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What You Need To Know About Today’s Impeachment Inquiry

Date: December 8, 2019

Today's Witnesses Have Nothing To Do With The July 25th Phone Call But Will Show That The Halt In Ukraine's Aid Occurred During Discussions To Cutback Many Pentagon Projects, And In The Well-Known Context Of Ukraine's Pervasive Corruption


The Facts:

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT TODAY'S IMPEACHMENT INQUIRY:

Both witnesses testified that they were not involved in the July 25th phone call and had no direct information concerning the events surrounding the whistleblower complaint.

  • Fiona Hill, a former official at the National Security Council specializing in the former Soviet Union, Russian and European affairs, never received any read-outs regarding the July 25th phone call.
  • Hill didn't have very many meetings with the President regarding Ukrainian issues as her portfolio covered all of Europe.
  • David Holmes, a political counselor at the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv, Ukraine, testified that he never received a read-out of the July 25th call and was unaware of what was discussed until the transcript became public on September 25th.

Hill was clear that freezing aid occurred during discussions of cutbacks to many Pentagon projects and that current U.S. aid to Ukraine is stronger than the Obama Administrations.

  • Hill testified that aid was not suggested to be frozen for any specific purpose and occurred during a period of discussions about cutbacks on many Pentagon projects.
  • Hill said that President Trump's Ukraine policy with forwarding lethal defensive weapons is much more robust than other administrations.

Hill additionally testified to the great deal of corruption in Ukraine and that Burisma was not an explicit codeword for investigating the Bidens .

Additionally, David Holmes will have to answer questions concerning his bombshell testimony as the details contradict with other witness testimonies.

  • Holmes' testified in his deposition that Gordon Sondland told him on July 26th that the President only cared about "big stuff" like the " Biden investigation "
  • Holmes testified he told Ambassador Taylor about this phone call on August 6, 2019 but Ambassador Taylor testified that he only learned about it a week before his November 13, 2019 hearing.
  • Additionally, Ambassador Sondland testified yesterday that he had no recollection of the phone call or the statements attributed to him by Holmes.

ONCE AGAIN, TODAY'S WITNESSES HAVE NO DIRECT RELATIONSHIP TO THE JULY 25TH PHONE CALL AND OFFER MORE EVIDENCE CONCERNING UKRAINE'S WELL KNOWN CORRUPTION

Today, Former National Security Adviser Fiona Hill And U.S. Embassy In Ukraine Official David Holmes Will Testify In Front Of The House Intelligence Committee

Today, Officials Fiona Hill And David Holmes, U.S. Embassy Official In Ukraine Will Testify In Front Of The House Intelligence Committee's Impeachment Inquiry. "Fiona Hill, former top Russia adviser to the Trump White House. David Holmes, U.S. Embassy in Ukraine official. He overheard the July 26 call between Sondland and President Trump." ( New York Magazine , 11/20/19)

Both Witnesses Testified They Were Not Involved In The July 25 th Phone Call And Did Not Have First Hand Information Regarding The Whistleblower Complaint

Former National Security Adviser Fiona Hill Testified She Never Received Any Read-Outs Regarding The July 25th Phone Call. QUESTION: "So you didn't receive any read outs of the call?" FIONA HILL: " I did not." ( House Impeachment Inquiry , 10/14/19)

Fiona Hill Testified She Didn't Learn About The July 25th Call Until It Was Made Public. QUESTION: "When is the first time you learned about the call and its nature?" HILL: "Really when it was started to be made public." ( House Impeachment Inquiry , 10/14/19)

State Department Official David Holmes Testified That He Never Received A Read-Out Of The July 25th Call And Was Unaware Of What Was Discussed Until Transcript Became Public On September 25th DAVID HOLMES: " The Embassy received no read-out of the call, and I was unaware of what was discussed until the transcript was released on September 25th." (House Impeachment Inquiry , 11/15/19)

