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if you are looking for local news, we will have a newscast with the latest stories and weather on the website in just a few minutes we'll send it to lester holt now. this is an nbc news special report. the trial of donald j. trump. here is lester holt. >> good morning, everyone. it is 10:00 in the east. 7:00 in the west. coming back on the air to bring you nbc news live coverage of the senate impeachment trial of president trump, a rare saturday session for the senate and today for the first time, the president's defenders take center stage. it's their turn. for the pastdays, democratic house managers, the prosecution laid out the case against the president. now the defense team led by white house lawyer jay sekulow will respond for several hours today and then again at greater length next week and we will see whether the defense team will continue to attack the process and to what extent they address the specific allegations
levelled by the democrats. the facts of the case. here with me once again, nbc news legal analyst and former u.s. attorney carol lam but start with jeff bennett, lay out the scene for us. >> reporter: we're told by the president's lead attorney jay sekulow to expect a shorter session than the ones we've seen from the democrats the last three days, to expect a trailer of sorts, coming attraction, really, as the president's legal defense team mounts its more aggressive case on monday. partly because president trump said he views weekend coverage the death valley of television. you can expect the president's legal defense team will undercut the two articles of impeachment, abuse of power, obstruction of congress. the real question is, will they engage on the facts? all of the facts and evidence the democrats laid out. ukrainian pressure campaign in the spring of 2019 that began with the sidelining, the smearing, the ouster of marie
yovanovitch. of course, there was that audio tape that was released yesterday that purports to be the voice of president trump saying that he wanted marie yovanovitch fired. the pressure campaign continuing through the summer, where questions asked at the pentagon where the aid to ukraine was not released and then ultimately ending in september. when the white house released the aid, democrats say because the president and the white house got caught red handed. >> jeff, thank you very much. go to hallie jackson at the white house with more on that recording apparently featuring the voice of the president. hallie? >> reporter: recorded and released, lester, by abc news. we should note nbc news also obtained the recording, play for you what the interaction was back and forth between the associate of rudy giuliani's lev parnes. >> biggest problem there where i think you need to start is we've got to get rid of the ambassador. >> what, the ambassador of ukraine? >> walking around, telling
everybody wait, going to get impeached. just wait. it's incredible. >> reporter: the voice of a man sounding like the president issuing what sounds like an ultimatum. >> get rid of her. get her out tomorrow. i don't care. get rid of her tomorrow. take her out. >> reporter: that's what you hear in that recording. we should note nbc news has not independently verified the content of that recording and the attorney general for les parnes, the person on the other side in that tape said it has been turned over to house democrats. here's why it's significant. the president said and in the transcript released with a rough call, the summary of the call with the ukrainian leader, he did not care for ambassador marie yovanovitch a, the then ambassador to ukraine. on fox this morning, he said he has the right to get rid of whoever he wants. he can hire and fire the ambassadors he chooses, but democrats are seizing on this as yet another example of new evidence that's come out since the impeachment proceedings
happened over on the house side, an example of why, they say, they need to see documents and witnesses to back up their case, lester. >> hallie, with that, let me turn to "meet the press" moderator chuck todd. it would be interesting if it would be allowed into evidence but what's the appetite for that as we go into the defense's case? >> boy, if you just base it on rhetoric you've heard from republican senators as of last night and privately when you hear some conversations i've had with some sources, it's pretty clear that we're not going to see new evidence or new testimony unless the president's defense team somehow insults the republican side of those jurors or at least those handful that are open-minded on witnesses, and that's why i think, you know, watching today what attack do they take? do they accept the facts and argue that he had the ability to do this, do they try another case or do they dispute the fa facts is actually the politically
riskiest thing for the president's team to do because that might incentivize a handful of republicans to say, well, let's get more information, more evidence, more witnesses to settle this dispute on the facts. >> let me go to carol lam with me before we get ready for the session to start. do you think that we'll hear any direct rebuttal to what the defense put on or will this be an asymmetric presentation? >> that's an interesting question. a lot of house managers were anticipating the defense and they were rebutting what they anticipate the defense is going to be. so now you're going to have the defense saying we're going last in time, so we're going to try to erase from your minds what you heard from that house impeachment managers, including their pre-rebuttal of our defense, we're going to put on our all of these facts and hope that you just hear us and forget about what they say. and the odd thing about all this is that when you talk about what's introduced in the trial
and what's not, this is not like any other trial where you tell the jurors, don't read the newspapers, don't get outside information. >> that ship has sailed. >> everything here is coming in, whether it was, quote, in evidence or not, the senators are going home, reading the papers, they're watching the news. >> with that, let's take you to the senate floor. >> -- united states sitting for the trial of the articles of impeachment. exhibited by the house of representatives against donald john trump, president of the united states. >> the majority leader is recognized. >> should expect 2 to 3 hours of session today. take a quick break if needed. >> pursuant to the provisions of resolution 483. the counsel for the president have 24 hours to make a presentation of their case. the senate will now hear you. presidi presiding officer recognizing mr. sifiloni.
