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Questioning Underway in First Public Impeachment Hearing; Taylor: Sondland Told Me Everything; Taylor: Sondland Told Me Trump Was Just Interested in The Bidens. Aired 1:30-2p ET

Aired November 13, 2019 - 13:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[13:30:00]

SCHIFF: And you've read the call transcript, have you not?

KENT: I have. And I have it in front of me. But I haven't read it for about a month.

SCHIFF: Is there any mention in the discussion with President Trump and President Zelensky of this oligarch Zlochevsky, who seven years earlier had been self-dealing?

KENT: To the best of my knowledge, no.

SCHIFF: Is there a discussion of awarding contracts to oneself or the corrupt acts in the 2012 to 2014 time frame?

KENT: To the best of my knowledge, no.

SCHIFF: What the president brings up is "Crowdstrike, "the server," and the Bidens, am I right?

KENT: That's -- I see that here, yes.

SCHIFF: There was no discussion on that call of setting up an anti- corruption court or looking into corruption among oligarchs or companies in general, the president's comments were focused on two things, 2016 and the Bidens, am I right?

KENT: I believe so, yes.

SCHIFF: Now you testified, in your opening statement: "I do not believe United States should ask other countries to engage in selective, politically-associated investigations or prosecutions against opponents of those in power. Such selective actions undermine the rule of law regardless of the country."

In "the selective politically-associated investigations or prosecutions against opponents of those in power," are you referring to the Bidens there?

KENT: I am referring as a general principle about the promotion of the rule of law.

SCHIFF: But that would apply to the president United States seeking an investigation of his political opponent, would it not?

KENT: It could be interpreted that way, yes, sir.

SCHIFF: And I take it in your discussion, Ambassador Taylor, with Ambassador Sondland or others, what was communicated to you was that the president wanted investigations into 2016 and the Bidens, not into an oligarch named Zlochevsky or self-dealing, but 2016 and the Bidens, was that your understanding?

TAYLOR: That was my understanding.

SCHIFF: And in fact when you said your staff overheard this call between Ambassador Sondland and the President, in that call, the President brings up investigation, does he not?

TAYLOR: He did.

SCHIFF: And immediately after the President gets off the phone with Sondland, Sondland is asked by your staff what does the President think about Ukraine and his answer is he's just interested in the Bidens. Am I right?

TAYLOR: He said he was more interested in the Bidens.

SCHIFF: More interested in the Bidens. No discussion of Lechesky (ph) or Chalupa or things that happened seven years ago, he was interested in the Bidens?

TAYLOR: Yes, sir.

SCHIFF: Now I think you also testified that Ambassador Sondland told you that President Trump wanted Zelensky in a public box. Is that right?

TAYLOR: Yes, sir.

SCHIFF: And by public box, did that mean that private statements, private promises to do this investigation of 2016 into the Bidens were not enough, he had to go on TV, he had to go public in some way because the President wanted him in that box? Is that your understanding?

TAYLOR: Mr. Chairman, I don't know exactly what he had in mind and I'm not sure what Ambassador Sondland had in mind, who was the one who mentioned that to me. That's the implication. The implication was it needed to be public as opposed to being a private assurance.

SCHIFF: And I think you've said in that same call you asked Ambassador Sondland to push back on President Trump's demand. Is that right?

TAYLOR: That's correct, sir.

SCHIFF: So you understood from your conversation with Sondland this was the President's demand - not Sondland's demand, the President's demand and you wanted Sondland to push back. Am I right? TAYLOR: What I wanted to - so Ambassador Sondland was able - was clearly able to have conversations with the President and I thought that the pressure on another president, on President Zelensky, was not a good idea from either President's standpoint, so I suggested - I suggested in that phone call to - with - with Ambassador Sondland that he, since he regularly - or frequently had conversations with the President, could make that point.

SCHIFF: Well - and I think the way you express yourself is you wanted Sondland to push back on President Trump's demand, right?

TAYLOR: Yes, sir.

SCHIFF: So as you understand from talking to Sondland, this is what the President wanted - wanted him to do and you wanted Sondland to push back.

