REP. JORDAN: Ambassador, President Trump is not a big fan of foreign aid, is that right?
AMB. SONDLAND: I don’t know if that’s a fair characterization. I think he’s careful —
REP. JORDAN: He’s expressed concerns about foreign aid going to certain countries. Okay, fair enough. He knew Ukraine was corrupt, is that right?
AMB. SONDLAND: He believed Ukraine was corrupt.
REP. JORDAN: Yeah, and wanted Europe to do more?
AMB. SONDLAND: Definitely.
REP. JORDAN: Definitely wanted Europe to do more. And the President had a belief that Ukrainian government officials, some senior Ukraininan government officials, supported his opponent in 2016. I won’t go into all of the details, but I think of the one member of parliament who said that a majority of Ukrainian politicians want Hillary Clinton to win, so he had that belief as well. Obviously he understood what was happening, we got a brand new guy in Ukraine, this Zelensky guy wins, right?
AMB. SONDLAND: Right.
REP. JORDAN: His party takes over and President Trump wants to see with all these other things that are of concern to him, he wants to see if this if new guy is actually, as I like to say, the real deal. A real reformer and actually going to deal with the corruption problem. So aid gets held up for 55 days, gets held up on July 18th and then is released on September 11th. But it seems to me more important in the 55-day pause is the 14 days when Ukraine realized aid was held up on the 29th. We’ve now had you testify to that, the two witnesses yesterday testified that, and the Politico article. So Ukraine learns aid was held on August 29th and then, of course, released on September 11th. In those 14 days there are three important meetings with senior government officials and President Zelensky. There’s the August 29th meeting between Ambassador Bolton and President Zelensky. There’s the meeting September 1st that you’re a part of, Vice President Pence meets with President Zelensky, and then there’s the meeting on September 5th where U.S. Senators Murphy and Johnson meet with President Zelensky. None of those meetings did any linkage to security assistance dollars and an announcement or the start of any investigation ever come up. None of them, but it seems to me the one that’s most important is probably the one we have talked least about. That’s the September 5th meeting, because that’s actually a meeting where there’s no one, well, it’s much more congressional focused than White House focused. This is the meeting where Senators Murphy and Johnson, bipartisan, meet with President Zelensky.
What’s interesting is what both Senators in the last two days have given us letters recounting what happened in that meeting. Senator Murphy said, “I broached the topic of pressure on Zelensky from Rudy Giuliani and the President’s other emissaries to launch investigation into Trump’s political rival. Murphy brought it up. You have two Senators who both have strong supporters of money going to Ukraine, these guys are all for it. And Senator Murphy, the Democrat, even brings up the issue everyone has been talking about. It seems to me if ever there was going to be a time where the President of Ukraine says, “guys, you don’t know what I’m dealing with. I’m getting pressure from the President of the United States. He wants me to do this.” It seems as if ever there was a time that the President of Ukraine, the new guy, who now knows the aid has been on hold, if ever there was a time to bring it up, that would have been the time. But guess what? At no time, Senator Johnson tells us, “at no time during this meeting or on any other meeting on this trip was there any mention by Zelensky or any other Ukrainian that they were feeling pressure to do anything in return for military aid. Not even,” Senator Johnson says, “not even after Murphy warned them about getting involved in the election.” So Murphy gave this big deal on Giuliani. And nothing, nothing. Guess what Murphy also said? “I did not dispute any of Senator Johnson’s factual representations regarding the meeting.” If ever it was going to happen, September 5th was the day. No one from the White House there – not Ambassador Bolton, the Vice President, no one there. But even then it didn’t happen.