tv NBC Bay Area News at 11AM NBC November 13, 2019 11:00am-11:31am PST
watching gordon sondland say that on ukrainian tv on july 26th. >> and what do you come to mean by three amigos? >> my understanding of ambassador sondland's use of that term is that the three people that were in charge of ukraine policy during the summe involved in the ukraine policy in the summer, gordon sondland, ambassador volker and secretary perry. >> when did you come to learn about mr. giuliani's role and what do you consider his role to have been? >> i first heard about former mayor giuliani's interest in ukraine in january of this year. that was a different phase than what happened during the summertime. >> was it normal to have a person who is a private citizen take an active role in foreign diplomacy? >> i did not find his particular engagement normal, no. >> now, ambassador taylor, you testified that there are two channels, a regular and irregular. what did you see as rudy
giuliani's role in ukraine policy? >> congresswoman, i came to see that mr. giuliani had a large influence on the irregular channel. >> and was that normal? is that normal to have a private citizen of the united states take an active role in diplomacy? >> it is not normal. it is not unusual to ask people outside the government to give opinions to help form the policies of the u.s. government. it is unusual to have a person put input into the channel that goes contrary to u.s. policy. >> thank you. i yield back. >> mr. turner, you are recognized for five minutes. >> thank you. mr. kent, ambassador taylor, thank you for your service. i have a great deal of appreciation for your profession. you have very little direct contact with decision makers, a tremendous amount of responsibility and not a lot of
authority to affect u.s. policy, bilateral engagements or multilateral engagements. you're trying to shepherd through issues with our allies. one example of that, ambassador taylor, is that you testified in your prior testimony that you have not had any contact with the president of the united states, is that correct? >> that's correct, sir. >> mr. kent, have you had any contact with the president of the united states? >> i have not. >> so not only no conversations with the president of the united states about ukraine, you've not had any contact with the president of the united states, correct? >> that's correct. >> so you don't know that this impeachme impeachment inquiry is about the president of the united states, do you? someone who has had no contact with the man, i find it amazing that two people first up would be someone who never had contact with the president himself. kurt volker did have contact with the president and the president of ukraine. ambassador taylor, you said he is a man of highest integrity.
i know kurt volker and he served as the navy ambassador, he served at the institute, one of the highest in ethics, one of the most knowledgeable about europe. he's actually a very truthful man. would you agree, ambassador taylor, that he is of the highest integrity? >> i believe kurt volker has served the u.s. as a public servant very well. >> do either of you have evidence that mr. volker has committed perjury or lied to this committee in his testimony? ambassador taylor, any evidence? >> mr. turner, i have no evidence. >> mr. kent? >> i believe ambassador volker's deposition was over 400 pages, and i don't have it in front of me, so i can't -- >> but you have no evidence that he lied or perjured himself? >> i have no basis to say that, no. >> amendment 6 would apply, and
most of your two testimonies would not be admissible whatsoever. but i understand in your profession you deal in words of understanding, words of belief and feelings, because in your profession that's what you work with to try to pull together policy and to go in and out of meetings try to formulate opinions that affect other people's decision making. ambassador taylor, have you ever prepared for a meeting with a president or prime minister of a country? or were you told one thing before you went into the meeting as to what it would be about and the meeting would be about another thing? or you get in there and the beliefs or opinions of the president or prime minister were other than you believed? >> mr. turner, you're asking if i ever learned anything new -- >> did you ever walk in with a belief about a country you were serving in and find out that they were wrong? >> i learn something in every meeting, mr. turner, but i -- >> ambassador taylor, the reason why the sixth amendment does not allow hearsay is because it's unreliable. it's unreliable because