>> thank you. leader mcconnell, democratic leader schumer, thank you for your time and thank you for your attention. i want to start out briefly giving you a short plan for today. we're going to be very respectful of your time as leader mcconnell said. we anticipate going about 2 to 3 hours at most. and to be out of here by 1:00, at the latest. we're going to focus today on two points. you heard the house manager speak for nearly three days, we don't anticipate using that much time. we don't believe that they have come anywhere close to meeting their burden for what they're asking you to do. in fact, we believe that when
you hear the facts and that's what we intend to cover today, the facts, you will find that the president did absolutely nothin and we'll have more presentations in greater detail on monday, but what we intend to do today is go through their record that they established in the house and we intend to show you some of the evidence they deduced in the house that they decided over their three days and 24 hours that they didn't have enough time or made a decision not to show you, and every time you see one of these pieces of evidence, ask yourself, why didn't i see that in the first three days? they had it. it came out of their process.
why didn't they show that to the senate? and i think that's an important question because as house managers, really, their goal should be to give you all of the facts because they're asking you to do something very, very consequential, and i would submit to you, to use the word that mr. schiff used a lot, very, very dangerous, and that's the second point that i'd ask you to keep in mind today. they're asking you not only to overturn the results of the last election, but as i've said before, they're asking you to remove president trump from the ballot in an election that's occurring in approximately nine months. they're asking you to tear up
all of the ballots across this country on your own initiative. take that decision away from the american people, and i don't think they spent one minute of their 24 hours talking to you about the consequences of that for our country. not one minute. they didn't tell you what that would mean for our country. today, this year, and into our future, they're asking you to do something that no senate has ever done, and they're asking you to do it with no evidence. and that's wrong, and i ask you to keep that in mind. i ask you to keep that in mind. so what i would do is point out one piece of evidence for you
and then i'm going to turn it over to my colleagues and they will walk you through their record and they will show you things that they didn't show you. now, they didn't talk a lot about the transcript of the call, which i would submit is the best evidence of what happened on the call. and they said things over and over again that are simply not true. one of them was, there's no evidence of president trump's interest in burden sharing. that wasn't the real reason, but they didn't tell you that burden sharing was discussed in the call, in the transcript of the call. they didn't tell you that. why? let me read it to you. here's the president, and we'll go through the transcript. i'm not going through the whole transcript.
we'll make copies available of the transcript so you can have it. the president said, and they read this line, i will say that we do a lot for ukraine. we spend a lot of effort and a lot of time, but they stopped there. they didn't read the following. "much more than european countries are doing, and they should be helping you more than they are. germany does almost nothing for you. all they do is talk. and i think it's something that you should really ask them about. when i was speaking to angela merkel, she talks ukraine, but she doesn't do anything. a lot of european countries are the same way, so i think it's something you want the look a-- look at. but united states has been very good to ukraine."
that's where they picked up with the quote, but left out the entire discussion of burden sharing. what does president zelensky say? does he disagree? no. he agrees. they didn't tell you this. didn't tell you this. didn't have time in 24 hours to tell you this. yes, you are absolutely right. not only 100%, but actually 100%. and i can tell you the following. i did talk to angela merkel and i did meet with her and i also met and talked with mccrohn and i told them they are not doing quite as much as they need to be doing on the issues with the sanctions. they are not enforcing the sanctions, they are not working hat even though should, work for logically the european union
should be our biggest partner, but technically, the united states is a much bigger partner than the european union and i'm very grateful to you for that because then the united states is doing quite a lot for ukraine. much more than the european union, especially when we are talking about sanctions against the russian federation. you heard a lot about the importance of confronting russia and we're going to talk about that. and you will hear that president trump has a strong record on confronting russia. you will hear that president trump has a strong record of support for ukraine. you will hear that from the witnesses in their record, that they didn't tell you about.
