Politics: Hill and Vindman Testimony: Key Excerpts From Impeachment Inquiry Transcripts - - PressFrom - US
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Politics Hill and Vindman Testimony: Key Excerpts From Impeachment Inquiry Transcripts

20:50  08 november  2019
20:50  08 november  2019 Source:   nytimes.com

U.S. House panels release two more impeachment depositions

  U.S. House panels release two more impeachment depositions U.S. House panels release two more impeachment depositions

House impeachment investigators on Friday released two more transcripts of closed-door depositions before the first public hearings in the inquiry begin next week. The transcripts include the testimonies of Fiona Hill, President Trump’s former adviser on Russia and Europe, and Lt. Col. Alexander S. Vindman of the Army, the top Ukraine expert on the National Security Council.

a couple of people posing for the camera: Fiona Hill, President Trump’s former adviser on Russia and Europe, on Capitol Hill last week. © T.J. Kirkpatrick for The New York Times Fiona Hill, President Trump’s former adviser on Russia and Europe, on Capitol Hill last week.

Significant portions of what they had to say have already been reported, but the transcripts offer a fuller picture of what they knew about an apparent effort by the president and his personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani to pressure Ukraine to conduct investigations of political rivals.

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  Pentagon chief: No penalty for officer in impeachment probe Defense Secretary Mark Esper says an Army officer has no reason to fear retribution for testifying before Congress in the impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump. Esper was asked about potential retribution for Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman during a trip Monday to New York. The defense secretary said the Pentagon "has protections for whistleblowers" who report waste, fraud or abuse.

Bolton called Giuliani a ‘hand grenade’ during a discussion of attacks on the U.S. ambassador in Kiev.

Hill transcript, Page 45: “His reaction was pained. And he basically said — in fact, he directly said: Rudy Giuliani is a hand grenade that is going to blow everybody up. He made it clear that he didn’t feel that there was anything that he could personally do about this.”

Ms. Hill testified that she spoke with her boss, John R. Bolton, Mr. Trump’s national security adviser, about the unsubstantiated attacks on Marie L. Yovanovitch, the United States ambassador to Ukraine. Ms. Hill later testified that Mr. Bolton urged her to report another troubling meeting they both took part in related to Ukraine, but in this case, he appears to wash his hands of what happened to the American ambassador, who was recalled from her post abruptly in May.

White House dismisses impeachment transcripts: Trump 'has done nothing wrong'

  White House dismisses impeachment transcripts: Trump 'has done nothing wrong' The White House claimed Tuesday that newly released transcripts showed there is “even less evidence” underscoring House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry into President Trump’s interactions with Ukraine than previously known. © The Hill White House dismisses impeachment transcripts: Trump 'has done nothing wrong' "Both transcripts released today show there is even less evidence for this illegitimate impeachment sham than previously thought," White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said in a statement.

— Nicholas Fandos

Ukrainians were aware of what Mr. Trump meant by ‘do us a favor.’

a group of people standing together in uniform: Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, the top Ukraine expert on the National Security Council. © Anna Moneymaker/The New York Times Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, the top Ukraine expert on the National Security Council. Vindman transcript, Page 228: “It was a demand that the Ukrainians deliver these investigations in order to get what they have been looking for which is the presidential meeting.”

Colonel Vindman told impeachment investigators that there was little ambiguity about what Mr. Trump was conveying on a July 25 call with Ukraine’s president when he asked for a “favor.” Mr. Trump and his allies have defended the call as “perfect” and have regularly pointed to the transcript as evidence. Colonel Vindman also told investigators that specific words in the transcript were deliberately omitted from the version shared with the public.

— Eileen Sullivan

Hill said she was the subject of right-wing smears and death threats.

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  House to release impeachment transcripts this week, top Democrat says "They're going to be very telling to the American people," Congresswoman Jackie Speier told "Face the Nation" Sunday"I think you're going to see all of the transcripts that are going to be released probably within the next five days," Speier said on "Face the Nation" Sunday. "I don't know if they're all going to be released on the same day. But they're going to be very telling to the American people.