frequently it is untruthful. it's not factual. it might be beliefs or understandings. ambassador, you testified about a number of things you heard. is it possible that some of the things you heard were not true, that some of the believfbeliefs understandings that you had were not factual, that some of the things you testified to today were not of a factual basis. >> mr. turner, i'm here to tell you what i know. i'm not going to tell you things i don't know. >> you could be wrong, right, mr. taylor? since you learned it from others, you could be wrong, correct? >> i am telling you what i heard them tell me. >> and they could be wrong or they could be mistaken or they could have heard it incorrectly, right, ambassador taylor? >> people make mistakes. >> right, so you could be wrong. i yield the rest of my time. >> i thank the gentleman for yielding. ambassador taylor, the gentleman asked if you could be wrong. were you wrong when you said you
had a clear understanding that president zelensky had to commit to an investigation of the bidens before the aid got released and the aid got released and he didn't commit to an investigation? >> i was not wrong about what i told you which is what i heard. that's all i've said. i told you what i heard. >> that's the point. what you heard did not happen. it didn't happen. you had three meetings with the guy. he could have told you. he didn't announce he was going to do an investigation before the aid happened. it's not just could it have been wrong, the fact is it was wrong, because it didn't happen. the whole point was you had a clear understanding that aid will not get released unless there is a commitment, not maybe, not i think the aid might happen, and it's my hunch it's going to get released. you used clear language, clear understanding and commitment, and those two things didn't happen, so you had to be wrong. >> mr. jordan, the other thing that went on when that
assistance was on hold is that we shook the confidence of a close partner in our reliability. and that -- >> that's not what this proceeding is about, ambassador taylor. >> the gentleman's time has expired. the time of the gentleman has expired. ambassador taylor, did you want to finish your answer? >> no, that's good, mr. chairman. >> i recognize mr. carson for five minutes. >> thank you, dharchairman. i yield to the chairman. >> i thank the gentleman for yielding. i want follto follow up on quess about ambassador taylor's statements when he was asked were you pressured, how did the phone call go, et cetera. the ukranians are pretty sophisticated about u.s. politics, are they not? >> perhaps. >> you would agree that if president zelensky contradicted president trump and said, of course i felt pressure, they were holding up 400 million in military assistance, we have people dying every day.
if he were to contradict president trump directly, they would be sophisticated enough to know they may pay a very heavy price with this president, were they not? >> that's a fair assessment. >> and president zelensky not only had to worry about retribution from donald trump should he contradict donald trump publicly, he also has to worry about how he is perceived domestically, doesn't he, ambassador taylor? >> the president is very sensitive to the views of the ukranian people who, indeed, are very attentive to ukraine and u.s. politics, yes. >> so if president zelensky were to say, i had to capitulate and agree to these investigations. i was ready to go on cnn until the aid got restored, that would obviously be hurtful to him back home, would it not? >> he cannot afford to be seen
to be deferring to any foreign leader. he is very confident in his own abilities and he knows that the ukrainian people expect him to e clear and defend ukranian interests. >> mr. carson? >> thank you, chairman. my colleague touched briefly on the campaign to remove career diplomat ambassador yavonovitch. mr. kent, you stated in previous testimony that you were aware of the, quote, campaign of slander against the ambassador in realtime, which basically unfolded in the media. where do you understand this misinformation campaign was coming from and who was essentially per petwaiting it? >> the then president zenko met him in january. they had a second meeting in february, and through the good
offices of the former mayor of new york, posenko gave a speech on capitol hill and the aid was launched on march 20. >> he made claims that the ambassador provided officials with a, quote, do not prosecute list. sir, do you have any reason to believe this is true? >> i have every reason to believe it is not true. >> what was the reputation of the man who made these allegations, sir? >> posenko was of long standing. the embassy had good relations with him for years. he was imprisoned by president y arya ko virks vich and became p in 2016.
