House Intelligence Committee: Defend Our Democracy
Republican National Committee: Stop The Madness

Open Hearings Preoccupy Washington as the Two Sides Present Starkly Different Pictures

Wednesday, November 13, 2019 - Ambassador William Taylor and Deputy Assistant Secretary George Kent.
Friday, November 15, 2019 - former Ambassador Marie “Masha” Yovanovitch.
Tuesday, November 19, 2019 - Ms. Jennifer Williams and Lt. Colonel Alexander Vindman; Timothy Morrison and Ambassador Kurt Volker.
Wednesday, November 20, 2019 - Ambassador Gordon Sondland; Ms. Laura Cooper and Mr. David Hale
Thursday, November 21, 2019 - Dr. Fiona Hill and Mr. David A. Holmes


November 13, 2019

Chairman Schiff Releases Opening Statement for First Open Hearing

Washington, DC — Today, Chairman Adam Schiff released his opening statement for the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence’s first open hearing as part of the impeachment inquiry into President Donald J. Trump.

Full statement below as prepared:

In 2014, Russia invaded a United States ally, Ukraine, to reverse that nation’s embrace of the West, and to fulfill Vladimir Putin’s desire to rebuild a Russian empire. In the following years, thirteen thousand Ukrainians died as they battled superior Russian forces.

Earlier this year Volodymyr Zelensky was elected president of Ukraine on a platform of ending the conflict and tackling corruption. He was a newcomer to politics and immediately sought to establish a relationship with Ukraine’s most powerful patron, the United States. The questions presented by this impeachment inquiry are whether President Trump sought to exploit that ally’s vulnerability and invite Ukraine’s interference in our elections? Whether President Trump sought to condition official acts, such as a White House meeting or U.S. military assistance, on Ukraine’s willingness to assist with two political investigations that would help his reelection campaign? And if President Trump did either, whether such an abuse of his power is compatible with the office of the presidency?

The matter is as simple, and as terrible as that. Our answer to these questions will affect not only the future of this presidency, but the future of the presidency itself, and what kind of conduct or misconduct the American people may come to expect from their Commander-in-Chief.

There are few actions as consequential as the impeachment of a President. While the Founders did not intend that impeachment be employed for mere differences over policy, they also made impeachment a constitutional process that the Congress must utilize when necessary.

The facts in the present inquiry are not seriously contested. Beginning in January of this year, the President’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, pressed Ukrainian authorities to investigate Burisma, the country’s largest natural gas producer, and the Bidens, since Vice President Joe Biden was seen as a strong potential challenger to Trump.

Giuliani also promoted a debunked conspiracy that it was Ukraine, not Russia, that hacked the 2016 election. The nation’s intelligence agencies have stated unequivocally that it was Russia, not Ukraine, that interfered in our election. But Giuliani believed this conspiracy theory, referred to as “Crowdstrike,” shorthand for the company that discovered the Russian hack, would aid his client’s reelection.

Giuliani also conducted a smear campaign against the U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch. On April 29, a senior State Department official told her that although she had “done nothing wrong,” President Trump had “lost confidence in her.” With the sidelining of Yovanovich, the stage was set for the establishment of an irregular channel in which Giuliani and later others, including Gordon Sondland – an influential donor to the President’s inauguration  now serving as Ambassador to the European Union - could advance the President’s personal and political interests.

Yovanovich’s replacement in Kyiv, Ambassador Bill Taylor, is a West Point graduate and Vietnam Veteran.  As he began to better understand the scheme through the summer of 2019, he pushed back, informing Deputy Assistant Secretary Kent and others about a plan to condition U.S. government actions and funding on the performance of political favors by the Ukrainian government, favors intended for President Trump that would undermine our security and our elections.

Several key events in this scheme took place in the month of July. On July 10th, Ambassador Sondland informed a group of U.S. and Ukrainian officials meeting at the White House that, according to Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, a White House meeting desperately sought by the Ukrainian president with Trump would happen only if Ukraine undertook an investigation into “the energy sector,” which was understood to mean Burisma and, specifically, the Bidens. National Security Advisor Bolton abruptly ended the meeting and said afterwards that he would not be – quote – “part of whatever drug deal Sondland and Mulvaney are cooking up on this” – end quote.