Hill transcript, Page 41: “I had had accusations similar to this being made against me as well. My entire first year of my tenure at the National Security Council was filled with hateful calls, conspiracy theories, which has started again, frankly, as it’s been announced that I’ve been giving this deposition, accusing me of being a Soros mole in the White House, of colluding with all kinds of enemies of the president, and, you know, of various improprieties.”

Ms. Hill, a longtime Russia expert and hawk, said that from the moment she started working on Mr. Trump’s National Security Council in 2017, she was subject to the same kind of “mishmash of conspiracy theories” that targeted Ms. Yovanovitch. She was called an ally of George Soros, the liberal billionaire philanthropist whose work to promote democracy in Europe and the United States had made him reviled by some on the right, and her loyalty to Mr. Trump was doubted, Ms. Hill testified. At points, she received death threats and calls to her home.

The question is by whom? Ms. Hill said it was clear to her that Rudolph W. Giuliani, the president’s private lawyer, and other American and Ukrainians working with him on business dealings were behind the smears on Ms. Yovanovitch. But she speculates that there were other, larger interests that were threatened by American officials advocating anticorruption and a tough stance against Russia.

Impeachment team releases transcript of defense official

  Impeachment team releases transcript of defense official WASHINGTON (AP) — House investigators are releasing another transcript in the impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump. The transcript being made public Monday is from the testimony of Laura Cooper, a deputy assistant secretary of defense, in a closed-door interview. House Democrats are moving forward with the first live, public hearings of the impeachment inquiry this week. The House is investigating whether Trump violated his oath of office by pushing Ukraine's president to investigate Democrats, including rival Joe Biden, while the administration was withholding military funds for the East European ally.

— Nicholas Fandos

Slideshow by photo services

Trump thought a former Nunes aide oversaw Ukraine issues for the N.S.C.

Hill transcript, Page 209: “I basically didn’t engage any further because I was wondering to myself: That’s very strange. And I went to talk to Charlie Kupperman, who was going to be taking part on our behalf sitting in on the debriefing for the president. And I said: Apparently, the president may think that Kash Patel is our Ukraine director, and I just want to make sure there’s no embarrassment here. I’m not quite sure why that might be, but I want to flag for you that this is the case. And I related what I related to you. And I said: That probably means that Alex Vindman, our Ukraine director who had actually been on the presidential delegation, probably shouldn’t go into the debrief from the delegation.”

Ms. Hill recounts being told that Mr. Trump wanted to speak to the Ukraine director for the National Security Council whom he apparently believed, incorrectly, was Kash Patel, an official for the council who formerly worked as a top Intelligence Committee staff aide to Representative Devin Nunes, a key Trump ally in trying to discredit the Russia investigation. The Times reported last month that impeachment investigators are trying to understand whether Mr. Patel played in a role in the parallel foreign policy toward Ukraine.

According to Page 312, Ms. Hill said she was “alarmed” and found it a “red flag” that Mr. Patel was apparently providing materials directly to the president that she did not know about, and took his name off a distribution list for Ukraine-related matters.

Charlie Savage

Hill said she did not believe that Ukraine meddled in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Hill transcript, Page 168: “I am very confident based on all of the analysis that has been done — and, again, I don’t want to start getting into intelligence matters — that the Ukrainian government did not interfere in our election in 2016.”

Ms. Hill appears to be referring to an unsubstantiated conspiracy theory pushed by Mr. Giuliani that Ukraine had some involvement in the emails stolen from the Democratic National Committee.

Adam Goldman

White House disputes Vindman account of transcript edits .
WASHINGTON (AP) — The question has long baffled lawmakers: What is missing from the White House's rough transcript of President Donald Trump phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelenskiy? Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman began to fill in gaps. In testimony for the House impeachment inquiry , Vindman, who worked at the White House National Security Council and monitored the July 25 phone call, told investigators he heard a discussion of Biden and Burisma — a reference to the gas company where Joe Biden's son served on the board.

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