, 116 tweets, 21 min read
My Authors
Read all threads
Good morning. My live-tweet thread of the #impeachmentinquiry hearing will begin here. The public is filing in, reporters are seated and soon we will be underway.
cc: @KlasfeldReports
@CourthouseNews @KlasfeldReports House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff is running down the basics before opening remarks - there will be decorum, he says.

In 2014, Russia invaded Ukraine, he says, to fulfill Putin's desire to rebuild the Russian empire.
Zelensky, a neophyte to politics, was elected on a platform of tackling corruption and sought powerful connections in Washington.
The answer to today's questions will resolve what happens to the presidency in the future, sets standards for what conduct we expect of a commander-in-chief.
Schiff on Giuliani: Giuliani promoted debunked conspiracies that Ukraine hacked the 2016 election even when US. intel agencies unequivocally stated it was Russia, not Ukraine; Giuliani, others, incl. Gordon Sondland, a one-time Trump donor, were aimed at advancing these theories
Schiff on the the July 25 call:
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.
About *that* press conf. w/Mick Mulvaney when he said:
"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."
Schiff reflects: "The video of that confession is plain for all to see."
"If POTUS can simply refuse all oversight, particularly in context of impeachment, the balance of power between the two branches of government will be irrevocably altererd. That is not what the founders intended. "- @RepAdamSchiff
@RepAdamSchiff @CourthouseNews Schiff referencing Mulvaney's flippant remarks- "Must we simply get over it?" Schiff asks. "If this is not impeachable conduct, what is?"
@RepAdamSchiff @CourthouseNews Ranking member Devin Nunes now speaking. Starts out by saying the Dems are insistent that Trump is a Russian agent. Called the Mueller probe a "pitiful" attempt to overturn the results of the 2016 election.
@RepAdamSchiff @CourthouseNews Nunes says the public should forget about Dems trying to get nude photos of Trump. (He has been pushing this conspiracy for months)
@RepAdamSchiff @CourthouseNews Obviously, the "forget" aspect is facetious. If that was unclear.
@RepAdamSchiff @CourthouseNews The inquiry is a "carefully orchestrated media smear campaign" Nunes claims.
@RepAdamSchiff @CourthouseNews Nunes slamming the private hearings, calling them private auditions. Says the activities that unfolded in the basement of Capitol last week were "cult-like."
For the record, they had to have hearings in bsmt because thats where the SCIF is located. Nunes fails to mention that.
@RepAdamSchiff @CourthouseNews A bit of color from inside the room - quite literally the only sound is the ranking member's voice and the rat-tat-tat of fingers flying across keyboards.
@RepAdamSchiff @CourthouseNews Nunes wants to know: full extent of Dem's coordination with whistleblower; what is full extent of Ukraine election meddling against Trump campaign; why did Burisma hire Hunter Biden and did his position effect any actions under the Obama administration
@RepAdamSchiff @CourthouseNews Nunes said none of those questions will be answered because the majority wouldn't accept them.

Per the House resolution that passed on Halloween, Dems have been clear: there will be no questions that fall down debunked conspiracy theory rabbit holes.
Q's during hearings are meant to stay on target, relevant to the impeachment inquiry matter at hand.
A whir of camera flashes as Kent and Taylor are sworn in for testimony.
Schiff is accused of not allowing witnesses to answer questions fully during private depositions. Schiff says the only time he attempted to wrangle in testimony was when Republicans asked questions that would out the whistleblower.
Rep Mike Conway says Republicans wish to subpoena the whistleblower, Rep Jordan asks when Congress can get whistleblower "in front" of them, claims Schiff is the only member of Congress who knows who WB is.
Schiff rebuffs immediately, that is false, he says.
George Kent, deputy assistant secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, delivers his opening remarks, recounts his 27 years of experience, notes that he has served under 3 Republican presidents and 2 Democrats.
In opening remarks, Kent extolls need to keep Ukraine autonomous:
"More than 13k Ukrainains have died on Ukrainian soil defending their territorial integrity & sovereighty from Russian aggression."

Kent continues..
"American support in Ukraine's own de facto war of independence has been critical in this regard."
Kent draws an interesting comparison. "The American colonies may not have prevailed against British imperial might w/o help from their transatlantic friends in 1776."