TAYLOR: I asked Ambassador Sondland to push back, that's correct.

SCHIFF: And in fact, even after the aid was ultimately released, even after the White House learns of the whistleblower complaint and the congressional investigation, the aid is released even after those events, you were still worried that Zelensky was going to feel it necessary to go on CNN and announce these investigations, were you not?

[13:35:00] TAYLOR: Mr. Chairman, I was still worried that he might do that. So yes, I - I thought that would be a bad idea and so when there was some indication that there might still be a plan for the CNN interview in New York, which was upcoming at the - at - at the United Nations General Assembly meeting, I was worried - I - I wanted to be sure that that didn't happen so I addressed it with the - with the Zelensky staff.

SCHIFF: And I - I - and I think you said earlier that Danyliuk, the National Security Advisor then for Zelensky, was concerned Zelensky didn't want to be used as some tool in American politics. Is that right?

TAYLOR: That's correct, sir.

SCHIFF: So Zelensky didn't want to go on TV to announce political investigations that he thought would mire him in U.S. politics, right?

TAYLOR: He knew that - he and his advisors knew that it's a bad idea to interject, to interfere in other - other nations elections. Yes, sir.

SCHIFF: But - but nonetheless, it appeared until the aid was lifted - the hold was lifted that he felt compelled to do it.

TAYLOR: He was making plans - his staff was making plans to have him make some kind of announcement - I don't know what it would have been - on CNN in - in public.

SCHIFF: Even though he didn't want to be mired in U.S. politics? TAYLOR: Even though he knew it was a bad idea to interfere in other people's elections.

SCHIFF: Mr. Nunes, you are recognized for seven minutes and 10 seconds.

NUNES: I thank the gentleman for that. Ambassador Taylor, you said in your deposition that the first time you heard about this issue with Rudy Giuliani - and I'm paraphrasing - but you read it in The New York Times. Is that correct?

TAYLOR: I - I do remember that first - I do remember noticing about Mr. Giuliani being involved in this in that - in that article. Yes, sir.

NUNES: OK. I think one of the mothers of all conspiracy theories is that somehow the President of the United States would want a country that he doesn't even like, he doesn't want to give foreign aid to, to have the Ukrainians start an investigation into Bidens.

With that, I yield to Mr. Jordan.

JORDAN: I thank the gentleman for yielding. Ambassador Taylor, thank you for being here. Aid's held up on July 18th, is that right?

TAYLOR: That's when I first heard about it, Mr. ...

JORDAN: Then it's - then it's released, Ambassador Taylor, on September 11th. And we know that, from your deposition, in those 55 days that aid is delayed, you met with President Zelensky three times. The first one was July 26th, the day after the famous call now between President Trump and President Zelensky.

President Zelensky meets with you, Ambassador Volker and Ambassador Sondland and again, according to your deposition and your testimony, there was no linkage of security assistance dollars to investigating Burisma or the Bidens.

Second meeting's August 27th - again, in this 55 day time frame, second meeting's August 27th. President Zelensky meets with you and Ambassador Bolton and others, and again there's no linkage of dollars - security assistance dollars to an investigation of the Bidens.

Then, of course, the third meeting is September 5th. President Zelensky meets with you and senators Johnson and Murphy, and once again there is no linkage of security assistance dollars to an investigation of Burisma or the Bidens.

Three meetings with the President of Ukraine - the new President and no linkage. That's accurate?

TAYLOR: Mr. Jordan, it's certainly accurate on the first two - first two meetings because, to my knowledge, the Ukrainians were not aware of the hold on assistance until - until the 29th of August.

JORDAN: The Politico article? TAYLOR: The Politico article. The third - the third meeting that you mentioned with the senators, Senator Murphy and Senator Johnson, there was discussion of the security assistance but the ...

JORDAN: The linkage?

TAYLOR: With the - there was not - there was not discussion of linkage.

