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Witnesses confirm during the hearing that Trump put pressure on Ukraine

2019-11-13T18:21:53.656Z

The first public hearing in the investigation into the possible deposition of US President Donald Trump will take place on Wednesday. The hearing can be followed live from 4 p.m. Dutch time.



The first public hearing in the investigation into the possible deposition of US President Donald Trump will take place on Wednesday. The hearing can be followed live from 4 p.m. Dutch time.

Good afternoon, my name is Matthijs le Loux and in this live blog I will keep you informed of the first public hearing in the investigation into the possible deposition of American President Donald Trump.

  • Research revolves around controversial telephone conversation between Trump and Ukrainian President Zelensky.
  • Trump is said to have put pressure on his Ukrainian counterpart for his own political gain.
  • The investigating committees of the House have already interviewed several stakeholders behind closed doors.
  • Acting Ambassador to Ukraine William Taylor and senior official George Kent from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs testify.

Do you have questions? Send them to redactie@nu.nl, then I will do my best to answer as many as possible.

View and listen to the hearing here live

one minute ago

How does the impeachment procedure work again? Refresh your memory here.

3 minutes ago

Castor asks the two witnesses all kinds of detailed questions about Hunter Biden and his work for energy company Burisma in Ukraine. Among other things, he asks whether the high salary of Biden ($ 50,000 a month, Castor says) raises questions. William Taylor clearly does not know how to respond and refuses to give a value judgment. Castor now sends to Joe Biden, who insisted on the resignation of a controversial Ukrainian prosecutor. He clearly wants to make a connection between those efforts and Hunter.

8 minutes ago

For the time being, the Republicans are making every effort to shift attention to allegations of Ukraine's election interference in 2016. It is no longer about the allegation that Trump was trying to persuade Ukrainians to get involved in the 2020 elections - the issue where the impeachment procedure.

10 minutes ago

Castor asks Taylor why, as acting ambassador to Ukraine, he did not listen to the telephone conversation between Trump and Zelensky. Taylor's answer, confirmed by Kent, is a bureaucratic treatise on the role and powers of an ambassador. The interactions between Castor and Taylor are a lot smoother than the previous interrogation by the Democratic lawyer. Castor seems to jump from the heel to the branch and the two witnesses often look at him a bit bewildered after he has asked a question.

18 minutes ago

Nunes gives the floor to lawyer Steve Castor, who will ask questions for the Republicans. Castor begins by asking Taylor if he understands that President Trump was under the assumption that "some elements" within the Ukrainian government had "foresaw him." President Schiff intervenes and states that the Democrats question the factual accuracy of Castor's words. That intervention can count on Republican indignation in the hall.

Taylor refuses to put himself in Trump's head. "I don't know," he says several times. He does not seem to understand where Castor wants to go with his questions. It appears that the Republican lawyer is laying the groundwork for the Republican argument that Taylor has many second-hand or third-party cases. The implication: if he cannot put himself in Trump's head, how can he know what Trump's intentions with regard to Ukraine were if he did not hear that directly from the president?

26 minutes ago

For the time being, Nunes seems to be making a public statement rather than asking the two witnesses questions. He repeats all sorts of different aspects of the theory that Ukraine tried to thwart Trump during the 2016 campaign and asks Taylor to confirm whether he is aware of those aspects or not. These matters have little to do with the statement that Taylor has made.

29 minutes ago

Nunes repeats the theory that Ukraine was involved in American politics in 2016. If that were the case, Trump had an excellent reason to insist on investigation, he says. And because the alleged interference was directed against the Trump campaign, it made sense that he instructed his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, to gather information about it.

31 minutes ago

We continue again. The floor is for Devin Nunes, the highest-ranking Republican in the intelligence committee. He begins by describing the "pleasant" telephone conversation between Trump and Zelensky on July 25 as a very normal example of a dialogue between two governments. Based on the partial transcript released by the White House, it can be concluded that there was no quid pro quo , according to Nunes.

35 minutes ago

Some catering establishments around the Capitol are cleverly anticipating political developments. Various things offer cocktails such as the 'subpoena colada'.

Available at 11:00 AM

Avatar AuthorCapitol LoungeMoment of places16: 12 - 13 November 2019

41 minutes ago

The five-minute break now takes more than fifteen minutes. That is not unusual.

42 minutes ago

A quick glance at Trump's Twitter feed once again suggests that the President is a little more involved with the events in the House than his spokesperson claimed earlier today. In the past hour, the president has posted not one, but two new campaign videos: an attack on the impeachment process and a broader attack on the Democrats.

Trump does have another activity on the program today: he currently receives Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the White House. Of course, the impeachment procedure does come up in questions that reporters ask him about that meeting.