A week later, on July 18, a representative from OMB, the White House agency that oversees federal spending, announced on a video conference call that Mulvaney, at the direction of the President, was freezing nearly $400 million in security assistance authorized and appropriated by Congress and which the entirety of the U.S. national security establishment supported.

One week after that, Donald Trump would have the now infamous July 25th phone call with Ukrainian President Zelensky. During that call, Trump complained that the U.S. relationship with Ukraine had not been “reciprocal.”  Later, Zelensky thanks Trump for his support “in the area of defense,” and says that Ukraine was ready to purchase more Javelins, an antitank weapon that was among the most important deterrents of further Russian military action. Trump’s immediate response: “I would like you to do us a favor, though.” 

Trump then requested that Zelensky investigate the discredited 2016 “Crowdstrike” conspiracy theory, and even more ominously, look into the Bidens. Neither of these investigations were in the U.S. national interest, and neither was part of the official preparatory material for the call. Both, however, were in Donald Trump’s personal interest, and in the interests of his 2020 re-election campaign. And the Ukrainian president knew about both in advance — because Sondland and others had been pressing Ukraine for weeks about investigations into the 2016 election, Burisma and the Bidens.

After the call, multiple individuals were concerned enough to report it to the National Security Council’s top lawyer.  The White House would then take the extraordinary step of moving the call record to a highly classified server exclusively reserved for the most sensitive intelligence matters.

In the following weeks, Ambassador Taylor learned new facts about a scheme that even Sondland would describe as becoming more insidious. Taylor texted Sondland, “Are we now saying that security assistance and WH meeting are conditioned on investigations?”  

As summer turned to fall “[i]t kept getting more insidious,” Mr. Sondland testified. Mr. Taylor, who took notes of his conversations, said the ambassador told him in a September 1 phone call that “everything was dependent” on the public announcement of investigations “including security assistance.”  President Trump wanted Mr. Zelensky “in a public box.”  "President Trump is a businessman,” Sondland said later. “When a businessman is about to sign a check to someone who owes him something, the businessman asks that person to pay up before signing the check."

In a sworn declaration after Taylor’s testimony, Sondland would admit to telling the Ukrainians at a September 1st meeting in Warsaw “that resumption of U.S. aid would likely not occur until Ukraine provided the public anti-corruption statement that we had been discussing for many weeks."

The President’s chief of staff confirmed Trump’s efforts to coerce Ukraine by withholding aid. When Mick Mulvaney was asked publicly about it, his answer was breathtaking: "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.”  The video of that confession is plain for all to see.

Some have argued in the President’s defense that the aid was ultimately released. That is true. But only after Congress began an investigation; only after the President’s lawyers learned of a whistleblower complaint; and only after Members of Congress began asking uncomfortable questions about quid pro quos. A scheme to condition official acts or taxpayer funding to obtain a personal political benefit does not become less odious because it is discovered before it is fully consummated. In fact, the security assistance had been delayed so long, it would take another act of Congress to ensure that it would still go out. And that Oval Office meeting that Zelensky desperately sought – it still hasn’t happened.

Although we have learned a great deal about these events in the last several weeks, there are still missing pieces. The President has instructed the State Department and other agencies to ignore Congressional subpoenas for documents.  He has instructed witnesses to defy subpoenas and refuse to appear. And he has suggested that those who do expose wrongdoing should be treated like traitors and spies. 

These actions will force Congress to consider, as it did with President Nixon, whether Trump’s obstruction of the constitutional duties of Congress constitute additional grounds for impeachment. If the President can simply refuse all oversight, particularly in the context of an impeachment proceeding, the balance of power between our two branches of government will be irrevocably altered.  That is not what the Founders intended.  And the prospects for further corruption and abuse of power, in this administration or another, will be exponentially increased.

This is what we believe the testimony will show — both as to the President’s conduct and as to his obstruction of Congress. The issue that we confront is the one posed by the President’s Acting Chief of Staff when he challenged Americans to “get over it.” If we find that the President of the United States abused his power and invited foreign interference in our elections, or if he sought to condition, coerce, 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 — must we simply “get over it?” Is that what Americans should now expect from their president? If this is not impeachable conduct, what is?  Does the oath of office itself – requiring that our laws be faithfully executed, that our president defend a constitution that balances the powers of its branches, setting ambition against ambition so that we become no monarchy – still have meaning?