JORDAN: Three meetings face to face with President Zelensky, no linkage, yet in your deposition you said this and you said it again in the first hour of the majority - my clear understanding was security assistance money would not come until President Zelensky committed to pursue the investigation, my clear understanding was they weren't going to get the money until President Zelensky committed to pursue the investigations.

Now, with all due respect, Ambassador, your clear understanding was obviously wrong because it didn't happen. President Zelensky didn't announce he was going to investigate Burisma or the Bidens, he didn't do a press conference and say I'm going to investigate the Bidens, we're going to investigate Burisma, he didn't tweet about it and you just told the Ranking Member he didn't do the CNN interview and announce he's going to investigate Burisma or the Bidens.

[13:40:00] So three face-to-face meetings it doesn't come up, no linkage whatsoever, President Zelensky doesn't announce it before the aid is released on the 11th, and yet you said, you have a clear understanding that those two things were going to happen. The money was going to get released, but not until there was an investigation. And that, in fact, didn't happen.

So, what I'm wondering is, where'd you get this clear understanding?

TAYLOR: As I testified, Mr. Jordan, this came from Ambassador Sondland.

JORDAN: Well, can you hold on one second, Ambassador? I'm going to -- I'm going bring you a piece of paper from Ambassador Sondland's statement.

TAYLOR: Very good.

JORDAN: And you can take a look at this. Go ahead though, I want to let you finish.

TAYLOR: So, Mr. Jordan, should I read this or --

JORDAN: No, no, you -- I just want you to have it, because I'm going to read it.

TAYLOR: Oh, very good. Very good.

JORDAN: Yes, but I wanted you to go ahead and finish. You said Ambassador -- you got this from Ambassador Sondland? TAYLOR: That is correct. That Ambassador Sondland also said that he talked to President Zelensky and Mr. Yermak, and had told them that all of this was not a quid pro quo. If President Zelensky did not clear things up in public we would be at (inaudible). That was -- that was one point. It was also the case --

JORDAN: Mr. Morrison talked to you, right?

TAYLOR: No, what I was going to say is, Ambassador Sondland also told me that he recognized that it was a mistake to have told the Ukrainians that only the meeting with the president in the -- in the Oval Office was held up on the -- in order to get these investigations. No, it was not just the meeting, it was also the security assistance. That is everything it (ph) was (ph). So, those two -- those two discussions --

JORDAN: Yes. No, I understand.

TAYLOR: OK.

JORDAN: All right, so, again, just to recap, you had three meetings with President Zelensky, no linkage in those three meetings came up? Ambassador Zelensky didn't announce that he was going to do any investigation of the Bidens or Burismas before the aide was released?

TAYLOR: That was --

JORDAN: He didn't do a tweet, didn't do anything on CNN, didn't do any of that. President Zelensky, excuse me. And then what you have in front of your is an addendum that Mr. Sondland made to his testimony that we got a couple of weeks ago.

It says, declaration of Ambassador Gordon Sondland. I, Gordon Sondland, do hereby, swear and affirm as follows. I want you to look at point number two, bullet point number two, second sentence.

Ambassador Taylor recalls that Mr. Morrison told Ambassador Taylor that I told Mr. Morrison that I conveyed this message to Mr. Yermak on September 1, 2019, in connection with Vice President Pence's visit to Warsaw and a meeting with President Zelensky. Now, this is his clarification.

Let me read it one more time. Ambassador Taylor recalls that Mr. Morrison told Ambassador Taylor that I told Mr. Morrison that I conveyed this message to Mr. Yermak on September 1, 2019, in connection with Vice President Pence's visit to Warsaw and a meeting with President Zelensky.

We've got six people having four conversations in one sentence and you just told me this where you got your clear understanding. Which I -- I mean, even though you had three opportunities with President Zelensky for him to tell you, you know what, we're going to do these investigations to get the aide, didn't tell you three different times. Never makes an announcement, never tweets about it, never does a CNN interview. Ambassador, you weren't' on the call were you? The president -- you didn't listen in on President Trump's call and President Zelensky's call?

TAYLOR: I did not.

JORDAN: You've never talked with Chief of Staff Mulvaney?

TAYLOR: I never did.

