to take a short break. >> okay. let's try to take a five or ten-minute break and we will resume with the five-minute rounds. if i could ask the audience and members to please allow the witnesses to leave the room first. the committee is in recess. and what we're listening to this morning is some extraordinary testimony from two public servants who have testified that they were on that
8:19 am
july 25th call between the president of the united states and the president of ukraine when president trump asked the leader to, quote unquote, do us a favor, when there was a specific reference to investigations into the bidens. both these officials in different adjectives describing what they thought was wrong about that call. in fact jennifer williams, who was detailed to the vice president's office, saying that the call struck her as unusual and inappropriate. vindman went much further than that, essentially saying that wrong saying it is wrong for the president of the united states to invite foreign interference into election. there were a lot of different details in this, from really two witnesses who spent their lives in public service for the most part. in fact, the very first line of -- excuse me -- kennel vinman's testimony is he spent his life in public service as a more than 20-year veteran of the
8:20 am
u.s. army. your takeaways. >> that is why the two are trying to vouch for their own credibility, to say, "we are public servants. we are not partisan here," and both used the term "inappropriate" to describe that call. "inappropriate" to des hat call. vindman said he has not had direct contact w president o nited states, but he was on that phone call and said as soon he heard it, he knew it had to go straight up the chain of command. he went to white house lawyers and he laid out his concerns. and that line that you pointed out in terms of lieutenant colonel vindman's phrase that he felt this was seeking foreign interference in an election, that is key to the case democr are trying to prosecute here. that this isn't just about breaking protocol, being disruptive as a president, that this is using the public office of the presidency for personal political gain. >> and not only that, he then added that the -- if that were ever to get public, it would undermine u.s. national security. >> exactly. >> so even more so than the
8:21 am
political interference which he called improper and inappropriate to demand an investigation, he said it could be perceived as a partisan ploy and undermine our national security. to the benefit of whom? >> to the benefit of the man running against joe biden here, the president of the united states. >> and the benefit of russia. >> absolutely the benefit of russia. one thing he highlighted was this idea that the president brought up on the call as well, which is this debunked theory that it was ukraine, not russia, who interfered in the 2016 election. who has pushed that narrative? vladimir putin has been vocal in pushing that narrative. he said very clearly there u.s. intelligence is conclusive that it was russia. the senate has been conclusive in its bipartisan findings that it was russia. but the president was listening to an idea pushed by vladimir putin on that. >> lieutenant colonel vindman also was asked repeatedly about how if he followed the proper chain of command.
8:22 am
this is important. if you served in the military or have a family in the military, you know about the chain of command. that's why it's called the commander in chief. there are very strict rules for how you report anything. there's so many rules involved here. he essentially, lieutenant colonel vindman went on and on about how he was following this chain of command. but twice reporting these interactions about ukraine to the white house lawyer. >> that's right. and in many ways, whether it's the bureaucracy or it's the military, they say the process is your protection. these are guardrails. these are things that are there to keep you out of potential trouble and ultimately to help keep the president out of trouble himself. and so that is why he went through and spoke to the lawyers. but it appears that that is where these warnings went and then weren't flagged further. and that lawyer, john eisenberg, you're going to hear his name come up again and again over the next few days. he is someone who has not come and given a deposition or testimony, but he is someone who
8:23 am
was alerted by lieutenant colonel vindman, by fiona hill, the doctor and intelligence official who we will be hearing from later this week. >> margaret, thank you. i want to bring in major garrett, our chief washington correspondent because major was reporting this morning about a phone call between republican lawmakers and the president of the united states about last week's testimony. this morning you had some pretty damning testimony from these two witnesses. >> you did. and republicans frequently assert, norah, to the country that there's something improper and unfair about this process. they have also asserted that until today there have been no direct fact witnesses. so what i was expecting today, and i think what the country could have fairly expected, would have been some kind of line of questioning from the republicans to undermine or at least cast some doubt on this firsthand direct knowledge fact witness testimony. the country did not see that at all. it saw in the opening statement of the ranking republican, devin nunes, a hatchet attack on the
8:24 am
american media, saying the american media is partly responsible, a tool of the democratic party, just an echo chamber of a false narrative. we had plenty of time to ask these questions relevant questions about their direct knowledge of the phone call, what they had heard britt, its consistency or inconsistency with u.s. policy. none of that was there at all. then when the questioning came from the republican counsel, much of it was procedural about what you knew about a trip or something else. then there was a line of questioning about lieutenant colonel vindman getting an offer of defense secretary in ukraine, suggesting possibly that he had or maybe just inserting the idea that he might have been lured by this possible high position in the ukrainian government. is that meant to suggest there's something invalid about his testimony? republicans didn't go that far, but why that line of questioning? if you're trying to say the president did nothing wrong, why not take this testimony and try to pick it apart or at least do something to suggest it may have been incomplete. republicans did none of that.