These are the questions we must ask and answer. Without rancor if we can, without delay regardless, and without party favor or prejudice if we are true to our responsibilities. Benjamin Franklin was asked what kind of a country America was to become, “A Republic,” he answered, “if you can keep it.” The fundamental issue raised by the impeachment inquiry into Donald J. Trump is: Can we, keep it?


November 13, 2019

Rep. Devin Nunes

Opening Statement for Kent and Taylor Hearing on Impeachment

In a July open hearing of this committee following publication of the Mueller report, the Democrats engaged in a last-ditch effort to convince the American people that President Trump is a Russian agent. That hearing was the pitiful finale of a three-year-long operation by the Democrats, the corrupt media, and partisan bureaucrats to overturn the results of the 2016 presidential election.

After the spectacular implosion of their Russia hoax on July 24, in which they spent years denouncing any Republican who ever shook hands with a Russian, on July 25 they turned on a dime and now claim the real malfeasance is Republicans’ dealings with Ukraine.

In the blink of an eye, we’re asked to simply:

  • forget about Democrats on this committee falsely claiming they had “more than circumstantial evidence” of collusion between President Trump and the Russians;
  • forget about them reading fabrications of Trump-Russia collusion from the Steele dossier into the congressional record;
  • forget about them trying to obtain nude pictures of Trump from Russian pranksters who pretended to be Ukrainian officials; 
  • forget about them leaking a false story to CNN, while he was testifying to our committee, claiming Donald Trump Jr. had colluded with Wikileaks;
  • and forget about countless other deceptions, large and small, that make them the last people on earth with the credibility to hurl more preposterous accusations at their political opponents.  

And yet now we’re supposed to take these people at face value when they trot out a new batch of allegations. But anyone familiar with the Democrats’ scorched-earth war against President Trump would not be surprised to see all the typical signs that this is just a carefully orchestrated media smear campaign. For example:

  • After vowing publicly that impeachment requires bipartisan support, Democrats are pushing impeachment forward without the backing of a single House Republican.
  • The witnesses deemed suitable for television by the Democrats were put through a closed-door audition process in a cult-like atmosphere in the basement of the Capitol, where the Democrats conducted secret depositions, released a flood of misleading and one-sided leaks, and later selectively released transcripts in a highly staged manner.
  • Violating their own guidelines, the Democrats repeatedly redacted from the transcripts the name of Alexandra Chalupa, a contractor for the Democratic National Committee who worked with Ukrainian officials to collect dirt on the Trump campaign, which she provided to the DNC and the Hillary Clinton campaign.
  • The Democrats rejected most of the Republicans’ witness requests, resulting in a horrifically one-sided process where crucial witnesses are denied a platform if their testimony doesn’t support the Democrats’ absurd accusations. Notably, they are trying to impeach the President for inquiring about Hunter Biden’s activities, yet they refused our request to hear from Biden himself.
  • The whistleblower was acknowledged to have a bias against President Trump, and his attorney touted a “coup” against the President and called for his impeachment just weeks after his election.
  • At a prior hearing, Democrats on this committee read out a purely fictitious rendition of the President’s phone call with President Zelensky. They clearly found the real conversation to be insufficient for their impeachment narrative, so they just made up a new one.

And most egregiously, the staff of Democrats on this committee had direct discussions with the whistleblower before his or her complaint was submitted to the Inspector General, and Republicans cannot get a full account of these contacts because the Democrats broke their promise to have the whistleblower testify to this committee. Democrat members hid these contacts from Republicans and lied about them to the American people on national television.

I’ve noted before that the Democrats have a long habit of accusing Republicans of offences they themselves are committing. Recall that:

  • For years they accused the Trump campaign of colluding with Russia when they themselves were colluding with Russia by funding and spreading the Steele dossier, which relied on Russian sources.
  • And now they accuse President Trump of malfeasance in Ukraine when they themselves are culpable. The Democrats cooperated in Ukrainian election meddling, and they defend Hunter Biden’s securing of a lavishly paid position with a corrupt Ukrainian company, all while his father served as vice president.