As Of His Deposition Last Friday, Holmes Stated That He Has Still Not Seen A Read-Out Of The September 25th Meeting. HOLMES: "On September 21st, Ambassador Taylor and I collaborated on input he sent to Mr. Morrison to brief President Trump ahead of a September 25th meeting that had been scheduled with President Zelensky in New York on the margins of the U.N. General Assembly. The transcript of July 25th call was released the same day. As of today, I still have not seen a read-out of the September 25th meeting." (House Impeachment Inquiry , 11/15/19)

Hill Made Clear That Freezing Aid Has Been A Policy Practice In The Past And That Current U.S. Aid To Ukraine Is Stronger Than Under The Obama Administration

Hill Testified That Aid Was Not Suggested To Be Frozen For Specific Purpose And That The Freeze In Aid Occurred During Discussions Of Cutbacks To A Lot Of Pentagon Projects. QUESTION: "Sitting here today, do you have any other -- has your understanding changed about why the freeze was put in place?" HILL: "A It hasn't actually because, you know, as I said, when I left, there wasn't an explanation, and foreign assistance overall was being frozen. And I haven't seen anything, at least in the public record, that would suggest that it was that the foreign assistance was being frozen for specific purposes at that point. I mean, this was also, remember, again, at the point of discussion about cutting back on lots of Pentagon projects for the building of the wall for Homeland Security purposes, the border wall. ( House Impeachment Inquiry , 10/14/19)

Hill Testified There Were Previous Freezes Of Assistance In The Past In The Move To Push Out The New Foreign Assistance Strategy. HILL: "But I did think that if it was political for whatever reason, the wall or, you know, you name it, it would have to be resolved at high levels in the interagency, and that Ambassador Bolton and Deputy National Security Advisor Kupperman would have to sit down with Mick Mulvaney and try to get to the bottom of what was going on. And, again there were other freezes of assistance because there was a move to push out the new foreign assistance strategy." ( House Impeachment Inquiry , 10/14/19)

Hill Testified That President Trump's Ukraine Policy With Forwarding Lethal Defensive Weapons Was Much More Robust Than Other Administrations. QUESTION: "President Trump's Ukraine policy with forwarding lethal defensive weapons to the Ukraine, is it fair to say that that is a much more robust aid policy?" HILL: "That's correct." ( House Impeachment Inquiry , 10/14/19)

Hill Testified To The Great Deal Of Corruption In Ukraine

Hill Said That There Has Been A Great Deal Of Corruption In Ukraine. HILL: "We were worried about the stability of the Ukrainian Government, the role of the oligarchs in the Ukrainian Government. It was very weak Presidency. There was, of course a great deal of corruption. This has been standard across most of the republics in the former Soviet Union in their independence." ( House Impeachment Inquiry , 10/14/19)

Hill Agreed That One Of The Central Goals For U.S. Foreign Policy Was Eliminating Corruption In Ukraine QUESTION: "But certainly eliminating corruption in Ukraine was one of, if the central, goals of U.S. foreign policy?" HILL: "That's right, as it has been with many other former Soviet states where the corruption pervades through anything from the police force to getting into schools, getting medical treatment, you know all different levels of the public sector." ( House Impeachment Inquiry , 10/14/19)

Hill Testified That The President Was Vocal About The Corruption In Ukraine, And That He Was "Not Alone Because Everyone Has Expressed Concern About Corruption In Ukraine." HILL: "I think that the President has actually quite public said that he was very skeptical about corruption in Ukraine. And, in fact, he's not alone, because everyone has expressed great concerns about corruption in Ukraine." ( House Impeachment Inquiry , 10/14/19)

Hill Testified That Burisma Was Not A Codeword To Investigate The Bidens

Hill Explained That Burisma Was Never Explicitly Code For The Bidens QUESTION: "Not only was discussion of energy code for Burisma, but Burisma was also, at this point understood to be code for the Bidens, and investigation into the Bidens?" HILL: "That never cam out explicitly, just to be clear." ( House Impeachment Inquiry , 10/14/19)