8:25 am
so it just strikes me that in all of their represeetitive cal for direct fact witnesses, when two of them appear their line of questioning and line of commentary deals with the media and other issues, not the testimony presented or the narrative put together by the ranking democrat, adam schiff, saying that this all lines up consistent with the whistle-blower testimony. i'm sort of astonished by that. >> right. major, it's something we talked about last week. let's always look at this in two sorts of ways, which is the political route, there's a political route to take and the substantive route of what we're exactly learning. as you're pointing out, the republicans were trying to make more the political argument here but really didn't have any way to debunk some of the substance of the testimony we heard today, is that correct? >> that's my impression of it. look, the american public is going to come to its own conclusions. but the other thing i would say that is notable about all these witnesses, norah, is when given questions especially from the
8:26 am
democrats that might be leading or conclusionive, for example, lieutenant colonel vindman was asked was there something unusual about the fact that in your notes burisma was mentioned by president zelensky when he talked to president trump on july 25th, yet that does not appear in the white house released summary. lieutenant colonel vindman said it didn't strike me as nefarious. sometimes people do the best they can. it might have just been something that fell out. well, could this have been a really big thing? do you think it was terrible? he didn't go down that road. they offered their honest opinion based on their experience. so this is consistent with a lot of witnesses. when sometimes asked leading questions by democrats that they think might have been a big grabber, they don't go for that. they just limit it to their experience, their direct knowledge and their interpretation based on that experience trying to show and underscore that they're not there to do anything other than that. >> major garrett, thank you. i want to bring inspe nancy cor
8:27 am
who has been covering these hearings. nancy, to that point about the specific omissions, if you will, from the transcript that was released by the president, it's actually all on page 4, if anybody is following their own. there's one set of ellipses in here that said look into what? and lieutenant colonel vindman testified today that it should say look into the recordings. there are recordings. and then here's -- i highlighted this second part where president zelensky said that he would look into specifically the company that you mentioned in this issue. and colonel vindman was saying he said the word burisma but instead they wrote to the company. but as major just pointed out, not something that substantively changes the meaning of the entire memorandum of the call that was released by the white house. but what did this testimony do in terms of the white house
8:28 am
defense of what the president has said so far? >> well, norah, one of the key white house defenses of the president is really under assault in this hearing. the white house has always argued that the president held up hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of military aid not because he wanted an investigation into the bidens but because he was concerned about ukraine's history of corruption and he was worried that he'd just be throwing this money away. however, vindman testified in minute detail about the fact that the president never raised the issue of corruption in either of his two phone calls with the new president of ukraine, even though vindman, rather, had put it in his talking points for the president to bring up. so the president rejected talking about corruption. and then to the contrary, vindman testified that on at least a couple of occasions the u.s. ambassador to the eu, gordon sondland, was in meetings at the white house with the
8:29 am
ukrainian delegation. vindman was there and he saw sondland tell the ukrainians point blank that they needed to announce investigations into the bidens, burisma and the 2016 election if they were going to get this coveted meeting with the president of the united states. so yet again, we see a couple of witnesses who are completely contradicting the white house line on this situation. >> excellent point there, nancy, as that question has been about two different things. not only the hundreds of millions of dollars in aid, about $400 million in military aid, but also whether there was a push to get the ukrainians to investigate the bidens so that the new president could get a meeting at the white house. those two specific things as well. ed o'keefe also watching these hearings on capitol hill for us. ed, your take on what you've heard this morning? >> well, one of the things of course we saw republicans do there is try to raise questions
8:30 am