Despite this hypocrisy, the Democrats are advancing their impeachment sham. But we should not hold any hearings at all until we get answers to three crucial questions the Democrats are determined to avoid asking:

  • First, what is the full extent of the Democrats’ prior coordination with the Whistleblower and who else did the Whistleblower coordinate this effort with?
  • Second, what is the full extent of Ukraine’s election meddling against the Trump campaign?
  • And third, why did Burisma hire Hunter Biden, what did he do for them, and did his position affect any U.S. government actions under the Obama administration?

These questions will remain outstanding because Republicans were denied the right to call witnesses who know the answers.

What we will witness today is a televised theatrical performance staged by the Democrats. Ambassador Taylor and Mr. Kent—I’d like to welcome you here, and congratulate you for passing the Democrats’ Star Chamber auditions held for the last six weeks in the basement of the Capitol. It seems you agreed, wittingly or unwittingly, to participate in a drama. But the main performance—the Russia hoax—has ended, and you’ve been cast in the low-rent Ukrainian sequel.

I’ll conclude by noting the immense damage the politicized bureaucracy has done to Americans’ faith in government. Though executive branch employees are charged with implementing the policy set by our President, who is elected by and responsible to the American people, elements of the civil service have decided that they, not the President, are really in charge.

Thus, as we’ll learn in these hearings:

  • After expressing skepticism of foreign aid and concern about foreign corruption on the campaign trail, President Trump outraged the bureaucracy by acting skeptically about foreign aid and expressing concerns about foreign corruption.
  • Officials’ alarm at the President’s actions was typically based on second-hand, third-hand, and even fourth-hand rumors and innuendo.
  • They believed it was an outrage for President Trump to fire an ambassador, even though the President has full authority to retain or remove diplomats for any reason at any time.
  • Officials showed a surprising lack of interest in the indications of Ukrainian election meddling that deeply concerned the President at whose pleasure they serve.   
  • Despite all their dissatisfaction with President Trump’s Ukraine policy, the President approved the supply of weapons to Ukraine, unlike the previous administration, which provided blankets as defense against invading Russians.

By undermining the President who they are supposed to be serving, elements of the FBI, the Department of Justice, and now the State Department, have lost the confidence of millions of Americans who believe that their vote should count for something. It will take years, if not decades, to restore faith in these institutions.     

This spectacle is doing great damage to our country. It’s nothing more than an impeachment process in search of a crime.

the opening statements set the stage...

Examples of Partisan Communications on Impeachment Inquiry

'DNC War Room' via DNC RR Main
Nov 20, 2019, 2:52 PM

Background: Laura Cooper

Here’s some background on Laura Cooper, a senior Department of Defense official who helped oversee the allocation of U.S. military aid to Ukraine. 
Laura Cooper is the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Russia, Ukraine, and Eurasia.
Cooper can provide critical details about $400 million of security assistance to Ukraine that was withheld, and the ramifications that decision had for our own national security.
  • Cooper previously testified that the Department of Defense certified that Ukraine met all necessary anti-corruption requirements to receive aid, and was making progress on corruption. This undermines Republicans’ talking point that Trump withheld aid because he was concerned about corruption.
  • Cooper also testified that providing security assistance to Ukraine was in America’s national interest, and that failing to fund Ukraine aid would potentially strengthen Russia.

Republican National Committee
Steve Guest - Communications/Research
Nov 20, 2019, 2:58 PM

Schiff Show Fact Check: Laura Cooper

Despite almost a full day of hearings already, where the biggest revelation was that there was no quid pro quo, Adam Schiff has hauled Laura Cooper, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Russian, Ukrainian, and Eurasian Affairs before his circus.
Here’s what you need to know about Cooper: She is not a firsthand witness.
Not only was Cooper not on the July 25th call, she never got a read out of the call, and she has never spoken to Mick Mulvaney or President Trump. [Pages 54, 103]
And her lack of firsthand knowledge continues:
Cooper testified she had no firsthand information that the Ukrainian government was aware of the delay of U.S. aid. And in her communications with Ukrainian officials, they never once raised any concerns to her. [Pages 65-67, 76]
However, Cooper testified that Ukraine has a “significant amount of corruption” but she was “personally proud” of the Trump administration’s decision to send Javelins to Ukraine. [Page 101, 97-98]
Stop The Madness.