JORDAN: You never met the president?

TAYLOR: That's correct.

JORDAN: You had three meetings, again, with Zelensky and it didn't come up?

TAYLOR: And two of those they had never heard about as far as I know. There was no reason for it to come up.

JORDAN: And President -- President Zelensky never made an announcement? This -- this is what I can't believe, and you're their star witness. You're their first witness. You're the guy.

TAYLOR: Mr. Jordan --

JORDAN: You're the guy, based on this -- based on -- I mean, I've seen -- I've seen church prayer chains that are easier to understand than this. Ambassador Taylor recalls that Mr. Morrison told -- now again, this is, I hereby swear and affirm from Gordon Sondland. Ambassador Taylor recalls that Mr. Morrison told Ambassador Taylor that I told Mr. Morrison that I conveyed this message to Mr. Yermak on September 1, 20 -- this all happens, by the way -- this all happens by the way in Warsaw, where Vice President Pence meets with President Zelensky.

SCHIFF: Ambassador Taylor.

JORDAN: And guess what, they didn't talk about any linkage either.

SCHIFF: The time of the gentleman has expired. Ambassador Taylor, would you like to respond?

TAYLOR: The only response -- I have two responses, Mr. Chairman, thank you, and Mr. Jordan, glad to take those questions. Let me just say, that I don't consider myself a star witness for anything.

JORDAN: They do, you might not.

TAYLOR: No, I don't. I -- I'm just -- I'm responding to --

JORDAN: They do.

TAYLOR: -- I'm responding to your question.

SCHIFF: Please, don't interrupt the witness. TAYLOR: As I -- I think I was clear about, I'm not here to take one side or the other, or to advocate any particular outcomes. Let me just restate that. Second thing is that, my understanding is only coming from people that I talk to.

JORDAN: We got that.

TAYLOR: And we got that. And, I think this clarification from Mr. -- from Ambassador Sondland was because he said he didn't remember this in the -- in his first deposition, so he wanted to kind of clarify. But, I think, Mr. Jordan, I -- the way I read this, he remembers it the same way I do.

JORDAN: Yes, and it's real clear, right?

TAYLOR: It's very clear to me.

SCHIFF: Thank you -- thank you Ambassador Taylor. Mr. Himes, you're recognized for five minutes.

[13:45:00] HIMES: Gentlemen, thank you for your testimony for today. One of the things that I find startling about these proceedings is, that faced with very serious allegations of presidential misconduct, my colleagues on the other side of the aisle don't engage or defend that conduct, rather they spend theories about black ledgers and Steele dossiers and the startling revelation that Ukrainians might have been upset when a presidential candidate suggested that, perhaps, he would let the Russians keep Crimea.

Or, of course, we get the attacks so epitomized by Mr. Nunes' open statement -- opening statement when he attacked Democrats, he attacked the media, and most disgustingly attacked the extraordinary men and women of the State Department and the FBI.

When a defense does emerge, it -- it looks a little like this. Ukraine is a corrupt country and the president was just acting in a long line -- a long tradition of actually trying to address corruption in Ukraine.

Mr. Kent, you've worked on anti-corruption and rule of law for much of your 27-year career, is that correct?

KENT: I have specialized in anti-corruption and rule of law issues since 2012, correct.

HIMES: So like -- like most of us up here, I don't have a good sense of what a real anti-corruption effort, that we must engage in all over the world, all the time, what that looks like. So, let me ask you to just take a minute and just characterize for us what a real initiative, what a real program of anti-corruption might look like.

KENT: If we're doing a systemic, holistic program, you need institutions with integrity. That starts with investigators, it goes to prosecutors, it goes to courts and eventually it goes to the correction system. In counties like Ukraine, we generally start with law enforcement, and that's what we did in 2014, '15, with the new patrol police. There also is often times needed a specialized anti-corruption agency. In Ukraine that was called that National Anti-Corruption Bureau or NABU.