again about the identity and the motivations of the original whistle-blower, somebody who still has yet to be revealed. in conversation with some senior republican aides already about this exchange, their argument is they have every right to be asking lieutenant colonel vindman who exactly he had talked to in regards to this situation overall and that vindman had already testified he didn't think he knew who the whistle-blower was so why not clarify who he had been in touch with about this. all of it part of a day long attempt here to in some ways discredit or raise questions about vindman's testimony and motivations. you saw that exchange towards the end of the republican questioning about the fact that apparently he had been offered a job in the ukrainian government. they'll use testimony from the former national security director for europe and russia, tim morrison, to raise concerns about some of the things vindman had testified to as well. it's a difficult situation as it was last week with ambassador yovanovitch. you have an officer of the army in full dress uniform
8:31 am
testifying, coming forward and saying quite dramatically that he realizes he's potentially putting his career at risk in trying to assuage the concerns of his own family about him being in this setting so you can't go right after him for that, given that he's served in iraq, immigrated to this country and decided to serve in the military. clearly republicans trying to raise concerns about what he had to say and, again, raise doubts at least in the public setting about who this whistle-blower is and why democrats continue to be so insistent on protecting his identity. >> one of the things, norah, that you heard lieutenant colonel vindman bring up is this july 10th meeting at the white house where ukrainian officials were there along with a number of these individuals from regular and irregular channels, including gordon sondland, president trump's eu ambassador, who is testifying tomorrow and will be key to all of this because time and again we hear that he was the one who specifically was helping to carry out this proposed deal that was being floated.
8:32 am
>> oh, it's like a story. i mean this july 10th meeting to be a fly on the wall, but we don't need to be because we have his testimony where we've got all of the figures, or many of the figures that were involved, u.s. officials describing in their own depositions what exactly happened. and we heard colonel vindman say today that after he heard ambassador sondland say to the ukrainians bring up this issue of the investigations. vindman said after the meeting he went up to sondland and said that's inappropriate. >> and this was all in the ward room, the meeting after the meeting they were talking about. fiona hill has testified and will bring this up again later in the week, gordon sondland will talk about it tomorrow. kurt volker who we will hear from later today, the former special envoy to ukraine will certainly be asked about it because there are questions whether he was in the room, whether he heard. what does this matter? it comes down to the question of bringing this to the president's door. was someone acting directly on behalf of the president at his request to arrange this kind of trade. that's why they're focused on
8:33 am
that. >> i also think it does something too. if you have the whole timeline, and we've been tracking the timeline, here's this meeting at the white house on july 10th. sondland is bringing up the investigations. the phone call then with the president comes july 25th. there was this -- and vindman testifies today he was aware of this sort of irregular channel in april and may. you have a story line, a narrative that has developed all throughout this about this pushing of the investigation, the pushing of look at the bidens, the pushing of we're going to hold back the aid in a white house meeting until you do what we want you to do in terms of political interference that's more than just that one phone call that the president of the united states had. it raises the question why. who was pushing this? to what end? why it had become such an obsession really of certain officials that it just kept going on and on. >> that's a great point because it's a case the democrats are trying to lay out over these days of testimony is the timeline, is the sequencing, is the winks, the nods, the
8:34 am
suggestions, the quid pro quo that republicans keep saying wasn't there, was never so explicit but that it was this sequence of events that they are building and that's what they're going to attempt to do in this testimony here. but two key witnesses to this case, rudy giuliani and the former national security advisor john bolton have not been called to testify, have not been subpoenaed. we don't think we will hear from them before the conclusion of this. and they may be central to clinching this case and bringing it to the president's door. >> we may not hear from them until january of next year when there is a senate trial presided over by the chief justice of the supreme court. you see the two witnesses on that call have returned from a brief break. one other quick note as they're about to gavel back in for lawmakers' questioning, vindman said it was inappropriate and improper for the president to demand a investigation into a political opponent. >> we'll come back to order. >> we'll hear more right now.