Steve Guest
Rapid Response Director
Republican National Committee

'DNC War Room' via DNC RR Main
Nov 20, 2019, 2:55 PM

Background: David Hale

Hale is the Under Secretary for Political Affairs at the Department of State. That makes him the third-highest ranking official at the State Department.
  • Trump nominated Hale to his current position. He is the third-highest ranking official at the State Department.
  • Hale joined the foreign service during the Reagan administration and has served under six presidents — four Republicans and two Democrats.
  • Hale has served as ambassador to Pakistan, Lebanon, and Jordan, and as Special Envoy for Middle East Peace.
  • Hale has received numerous awards, including the Distinguished Service Award, a Presidential Rank Award of Meritorious Service, and several Department Superior and Meritorious Honor awards.
Hale will likely testify to the importance of the military aid that Trump withheld from Ukraine.
  • Hale previously testified that the State Department supported releasing the military aid to Ukraine.
  • Hale "advocated strongly" for the aid to be released, but was told that Trump ordered the security assistance to be withheld.
  • Hale pushed for the State Department to release a statement in support of Amb. Marie Yovanovitch, but Pompeo refused to do so.

Republican National Committee
Steve Guest - Communications/Research
Nov 20, 2019, 2:55 PM

Schiff Show Fact Check: David Hale

The circus continues… Adam Schiff has called David Hale, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs for the State Department before his impeachment committee, here’s what you need to know about Hale.
·         Hale was not a firsthand witness to the July 25th call.
·         Hale testified that Ukraine had been regarded as a corrupt country for years.
·         Despite all of the hoopla surrounding President Trump’s call with Ukraine President Zelensky, the U.S. foreign aid policy towards Ukraine has remained unchanged and that President Trump’s policy is “very robust.” [Page 147]
·         Hale testified that President Trump started a foreign aid review in September 2018 because he didn’t want to take a “business-as-usual approach to foreign assistance” [Pages 81-83]
·         Said he was not aware of any conditions Ukraine had to receive aid. [Page 184-185]
·         Testified that foreign aid holds were not unique, aid was also held in Lebanon, northern Triangle countries in South America, and Pakistan. [Pages 94-95]
Stop The Madness.

Steve Guest
Rapid Response Director
Republican National Committee

U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff
November 19, 2019

Chairman Schiff Releases Opening Statement for Open Hearing With Ambassador Kurt Volker and Tim Morrison

Washington, DC — Today, Chairman Adam Schiff released his opening statement for the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence’s open hearing with Kurt Volker and Tim Morrison as part of the impeachment inquiry into President Donald J. Trump.

Full statement below as prepared:

This afternoon we will hear from two witnesses requested by the Minority, Ambassador Kurt Volker, the State Department’s Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations, and Tim Morrison, the former Senior Director for European Affairs at the National Security Council.  I appreciate the Minority’s request for these two important witnesses, as well as Under Secretary of State David Hale, from whom we will hear tomorrow.

As we have heard from other witnesses, when Joe Biden was considering whether to enter the race for the Presidency in 2020, the President’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, began a campaign to weaken Vice President Biden’s candidacy by pushing Ukraine to investigate him and his son.

To clear away any obstacle to the scheme, days after the new Ukrainian President was elected, Trump ordered the recall of Marie Yovanovitch, the American ambassador in Kyiv, who was known for pushing anticorruption efforts. Trump also cancelled Vice President Mike Pence’s participation in the inauguration of President Zelensky on May 20 and instead sent a delegation headed by Energy Secretary Rick Perry, Ambassador to the European Union Gordan Sondland, and Ambassador Kurt Volker.

These three returned from Kyiv and briefed President Trump on their encouraging first interactions with the new Ukrainian administration.  Hopes that Trump would agree to an early meeting with the Ukrainian President were soon diminished, however, when Trump pushed back. According to Volker, “He just didn’t believe it. He was skeptical. And he also said, that’s not what I hear. I hear, you know, he’s got some terrible people around him.” President Trump also told them he believed that Ukraine “tried to take” him down. He told the three Amigos: “talk to Rudy.”

