00:02 [tense synthesizer music] [cameras snapping]
00:24 [Adam] Do you swear or affirm that the testimony
you’re about to give is the truth, the whole truth,
and nothing but the truth, so help you God?
Based on questions and statements I have heard,
some of you on this committee appear to believe
that Russia and its security services
did not conduct a campaign against our country,
and that perhaps, somehow, for some reason, Ukraine did.
This is a fictional narrative that has been perpetrated
and propagated by the Russian security services themselves.
The unfortunate truth is that Russia was the foreign power
that systematically attacked
our democratic institutions in 2016.
In the course of this investigation,
I would ask that you please not promote
that so clearly advance Russian interests.
As Republicans and Democrats have agreed for decades,
Ukraine is a valued partner of the United States,
and it plays an important role in our national security,
and as I told the committee last month,
I refuse to be part of an effort
to legitimize an alternate narrative
that the Ukrainian government is a U.S. adversary
and that Ukraine, not Russia, attacked us in 2016.
Beginning in March 2019,
the situation at the embassy
and in Ukraine changed dramatically.
Specifically, the three priorities of security,
economy, and justice and our support
for Ukrainian democratic resistance to Russian aggression
became overshadowed by a political agenda
promoted by former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani
and a cadre of officials operating
with a direct channel to the White House.
Given the history of U.S. security assistance to Ukraine
and the bipartisan recognition of its importance,
I was shocked when, on July 18th,
an Office of Management and Budget staff member
surprisingly announced the hold
on Ukraine security assistance.
My clear impression was that the security assistance hold
was likely intended by the president
either as an expression of dissatisfaction
with the Ukrainians, who had not yet agreed
to the Burisma-Biden investigation,
or as an effort to increase the pressure on them to do so.
The four of us went to a nearby restaurant
and sat on an outdoor terrace.
I sat directly across from Ambassador Sondland,
and the two staffers sat off to our sides.
During the lunch, Ambassador Sondland said
that he was gonna call President Trump
to give him an update.
While Ambassador Sondland’s phone was not on speakerphone,
I could hear the president’s voice
through the earpiece of the phone.
The president’s voice was loud and recognizable,
and Ambassador Sondland held the phone
away from his ear for a period of time
presumably because of the loud volume.
I heard Ambassador Sondland greet the president
and explained he was calling from Kyiv.
I heard President Trump then clarify
that Ambassador Sondland was in Ukraine.
Ambassador Sondland replied, yes, he was in Ukraine,
and went on to state that President Zelensky,
quote, loves your ass.
I then heard President Trump ask,
So, he’s going to do the investigation?
Ambassador Sondland replied that he’s gonna do it,
adding that President Zelensky
will do anything you ask him to do.
I then took the opportunity to ask Ambassador Sondland
for his candid impression
of the president’s views on Ukraine.
In particular, I asked Ambassador Sondland
if it was true that the president
did not a, expletive, about Ukraine.
Ambassador Sondland agreed that the president
did not an, expletive, about Ukraine.
Ambassador Sondland stated that the president
only cares about big stuff.
I noted there was big stuff going on in Ukraine,
like a war with Russia,
and Ambassador Sondland replied that he meant big stuff
that benefits the president,
I’ve actually realized having listened to his deposition
that he was absolutely right,
that he wasn’t coordinating with us
because we weren’t doing the same thing that he was doing,
so I was upset with him that he wasn’t fully telling us
about all of the meetings that he was having,
and he said to me, But I’m briefing the president.
I’m briefing Chief of Staff Mulvaney,
I’m briefing Secretary Pompeo,
and I’ve talked to Ambassador Bolton.
Who else do I have to deal with?
And the point is we have a robust inter-agency process
that deals with Ukraine.
It includes Mr. Holmes, it includes Ambassador Taylor
as the charge in Ukraine.
It includes a whole load of other people,
but it struck me when, yesterday,
when you put upon the screen Ambassador Sondland’s emails
and who was on these emails,
and he said these are the people who need to know
that he was absolutely right,
because he was being involved
in a domestic political errand,
and we were being involved
in national security foreign policy,
and those two things had just diverged,
so he was correct, and I had not put my finger on that
at the moment, but I was irritated with him
and angry with him that he wasn’t fully coordinating,
and I did say to him, Ambassador Sondland, Gordon,
I think this is all going to blow up, and here we are.
Nowhere is there a Holmes tells Taylor
what the President of the United States told Sondland.
May I answer that question? 13 conversations.
05:20 [Jim] Yeah, I’ll get to ya, I’ll give ya a chance
here in a second, but 13 conversations,
13 conversations from their star witness.
You’re their closing witness,
and he can’t remember a call
from a guy he works with every single day?
I refer to the call, and everyone is nodding.
Of course, that’s what’s going on.
Of course, the president is pressing
for a Biden investigation
before he’ll do these things the Ukrainians want.
There was nodding agreement,
so did I go through every single word in the call?
No, because everyone, by that point, agreed.
It was obvious what the president was pressing for,
and Ambassador Taylor, as you’ve just outlined,
had all those other interactions
with all these other people. You didn’t share it with us.
06:00 [Adam] Mr. Jordan, please do not interrupt.
But, sir, sir, [Jim stammering]
but sir, my vivid recollection of an event
I was involved with was a touchstone experience
that, to me, validated what, [Jim muttering]
sir, if I could, Mr. Jordan, please.
Do not interrupt. What we believed.