8:35 am
>> we'll have a period of five-minute questions from the members. i'll 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, ms. 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 to say you have no firsthand knowledge of any of the matters that were asked in those questions? >> that's correct. >> that is correct. >> ms. williams, you were also asked a series of questions about the vice president's schedule and whether he could have made the inauguration or was the president traveling or the trip to canada. let's be clear about something. the president -- you were instructed that the president had told the vice president not to go before he even knew the
8:36 am
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? >> that's right. the date had not been set so we were weighing a number of different scenarios of when the inauguration might fall. >> now, i think you said that originally the president had told him to go. then you received the instruction that the president no longer wanted 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 abort a trip that he was going to make to ukraine? >> i had seen that in the press, yes. >> and had you seen in the press that rudy giuliani blamed people around zelensky for having to cancel the trip? >> for having to cancel his trip? >> yes. >> i read that in the press reporting, yes. >> and did you read in the press
8:37 am
reporting also that guiliani wanted to go to ukraine to, as he put it, not meddle in an election but meddle in investigations? >> i did read that, yes. >> and that occurred prior to the president cancelling 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 that 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 demand?
8:38 am
>> 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 in 2016 and the bidens were precisely the two investigations that rudy giuliani was calling for publicly, were they not? >> that is correct. >> so when people suggest, well, maybe rudy giuliani was acting on his own and maybe he was a free lancer 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, ms. williams, you were asked about the meeting the vice president had with zelensky in september in which the ukrainians brought up their concern about the hold on the security assistance, is that right? >> that's right. >> and you were asked about
8:39 am
whether in that meeting between the vice president, zelensky, the bidens or burisma came up and i think you said they did not, is that correct? >> 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 bring up those investigations. he's never brought up those investigations. >> were you aware that immediately, and i mean immediately after that meeting broke up, ambassador sondland has said that he went over to mr. yermak, one of the top advisers to zelensky, and told yermak that if they wanted the military aid, they were going to have to do these investigations or words to that effect? >> i was not aware at the time of any meetings -- side meetings that ambassador sondland had following the vice president's meeting with president zelensky. i've only learned that through
8:40 am
ambassador sondland's testimony. >> so at the big public meeting, it didn't come up and you can't speak to the private meeting that was held immediately thereafter? >> 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 and then the one in the ward room that followed quickly on its heels. were you aware that ambassador bolton instructed your superior, dr. hill, to go talk to the lawyers after that meeting? >> i learned shortly after she was finished talking to ambassador bolton and after we wrapped up with the ward room that she did have a meeting with them and that's what was expressed. >> now, you thought you should go talk to the lawyers on your own, correct? >> that is my recollection, yes.
8:41 am
>> 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 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 the same conditioning or the same issue of wanting these political investigations and tying 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
8:42 am
in that call with the president, is that right? >> that is correct. >> and it was that conversation that once again led you back to the lawyers' office? >> that is correct. >> i yield to the ranking member. >> mr. chairman, you took seven minutes. i assume you'll give us equal time? >> yes, mr. nunes. >> this the the gentleman. >> lieutenant colonel vingdmdma before i turn to mr. jordan, i asked ms. williams about this, if she had ever accessed without authorization fellow employees' computer system. she answered no to the question. have you ever accessed anyone's computer system at the nsc without authorization? >> without their knowledge, no. >> knowledge or authorization? >> i'm sorry? >> knowledge or authorization,
8:43 am
you never accessed someone's computer without their knowledge or authorization? >> 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, mr. morrison, is going to be sitting right where you're sitting an he's going to testify. 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 mr. morrison 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, its weaknesses and fiona and others had raised concerns about alex's judgment. when mr. morrison was asked by mr. castor, did anyone ever bring concerns to you that they believed colonel vindman may have leaked something, mr. morrison replied yes.