Congress has appropriated $1.5B+ to Ukraine over the last 5 years to "train and equip" Ukraine.
Kent gives context of bigger nat sec picture here and why U.S. aids 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."
Kent discussing Burisma -
- 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.
Later, Kent said he became aware that H. Biden was on Burisma board.
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.
He emphasizes: "Let me be clear, I did not witness any eforts by any U.S. official to shield Burisma from scrutiny."
Kent continued in next breath: "In fact, I and other U.S. officials consistently advocated reinstituting a scuttled investigation of Zlochevsky, Burisma's founder, as well as holding corrupt prosecutors who closed the case to account."
William Taylor now testifying. At the top of his remarks, says even as we sit here today, Russians are attacking Ukrainians.
Taylor was amb. to Ukraine from 2006-2009, nom'd by George W. Bush. Of his responsiblities, Ukraine was always the highest priority. When he left in '09, Ukraine continued to turn toward the west, Taylor says.
Taylor: "I care about Ukraine's future and important U.S. interests there." When Pompeo asked him to return to Kyiv, he wanted to say yes, but it wasn't an easy decision, he notes. Yovanovitch was treated poorly and he feared when he would return, those problems would remain.
Taylor on May 28 mtg w/Pompeo: If US policy toward Ukraine changed, Taylor said he told the SOS he would not stay.
Pompeo assured him it was the same, U.S. still very supportive of Ukraine.
Once back in Kyiv, he found "confusing and alarming circumstances" at play.
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
That channel included Volker, Sondland, Secy Energy Perry, WH chief of staff Mick Mulvaney & Giuliani.
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
In late June, both channels were trying to facilitate a visit for Zelensky to the White House, which Trump promised in a congratulatory letter from May 29.
(That letter is available in our interactive timeline:
Sondland told Tyalor on June 28: he did not wish to include most of the regular interagency participants in a call later that day. Volker, Perry, Sondland and Taylor were on the call, Taylor said Sondland did not want anyone transcribing or monitoring while Zelensky was on call.
Woops, meant to include the interactive timeline link in the tweet above but here it is: cdn.knightlab.com/libs/timeline3…
Taylor recounts how OMB staffer said no aid was to be issued to Ukraine in summer. Taylor: The staffer said the directive came from president and the chief of staff at OMB (Mulvaney)
On July 9 call w/Fiona Hill & Alex Vindman, Taylor said they tried to assure him that there were no official changes in position twd Ukraine.
July 19 call: Hill/Vindman recounted a meeting w/Ukrainian officials at WH where Sondland connected invstgns to Oval Office meeting w/Zel
This was the meeting that outraged, Bolton. The activities he compared to a "drug deal."
NOTE - This testimony from Taylor about Bolton's outrage over the scheming by Sondland/Mulvaney corroborates testimony from Fiona Hill.
@CourthouseNews NEW information from Taylor testimony, by his own admission today: Gordon Sondland told (him) Taylor that Trump cared more about investigations in Biden than anything else.
@CourthouseNews Schiff begins with questions.
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 was speaking loudly on cell phone.
Trump asked Sondland about the investigations.
Taylor confirms, correct.
Taylor confirms, term investigations = 2016 election and probe into Burisma and Bidens
Taylor is giving context on import of US military aid: the aid helps prevent incursions by Russia into Ukrainian territory. It's an obvious deterrent but it also gives Ukraine ability to negotiate from a position of strength when dealing w/Russians
Taylor says in all his years, he has never seen another situation where a country conditioned military aid.
(This question feels like a direct shot at Mulvaney's 'this happens all the time' comment)
Sept. 1 text discussed: Taylor sent a text to Sondland and Volker, "are we now saying that security assistance and WH meeting are conditioned on investigations?"
Sondland replied: "Call me."
What did he learn?
In Warsaw, after the meeting with VP Penc/Zelensky, Amb. Sondland had meetings there too and described to a Zelensky aide that security aid in play pending announcement in public by Ukraine of the "investigations" into Biden/Burisma.
cc: @KlasfeldReports
Taylor: Before that, I had only understood from Sondland, that the WH meeting was conditioned.
Taylor recalls Sondland saying that "everything" was contingent on investigations.

Taylor confirms everything = the security aid AND the WH meeting.
Taylor notes the urgency felt by Ukraine when the aid didn't come. He confirms he rec'd several Qs from Ukr. officials asking about the security systems. (FYI: they are referring to the aid as security systems, wonk talk, to keep it simple, I'll refer to it as aid)
Dems General Cousnel Daniel Gold to Taylor: Even though Trump said the words, there was "no quid pro quo," when he suggested noncooperation would result in a "stalemate"
what did that mean?