>> was marie yavonovitch trying to combat corruption in ukraine, sir? >> she was doing a good job stopping corruption in ukraine. >> so you and your superiors in the state department asked the ambassador to extend her time in the ukraine. correct, sir? >> that is correct. >> did you support her extension? >> i asked her to extend until the end of this year to get through the election cycle in ukraine and then secretary hale in march asked her to stay until 2020. >> someone in ukraine asked her not to promote corruption? >> you can't promote anti-corruption without pissing off corrupt people. >> fair enough. some of those people helped giuliani smear her, did they not? >> they did. >> so ultimately that smear campaign pushed president trump
to remove her, correct, sir? >> i cannot judge that. what i can say is giuliani's smear campaign was ubiquitous in 2016 on fox news. >> in all your combined decades at the state department, have you ever before seen an instance where an ambassador was forced out by the president following a smear campaign of misinformation orchestrated by the president's allies? >> i have not. >> nor i. >> mr. chairman, i yield back. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. taylor, this should be easy because i'm going to use a lot of your words from the previous deposition as we go forward. in your deposition you spoke of support for ukraine and its relationship to the united states and how much you support that. in 2014, you, and i'm quoting this, urged the obama administration to provide lethal defensive weapons in order to deter further russian
aggression. did the obama administration provide lethal weapons? >> no, sir. >> they provided mres and blankets and things like that. in your deposition you also said president obama's objection was because it might provoke the russians. and in fact you testify in your deposition that the obama administration didn't have a good argument since russia had already provoked and they have invaded ukraine. is that correct? >> that's correct, sir. >> it's a shame we didn't take the advice of a combat veteran like you, sir, someone who understands what deterrence provides. because a lot of ukranian lives could have been saved if he had taken your advice. in your deposition, you said, and i quote, you're happy with the trump administration's assistance and it provided both lethal and financial aid, did it not? >> it did, sir. >> and you also stated that it was a substantial improvement, is that correct? >> that's correct, sir. >> now we're providing javelins
which kill russian tanks. mres and blankets do not do that. today you said, i was beginning to fear that the longstanding u.s. policy of strong support for ukraine was shifting. i have a little trouble with longstanding based on what we just talked about, because it wasn't really longstanding strong support. it seems to me the strong support came with this administration. would you agree with that, sir? unless you consider mres and blankets strong support, i wouldn't call it longstanding. >> the longstanding that i'm referring to there is the longstanding political support, economic support and increasing military support. >> well, certainly that strong support came from congress but it didn't come from the previous administration as compared to what this administration has decided to do. the strong support came with this administration, not the obama administration. and maybe now we understand what president obama meant when he
told russian president medvedev that he would have more flexibility after his election. maybe that flexibility was to deny lethal aid to the ukraine, allowing russia to march right in and kill ukranians. again, in your deposition, you urged the object observe administration officials to provide lethal weapons to ukraine in order to deter further russian aggression. and now they have that under this administration, don't they, mr. ambassador? >> they have the javelins, yes, sir. >> thank you, and i would like to yield the remainder of my time to mr. radcliffe. >> i thank the gentleman for yielding. no pressure, no commands, no conditions, nothing corrupt. nothing on the call. that's what we heard president zelensky say. and because house democrats' charges against president trump have been publicly, repeatedly, consistently been denied by president zelensky, you heard
the defense now from chairman schiff. he's lying because he has to. he has to lie because the threats, the demands, the blackmail the extortion that house democrats are alleging. if he didn't do that, he couldn't possibly risk military aid. he would have to do anything he had to secure it. the problem with that, the hole in that argument is you have to ask yourself what did president zelensky actually do to get the aid? the answer is nothing. he did nothing. he didn't open any investigations, he didn't call attorney general bill barr. he didn't do any of the things the house democrats say he was being forced and coerced and threatened to do. he didn't do anything because he didn't have to.