8:44 am
so your boss had concerns about your judgment. your former boss, fiona hill, had concerns about your judgment. your colleagues had concerns about your judgment and your colleagues felt there were times you leaked information. any idea why they have those impressions, colonel vindman? >> yes, representative jordan. i guess i'll start by reading dr. hill's own words as 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 army officer i ever worked with in my 15 years of government service. he's brilliant, unflappable and exercises excellent judgment. >> so was -- >> exemplary during numerous visits so forth and so on but i think you get the idea. mr. morrison, the date of that was -- let's see, i'm sorry,
8:45 am
july 13th. so mr. jordan, i would say i can't say what mr. morrison -- why mr. morrison questioned 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 -- >> colonel, you never leaked information? >> i never did, never would. that is preposterous that i would do that. >> okay. colonel, it's interesting, we depose a lot of people in the bunker in the basement of the capitol over the last several weeks, but of all those depositions, only three of the individuals we've deposed were actually on the now somewhat famous july 25th phone call between president trump and president zelensky. there was you, the individual sitting beside you, ms. williams and then of course your boss, mr. morrison who i just read from his deposition. when we asked ms. williams who she spoke to after the call about the call, she was willing to answer our questions. chairman schiff allowed her to answer our questions. when we asked mr. morrison who
8:46 am
he spoke to after the call about the call, he was willing to answer our question and mr. schiff allowed -- chairman schiff allowed him to answer our question. but when we asked you, you first told us three individuals at the nsc. your brother and the two lawyers. and 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. the chairman would only allow you to give us that name. when we asked you who else you communicated with, you would not tell us. so 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, certainly after the first call, there were probably half a dozen people 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 out outside of the nsc two individuals. >> two individuals.
8:47 am
>> kent and one other person. >> you're not willing to tell us who that other individual is. >> mr. chairman, point of order. >> the gentleman will suspending. counsel. >> mr. chairman, i would ask you to enforce the rule with regard to the disclosure with regard to the intelligence officer. >> thank you, counsel. you know, as i indicated before, this committee will not be used to out the whistle-blower. that same -- >> mr. chairman, can you 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 whistle-blower. the witness has testified in his deposition that he doesn't know who the whistle-blower is. you have said, even though no one believes you, you have said you don't know who the whistle-blower is. so how is this outing the whistle-blower to finding 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 not be addressed to trying to out
8:48 am
the whistle-blower. >> 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. >> thank you. >> mr. morrison was right. the call leaks. the whistle-blower goes to chairman schiff's staff, then 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 count on, one thing they didn't counting on was the president releasing the call transcript and letting us all see what he said.
8:49 am
they didn't counti on that. the transcript shows no linkage. the two individuals on the call have both said no pressure, no pushing, no linkage with security assistance dollars to an investigation. ms. 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. mr. chairman, i ask unanimous consent to enter the lieutenant colonel's performance record into the record. >> may i inquire of colonel vingdman if you'd like us to do that? if you would, i'd be happy to. if you'd prefer it not be in the record, i leave it to you. >> with redactions. maybe the only elements that are relevant are the actual narrative.