Taylor confirms the stalemate = no aid
Did Ukraine owe anything to the United States?
Taylor says no.
But he understood that Trump believed Ukraine owed him something personally.
"It's hard to understand, but there was a feeling by President Trump - and this came out in the discussion w/inaugural delegation when they came back May 23 - he had a feeling of being wronged by the Ukrainians. This was something he thought they owed him to fix that." - Taylor
Dem cousnel Gold: But what he owed him, were the investigations into Biden/Burisma?
Taylor: That would have been to fix the wrong, exactly.
Pardon the error folks, the Dem Counsel's last name is Goldman, not Gold.
We are on a five minute recess.
We're back and Nunes jumps in right away - the July 25 call was a "pleasant exchange" not the "extortion and bribery" or other "monstruous crimes" Dems accuse Trump of, the ranking member says.
Nunes is parsing the words of Trump's call very carefully right now. Trump never said "dig up dirt," on the call, Nunes notes. This was a phrase Schiff used when summarizing the content of the July call during a committee hearing weeks ago.
Notably, Nunes totally avoids what the president actually said: "I would like you to do us a favor though."
Taylor said he looked into a lot of the conspiracies Nunes is floating ATM about Ukr. meddling in 2016 election.
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
I am not going to tweet lengthy detail about the conspiracy theories that have already been debunked, folks. It adds to confusion in the public record.
GOP Counsel Steve Castor now up for questioning.
Castor on an Obama-era op-ed asks: Based on POTUS perspective, if the amb. to ukraine (at the time) is penning an op-ed with OK of Ukr. Prez. Poroshenko (at the time) are DNC consultants conferring with Ukr. officials?
Schiff steps in and issues a warning about keeping questions relevant to the impeachment inquiry.
Castor comes back in: "So you can appreciate the nature of Trump's concerns?"
Taylor says he doesn't know the nature of Trump's concerns or his reaction.
Manafort black ledger details were published the same day Manafort resigned from campaign, Castor says.
Is it "reasonable" to believe that Trump felt there was influence from Ukraine?
Taylor says he doesn't know.
Also - his resignation and the publication of the secret ledger weren't on the same day to the best of my recollection and quick research. If i am wrong, I will correct this. But I believe they were roughly a week apart.
Castor to Taylor notes how Taylor mentioned in closed door hearings that the Ukr. readout of the July 25 call was "cryptic."
Why did he think so?
Taylor: Having read the transcript and looking back at Ukr. summary, they said there were issues to be pursued in order to improve relations.
Castor: Pretty standard?
Taylor: Yes.
Taylor: Tim Morrison briefed him before the end of July and said the call could have gone better. He said the call mentioned Giuliani and a former ambassador.
(BTW: Background on Morrison testimony: courthousenews.com/impeachment-in…)
Castor: The consensus is that Zelensky is the "real deal" and is genuinely interested in rooting our corruptions.
Kent: We are cautiously optimistic and will work wherever there is the political will to do the right thing.
Castor: At the heart of this corrupt system is an oligarchic system, like the right to certain energy licenses, correct?
Kent: Correct.
That "self-dealing" occured under Burisma former CEO Mykola Zlochevsky. Corruption was present, no question.
But Kent summarizes the situation there neatly: we thought Zlochevsky stole money, we thought a prosecutor took a bribe to shut the case and that was our main concern.
Castor: Burisma is involved "in a lot of criminal activity" is that correct?
Kent is unable to say definitively but acknowledges it's been a problem in the past.
The new general prosecutor in Ukraine has made promises to review old corruption cases but Kent said, "Remember, this is a coutnry where people who have committed crimes in the past rarely get held to account."
Castor is asking why Biden may have been on the board of Burisma. Continues: Was H. Biden a governance expert in Ukraine?
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 line of questioning about how many times former VP Biden went to Ukraine. Kent says former VP Biden's engagement was critical to address U.S. concerns for that region at the time (aggression from Russia)
Years ago, when Kent went to nat sec officials to report what he believed would be the "perception of conflict of interest" re: H. Biden sitting on the board of Burisma, he tells Castor he's not sure what ended up happening with that alert after he lodged it.
Taylor says it would be "unusual" for an amb to EU to have Ukraine in his portfolio. (Referring to Sondland)
Taylor on Giuliani and irregular and regular channels (for Ukraine affairs)
Castor: The irregular channel concerned you?
Taylor: When the irregular channel went against the overall direction & purpose of the regular channel, yes.
Castor: Did Taylor engage T. Ulrich Brechbuhl? (counselor to State)
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.
Castor's questioning is wrapped. Schiff back up.
Schiff: No discussion on call about setting up anti-corruption court or looking into oligarchic corruption. Trump's comments were focused on two things: 2016 and the Bidens, right?
Kent: I believe so, yes.