There was a different body that reviewed asset declarations for unusual wealth, called the National Anti-Corruption Prevention Council. And eventually we got to helping them establish a special anti-corruption prosecutor and eventually a high court on anti- corruption. And that was to try to curate investigators, prosecutors and courts with integrity, that couldn't be bought and would be focused on high-level corruption.

HIMES: So, what I'm hearing there, Mr. Kent, is a very -- a very comprehensive effort. So, let me read you President Trump's own words to the Ukrainian President in the July 25th phone call.

And I quote, there's a lot of talk about Biden's son, that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that. So, whatever you can do with the Attorney General would be great. Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution, so if you can look into it, it sounds horrible to me.

Mr. Kent, when you hear those words, do you hear the president participating in or requesting a thoughtful and well-calibrated anti- corruption program?

KENT: I do not.

HIMES: And, Mr. Kent and Mr. Taylor, the defenders of the president's behavior have made a big deal out of the fact that Vice President Biden encouraged the Ukrainians to remove a corrupt former Ukrainian prosecutor, 2016, Mr. Shokin.

In fact, Senator Rand Paul on Sunday said -- and I quote him -- they're impeaching the president, President Trump, for exactly the same thing that Joe Biden did. Is that correct? Is what the president -- what the president did in his phone call and what Joe Biden did in terms of Mr. Shokin, are those exactly the same things? And if not, how are they different?

KENT: I do not think they are the same things. What former Vice President Biden requested of former President of Ukraine Poroshenko was the removal of a corrupt prosecutor general, Viktor Shokin, who had undermined a program of assistance that we had spent, again, U.S. taxpayer money to try to build an independent investigator unit to go after corrupt prosecutors.

And there was a case called the diamond prosecutor case, in which Shokin destroyed the entire ecosystem that we were trying to help create: the investigators, the judges who issued the warrants, the law enforcement that had warrants to do the wiretapping, everybody, to protect his former driver, whom he'd made a prosecutor.

That's what Joe Biden was asking. Remove the corrupt prosecutor...

HIMES: So Joe Biden was participating in an open effort to establish -- whole-of-government effort to address corruption in Ukraine?

KENT: That is correct.

HIMES: Great. So, Mr. Kent, as you look at this whole mess -- Rudy Giuliani, President Trump -- in your opinion, was this a comprehensive and whole-of-government effort to end corruption in Ukraine?

KENT: Referring to the requests in July?

HIMES: Exactly.

KENT: I would not say so. No, sir.

[13:50:00] HIMES: Yeah, I don't -- I don't think President Trump was trying to end corruption in Ukraine, I think he was trying to aim corruption in Ukraine at Vice President Biden and at the 2020 election. And I yield back the balance of my time.

SCHIFF: Mr. Conaway is recognized for five minutes.

CONAWAY: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I yield my time to the gentleman from Texas, Mr. Ratcliffe.

RATCLIFFE: Thank you. I thank the gentleman.

And I thank you both for being here. It's obvious from your testimony today that you both care a great deal about U.S.-Ukraine relations. It's also very clear that you're optimistic about President Zelensky.

Ambassador Taylor, you related, one of his first acts in office was to remove immunity from deputies which had long been a source of corruption. I know you had a number of personal dealings with him. Has he given you any reason to question his honesty or his integrity?

TAYLOR: No, sir.

RATCLIFFE: In your prior deposition, I asked you -- and I'll read it directly -- if nobody in the Ukrainian government is aware of a military hold at the time of the Trump-Zelensky call, then as a matter of law and as a matter of fact, there can be no quid pro quo based on military aid.

And to your knowledge, nobody in the Ukrainian government was aware of the hold. And you answer was, that is correct. Is that still your testimony?

TAYLOR: Mr. Ratcliffe, at -- at some point in September...

(CROSSTALK)

RATCLIFFE: I'm talking about on July 25th.

TAYLOR: Ah, July 25th. Sorry, yes, that's correct, that's correct. They did not know this.

RATCLIFFE: All right. And as it turns out, President Zelensky agreed with you. On October 10th, President Zelensky held a press marathon with over 300 reporters, where he said repeatedly and consistently, over hours and hours, that he was not aware of a military hold during the July 25th call.