so that's one very important example. they come here to the senate, and they ask you, remove a president. tear up the ballots in all of hey don't bother to read the key evidence of the discussion of burden sharing that's in the call itself. now, that's emblematic of their entire presentation. i'm going to turn the presentation over to my colleague, mike, who will give you more examples of this and with each example, ask yourself, why am i just hearing about this
now? after 24 hours of sitting through arguments. why? and the reason is, we can talk about the process. we will talk about the law, but today, we are going to confront them on the merits of their argument. now, they have the burden of proof. and they have not come close to meeting it. in fact, and i want to ask you to think about one issue regarding process, beyond process. if you were really interested in finding out the truth, why would you run a process the way they ran? if you were really confident in your position on the facts, why would you lock everybody out of it from the president's side? why would you do that? we will talk about the process arguments, but the process arguments also are compelling
evidence on the merits because it's evidence that they themselves don't believe in the facts of their case, and the fact they came here for 24 hours and hid evidence from you is further evidence that they don't really believe in the facts of their case, that this is, for all their talk about election interference, that they're here to perpetrate the most mass iiv interference in an election in american history and we can't allow that to happen. it would violate our constitution, it would violate our history, it would violate our obligations to the future, and most importantly, it would violate the sacred trust that
the american people have placed in you and have placed in them. the american people decide elections. in nine months, so we will be very efficient. we will begin our presentation today. we will show you a lot of evidence that they should have showed you, and we will finish efficiently and quickly so that we can all go have an election. thank you and i yield to my colleague, michael papero. >> mr. chief justice, members of senate, good morning. again, my name is michael
purpura. it is my honor and privilege to appear before you today on behalf of donald j. trump. >> and what is the president's response? well, it reads like a classic organized crime shakedown, short of its rambling character and in not so many words, this is the essence of what the president communicates. we've been very good to your country, very good. no other country has done as much as we have, but you know what, i don't see much reciprocity here. i hear what you want, i have a favor i want from you though and i'm going to say this only seven times, so you better listen good. i want you to make up dirt on my political opponent, on this and on that. i'm going to put you in touch with people, not just any people, but attorney general of the united states, my attorney
general bill barr. he's got the whole weight of the american law enforcement behind him, and i'm going to put you in touch with rudy. you're going to love him, trust me. you know what i'm asking and so i'm only going to say this a few more times, in a few more ways, and by the way, don't call me again. i'll call you when you've done when i've asked. this is in some character what the president was trying to communicate. >>ot the real call. that's not the evidence here. that's not the transcript that mr. cipollone just referenced. we can shrug it off and say we were making light or a joke, but that was in a hearing in the united states house of representatives discussing the removal of the president of the
united states from office. there are very few things, if any, that can be as grave and as serious, let's stick with the evidence. let's talk about the facts and the evidence in this case. the most important piece of evidence we have in the case and before you is the one we began with nearly four months ago, th 25, 2019, telephone call between id the real transcript. if that were the only enchad, i show that the democrats' entire theory is completely unfounded. but the transcript is far from the only evidence, demonstrating that the president did nothing wrong. once you sweep away all the
bluster and innuendo, the selective leaks, the closed door examinations of the democrats' hand-picked witnesses, the staged public ith are six key facts that have not and will not change. first, the transcript shows that the president did not condition either security assistance or a meeting on anything. the paused security assistance funds aren't even mentionedn the second, president zelensky and other ukrainian officials have repeatedly said that there was no quid pro quo and no pressure on them to review anything. third, president zelensky and other high ranking officials did
not even know, did not even know the security assistance was paused until the end of august. over a month after the july 25 call.urth not testified that the president himself said that there was any connection between any investigations and security assistance, a presidential meeting or anything else. fifth, the security assistance flowed on september 11th, and a presidential meeting took place on september 25 without the ukrainian government announcing any investigations. finally, the democrats' blind drive to impeach the president does not and cannot change the fact as attested to by the democrats' own witnesses that president trump has been a better friend and stronger supporter of ukraine than his predecessor.