And they did. One of those interactions took place a week before the July 25 phone call between Trump and Zelensky, when Volker had breakfast with Rudy Giuliani at Trump Hotel. Volker testified that he pushed back on Giuliani’s accusation against Joe Biden. On July 22, just days before Trump would talk to Zelensky, Volker held a telephone conference with Giuliani and Andrey Yermak, a top advisor to the Ukrainian President, so that Giuliani could be introduced to Yermak.

On July 25th, the same day as the call between Trump and Zelensky, but before it took place, Volker sent a text message to Yermak: “heard from White House – assuming President Z convinces trump he will investigate/ “get to the bottom of what happened” in 2016, we will nail down date for a visit to Washington. Good luck!”

Later that day, Donald Trump would have the now infamous phone call with Zelensky in which he responded to the Ukrainian’s appreciation for U.S. defense support and request to buy more Javelin anti-tank missiles by saying, “I would like you to do us a favor, though.” And the favor involved the two investigations that Giuliani had been pushing for – into the Bidens and 2016. Volker was not on the call, but when asked about what it reflected, he testified that no president of the United States should ask a foreign leader to help interfere in a U.S. election.

Among those listening in on the July 25th call was Tim Morrison, who had taken over as the NSC’s Senior Director for European Affairs at the NSC only days before, but had been briefed by his predecessor, Fiona Hill, about the irregular second channel that was operating in parallel to the official one.

Like Col. Vindman and Ms. Williams from whom the committee heard this morning, Morrison emerged from the call troubled. He. was concerned enough about what he heard on the July 25 call, that he went to see the NSC legal advisor soon after it had ended.  Col. Vindman’s fear was that the President had broken the law, but Morrison said his concern was that the call could be damaging if it were leaked. Soon after this discussion with lawyers at the NSC, the call record was hidden away on a secure server used to store highly classified intelligence, where it remained until late September when the call record was publicly released.

Following the July 25th call, Volker worked with Sondland and the Ukrainian president’s close advisor Yermak on a statement that would satisfy Giuliani. When Yermak sent over a draft that still failed to include the specific words Burisma and 2016, Giuliani said the statement would lack credibility. Volker then added both Burisma and 2016 to the draft statement.

Both Volker and Morrison were, by late July, aware that the security assistance had been cut off at the direction of the President and acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney.

As the Ukrainians became aware of the suspension of security assistance and the negotiations over the scheduling of a White House meeting between Trump and Zelensky dragged on, the pressure increased and any pretense that there was no linkage soon dropped away.

Morrison accompanied Vice-President Pence to Warsaw on September 1, where Pence and Zelensky met and Zelensky raised the suspended security assistance.  Following that meeting, Sondland approached Yermak to tell him that he believed that what could help them move the aid was if the [Ukrainian] prosecutor general would go to the mike and announce that he was opening the Burisma investigation.

On September 7, Ambassador Sondland had a telephone call with Trump and asked him what he wanted from Ukraine.  According to Morrison, who spoke with Sondland after the call, Trump insisted that that there was no quid pro quo, but President Zelensky must personally announce the opening of the investigations and he should want to do it.  Sondland also said that, if President Zelensky didn’t agree to make a public statement about the investigations, the U.S. and Ukraine would be at a stalemate—meaning, it would not receive the much-needed security assistance.

Morrison had “a sinking feeling” after the call as he realized that the ask was now being directed at Zelensky himself and not the Prosecutor General as Sondland had relayed to a senior Ukrainian aide in Warsaw on September 1.  While Trump claimed there was no quid pro quo, his insistence that Zelensky himself publicly announce the investigations or they would be at a stalemate, made clear that at least two official acts — a White House meeting and $400 million in military aid — were conditioned on receipt of what Trump wanted, the investigations to help his campaign.

The efforts to secure the investigations would continue for several more days, but appear to have abruptly ended soon after three Committees of Congress announced an investigation into the Trump-Giuliani Ukraine scheme.  Only then, would the aid be released.


U.S. Rep. Devin Nunes
November 19, 2019

Opening Statement for Morrison and Volker Hearing on Impeachment

Welcome back to the circus, ladies and gentlemen.