"It is a witch hunt, it is a hoax. I am too busy to watch. I have not been briefed about it," said the president, who immediately added, "They use lawyers who are television lawyers."

Avatar Author Donald J. Trump Moment of Places 17: 50 - November 13, 2019

an hour ago

Kevin McCarthy, the Republican party leader in the House, shows another aspect of the Republican strategy on Fox News : criticism of the trial.

He criticizes the decision of the Democratic majority not to call the whistleblower to come and testify. The same goes for Hunter Biden, the son of Joe Biden who worked for the Ukrainian energy company Burisma. Moreover, the president's lawyers are not allowed to be present today and intelligence committee chairman Adam Schiff is in control, says McCarthy.

On that second point of criticism: a role is foreseen for Trump's lawyers during the next phase of the impeachment process at the House, when the Judiciary Committee is considering whether to bring charges against Trump and, if so, how have to read.

This is a sham → Democrats are refusing access to important witnesses → The President's legal counsel is not allowed in the room → Chairman Adam Schiff controls everything.

Avatar Author Kevin McCarthy Moment of Places 14: 49 - November 13, 2019

an hour ago

The most remarkable moment so far: Taylor's revelation that one of his co-workers heard how President Trump asked EU ambassador Sondland on the phone about "the investigations" after Sondland had spoken to Ukrainian President Zelensky.

NEW: Taylor discloses that his staff overheard phone call in which Trump asked Sondland about investigations into the Bidens in July Taylor's staff member says Sondland told them that "Trump cares more about the investigations into the Bidens" than anything else re: Ukraine

Avatar AuthorAaron RuparMoment of places17: 36 - 13 November 2019

an hour ago

The American media are divided about Trump's testimony. Critical commentators praise the clarity of the testimonies. William Taylor in particular has emerged as a strong witness, who explains a particularly damaging story for the American president, they think. The Republican defense strategy is followed on the right.

The big question is and remains whether the public hearings can convince the ordinary American.

an hour ago

Schiff has reached the end of his first 45-minute block. Now there is a five-minute break.

an hour ago

A Democratic strategy is now also visible in the interrogation of witnesses by lawyer Goldman. It is now about the conspiracy theory that not the Russians, but the Ukrainians were behind interference in the 2016 US presidential election. Trump and his colleagues have been spreading that theory for some time - such as his lawyer Rudy Giuliani. For the Republicans, that theory serves as an important justification for Giuliani's efforts in Ukraine. The American intelligence services and special prosecutor Robert Mueller concluded that the interference did indeed come from Moscow.

an hour ago

Trump, Taylor says, "felt that he had been harmed by the Ukrainians and that this (the investigation into the Bidens, ed.) Was something they owed him".

an hour ago

Where will the Republicans attack the two witnesses later? That is not difficult to predict: the White House and the Republican Party have not made their strategy secret in recent days. They will emphasize that much of the information in Taylor and Kent's statements comes from second or third hand.

an hour ago

Washington Post reporter Toluse Olorunnipa notes that the disclosure about the telephone conversation between Trump and Sondland contradicts the EU ambassador's statement. Sondland then said he was unaware of Trump's inquiries into the Bidens and Ukrainian election interference when he met with President Zelensky on July 26. The telephone conversation with Trump, in which the President allegedly inquired about "the investigations", would have taken place after that meeting. Sondland didn't say anything about that.

The EU ambassador was the first witness to be heard behind closed doors. After other elements of his statement were contradicted by other witnesses, Sondland adjusted it once.

Sondland said Trump didn't mention anything about investigations or Bidens during a short phone call before his meeting with Zelensky on July 26. He didn't mention the post-meeting call referenced by Taylor's staff, in which Trump allegedly brought up "investigations. "

Avatar AuthorToluse OlorunnipaMoment of places18: 09 - 13 November 2019

an hour ago

President Trump posted a video during the interrogation on Twitter in which he accused the Democrats of committing "the biggest deception in history" in the US. "They want to take your weapons, health care, judges and vote. And I won't let that happen."