those are the facts. we plan to address some of them today and some of them next week. each one of these six facts standing alone is enough to sink the democrats' case. combined, they establish what we've known since the beginning. the president did absolutely nothing wrong. the democrats' allegation that the president engaged in a quid pro quo is unfounded and contrary to the facts. the truth is simple and it's right before our eyes. the president was at all times acting in our national interest and pursuant to his oath of office. but before i dive in and speak further about the facts, let me mention something that my colleagues will discuss in greater detail. the facts that i'm about to discuss today are the democrats house manag over 2 hours.
and it repeatedly claimed to you and their evidence is overwhelming and uncontested. it's not. i'm going to share a number of facts with you this morning that the house managers didn't share with you during more than 21 hours. i'll ask you, as mr. cipollone already mentioned, when you hear me say something that the house managers didn't present to you, ask yourself, why didn't they tell me that? is that something i would have liked to have known? why am i hearing it for the first time from the president's lawyers? it's not because they didn't have enough time. that's for sure. they only showed you a very selective part of the record, their record. and they, remember this, they have the very heavy burden of proof before you. the president is forced to mount
a defense in this chamber against the record that the democrats developed. the record that we have to go on today is based entirely on house democratic facts pre-cleared in a basement bunker. not mostly, entirely. yet, even those facts absolutely exonerate the president. let's start with the transcript. the president did not link security assistance to any investigations on his july 25 call. on july 25, president trump called president zelensky. this is their second phone call. both congratulate story. on april 1st, called to congratulate president zelensky on winning the presidential election. on july 25, he called because he won a large number of seats in parliament.
on september 24, before speaker pelosi had any idea what president trump and president zelensky actually said on the july 25 call, she called for an impeachment inquiry into president trump. in the interest of full transparency and to show he had done nothing wrong, president trump took the unprecedented, unprecedented step of declassifying the call transcripts so that the american people could see for themselves exactly what the two presidents discussed. so what did president trump say to president zelensky on the july 25 call? president trump raised two issues. i'm going to be speaking about those two issues a fair amount this morning. they're the two issues that go to the core of how president trump approaches foreign aid. when it comes to sending u.s. taxpayer money overseas, the president is focused on burden sharing and corruption.
first, the president, rightly, had real concerns about whether europeans in other countries were contributing their fair share to ensuring ukraine security. second, corruption. since the fall of the soviet union, ukraine has suffered for one of the worst environments for corruption in the world. a parade of witnesses testified in the house about the pervasive corruption in ukraine and how it is in america's foreign policy and national security interest to help ukraine combat corruption. turning the call, right off the bat. president trump mentioned burden sharing to president zelensky. president trump told president zelensky that germany does almost nothing for you, and a lot of european countries are the same way. president trump specifically mentioned speaking to angela merkel of germany, whom he said, talks ukraine but she doesn't do anything. president zelensky agreed. you are absolutely right.
he said that he spoke with the leaders of germany and france and told them that they are not doing quite as much as they need to be doing. so right at the beginning of the call, president trump was talking about burden sharing. president trump then turned to corruption in the form of foreign interference in the 2016 presidential election. there was absolutely nothing wrong with asking a foreign leader to help get to the bottom of all forms of foreign interference in an american presidential election. you'll hear more about that later from one of my colleagues. what else did the president say? the president also warned president zelensky that he appeared on surrounding himself with some of the same people as his predecessor and suggested that a very fair and very good prosecutor was shut down by some very bad people. again, one of my colleagues will speak more about that. the content of the july 25 call was in line with the trump administration's legitimate concerns about corruption and reflected the hope that
