It’s not a smoking gun, it’s more than that. It’s a smoldering crater.
Excerpts from a deposition:
PERMANENT SELECT COMMITTEE ON INTELLIGENCE, joint with the
COMMITTEE ON OVERSIGHT AND REFORM
COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN AFFAIRS,
U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
Tuesday, October 29, 2Ot9
0n July 10th, 2019, Oleksandr Danylyuk, the Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council for Ukraine, visited Washington, D.C., for a meeting with National Security Advisor Bolton. Ambassadors Volker and Sondland and Energy Secretary Rick Perry attended.
The meeting proceeded well until the Ukrainians broached the subject of a meeting between the two Presidents. The Ukrainians saw this meeting as critically important in order to solidify the support for their most important international partner. Ambassador Sondland started — when Ambassador Sondland started to speak about Ukraine delivering specific investigations in order to secure the meeting with the President, Ambassador Bo1ton cut the meeting short.
Following the meeting — this meeting — there was a scheduled debriefing during which Ambassador Sondland emphasized the importance that Ukraine deliver the investigation into the 2016 elections, the Bidens, and Burisma. I stated to Ambassador Sondland that the statements — that his statements were inappropriate, that the request to investigate the Bidens and his son had nothing to do with national security, and that such investigations were not something that the NSC was going to get involved in on push. Dr. Hill entered the room shortly thereafter and assented to Ambassador Sondland that his statements were inappropriate.
Following the debriefing, I reported my concerns to NSC’s 1ega1 counsel, Lead legal counsel. Dr. Hill also reported the incident to lead legal counsel.
Q And are you aware of any factual basis for that narrative, based on your training, experience, and knowledge of Ukraine?
A I am unaware of any factual basis for the accusations against Ambassador Yovanovitch, and I am, frankly, unaware of any authoritative basis for Ukrainian interference in 2016 elections, based on my knowledge.
Q Was this the first time that you had heard about these investigations in connection with a White House meeting?
A This ls the first time that it didn’t come from, you know — this wasn’t a — this had developed mainly — my situational awareness into this developed initially through open source and then, you know, professional communications to determine what was the substance behind some of this. But this was the first time that it emerged kind of with a government official discussing it.
Q Did Ambassador Sondland — were the Ukrainian officials in the room when he was describing the need for these investigations in order to get the White House meeting?
A So they were in the room initially. I think, once it became clean that there was some sort of discord amongst the government officials in the room, Ambassador Sondland asked them to step out of the room.
Q What was the discord?
A The fact that it was cl-ear that I, as the representative — I, as the representative of the NSC, thought it was inappropriate and that we were not going to get involved in investigations.
Q Did you say that to Ambassador Sondland?
A Yes, I did.
Q Why did you think it was not appropriate?
A I just — I thought it was inappropriate to have — to call for an investigation — to call a foreign power to investigate a U.S. citizen. In my mind, I had spent quite a bit of time in that part of the world. I understand how the justice system works. It’s not a rule of law that governs. These could all be orchestrated to achieve some sort of objective. And, in my mind, I thought it was, you know — if they thought that this was in their national security interests and they could potentially get away with it — you know, I’m not talking about the Ukrainians; I’m talking about foreign powers in general — and if they thought that it was in their national security interests — and this is a country that’s fighting a wan against Russia — and they could get away with it, I mean, why should they really care that much about domestic politics at a different country? They’re going to do what they need to to protect and advance thein own national security interests. And, you know, this would not be — if they chose to do it, they could potentially tip the scales, and this would not be a fair investigation, and it would provide, you know, compromising on maybe even fabricated information, if need be. So these things, these thoughts were all going through my mind.
And a Republican member tells a Democratic member to “shut up.”
THE CHAIRMAN: Excuse me. Excuse me. Let me just state this for the record. The whistleblower has a statutory night to anonymity. There are concerns about — and I’m –
MR. MEADOWS: Mr. Chainman, point of order.
MR. SWALWELL: Hey, Mr. Meadows, he’s the chainman. He finishes.
THE CHAIRMAN: Mr. Meadows, when I’m finished.
MR. MEADOWS: I have a point of order.
THE CHAIRMAN: Mr. Meadows, you may make your —
MR. SWALWELL: He’s the chainman. He finishes.
MR. MEADOWS: Shut up.
THE CHAIRMAN: Hey, Mr. Meadows, you –
MR. MEADOWS: I have a point of order. Mr. Chairman, I have a point of order.
THE CHAIRMAN: Mr. Meadows, you’11 be recognized after I finish what I have to say.
MR. JORDAN: Why are you instructing him that way, counsel?
MR. VOLKOV: Because –
MR. JORDAN: I don’t cane what you say Mr. –
THE CHAIRMAN: Excuse me, Mr. Jordan, you’re not recognized.
MR. JORDAN: It’s our time.
THE CHAIRMAN: You are not recognized, and your time has expired.
MR. JORDAN: You told us you were going to give us extra time, what you took from us.
THE CHAIRMAN: And you’ve used it. And you’ve used it.
MR. JORDAN: There’s a question on the table, Mr. Chairman.
THE CHAIRMAN: It is the ruling of the chain that the witness shall not identify employees, detailees, on contractors of the intelligence agency, or provide information that may lead to the revelation of the identity of the whistleblower, someone whose life has been put at risk. The majority canes about this, and we are determined to protect the night of that whistleblower to remain anonymous. And we will not allow bad faith efforts to out this whistleblower.
There’s a whole lot more.