i yield back. >> you're recognized for five minutes. sdplz thank yo >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you both for your heroic efforts today and throughout your careers. i would like to start with you, mr. kent. in your testimony you said that you had, in mid-august, it became clear to me that giuliani's efforts to gin up politically motivated investigations were now infecting u.s. engagement with ukraine, leveraging president zelensky's desire for a white house meeting. mr. kent, did you actually write a memo documenting your concerns that there was an effort underway to pressure ukraine to open an investigation to benefit president trump? >> yes, ma'am, i wrote a memo to the file on august 16th. >> but we don't have access to that memo, do we? >> i submitted it to the state department subject to the
october 27th subpoena. >> we have not received one piece of paper from the state department relative to this investigation. both of you have made compelling cases of the importance of ukraine to europe, to the 7 0 years of peace, the benefit that it has to the united states national security, and our goal to continue to support sovereignty of nations. meanwhile, russia is violently attacking people in ukraine in the donbass area. so withholding military aid, does that weaken ukraine? >> well, i think it sends the wrong signal, and it did for a short period of time. the assistance from fy 19 was released and is in the process of heading toward ukraine. >> does it embolden russia when
there was no aid being sent to ukraine? >> i think the signal that there is controversy and question about the u.s. support of ukraine sends the signal to vladimir putin that he can leverage that as he seeks to negotiate not only with ukraine but other countries. >> thank you. ambassador taylor, i think you mentioned that a white house meeting for zelensky would boost his ability to negotiate for a peaceful settlement with vladimir putin and russia in general. is that true? >> ms. speier, it's certainly true that u.s. support for president zelensky in his negotiations with russians is very important, and we'll enable him to get a better agreement with that support from the united states, both from the military assistance but also from the political assistance we can provide. >> but he has not yet had that
white house meeting yet, has he? >> he has not. >> i think it's ironic that lev parnas who has been indicted had the meeting with the white house after assisting in a number of campaign events for the president and contributing $325,000 to the president's pac. so maybe it's actually the requirement that you give money to the president's pac in order to get that meeting at the white house. ambassador taylor, is it true that the prosecutor general now has opened an investigation in ukraine? >> ms. speier, the new prosecutor general that president zelensky has appointed is indeed investigating crimes in general. is that your question? >> yes. >> he is in office and is investigating actively.
>> has he specified what investigations he's undertaken? >> no. >> he has not. all right. i yield the rest of my time to chairman schiff. >> just a quick question. my colleagues -- a couple of my colleagues referenced the conversation, the hot night conversation between president obama and president medvedev. that was in 2012. there was a suggestion he was going to go easy on russia over the invasion of ukraine. this took place two years after that conversation. did you ever think president obama was going to go easy on an invasion that hadn't happened yet, do you? >> i have no knowledge of what was in -- >> it was more or less a rhetorical question. i will yield now to mr. stewart -- i'm sorry -- mr. stewart. >> thank you. to the witnesses, thank you.
time is precious so i'm going to go very, very quickly. welcome, i think, to year 4 of the ongoing impeachment of president trump. i'm sorry you have been drug into this. i think the sign behind me says it very well by the whistleblower's attorney. the coup has started and impeachment will follow. after listening for what is going on now four hours and 21 minutes, after all the secret hearings, after all of the leaks, after hearing witnesses such as yourselves give opinions, it all comes down to this. one thing it comes down to. this is the transcript the president has released of this phone call. there is one sentence, one phone call. that is what this entire impeachment proceeding is based on. i have to tell you, if your impeachment case is so weak that you have to lie and exaggerate about it to convince the american people that they need to remove this president, then you've got a problem. the american people have been lied to again and again on this. we first heard a lot about quid pro quo.