president zelensky, who campaigned on a platform of reform, would finally clean up ukraine. so what did president trump and president zelensky discuss on the july 25 call? two issues. burden sharing, corruption. just as importantly, what wasn't discussed on the july 25 call. there was no discussion of the paused security assistance on the july 25 call. house democrats keep pointing to president zelensky's statement that i would also like to thank you for your great support in the area of defense. but he wasn't talking there about the paused security assistance. he tells us in the very next sentence exactly what he was talking about. javelin missiles. we are ready,ntinues, to contin. we're almost ready to buy more javelins from the united states for defense rpjalins are the an
missiles, only made available to the ukrainians by president trump. president obama refused to give javelins to the ukrainians for years. javelin sales were not part, were not part of the security assistance that had been paused at the time of the call. javelin sales have nothing to do with the paused security assistance. those are different programs entirely. but don't take my word for it. both former ambassador to ukraine marie yovanovitch and nfc senior director timothy morrison confirmed that the javelin missiles and the security assistance were unrelated. the house managers didn't tell you about ambassador yovanovitch and tim morrison's testimony. why not? they could have taken two to five minutes out of 21 hours to make sure you understood that the javelin sales being discussed were not part of the paused security assistance. this puts the following statement by president trump in
a whole new light, doesn't it? i would like you to do us a favor though because ukraine knows a lot about it. as everyone knows by now, president trump asked president zelensky to do us a favor and he made clear that us referred to our country and not himself. more importantly, the president was not connecting. do us a favor to the javelin sales, that president zelensky mentions, it makes no sense in the language there but even if he had been, the javelin sales were not part of the security assistance that had been temporarily paused. i want to be very clear about this. when the house democrats claim that the javelin sales discussed on the july 25th call part of the -- it's misleading. they're trying to confuse you instead of unpacking it the right way. there was no mention of the paused security assistance on the call and certainly f nm
president trump. as you know, head of state calls are staffed by a number of aides on both sides. lieutenant colonel alexander vindman, detailee at the national security counsel raised a concern about the call and that was just a policy concern. lieutenant colonel vindman admitted he did not know there was a crime or anything of that nature but he had deep policy concerns. policy concerns. so there you have it. but the president, the president sets the foreign policy. in a democracy such as ours, the e llected leaders make foreign policy, while the une llected staff, such as vindman, implemented the policy. other witnesses were on the july 25 call and had very different reactions than that of lieutenant colonel vindman.
lieutenant generaliserf the vice president, former acting national security adviser and long serving and highly decorated veteran, attended the call. according to general kellogg, i was on the much reported july 25 call between president donald trump and president zelensky. as an exceedingly proud member of the trump administration, and a 34 year highly experienced combat veteran who retired with the rank of lieutenant general in the early, i heard nothing wrong or improper on the call. i had and have no concerns. the house manager said that other witnesses were also troubled by the july 25 call. and identified as jennifer williams and tim morrison. jennifer williams who works for
kellogg, now cla claims to have concerns about the call. they were very careful in the way they worded them. what they didn't tell you is that ms. williams was so troubled at the time of the call that she told exactly zero people of her concern. she told no one for two months following the call. not one person. m ms. williams didn't raise any concerns, not with lieutenant kellogg, not with counsel, not with anyone. ms. williams waited to announce her concerns until speaker pelosi publicly announced her impeachment inquiry. the house managers didn't tell you that. why not? tim morrison, lieutenant colonel vindman's boss, was also on the call. mr. morrison reported the call to the national security counsel lawyers, not because he was troubled by anything on the call
but because he was worried about leaks and in his words, how it would play out in washington's polarized environment. i want to be claeear, mr. morrin testified, i was not concerned anything illegal was discussed. mr. morrison further testified there was nothing improper and nothing illegal about anything that was said on the call. in fact, mr. morrison repeatedly testified that he disagreed with the assessment of colonel vindman that he said anything improper at all. here's mr. morrison. >> in that transcript, does the president not ask zelensky to look into the bidens? >> mr. chairman, i can only tell you what i was thinking at the time. that is not what i understood the president to be doing. >> do you believe in your opinion that the president of that president zelensky undertake these investigations? >> no, sir. >> you didn't hear the president make a demand, did you? >> no, sir. >> again,perspective, mr.