We are here to continue what Democrats tell us is a serious, somber, and even “prayerful” process of attempting to overthrow a duly elected president. If they’re successful, the end result would be to disenfranchise tens of millions of Americans who thought the president is chosen by the American people—not by thirteen Democrat partisans on a committee that’s supposed to be overseeing the government’s intelligence agencies.

And isn’t it strange how we’ve morphed into the Impeachment Committee, presiding over a matter that has no intelligence component whatsoever? Impeachment, of course, is the jurisdiction of the Judiciary Committee, not the Intelligence Committee.

But putting this farce in our court provides two main advantages for the Democrats: it made it easier for them to shroud their depositions in secrecy, and it allowed them to avoid giving too big a role in this spectacle to another Democrat committee chairman in whom Democrat leaders obviously have no confidence.

Who can possibly view these proceedings as fair and impartial? They are being conducted by Democrats who spent three years saturating the airwaves with dire warnings that President Trump is a Russian agent. And these outlandish attacks continue to this very day.

Just this weekend, in front of a crowd of Democratic Party activists, the Chairman of this committee:

  • Denounced President Trump as a “profound threat to our democracy.”
  • And vowed that “We will send that charlatan in the White House back to the golden throne he came from.”
How can anyone believe that people who would utter such dramatic absurdities are conducting a fair impeachment process and are only trying to discover the truth? It’s obvious the Democrats are trying to topple the president solely because they despise him, because they’ve promised since Election Day to impeach him, and because they’re afraid he will win re-election next year.

No witnesses have identified any crime or impeachable offense committed by the President, but that doesn’t matter. Last week the Democrats told us his infraction was asking for a quid pro quo. This week, it’s bribery. Who knows what ridiculous crime they’ll be accusing him of next week.

As witnesses, the Democrats have called a parade of government officials who don’t like President Trump’s Ukraine policy, even though they all acknowledge he provided Ukraine with lethal military aid after the Obama administration refused to do so. They also resent his conduct of policy through channels outside their own authority and control. These actions, they argue, contradict the “interagency consensus.”

They don’t seem to understand that the President alone is constitutionally vested with the authority to set the policy. The American people elect a president, not an interagency consensus.

And of course, our previous witnesses had very little new information to share in these hearings. That’s because these hearings are not designed to uncover new information, they’re meant to showcase a handpicked group of witnesses who the Democrats determined, through their secret audition process, will provide testimony most conducive to their accusations.

In fact, by the time any witness says anything here, people are hearing it for the third time. They heard it first through the Democrats’ cherry-picked leaks to their media sympathizers during the secret depositions, and second when the Democrats published those deposition transcripts in a highly staged manner.

Of course there are no transcripts from crucial witnesses like Hunter Biden, who could testify about his well-paying job on the board of a corrupt Ukrainian company, or Alexandra Chalupa, who worked on an election meddling scheme with Ukrainian officials on behalf of the Democratic National Committee and the Hillary Clinton campaign.

That’s because the Democrats refuse to let us hear from them.

As for evidence, what we’re left with is the transcript of the Trump-Zelensky phone call, which the President has made public. That means Americans can read for themselves an unremarkable conversation with President Zelensky, who repeatedly expressed satisfaction with the call afterward.

The Democrats, however, claim President Zelensky was being bribed, and therefore he must be lying when he says the call was friendly and posed no problems.

There’s some irony here—for weeks we’ve heard the Democrats bemoan the damage President Trump supposedly caused to U.S.−Ukrainian relations. But when the Ukrainian President contradicts their accusations, they publicly dismiss him as a liar. I may be wrong, but I’m fairly sure calling a friendly foreign president a liar violates the interagency consensus.

So overall, the Democrats would have you believe President Zelensky was being blackmailed with a pause on lethal military aid that he didn’t even know about, that President Trump did not mention to him, and that diplomats have testified they always assumed would be lifted—which it was, without the Ukrainians undertaking any of the actions they were supposedly being coerced into doing.

This process is not serious, it is not somber, and it is certainly not prayerful. It’s an ambitious attack to deprive the American people of their right to elect a president that the Democrats don’t like.

As I mentioned, the Chairman of this committee claims that democracy is under threat. If that’s true, it’s not the President who poses the danger.

