He repeats Trump's words from the call: "I would like you to do us a favor, though."
The call was never about advancing U.S. interests, it was about advancing Trump's own personal and political interests, Schiff says unequivocally.
"We do that all the time with foreign policy. I have news for everybody - get over it. There's going to be political influence in foreign policy. That is going to happen."
For the record, they had to have hearings in bsmt because thats where the SCIF is located. Nunes fails to mention that.
Schiff rebuffs immediately, that is false, he says.
"More than 13k Ukrainains have died on Ukrainian soil defending their territorial integrity & sovereighty from Russian aggression."
Congress has appropriated $1.5B+ to Ukraine over the last 5 years to "train and equip" Ukraine.
"In supporting Ukraine's brave resistance to Russian aggression, we have a front row seat to the Russian way of war in the 21st century, gaining priceless insights that contribute to our own security."
- Feb 2015: Kent first raised concerns w/Ukraine's prosecutor general about why the investigation of Burisma's CEO Mykola Zlochevsky was terminated. That concern was based on belief that prosecutors had accepted bribes to close the case.
Shortly after this, he had a briefing call with nat sec staff in Vice President's office (in 2015) and said he was worried that Biden's status on the board could create perception of conflict of interest.
Pompeo assured him it was the same, U.S. still very supportive of Ukraine.
But, there was excitement in Ukraine at the idea of a new president, a new political world.
In this new world under Zelensky, Taylor observed two channels of diplomatic policy, official and unofficial
Taylor was "clearly" in the reg. channel, but also in the irregular one, he notes.
The irregular chan. eas well connected but operated mostly oustide of official State Dept biz
(That letter is available in our interactive timeline:
July 19 call: Hill/Vindman recounted a meeting w/Ukrainian officials at WH where Sondland connected invstgns to Oval Office meeting w/Zel
Schiff wants to follow up on Taylor's new statement today that one of Taylor's staff was present with Sondland on day after July 25 call.
Taylor confirms this, yes, correct.
His staff member overheard POTUS on phone w/Sondland.
Trump asked Sondland about the investigations.
Taylor confirms, correct.
Taylor confirms, term investigations = 2016 election and probe into Burisma and Bidens
(This question feels like a direct shot at Mulvaney's 'this happens all the time' comment)
Sondland replied: "Call me."
What did he learn?
Taylor confirms everything = the security aid AND the WH meeting.
what did that mean?
Taylor confirms the stalemate = no aid
Taylor says no.
But he understood that Trump believed Ukraine owed him something personally.
Taylor: That would have been to fix the wrong, exactly.
Trump made a stmt in 2016 that he would allow Crimea to go back to Russia.
That sentiment is amazingly inflammatory to all Ukrainians - Taylor notes
Taylor says he doesn't know the nature of Trump's concerns or his reaction.
Is it "reasonable" to believe that Trump felt there was influence from Ukraine?
Taylor says he doesn't know.
Why did he think so?
Castor: Pretty standard?
(BTW: Background on Morrison testimony: courthousenews.com/impeachment-in…)
Kent: We are cautiously optimistic and will work wherever there is the political will to do the right thing.
That "self-dealing" occured under Burisma former CEO Mykola Zlochevsky. Corruption was present, no question.
Kent is unable to say definitively but acknowledges it's been a problem in the past.
Kent: I have no awareness of what his background was.
Castor asks what H. Biden had to offer Burisma beyond his father being the VP at the time.
Castor: The irregular channel concerned you?
Taylor: When the irregular channel went against the overall direction & purpose of the regular channel, yes.
Taylor had calls in June, Julyand sent a telegram in August to Brechbuhl but was that the "universe of initiatives" he took to raise concerns?
Taylor notes he also raised concerns with George Kent.
Kent: I believe so, yes.
Taylor agrees, nothing about what happened 7 years ago, he was interested in the Bidens etc.
Taylor: Yes, sir.
Taylor affirms the implication was a public announcement into the investigations.
Not only did he want Sondland to push back, he *asked* Sondland to do it.
But Taylor's concerns were never alleviated.
Aid held on July 18. Released on Sept. 11. In the 55 day period of delay, Taylor met with Zelensky 3 times.
Zel. meets with Taylor/Bolton and others in August but Jordan says "no linkage" for aid dollars and Burisma/Bidens.
My clear understanding was that assistance money wouldnt come until Zelensky committed to pursue the investigations.
Jordan spoke at a VERY fast clip, making the details more confusing for people to follow. Then calls Taylor the "star witness" for Dems.
Jordan: They do, you don't but they do.
Ratcliffe: Did Zelensky ever give Taylor any reason to believe he was untrustworthy?
Taylor says no.
In a press release after the call, Zelensky said the call bore no relation to arms/aid. It was not discussed.
Zelensky told Reuters, LA Times, no pressure/blackmail. Kyoto News: "I was never pressured, no conditions being imposed." He told ABC/BBC, he was "against corruption, this was not it"
Ratcliffe: Any reason to beleive Zel would lie on the world stage?
Taylor goes to speak, there's crosstalk from Ratcliffe.
Taylor: As far as I can tell, Ukr. did not know about the hold during the July 25 call. They didn't know until Sept.
Schiff makes a point - when they would eventually find out, that would be the time Zelensky would be crystal clear on what Trump wanted
Taylor says it is not normal, it is not normal to ask people outside of the govt to form foreign policy.
Taylor: I've told you what I've heard.
Jim Jordan: That's the point. What you heard did not happen.
Except Taylor's testimony was corrborated by the whistleblower complaint.
Kent: That's a fair assessment.