morrison? >> that is correct, sir. >> but is it were listening to the call, you weren't thinking, wow, the president is bribing the ukrain >> or he was extorting the president of ukraine. >> no, sir. >> or doing anything improper. >> correct, sir. >> significantly, the ukrainian government never raised any concerns about the july 25 call. just hours after the call, ambassador william taylor, head of the u.s. mission in ukraine had dinner with the then secretary of defense counsel who seemed to think that the call went fine, went well. he wasn't disturbed by anything. the house managers didn't tell you that. why not? ambassador kurt volker, the u.s. special representative for ukraine, was not on the call but
ambassador volker spoke regularly officials in the ukraine government and even met with president zelensky the day after the call. he testified that in no way, shape or form in either the readouts from the united states or ukraine that he received any indication whatsoever for anything that resembles a quid pro quo on the july 25 call. here's ambassador volker. >> in fact, the day after the call, you met with president zelensky, this would be july 26th. in that meeting, he made no mention of a quid pro quo. >> no. >> he made no mention of withholding the aid. >> no. >> no mention of bribery. >> no. >> the fact is the ukrainians were not even aware of the hold on aid, is that correct? >> that's correct. >> they didn't tell you about this testimony from ambassador volker. why not? president zelensky himself
confirmed on three separate occasions theygood phone call, nobo pushed me. when president zelensky's adviser andre yermak asked if he felt there was a connection between u.s. military aid and the request for investigations, he was adamant that we never had that feeling and we did not have the feeling this aid was connected to any one specific issue. of course, the best evidence that there was no pressure or quid pro quo is the statements of the ukrainians themselves. the fact that president zelensky felt no pressure, did not perceive there to be a connection between security assistance and investigations would, in any ordinary case, in any court, be totally fatal to the prosecution. the judge would throw it out, the case would be over, what more do you need to know? the house team knows that.
they know the record inside out, upside down, left and right. so what do they do? how do they try to overcome the direct words from president zelensky and his administration that they felt no pressure? they tell you that the ukrainians must have felt pressure. regardless of what they've said. they try to overcome the devastating evidence against them by apparently claiming to be mind readers. they know what's in president zelensky's mind better than president zelensky does. president zelensky said he felt no pressure. the house managers tell you they know better. and this is really a theme of the house case. i want you to remember this. every time the democrats say that president trump made demands or issued a quid pro quo to president zelensky on the july 25 call, they are saying
that president zelensky and his top advisers are being untruthful. and they acknowledge that's what they're saying. they said it over the past few days. tell me how that helps u.s. foreign policy and national security to say that about our friends. we know there was no quid pro quo on the call. we know that from the transcript, but the call is not the only evidence showing that there was no quid pro quo. there couldn't possibly have been a quid pro quo because the ukrainians did not even know that the security assistance was on hold until it was reported in the media by politico at the end of august, more than a month after the july 25 call. think about this. the democrats accuse the president of leveraging security assistance to supposedly force
president zelensky to announce investigations, but how can that possibly be when the ukrainians were not even aware that the security assistance was paused? there can't be a threat without the person knowing he's being threatened. there can't be a quid pro quo without the quo. ambassador volker testified that the ukrainians did not know about the hold until reading about it in politico. ambassador taylor and tim morrison both agreed. deputy assistant secretary of state george kemp testified that no ukrainian official contacted him about the paused security assistance until that first intense week in september. let's hear from the four of them. >> i believe the ukrainians became aware of the hold on august 29th, and not before. that date is the first time any of them asked me about the hold by forwarding an article that had been published in politico. >> it was only after august 29th when the politico argument, that
i got calls from several of the ukrainian officials. >> you mentioned the august 28th politico article, was that the first time that you believe the ukrainians may have had a real sense that the aid was on hold? >> yes. >> mr. kemp, had you had any of you concerned about -- when was the first time ukrainian official contacted you about potential withholding of u.s. aid? >> it was after the article in politico came out, that first intense week of september. >> it wasn't until the politico article? >> that's correct. i received a text message from one of my ukrainian counterparts on august 29th, forwarding that article and that's the first they raised it with me. >> the house managers didn't show you this testimony, from any of these four witnesses. why not? why didn't they give you the context of thisstimony? and think about this as well.