In fact, in his official press release from the Ukrainian government, available on his website, that I'll be introducing into the record, he said, our phone conversation bears no relations to arms. They blocked the provision of military assistance prior to our telephone conversation, but the issue had not been discussed during our conversation. I mean, I didn't even know.

So, now, in addition to confirming that because he had no knowledge of it, there was no quid pro quo involving military aid during that call, President Zelensky went on to confirm a number of things: that there was no pressure, that there were no conditions, that there were no threats on military aid, there were no conditions or pressure to investigate Burisma or the 2016 election, that there was no blackmail, that there was no corruption of any kind during the July 25 call. Again, from his official press release.

Therefore, there was no blackmail because it was not the subject of our conversation with the president of the United States. There were no conditions on the investigation, either because of arms or the situation around Burisma Company.

He told Reuters there was no blackmail. He told the L.A. Times there was no pressure or blackmail from the United States. He told Japan's Kyoto News, I was never pressured and there were no conditions being imposed. He told ABC News and the BBC, I'm against corruption. This is not corruption. It was just a call.

The Ukrainian president stood in front of the world press and repeatedly, consistently, over and over again, interview after interview, said he had no knowledge of military aid being withheld, meaning no quid pro quo, no pressure, no demands, no threats, no blackmail, nothing corrupt.

And unlike the first 45 minutes that we heard from the Democrats today, that's not secondhand information, it's not hearsay, it's not what someone overheard Ambassador Sondland say. That was his direct testimony.

Ambassador Taylor, do you have any evidence to assert that President Zelensky was lying to the world press when he said those things? Yes or no?

TAYLOR: Mr. Ratcliffe, if I can respond.

RATCLIFFE: My time is short.

TAYLOR: Your time is short (ph)...

RATCLIFFE: Yes or no?

TAYLOR: That's right. I have no reason to doubt what the president said in his public (ph) statements (ph). (CROSSTALK)

RATCLIFFE: OK, very good. So in this impeachment hearing today, where we impeach presidents for treason or bribery or other high crimes, where is the impeachable offense in that call? Are either of you here today to assert there was an impeachable offense in that call? Shout it out. Anyone?

TAYLOR: Mr. Ratcliffe, if I can just respond. Let me just reiterate that I'm not here...

RATCLIFFE: I've got one minute left.

TAYLOR: I know, I know you've...

RATCLIFFE: Let -- let me just make this point.

TAYLOR: ... only got a minute left. I've just got 30 -- I've got...

RATCLIFFE: You -- I -- I...

SCHIFF: You asked the witness a question, the witness...

RATCLIFFE: I withdraw the question. Let me just make this point. The question to (ph)...

TAYLOR: And I'm not here to take one side or the other, that's your decision (ph).

RATCLIFFE: Ambassador, let me answer this -- let me ask you this question.

SCHIFF: The gentleman will suspend.

RATCLIFFE: Suspend the time, please?

SCHIFF: Ambassador Taylor, would you like to answer...

RATCLIFFE: Suspend the time, please?

SCHIFF: ... the question?

RATCLIFFE: Suspend the time, please? I withdrew the question.

SCHIFF: The gentleman will suspend. We will suspend the clock.

RATCLIFFE: Suspend the clock...

SCHIFF: Suspend the clock.

RATCLIFFE: ... at one minute, please.

SCHIFF: Ambassador Taylor, would you like to respond to the question?

TAYLOR: Mr. Ratcliffe, I would just like to say that I'm not here to do anything having to do with -- to (ph) decide about impeachment. That is not what either of us are here to do. This is -- this is your job.

[13:55:00]

RATCLIFFE: Will you restore...

TAYLOR: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

RATCLIFFE: ... restore time to the clock to one minute?

SCHIFF: No, but you may continue at 22 seconds.

RATCLIFFE: Fine. Mr. Ambassador, I think everyone knows that House Democrats have made up their minds to impeach one president. The question that we've just learned is, whether or not they're prepared to impeach two because, to be clear, if House Democrats impeach President Trump for a quid pro quo involving military aid, they have to call President Zelensky a liar.