Hill Testified How Their Corruption Push In Ukraine Was Related To Another Energy Company Called Naftogaz, Where People Were Trying To Siphon Off Assets Improperly "Which Had Been Done At Many Times In The Past...[Including] The Energy Company Burisma That Everyone Has Been Concerned About." HILL: " I had assumed was the thrust of our push on corruption, which was related to people trying to siphon off assets of Naftogaz or to use that improperly, which had been done at many times in the past, and in face, would include the energy company Burisma that everyone has been very concerned about." House Impeachment Inquiry , 10/14/19)

Hill Explained That She Believed That Rudy Giuliani Seemed To Be Interested In A Package Of Issues With Ukraine And Not Specifically Burisma. QUESTION: "So did you come to understand that Mr. Giuliani perhaps, at a minimum, was advocating for an investigation into Burisma? HILL: "It was part of what seemed to be a package of issues that he was pushing for, including what seemed to be the business interests of his own associates." ( House Impeachment Inquiry , 10/14/19)

Hill Said That She Did Not Believe That Hunter Biden Being Placed On Burisma's Board Was A "Bright Idea" When She Originally Heard Of The Appointment HILL: "I don't know when that was stopped. I mean, again, I'll just say that I had to be reminded by Amos Hochstein about why Burisma was significant. I remembered, from when I was at the Brookings Institution, reading about Hunter Biden being appointed, thinking this was not a bright idea, and then I did not continue to follow this issue for a long period of time." ( House Impeachment Inquiry , 10/14/19)

David Holmes' Will Have To Explain Why His Bombshell Testimony Concerning An Overheard Phone Call And An Explosive Conversation With Gordon Sondland Is Contradicted By Other Witnesses' Testimonies

David Holmes Testified That That The Ambassador To The E.U. Gordon Sondland Stated In A Conversation On July 26th That The President Only Cared About "Big Stuff" Like The Biden Investigation. HOLMES: "I asked why not, and Ambassador Sondland stated, the President only cares about, quote, unquote, 'big stuff.' I noted that there was, quote, unquote, big stuff going on in Ukraine, like a war with Russia. And Ambassador Sondland replied that he meant, quote, unquote, 'big stuff' that benefits the President, like the quote, unquote, "Biden investigation" that Mr. Giuliani was pushing." ( House Impeachment Hearing , 11/15/19)

Holmes Said That He Immediately Told Ambassador Taylor About The Overheard Call And Sondland's Statements On August 6, 2019 After Returning From Vacation . HOLMES: July 26th, that same day, was my last day in the office ahead of a planned vacation that ended on July 6th - sorry, August 6th. After returning to the embassy, I told Ambassador Taylor about the July 26th call." ( House Impeachment Hearing , 11/15/19)

Ambassador Taylor Testified That He First Heard Of These Events Of July 26th On The Friday Before His Hearing, On November 13, 2019. TAYLOR: "Last Friday, a member of my staff told me of events that occurred on July 26. While Ambassador Volker and I visited the front, this member of my staff accompanied Ambassador Sondland. Ambassador Sondland met with Mr. Yermak." ( NPR , 11/13/19)

  • Taylor Testified That At The Time Of His Deposition On October 22, 2019 He Was Not Aware Of This New Information Provided By Holmes. TAYLOR: "At the time, I gave my deposition on October 22nd, I was not aware of this information." ( NPR , 11/13/19)
  • CNN Reported Taylor Took Meticulous Notes And Was Extraordinarily Detailed About His Various Conversations And Meetings. "Top diplomat Bill Taylor's opening statement was extraordinarily detailed and included information about various phone conversations and in-person meetings. He told lawmakers that he is a meticulous note-taker and referred to his records when preparing for his testimony." ( CNN , 11/06/19)

Additionally, Ambassador Sondland Testified Yesterday That He Had No Recollection Of The Phone Call Or The Statements Attributed To Him By Holmes. REP. RATCLIFFE: "One of the points my colleagues keeps making is that David Holmes' prior testimony, which apparently confirm tomorrow is that President Trump said that he doesn't give a blank about Ukraine. You heard that earlier. "SONDLAND: that was not on the phone call. I don't think he testified on the phone call. He was testifying that I summarized the phone call and I don't recall saying that." REP. RATCLIFFE: "You have no recollection of that. SONDLAND: I don't."