if the ukrainians had been aware of the review on security assistance, they of course would have said something. there were numerous high level diplomatic meetings between senior ukrainian and u.s. officials during the summer, after the review on the security assistance began but before president zelensky politico article. if the ukrainians had known about the hold, they would have raised it in one of those meetings, yet the ukrainians didn't say anything about the hold at a single one of those meetings. not on july 9, not on july 10, not on july 25, not on july 26, not on august 27. at none of those meetings, none of those meetings did the ukrainians mention the pause on security assistance. ambassador volker testified that he was regularly in touch with the senior highest level
officials in the ukrainian government and ukrainian officials would confide things and would have asked if they had any questions about the aid. nobody said a word to ambassador volker until the end of august. and then within hours of the politico article being published, mr. yermak texted volker with a link to the article to ask about the report. in other words, as soon as the ukrainians learned about the hold, they asked about it. now, mr. schiff said something during the 21 hours or more than 21 hours that he and his team spoke that i actually agree with, which is when he talked about common sense. many of us at the tables and in the room are former prosecutors at the state, federal or military level. prosecutors talk a lot about common sense. common sense comes into play
right here. the top ukrainian official said nothing, nothing at all, to their u.s. counterparts during all of these meetings about the pause on security assistance but then, boom, as soon as the politico article comes out, suddenly, in that first intense week of september in george kemp's words, security assistance was all they wanted to talk about. what must we conclude if we're using our common sense? that they didn't know about the pause until the politico article on august 28th? no activity before, article comes out, flurry of activity. that's common sense, and it's absolutely fatal to the house manager's case. the house managers are aware that the ukrainians' lack of knowledge on the hold is fatal to their case. and so they desperately tried to muddy thewaeputy assistance secretary of defense regarding conversations with
people at the ukraine embassy that could have been about u.s. security assistance to ukraine. what they did not tell you is that ms. cooper testified that she could not say for certain whether the emails were about the pause on security assistance. she couldn't say one way or the other. she also testified that she didn't want to speculate about the meaning of the words in the emails. the house managers also didn't tell you ms. cooper testified that i reviewed my calendar and the only meeting where i can recall ukrainian official raising the issue of security assistance with me is on september 5th at the ukrainian independence day celebration. the house managers didn't tell you that. the house managers also mentioned that one of ambassador volker's advisers, catherine kroft, claimed the ukrainian embassy officials learned aboer politico article but when asked when she heard from the ukraine
embassy officials, she said she didn't remember the specifics and didn't think she took notes. miss kroft didn't remember when news of the hold became public. remember though, ambassador volker, her boss, who was in regular aides, i believe they became aware on august 29 and not before. this is all the house managers have, in contrast to the testimony of volker, taylor, morrison, and kent. the texts from yermak, the words of the high ranking ukrainians themselves and the flurry of activity that began on august 28th and that's the evidence that they want you to consider as the basis to remove the duly elected president of the united states. the bottom line is that it is not possible for the brief security assistance reviewed used as leverage when president zelensky and other top ukrainian officials did not know about it.
that's what you need to know. that's what the house managers didn't tell you. the house managers know how important this issue is. when we briefly mentioned it a few days ago, they told us we needed to check our facts. we did. we're right. president zelensky and his top aides didn't know about the pause on security assistance at the time of the july 25 call and did not know about it until august 28 when the politico article was published. we know there was no quid pro quo on the july 25 call, we know the ukrainians did not know security assistance had been paused at the time of the call. there is simply no evidence anywhere that president trump ever linked security assistance to any witnesses have never spoken to the president at all. let alone about ukraine security assistance. the two people in the house
record who asked president trump about whether there was any linkage between security assistance and investigations were told in no uncertain terms there's no connection between the two. when ambassador of the european union gordon sondland asked the president in approximately the september 9 time frame, the president told him, i want nothing, i want nothing, i want no quid pro quo. even earlier on august 31, senator ron johnson asked the president if there was any connection between security assistance and investigations, the president answered, no way. i would never do that. who told you that? two witnesses, the ambassador taylor and tim morrison said they came to believe security assistance was linked to investigations, but both witnesses based this belief entirely on what they heard from ambassador sondland before
ambassador sondland spoke to the president. neither taylor nor morrison ever spoke to the president about the sonand come to believe that there was any connection between security assistance and investigations? again, the house managers didn't tell you. why not? it is public testimony that ambassador sondland used variations of the words assume, presume, guess, speculate, and belief over 30 times. here's some examples. >> that was my presumption, my personal preresumption, my beli. that i presume it might have to be done to get the aid released. it was presumption. i've been very clear to when i was presuming and i was pruchlipruch prooumiproou presuming, it would be speculation. that was the problem, mr. goldman. no one told me directly the aid