'DNC War Room' via DNC RR Main
Nov 19, 2019, 12:37 PM

Background: Kurt Volker

Kurt Volker is a former career foreign service officer who served as special envoy to Ukraine.

  • Volker worked on European policy at the State Department for five administrations before leaving for the private sector.
  • Volker resigned from his position the weekend before his initial deposition.
Volker was ⅓ of a team designated by Trump to circumvent the State Department’s formal process on Ukraine.

  • Along with Gordon Sondland and Rick Perry, Volker was one of the "three amigos" the White House designated to bypass usual channels.
  • Their back channel efforts undermined the United States’ official diplomacy and ran counter to our national security interests.
Volker's previous testimony was critical for multiple reasons.

  • Volker corroborated Sondland's claim that he had a relationship with Trump, with the ability to call Trump and have conversations. 
  • Volker said that Trump's pressure campaign had hurt U.S. interests in Ukraine.
        • “The negative narrative about Ukraine which Mr. Giuliani was furthering was the problem. It was, in my view, it was impeding our ability to build the relationship the way we should be doing.”

Republican National Committee
Steve Guest - Communications/Research
Nov 19, 2019, 12:43 PM

Schiff Show Fact Check: Kurt Volker

Former U.S. special envoy for Ukraine Kurt Volker is about to testify publicly as part of the Schiff Show.
Here’s what Democrats will have to square about Volker’s testimony.
·         When Volker was asked if President Trump withheld a meeting with Ukraine President Zelensky until Ukraine committed to an investigation regarding the 2016 election, Volker said “no… there was no linkage.” [Pages 35-36]
Volker also said the hold on security assistance was “not significant” and that he never communicated any requirement to Ukraine in order for the aid to flow. [Page 80]
Reminder: The aid ultimately flowed.
Volker also said he never heard President Trump express interest in Ukraine opening an investigation into Burisma. [Page 28
And Volker testified he was never asked to do anything wrong by the Trump administration. [Page 343]
Stop The Madness

Steve Guest
Rapid Response Director
Republican National Committee

'DNC War Room' via DNC RR Main
Nov 19, 2019, 12:37 PM

Background: Tim Morrison

Tim Morrison is a former senior White House national security official and longtime Republican Capitol Hill staffer.
  • In his previous position as policy director for the Republican staff of the House Armed Services Committee, Morrison likely worked with several current members of the House Intelligence Committee, including Mike Turner, Mike Conaway, and Elise Stefanik.
Morrison is a firsthand witness to Trump’s abuse of power, Sondland’s discussion of a quid pro quo with the Ukrainians, and Sondland’s discussions with Trump.
  • Morrison listened to the July call.
  • Morrison corroborated Sondland’s testimony that Sondland told a top Ukranian official that military aid was conditioned on Ukraine announcing they were opening an investigation into Trump’s political rival.
  • Morrison also testified that Sondland was in contact with Trump and believed him to be acting at Trump’s direction.

Republican National Committee
Steve Guest - Communications/Research
Nov 19, 2019, 12:43 PM

Schiff Show Fact Check: Timothy Morrison

Meet Tim Morrison, Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Europe and Russia at the NSC.
Morrison’s closed door testimony has already blown holes in the Democrats’ impeachment narrative.
He testified:
·         Nothing illegal or improper occurred between President Trump and Ukraine President Zelinsky on the July 25th call.[Pages 16, 60]
·         The call transcript was “accurate and complete.” [Page 60]
·         He had no concerns that people would think President Trump’s call with President Zelensky was going to influence the 2020 election [Page 47]
·         Morrison also testified that Sondland said there was “no quid pro quo.” [Page 229]
Morrison also thought Vindman had poor judgement, a sentiment, he testified that was shared by Fiona Hill. [Page 81-82]
Morrison also added in his closed door testimony that Vindman never reported to Morrison any of the “light queries” that he received from Ukrainian officials in August regarding the hold on aid. [Page 93]
And continuing on the foreign aid subject, Morrison testified that President Trump was concerned about providing foreign aid to Ukraine because “Ukraine has a significant corruption problem.” [Page 79]
(Reminder, the aid ultimately flowed.)
Stop the Madness.
Steve Guest
Rapid Response Director
Republican National Committee