Transcript for Rep. Adam Schiff delivers opening remarks on 3rd day of House impeachment hearings
Last week we heard from three experienced diplomats. He testified about president trump scheme to condition official acts a White House meeting and hundreds of millions of dollars of US military aid to fight the Russians. On a deliverable. By the new Ukrainian president's a Lansky. Too politically mode investigations. That trump believe would help his reelection campaign. One of those investigations involve the Biden's. And the other involved a discredited conspiracy theory that Ukraine and not Russia was responsible. For interfering in our 20s16 election. As a master saw Monday would later tell career foreign service officer David Holmes immediately after speaking to the president. Trump did not give a he then use an expletive. About Ukraine. He cares about big stuff that benefits the president. Like the bite investigation. That Giuliani was pushing. To press a foreign leader to announce an investigation into his political rival. Present trumpet his own personal and political interests above those of the nation. He undermined our military and diplomatic support for a key ally. And undercut US anti corruption efforts in Ukraine. How could our diplomats urged Ukraine to refrain from political investigations of its own citizens. If the president of the United States was urging Ukraine to engage in precisely the same kind of corrupt and political investigations. Of one of our own citizens. At the White House career professionals became concerned the president trump through an irregular channel that involved is acting chief of staff mental they need. EU investor Gordon summoned and Rudy Giuliani. Was pushing a policy towards Ukraine at odds with a national interest. This morning we hear from two of the national security professionals who became aware of those efforts. Lieutenant colonel Alex have been men whose family Fred oppression in the Soviet Union when he was a toddler. Is a career army officer. An Iraq War veteran. Who was awarded a purple heart. And an expert in Russia and Ukraine. Who has worked at the highest levels of the Pentagon. In July 2018 he was detailed to the White House in part to coordinate policy on Ukraine. Jennifer Williams is a career foreign service officer who is currently detail to the office of the vice president. And responsible for Europe and Eurasia related issues. Following his initial and congratulatory phone call Ukrainian presents a Lynn ski on April 21. President trump asked vice president parents to represent him at excellence d.'s upcoming inauguration. Ms. Williams was working on logistics for the trip. Pence would be a coveted attendee. Second in significance only to the president and would have sent an important signal of support. To the new Ukrainian president. In early may however Rudy Giuliani had been planning to go to Ukraine to pursue the president's interest in having the Biden's investigative. But had to call off the trip after it became public. Among others Giuliani blamed people around so Lynn ski for having to cancel. And claim that they were antagonistic. To trump. Three days later the president called off the vice president's attendance excellent skis inauguration. Instead a lower level delegation was named energy secretary Rick Perry and that's disarmament and a pastor Kurt Volker. The three amigos. Seder Ron Johnson and lieutenant colonel than men would also attend. After returning from the inauguration several members of the delegation briefed president trump on their encouraging first interactions. Was a Lansky. They urge trump to meet with the Ukrainian president. But trump instead criticized Ukraine. And instructed them to. Work with Judy. -- work with gritty. A few weeks later. On July 10. Massa Solomon met at the white house with a group of US and Ukrainian officials including colonel than men and formed a group that according to cheapest apple they need. The White House meeting sought by the Ukrainian president which from what happens if Ukraine undertook certain investigations. National security advisor Bolton abruptly ended the meeting. And said afterwards that he would not be part of whatever drug deal Solomon ambled mania are cooking up on this. Undeterred some abrupt Ukrainian delegation downstairs to another part of the White House and was more explicit. According to witnesses. Ukraine needed to investigate the Biden's over asthma if they were to get a White House meeting with trump. After this discussion which penmen witnessed he went to the national Security Council's top lawyer to report the matter. Then and was told to return in the future without any concerns. He would soon find the need to do so. A week later on July 18 the represented of the Office of Management and Budget announced. On a video conference call that more raining. At Trump's direction. It was freezing nearly 400 million. In military assistance to Ukraine which was appropriated by congress and enjoy the support of the entirety of the US national security establishment. And one week after that trump would have the now infamous July 25 phone call was a Lynn ski. During that call trump complained that the US relationship with the Ukraine had not been reciprocal. Later is a Lansky thanks trump for his support in the area of defense. And says that Ukraine was ready to purchase more javelin is an anti tank weapon. That was among the most important deterrents are further Russian military action. Trump's immediate response. I would like you to do us a favor though. Trump then requested that's a Lansky investigate the discredited 2016 conspiracy theory. And even more ominously look into the Biden's. Neither was part of the official carpet toward material for the call. But they were and Donald Trump's personal interest and in the interest of his 20/20 reelection campaign. And Ukrainian president knew about both in advance. Because Solomon and others have been pressing Ukraine for weeks about investigations into the 20s16 election. Charisma and the Biden's. Both colonel venom and ms. Williams were on the July 25 call. Amendment testified that due to the unequal bargaining position of the two leaders. And Ukraine's dependency on the US. The favorite trump asked as Lansky was really a demand. After the call. Multiple individuals including bin men were concerned enough to reported to the national Security Council's top lawyer. It was the second time in two weeks have been men had raised concerns with NSC lawyers. For her part Williams also believe that asking is Lansky to undertake these political investigations was an appropriate. And that it might explain something else that she become aware of the otherwise inexplicable hold on US military assistance to Ukraine. Both colonel Ben men and ms. Williams also took note of the explicit use of the word charisma buys a Lansky. In fact conspicuously left out of the record of the call now locked away on an ultra secure server. Colonel them and believe it's Lansky must have been prepped for the call to be able to make the connection between Biden and charisma. A fact that other witnesses have now confirmed. In the weeks that follow look the July 25 call. Colonel than men continue to push for a release of the military aid to Ukraine. And struggled to learn why it was being withheld. More disturbing word of the hold it had reached Ukrainian officials prior to it it's becoming public by mid August Ukrainian deputy ambassador asked than men. Why the United States was withholding the aid. Although of Edmonton have an answer someone made it explicit ukrainians at a meeting in Warsaw. They needed to publicly commit to these two investigations. If they hope to get the aid. Ms. Williams we all saw the presence tweet about you on Sunday afternoon. And the insults hurled at them besting Ivanovic last Friday. You are here today and the American people are grateful. Colonel than men and we have seen for more scurrilous attacks on your character. And watched a certain personalities on fox have question your loyalty. I know that you have shed blood for America. And we owe you an immense debt of gratitude. I hope no one on this committee will become part of those vicious attacks. Today's witnesses. Like those who testified last week are here because they were subpoenaed to appear. Not because they are for or against impeachment. That question is for congress not the fact witnesses. If the present abuses power. And invited foreign interference in our elections. If he sought to condition course extort or bribe an ally into conducting investigations. To aid his reelection campaign and did so by withholding official acts. A White House meeting or hundreds of millions of dollars of needed military aid. It will be up to us to decide. Whether those acts are compatible. With the office of the presidency.
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