was tied to anything. i was presuming it was. >> didn't show you any of this testimony, not once during their 21 hour presentation. 21 hours, more than 21 hours. and they couldn't give you the context to evaluate ambassador sondland. all the democrats have to support the alleged link between security assistance and investigations is ambassador sondland's assumptions and presumptions. we remember this exchange. >> is it correct no one on this planet told you that donald trump was tying this aid to the investigations because if you're answer is yes, then the chairman's wrong and the headline on cnn is wrong. no one on this planet told you that president trump was tying aid to investigations, yes or no? >> yes. >> so you really have no testimony that ties president trump to a scheme to withhold
aid from ukraine in exchange for these investigations. >> other than my own presumption. >> when he was done presuming, assuming and guessing, ambassador sondland finally decided to ask president trump exactly. what does the president want from ukraine? here's the answer. >> president trump, when i asked him the open ended question, as i testified previously, what do you want from ukraine? his answer is i want nothing, i want no quid pro quo, tell zelensky to do the right thing. that's all i got from president trump. >> the president was unequivocal. ambassador sondland stated this was the final word he heard from the president of the united states, and once he learned this, he text messaged ambassadors taylor and volker, the president has been crystal clear. no quid pro quos of any kind. if you are skeptical of ambassador sondland's testimony, it was corroborated by the
statement of one of your colleagues, senator johnson. senator johnson also had heard from ambassador sondland that the security assistance might be linked to the investigations. so on august 31, senator johnson asked the president directly. whether there was some kind of arrangement where ukraine would take some action and the hold would be lifted. again, president trump's answer was crystal clear. no way. i would never do that. who told you that. senator johnson wrote, i have accurately characterized his reaction as adamant, vehement, and angry. they didn't tell you about senator johnson's letter. ats'not? ntire quid pro quo theory is based on nothing more than the initial speculation of one person,e t de ambassador's mistaken belief does not become true merely because he repeated it many
times and apparently to many people. under secretary of state david hale, george kent and ambassador volker all testified there was no connection whatsoever between security assistance and investigations. here's ambassador volker. >> you had a meeting with the president of the united states and you believe that the policy issues he raised concerning ukraine were valid, correct? >> yes. >> did the president of the united states ever say to you that he was not going to allow aid of the united states to go to ukraine unless there were investigations into brees burisma, the bidens or the 2016 elections? >> no, he did not. >> did the ukrainians ever tell you that they understood that they would not get a meeting with the president of the united states, a phone call with the president of the united states, military aid or foreign aid from the united states unless they unds to undertook investigations of burisma or the 2016 elections? >> no, they did not.
>> the house managers never told you any of this. why not? why can't they shdidn't they sh testimony, why didn't they tell you about this testimony? why didn't they put ambassador sondland's testimony in its full and proper context for your consideration? because none of this fits their narrative, and it wouldn't lead to the predetermined outcome. thank you for your attention, i yield to mr. sekulow. >> mr. chief justice, majority leader mcconnell, democratic leader schumer, house managers, members of the senate. let me begin by saying that you cannot simply decide this case
in a vacuum. mr. schiff said yesterday, you should put yourself in someone else's shoes. let's, for a moment, put ourselves in the shoes of the president of the united states right now. before he was sworn into office, he was subjected to an invefat investigation called cross fire. the president within six months of his inauguration found a special counsel being appointed to investigate a russia collusion theory. in their opening statement, several members of the house managers tried to once again relitigate the muller case.
this is part one of the mueller report. 199 pages. the house managers in their presentation a couple of times referenced this for that. let me tell you something. this costs $32 million. this investigation took 2800 subpoenas. this investigation had 500 search warrants. this had 230 orders for the following ecords. conclusion and i'm going to quote from the mueller report itself. it could be found on page 173. as it relates to this whole
matter of collusion and conspiracy, ultimately, the words of bob mueller in his report, this investigation did not establish that the campaign coordinated or conspired with the russian government in its election interference activities. let me say that again. this, the mueller report, resulted in this. that, for that. ultimately, the investigation did not establish that the campaign coordinated or conspired with the russian government in its election-related interference activities. this for that. that. in in his summation on thursday night,nd instead decided he would listen tout the
issue himself. apparently did not blindly trust some of the advice he was being given by the intelligence agencies. first of all, let me be clear. disagreeing with the president's decision on foreign policy matters or whose advice he's going to take is in no way an impeachable offense. second, mr. schiff,