"They're trying to stop me because I'm fighting for you. And I'll never let that happen." - President @realDonaldTrump

Avatar AuthorThe White HouseMoment of places17: 56 - November 13, 2019

an hour ago

If President Zelensky "would not clear things up publicly, we would have a stalemate," EU ambassador Sondland told him, Taylor said. Sondland did begin to state that there was no quid pro quo , but Taylor understood that differently. Sondland stated that Trump was a businessman. And if someone owes something to a businessman, then that person must first sign a check before the businessman is willing to talk further.

an hour ago

Withholding military support "for no good reason" was "counterproductive," Taylor said. "It couldn't be explained, it was crazy."

an hour ago

Taylor, at the insistence of Goldman, emphasizes that in his eyes there is a big difference between the two means of pressure that the Trump government would have used: the promised meeting in the White House and the nearly $ 400 million in military support. That first plea may have symbolic importance for President Zelensky, Taylor says, but with military support, lives were at stake. "The meeting at the White House was one thing, withholding military support was much more alarming."

an hour ago

While Taylor and Kent tell their story publicly, Democratic investigators announce two new hearings behind closed doors. Taylor's staff member David Holmes and Mark Sandry, who works for the White House management and budget service, have been asked to testify. This raises the suspicion that Holmes is the employee who heard the telephone conversation between Sondland and Trump, to which Taylor first referred today. Sandry had been asked to testify earlier, but refused to do so last week.

an hour ago

Lawyer Dan Goldman is now asking questions for the Democrats. "Ambassador Taylor, in your decades of military and diplomatic service as a representative of the United States around the world, have you ever seen an example of aid abroad made dependent on the personal or political interests of the President of the United States? States? "

Taylor: No, Mr. Goldman, I don't have that.

2 hours ago

President Trump is too busy with his work to follow the hearing, White House spokesperson Stephanie Grisham said earlier. His Twitter feed seems to contradict that: Trump has already shared at least ten messages from others about the session, including the following tweet from Kevin McCarthy, the Republican party leader in the House.

WATCH: @DevinNunes: "After vowing publicly that impeachment requires bipartisan support, Democrats are pushing impeachment forward without the backing of a single Republican."

Avatar Author Kevin McCarthy Moment of Places 16: 27-13 November 2019

2 hours ago

According to the Ukrainian government, including President Zelensky, there was no political pressure from the White House. Taylor contradicts that: EU ambassador Sondland would have believed that the Zelensky team was ready to give in to the demand for an announcement of investigations into the Bidens and Democrats.

Earlier this week, American media reported that Zelensky canceled an interview with CNN when the military support was released. During that interview, he would have wanted to make the announcement desired by Trump.

2 hours ago

Schiff starts with the new information about the conversation that Taylor's employee caught. The chairman informs how the employee could listen precisely to the conversation that was conducted on a mobile telephone.

2 hours ago

Taylor concludes his statement. Schiff Intelligence Committee is going to ask the two witnesses the first questions.

2 hours ago

Back to what Taylor said earlier about the telephone conversation between Trump and Sondland that was heard by one of his employees. "After the phone call with President Trump, my staff member asked Ambassador Sondland what President Trump thought about Ukraine. Ambassador Sondland replied that President Trump cared more about the investigations into Biden, which Giuliani insisted."

As stated earlier, this is information that did not come out after Taylor's private hearing last month. He learned the story of his employee only afterwards, he says.

Every direct link to Trump and what he did or did not know about the efforts led by his lawyer Giuliani is noteworthy. After all, much of the impeachment process revolves around the presumed personal responsibility of the president.

2 hours ago

Zelensky is said to have asked American senators about the freezing of military aid. Taylor and others advised him not to interfere in American domestic politics and thus endanger Ukrainian interests in Washington. "But the strange pressure to force President Zelensky to make a public announcement of investigations into Burisma and alleged interference during the 2016 elections showed that US official foreign policy was undermined by the irregular efforts led by Mr. Giuliani."

2 hours ago

Taylor is so far in his opinion about the unofficial White House Ukraine policy. He draws a link between the freezing of military aid and the death of Ukrainian soldiers at the front in Eastern Ukraine, which he recently visited himself. "I and others were stunned," he said about the moment he discovered that the funds were frozen. "Ukrainians were fighting against Russians and counted not only on the training and weapons, but also on the confirmation of American support. I realized in an instant that one of the pillars of our strong support to Ukraine was threatened. The irregular policy channel immediately went against the goals of the long-held US policy. "

2 hours ago

Taylor, rather: "And finally, as this committee knows, I wrote that abstaining from security assistance in exchange for help with a domestic political campaign in the United States would be crazy. I believed that then and I believe it now yet."

2 hours ago

Striking: according to Taylor's statement, one of his employees heard a telephone conversation between Trump and EU ambassador Gordon Sondland. The president would have asked about "the investigations" during that conversation.

2 hours ago

Taylor arrived at the nearly $ 400 million in military aid to Ukraine, which had been approved by Congress and frozen by Trump. That surprised him, says the top diplomat.

He describes how the official channel and the unofficial channel started to merge. National security adviser John Bolton wanted to talk to Ukrainians about security, the fight against corruption and other policy issues. The unofficial channel focused on the investigations desired by the White House or at least an announcement thereof by Zelensky. The Ukrainian government remained behind in confusion, Taylor said.