If they impeach him for abusing his power or pressuring or making threats or demands, they have to call President Zelensky a liar to do it.

If they impeach President Trump for blackmail or extortion or making threats or demands, they have to call President Trump a liar to do it.

I yield back.

SCHIFF: Chair recognizes Representative Sewell?

SEWELL: I yield a few minutes to my esteemed chairman.

SCHIFF: Thank you.

Ambassador Taylor, I don't know if you've had a chance to read the - some of the transcripts that have been - been released. Are you aware that other witnesses have testified that Ukraine in fact found out the aid was being withheld before it became public knowledge?

TAYLOR: Mr. Chairman, I - I've read that. I think there's still some question about when they may have heard.

SCHIFF: And ultimately they did find out, when the Politico story came out, to your knowledge, but others have said even sooner. But they did find out, right, Ambassador?

TAYLOR: The - they did, Mr. Chairman.

SCHIFF: And at the time they found out, they knew what President Trump wanted from them, that he wanted these investigations, correct?

TAYLOR: Ambassador Sondland in - in informed President Zelensky's staff - that is Mr. Yermak - of - of what was required, yes.

SCHIFF: So Ukraine finds out about the hold, you're not able to give them a reason for the hold, no one is able to give them a reason for the hold, they know the President wants these investigations and then they're told in Warsaw by Ambassador Sondland essentially you're not getting the aid unless you do these investigations, correct?

TAYLOR: That's correct.

SCHIFF: So, you know, you've been asked how could there be conditioning if the Ukrainians didn't know but the Ukrainians were told by Ambassador Sondland, were they not?

TAYLOR: They were - they were. They didn't know - as near as I can tell, the Ukrainians did not know about the hold on the phone call, on July 25th, that's true, but they were told, as you said, Mr. Chairman, on the 1st of September.

SCHIFF: And in fact, while they may not have known during the time of the call, they would find out. And when they did find out, they would know what the President wanted, correct?

TAYLOR: That's correct.

SCHIFF: Representative Sewell?

SEWELL: So Mr. Kent, I'd like to refer you to the discussion of the May 23rd meeting in the Oval Office, when the President met with those who had gone to the Ukraine for the inauguration. You briefly testified that you helped propose names for individuals to go to that inauguration. Was Ambassador Sondland, who is the Ambassador to the European Union, one of the names that you submitted?

KENT: No, it was not.

SEWELL: But he ultimately attended that inauguration, is that not right?

KENT: That is correct.

SEWELL: And do you know how he ended up as a part of that official delegation?

KENT: I do not know for sure but my understanding is once the list left the NSC staff, it went through a review through the part of the White House that determines presidential delegations.

SEWELL: You also testified that upon returning, Ambassador Sondland used his quote "connections with Mulvaney" end quote to order - in order to secure this meeting in the Oval Office. Is that correct?

KENT: That is my understanding, yes.

SEWELL: It seems that this Oval Office meeting was a pivotal turning point in the Ukraine policy. Coming out of that meeting, who was given responsibility - to your recollection, who was given responsibility for the Ukraine policy?

KENT: I never saw any document that changed the nature of policy determination. In the U.S. government, under the Trump administration, there's the National Security Presidential Memorandum ...

SEWELL: But didn't you also say - I'm ...

KENT: Yes, please.

SEWELL: I have a little time - you did say in your testimony that you felt that that - that - you testified that - that Secretary Perry, Ambassador Sonderland (sic) and Ambassador Volker quote "felt that they had a mandate to take the lead" end quote on Ukraine policy, did you not?

KENT: That was an accurate statement. Their feeling doesn't mean that they actually got delegated responsibility.

SEWELL: Have you ever heard of the term three amigos?

KENT: I referenced that after watching Gordon Sondland say that on Ukrainian TV on July 26th.

SEWELL: And what do you come to mean for - by three amigos?

KENT: My understanding of Ambassador Sondland's use of that term is that the three people that were in charge of Ukraine policy during the summer were he, Gordon Sondland

[14:00:00]