8:50 am
>> did you read the relevant portions? >> that was the short version. there were some other paragraphs in there. >> mr. chairman, i'll withdraw my request. >> thank you. >> thank you both for your testimony. ms. williams, you joined the foreign service in 2006, correct? >> correct. >> prior to becoming a nonpartisan field representative, you worked for the bush/cheney group and then held a position under secretary chertoff, is that correct? >> that's correct. >> and now as a foreign service officer you have served three presidents, two republicans and one democrat in a variety of roles, correct? >> yes, sir. >> and you're detailed from state to advise the vice president on foreign policy towards europe and russia, right? >> that's right. >> ms. williams, on sunday the president personally targeted you in a tweet. this is after he targeted ambassador yovanovitch during her hearing testimony. i'd like to show and read you the tweet. it reads tell jennifer williams, whoever that is, to read both transcripts of the presidential
8:51 am
calls and see the just-released statement from ukraine. then she should meet with the other never trumpers who i don't know and mostly never even heard of and work out a better presidential attack. ms. williams, are you engaged in a presidential attack? >> no, sir. >> ms. williams, have you a never trumper? >> i'm not sure what i know an official definition of a never trumper. >> would you describe yourself that way? >> i would not, no. >> did that make -- did that tweet make an impression on you when you read it? >> it certainly surprised me. i was not expecting to be called out by name. >> it surprised me too and it looked an awful lot like witness intimidation and tampering in an effort to try 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. colonel, above your left breast
8:52 am
you are wearing a device which is a springfield musket on a blue field. what is that device? >> it's a combat infant reman's badge. >> how do you get that? >> you have to be serving in a brigade and below a tactical unit, that means a fighting unit in combat. >> under fire? >> correct. >> you're 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 operation in decades outside of fallujah, we were conducting a reconnaissance patrol in conjunction with the marines and my vehicle was struck by an improvised explosive device that penetrated the armor. >> were you injured? >> i was. >> the day after you appeared
8:53 am
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 career you've served under four presidents, two democrats and two republicans. have you ever waivered from the oath you took to defend and support the constitution? >> never. >> do you have any political motivations for your appearance here today? >> none. >> colonel vindman, multiple right-wing conspiracy theorists, including rumdy giuliani, have accused you of harboring loyalty to ukraine. they make these accusations only onl fact that your family immigrated to the united states. they have accused you of espionage and dual loyalties. we've seen that in this room this morning. the three minutes that were spent asking you about the offer made to make you the minister of defense, that may have come cloaked in a brooks brothers suit and parliamentary language,
8:54 am
but that was designed exclusively to give the right-wing media an opening to question your loyaltieloyalties 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 rifle on a field of blue over a purple heart. i, sir, thank you for your service and yield back the balance of my time. >> mr. conway. >> i give my five minutes to mr. ratcliff. >> 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 with president zelensky.
8:55 am
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's shifted again last week to bribery. ms. williams, you used the word "unusual" to describe the president's call last -- on july 25th. lieutenant colonel vindman, you used the word inappropriate,
8:56 am
improper. i word searched each of your transcripts. the word "bribery" or "bribe" doesn't appear anywhere in that. ms. williams, you've never used the word "bribery" or "bribe" to explain president trump's conduct, correct? >> no, sir. >> colonel vindman, you haven't either? >> that is 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,
8:57 am
thousands of answers given. the number of times that witnesses have been asked any question about whether or not 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 3500 pages of sworn deposition testimony in just these ten transcripts released thus far, the word "bribery" appears in these 3500 pages exactly one time. ironically, it appears not in a description of president trump's alleged conduct, it appears in the description of vice president biden's alleged conduct. this is important because as early as next week my democratic
8:58 am
colleagues are going to say we need to vote on the evidence from this impeachment inquiry, on the impeachment of the president for bribery and they're going to sending a report to the judiciary committee. because there's more democrats than republicans, it's going to likely 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 and now bribery? chairman nunes told you the answer. the answer is polling. "the washington times" asked americans what would be the most damning accusation. it didn't come back quid pro quo, it didn't come back extortion, it came back bribery,
8:59 am
so this case is all about bribery. it's bad enough the democrats have forbidden white house lawyers from participating in this proceeding. it's hard enough to defend yourself without your lawyers presenting. 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,e at least ought to know what it is. when speaker pelosi says it's all about bribery, she's promised us evidence of bribery that would be compelling and overwhelming and instead it's invisible. i yield back. >> miss sewell. >> mr. chairman, i'd like to join everyone in thanking both of you are witnesses for your service. lieutenant colonel vindman, as part of your policy portfolio in the white house, you maintain a relationship with ukraine officials, do you not? >> that is correct. >> you explained earlier in your testimony that your job within
9:00 am
the white house was to coordinate united states and ukraine policy, is that right? >> it is to coordinate united states policy vis-a-vis ukraine, correct. >> you testified in the spring of this year that these >> you testified in spring this year ukrainian officials asked you "advice on how to respond to mr. guiliana's advances" is >> what do you understand theyment by mr. guiliani's advances? >> i meant that as his public commentary. publicly calling for investigations into 2016 as well as his direct overtures to the government of ukraine, directly and through proxies that's what i understood. >> as you understand it, under whose authority do you think mrs

73 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on