2 hours ago

The two channels first seemed to have the same goal: a strong partnership between the US and Ukraine, Taylor says. They are both committed to a meeting between Trump and Zelensky in the White House, which would provide the new Ukrainian government with valuable international support. But gradually it became clear that the unofficial channel had a different purpose: to get Zelensky to announce investigations into Trump's political rivals.

It gradually became clear to Taylor that the White House wanted Zelensky to investigate Burisma and announce Democrats as a condition for a meeting in Washington.

2 hours ago

Taylor tells how the new Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky took steps immediately after his appointment to combat widespread corruption in the country. He took a variety of measures. But, says Taylor, he found irregularities in US policy toward Ukraine. There was an official channel - which he led - and an unofficial side, an "irregular channel".

His own channel adhered to the existing policy, but EU ambassador Gordon Sondland, Ukraine envoy Kurt Volker, energy minister Rick Perry and - as he later discovered - Trumps ambassador Rudy Giuliani pursued a shadow policy.

2 hours ago

The former ambassador, Marie Yovanovitch, "got entangled in a web of political intrigue both here (Washington DC, ed.) And in Kiev," says Taylor. He says that he disagreed with the way she had been treated, but nevertheless agreed with a temporary appointment as her replacement. He made it clear to the government that if Ukraine's White House policy were to change, he would not be the right man for the job. Trump assured him he had no intention of drastically changing that policy, Taylor says.

2 hours ago

Taylor describes how the US and NATO began providing military assistance to Ukraine after the Russian annexation of Crimea in 2014 and the Russian invasion of Eastern Ukraine and support from Moscow for pro-Russian rebels in that area. That support forms the heart of the impeachment case against Trump, says Taylor. To date, the US has provided some $ 1.6 billion in military support, which is used for everything from night vision and vehicles to weapons. He explains that he advocated a tough course against Russia - through a stricter sanction policy.

2 hours ago

Our link to a video feed from the hearing did not work for a while, for which we apologize! The problem has since been resolved.

2 hours ago

Taylor explains how, at the end of May, after consulting with Foreign Minister Mike Pompeo, he was appointed acting ambassador to Ukraine. He held the position of ambassador in that country between 2006 and 2009. After his departure, he remained involved with Ukraine.

2 hours ago

Taylor's opening statement. He also emphasizes his neutrality in the process. He is present as a witness to talk about facts. "It's not up to me to choose a side," he says. He also briefly cites his long career as an employee of the American government. Few will deny that Taylor has an impressive track record.

"Even while we are sitting here today, Russia is attacking Ukrainian soldiers in their own country ," he says. "It is clearly in our national interest to limit further Russian aggression."

2 hours ago

Kent: "It was unexpected and very unfortunate to see how some Americans - including those who made an ally of corrupt Ukrainians to pursue personal agendas - launched attacks on officials representing US interests in Ukraine."

2 hours ago

Kent talks about the Ukrainian energy company Burisma, which owns an oligarch with a somewhat obscure reputation. Hunter Biden, the son of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, was on the board of the energy company. But, says Kent, contrary to what Trump and his own claim about Joe Biden's alleged attempts to hold his son's head, he has never seen US officials trying to thwart Burisma investigations.

3 hours ago

Kent has a lot of experience with fighting corruption in Ukraine, he says. In addition, he met many Ukrainian prosecutors who did their work in a dubious way. The American efforts in the country mainly try to strengthen the rule of law. He makes the translation to the US, where those mechanisms have been around for some time. If there is a suspicion of corruption by Americans, Kent says, American institutions must investigate and the American legal system must deal with it.

3 hours ago

Peter van Deelen asks: Can Trump / Witte Huis block cooperation in the investigation without being forced to cooperate by Congress? What means of power does Congress have to make witnesses heard and to release documents?

Answer: Simply put, Congress has two routes to enforce co-operation: to institute legal proceedings (with all possibilities for appeal that a case entails) and to hold witnesses hostage (arrest). The first option can result in a legal process that drags on for years. The latter has not been used for a long time and is politically explosive.

3 hours ago

US policy in Ukraine aimed to free the country from the negative influence of Russia and the legacy of the Soviet Union, Kent explains. In addition, US officials encountered opposition, including personal attacks, from Russia, pro-Russian interests in Ukraine and corrupt Ukrainians. But you don't expect other Americans to get involved in those attacks, Kent says.

3 hours ago

Kent takes the lead. He introduces himself and immediately emphasizes that he is a career officer who does not represent a specific political interest and that he puts serving his country above politics. "Today I appear before you again, on subpoena, to serve as an actual witness," said Kent.

Back up

Source: nunl

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