Sondland communicated to Kent he wanted investigation into 2016 and Bidens, not self-dealing that occured under old guard in Ukraine? Kent confirms, that's correct.
Taylor agrees, nothing about what happened 7 years ago, he was interested in the Bidens etc.
Taylor: Yes, sir.
About the "public box" Trump wanted Zelensky in- what was the implication, Schiff asks.
Taylor affirms the implication was a public announcement into the investigations.
Taylor wanted Sondland to push back against Trump's wishes, Schiff notes, recalling Taylor's testimony in private.
Not only did he want Sondland to push back, he *asked* Sondland to do it.
But Taylor's concerns were never alleviated.
Taylor says Zelensky and his advisers knew it was a bad idea to interefere or interject in other nation's affairs; but until the aid was lifted, Zelensky was making plans to issue an announcement.
Jim Jordan is up.
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.
Taylor: To my knowledge, Ukr. were not aware of the hold on assistance until Aug 9.
At another meeting, there wasn't discussion of the linkage between aid and Bidens/Burisma, Taylor adds.
My clear understanding was that assistance money wouldnt come until Zelensky committed to pursue the investigations.
Jordan: With all due respect, your clear understanding was wrong. Zelensky did not announce he was going to investigate the Bidens or Burisma. Didn't tweet it about it. He didn't do the CNN interview.
Taylor notes: But Sondland spoke to Zelensky and Zel's aide, saying it was not a quid pro quo yet if Zel didn't clear things up, "we'd be at a stalemate."
Taylor again, notes: Sondland told Taylor he recognized it was a mistake to tell Ukr. that only the meeting was held up in order to get the investigations. It wasn't just the meeting, it was also the security aid.
And he we go. Jordon hammering at Taylor about how Taylor doesn't have firsthand knowledge.
Jordan spoke at a VERY fast clip, making the details more confusing for people to follow. Then calls Taylor the "star witness" for Dems.
Taylor responds: I don't consider myself a star witness for anything.
Jordan: They do, you don't but they do.
Taylor continues: "I think I was clear, I'm not here to take one side or the other. My understanding is only coming from people that I talked to."
Kent affirms he does not believe Trump's call with Zelensky was reflective of a well-coordinated or well-thought out approach to anticorruption policy.
Rep Ratcliffe, R.-TX, is up for questioning.
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.
"Therefore there was no blackmail becaues it was not the subject of the call with the U.S."
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"
[[This reminds me, has anyone received a copy of the complete call transcript, not the rough?]]
Ratcliffe: Any reason to beleive Zel would lie on the world stage?
Taylor goes to speak, there's crosstalk from Ratcliffe.
Taylor: No reason to believd Zel would misrepresent information.
Ratcliffe says Dems want to impeach not just one president, but two, referring to Zelensky. Ratcliffe says Dems are "calling Zelensky a liar" in order to remove Trump from office.
In questioning w/Schiff:
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 saw Giuliani's role was largely aligned with the "irregular channel."
Taylor says it is not normal, it is not normal to ask people outside of the govt to form foreign policy.
This speaks to an earlier statement from Castor, who correlated Trump's concern over corruption and threats to his 2016 campaign as a reasonable. And more reasonable still - according to Castor - was POTUS notion to send his personal attorney to look into things.
Really? The President of the United States would send his personal attorney and fixer? Not a State Department employee or other federal employee?
During an exchange between Jordan and Taylor, Jordan revisits how Taylor's knowledge is not firsthand.
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.
Schiff: If Zel said of course I felt pressure, if he contradicted Trump directly, they would be sophisticated enough to know they would pay a very heavy price.
Kent: That's a fair assessment.
Regret the typo - corroborated.
You can't promote any anticorruption action without pissing off corrupt people. - George Kent tells lawmakers after confirming his awareness of smear campaign targeting ousted ambassador Marie Yovanovitch.
Missing some Tweet in this thread? You can try to force a refresh.

Enjoying this thread?

Keep Current with Brandi Buchman

Profile picture

Stay in touch and get notified when new unrolls are available from this author!

Read all threads

This Thread may be Removed Anytime!

Twitter may remove this content at anytime, convert it as a PDF, save and print for later use!

Try unrolling a thread yourself!

how to unroll video

1) Follow Thread Reader App on Twitter so you can easily mention us!

2) Go to a Twitter thread (series of Tweets by the same owner) and mention us with a keyword "unroll" @threadreaderapp unroll

You can practice here first or read more on our help page!

Follow Us on Twitter!

Did Thread Reader help you today?

Support us! We are indie developers!

This site is made by just three indie developers on a laptop doing marketing, support and development! Read more about the story.

Become a Premium Member ($3.00/month or $30.00/year) and get exclusive features!

Become Premium

Too expensive? Make a small donation by buying us coffee ($5) or help with server cost ($10)

Donate via Paypal Become our Patreon

Thank you for your support!