then many people realized that was meaningless, so they said, let's go for the fences. let's talk about extortion, let's talk about bribery, cover-up and obstruction, for which there is sdplezero eviden any of that. we heard a characterization of the president's phone call that was so outrageous and inaccurate, it had to be described as a parody. none of those things matter. none of it matters, it comes down to this. we appreciate your insight, we appreciate your opinion, but all you can do is give your opinion of this, this one phone call. let me ask you, gentlemen, both of you have sat here today. you have testified corruption in ukraine is endemic. do we agree on that? simple question. it's a problem, isn't it? >> it's a problem and they're taking steps to address it. >> earlier in the hearing, both of you used the word endemic or agreed to it. it's in the courts, it's oligarchs, it's prosecutors, it's everywhere. i think we can also agree that's
not the only place in the world we experience corruption. there are dozens and dozens of place around the world steeped in corruption. would you agree with that? >> i would say there is corruption in every country, including ours. >> and some are more corrupt than others. so in these corrupt nations of which there are probably hundreds of corrupt individuals, hundreds of corrupt government officials, can you give me an example any time where the vice president of the united states shows up and demands that a specific prosecutor be fired and gives them a six-hour time limit to do that? are you aware of that ever happening any other place? >> i guess the answer is no. >> and it's interesting that out of dozens of corrupt nations, that happened one time, and it happened to the individual whose son was getting paid by the organization that was under
investigation. one other thing very quickly. if someone was a candidate for a political office, even for president of the united states, should they be immune from investigation? >> no one is above the law, sir. >> thank you. i agree with that. i think we all would agree with that. yet i think some presume that because some of the individuals here were candidates that they are immune from any questions or any investigation. i think it's absurd. for heaven's sakes, if those of us in public office, those of us who find ourselves up for reelection or all the time as a candidate, i think we have a higher standard, not immunity from asking these types of questions. the last thing and then i'm going to yield my time. availability of funds -- i'm quoting from the ndaa in 2019, the language is specific. availability of funds under assistance to ukraine has to be certified. what has to be certified? quote, for the purposes of decreasing corruption. are you surprised that there
would be questions about corruption in ukraine and it would be discussed withholding some of this aid that is actually required by law that it be withheld if they can't certify corruption is being eliminated or being addressed? >> the certification in that case is done by the secretary of defense upon advice of his staff in consultation with the interagency community. we were fully supportive of that conditionality and the secretary of defense had already certified that conditionality had been met. >> so we agree we need to hold funds in the certification has not been addressed. i'm going to yield my time. 18 seconds, are you going to let that go? in that case i will yield back. thank you. >> so that certification took place in may, is that correct, mr. kent? >> i do not believe it was certified by may. i would refer to my colleague
laura cooper who has testified. it had not been done by may, because when i was visiting in may i was asked by laura to raise a specific issue that would meet the conditionality. >> the dod did meet and say they had the certification. >> yes, i think it was right after that time. >> we're talking about hearsay evidence. it's extraordinary to me that the committee has been able to get as much information as they have, direct or hearsay, given the obstruction. you gentlemen were both asked by the state department not to appear for your depositions, is that correct? >> we both received -- i believe i received initially a letter directing me not to appear, and once the committees issued a subpoena, i was under legal obligation to appear, and i am here today under subpoena. >> ambassador, were you also asked not to be part of the deposition? >> i was told by the state
department, don't appear under these circumstances. that was in the letter to me. and when i got the subpoena exactly as mr. kent said, that was different circumstances and i obeyed a legal subpoena. that's why i'm here as well. >> we were unable to hear testimony of mick mulvaney, john bolton, more than a dozen witnesses. if you have a problem with hearsay, you would have a lot more direct evidence if you weren't blocking that ability. you would have a lot more documents, documents you referred to with my colleague's questions, that had not yet been turned over by state or any other agency. is that correct, to your knowledge, gentlemen? >> we're both here under subpoena. i don't think either of us is going to comment why others have not shown up. >> but have any of the documents you turned over, to your knowledge, been turned over to the committee? >> no. >> mr. kent, following the july
25th call and through the first two weeks of august, were you involved in any efforts to arrange for president zelensky to make a statement announcing the two investigations president trump had talked about in the july 25th call? >> i was not, and i would never participate in an arrangement to have them announce vefr investigations. >> ambassador taylor, were you involved in such negotiations? >> no, sir. >> i want to show you a text between ambassador volker and yoma. he said, i agree with your approach. let's iron out statement and use that to get date and then president zelensky can go
forward with it? yermak replied, once we have a date, will call for a press briefing, announcing upcoming visit and outlining vision for the reboot of u.s.-ukraine relationship, including among other things burisma and the bidens. was that in the call? >> those appear to be the same things mentioned in the call and the questioning started by rudy giuliani. >> were you present to issue president zelensky a statement in order to get a white house meeting while they were happening? >> when this exchange happened on august 10, i was not. >> when did you learn about them? >> as ambassador taylor referenced in his testimony during oral answering, he heard on august 16. he then called me and we had a conversation. at that point i memorialized my concerns in a note to the file. >> ambassador taylor is the point person on the ground in ukraine. were you aware of this effort to