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Watch Highlights from Fiona Hill and David Holmes’s Impeachment-Hearing Testimonies | The New Yorker Video

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00:00

[ringing electronic tones]

00:02

[tense synthesizer music] [cameras snapping]

00:24

[Adam] Do you swear or affirm that the testimony

00:26

you’re about to give is the truth, the whole truth,

00:28

and nothing but the truth, so help you God?

00:31

Based on questions and statements I have heard,

00:34

some of you on this committee appear to believe

00:37

that Russia and its security services

00:38

did not conduct a campaign against our country,

00:41

and that perhaps, somehow, for some reason, Ukraine did.

00:45

This is a fictional narrative that has been perpetrated

00:47

and propagated by the Russian security services themselves.

00:51

The unfortunate truth is that Russia was the foreign power

00:55

that systematically attacked

00:56

our democratic institutions in 2016.

00:58

In the course of this investigation,

01:00

I would ask that you please not promote

01:01

politically-deriven falsehoods

01:03

that so clearly advance Russian interests.

01:05

As Republicans and Democrats have agreed for decades,

01:08

Ukraine is a valued partner of the United States,

01:11

and it plays an important role in our national security,

01:14

and as I told the committee last month,

01:15

I refuse to be part of an effort

01:16

to legitimize an alternate narrative

01:18

that the Ukrainian government is a U.S. adversary

01:21

and that Ukraine, not Russia, attacked us in 2016.

01:25

Beginning in March 2019,

01:27

the situation at the embassy

01:28

and in Ukraine changed dramatically.

01:31

Specifically, the three priorities of security,

01:34

economy, and justice and our support

01:36

for Ukrainian democratic resistance to Russian aggression

01:39

became overshadowed by a political agenda

01:43

promoted by former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani

01:47

and a cadre of officials operating

01:49

with a direct channel to the White House.

01:50

Given the history of U.S. security assistance to Ukraine

01:53

and the bipartisan recognition of its importance,

01:57

I was shocked when, on July 18th,

01:59

an Office of Management and Budget staff member

02:01

surprisingly announced the hold

02:03

on Ukraine security assistance.

02:05

My clear impression was that the security assistance hold

02:08

was likely intended by the president

02:11

either as an expression of dissatisfaction

02:13

with the Ukrainians, who had not yet agreed

02:15

to the Burisma-Biden investigation,

02:17

or as an effort to increase the pressure on them to do so.

02:21

The four of us went to a nearby restaurant

02:23

and sat on an outdoor terrace.

02:25

I sat directly across from Ambassador Sondland,

02:28

and the two staffers sat off to our sides.

02:31

During the lunch, Ambassador Sondland said

02:32

that he was gonna call President Trump

02:34

to give him an update.

02:35

While Ambassador Sondland’s phone was not on speakerphone,

02:38

I could hear the president’s voice

02:40

through the earpiece of the phone.

02:42

The president’s voice was loud and recognizable,

02:45

and Ambassador Sondland held the phone

02:47

away from his ear for a period of time

02:49

presumably because of the loud volume.

02:52

I heard Ambassador Sondland greet the president

02:54

and explained he was calling from Kyiv.

02:56

I heard President Trump then clarify

02:57

that Ambassador Sondland was in Ukraine.

03:00

Ambassador Sondland replied, yes, he was in Ukraine,

03:02

and went on to state that President Zelensky,

03:05

quote, loves your ass.

03:08

I then heard President Trump ask,

03:09

So, he’s going to do the investigation?

03:12

Ambassador Sondland replied that he’s gonna do it,

03:15

adding that President Zelensky

03:16

will do anything you ask him to do.

03:19

I then took the opportunity to ask Ambassador Sondland

03:21

for his candid impression

03:22

of the president’s views on Ukraine.

03:25

In particular, I asked Ambassador Sondland

03:27

if it was true that the president

03:29

did not a, expletive, about Ukraine.

03:33

Ambassador Sondland agreed that the president

03:34

did not an, expletive, about Ukraine.

03:38

Ambassador Sondland stated that the president

03:40

only cares about big stuff.

03:43

I noted there was big stuff going on in Ukraine,

03:46

like a war with Russia,

03:48

and Ambassador Sondland replied that he meant big stuff

03:50

that benefits the president,

03:52

like the Biden investigation that Mr. Giuliani was pushing.

03:56

I’ve actually realized having listened to his deposition

03:58

that he was absolutely right,

04:01

that he wasn’t coordinating with us

04:02

because we weren’t doing the same thing that he was doing,

04:05

so I was upset with him that he wasn’t fully telling us

04:08

about all of the meetings that he was having,

04:11

and he said to me, But I’m briefing the president.

04:14

I’m briefing Chief of Staff Mulvaney,

04:16

I’m briefing Secretary Pompeo,

04:18

and I’ve talked to Ambassador Bolton.

04:20

Who else do I have to deal with?

04:23

And the point is we have a robust inter-agency process

04:27

that deals with Ukraine.

04:28

It includes Mr. Holmes, it includes Ambassador Taylor

04:31

as the charge in Ukraine.

04:32

It includes a whole load of other people,

04:35

but it struck me when, yesterday,

04:37

when you put upon the screen Ambassador Sondland’s emails

04:41

and who was on these emails,

04:42

and he said these are the people who need to know

04:44

that he was absolutely right,

04:46

because he was being involved

04:48

in a domestic political errand,

04:50

and we were being involved

04:52

in national security foreign policy,

04:54

and those two things had just diverged,

04:56

so he was correct, and I had not put my finger on that

04:59

at the moment, but I was irritated with him

05:03

and angry with him that he wasn’t fully coordinating,

05:05

and I did say to him, Ambassador Sondland, Gordon,

05:08

I think this is all going to blow up, and here we are.

05:11

Nowhere is there a Holmes tells Taylor

05:15

what the President of the United States told Sondland.

05:19

May I answer that question? 13 conversations.

05:20

[Jim] Yeah, I’ll get to ya, I’ll give ya a chance

05:21

here in a second, but 13 conversations,

05:24

13 conversations from their star witness.

05:27

You’re their closing witness,

05:29

and he can’t remember a call

05:31

from a guy he works with every single day?

05:36

I refer to the call, and everyone is nodding.

05:38

Of course, that’s what’s going on.

05:40

Of course, the president is pressing

05:42

for a Biden investigation

05:43

before he’ll do these things the Ukrainians want.

05:45

There was nodding agreement,

05:47

so did I go through every single word in the call?

05:50

No, because everyone, by that point, agreed.

05:52

It was obvious what the president was pressing for,

05:55

and Ambassador Taylor, as you’ve just outlined,

05:57

had all those other interactions

05:58

with all these other people. You didn’t share it with us.

06:00

[Adam] Mr. Jordan, please do not interrupt.

06:01

But, sir, sir, [Jim stammering]

06:03

but sir, my vivid recollection of an event

06:06

I was involved with was a touchstone experience

06:10

that, to me, validated what, [Jim muttering]

06:13

sir, if I could, Mr. Jordan, please.

06:14

Do not interrupt. What we believed.



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