Trump-Zelensky transcript

November 15, 2019 – John Solomon asks 15 questions of former ambassador Marie Yovanovitch

After nearly two years of reporting on Ukraine issues, here are 15 questions I think could be most illuminating to everyday Americans if the ambassador answered them.

U.S. Embassy Kiev (Credit: public domain)

Ambassador Yovanovitch, at any time while you served in Ukraine did any officials in Kiev ever express concern to you that President Trump might be withholding foreign aid assistance to get political investigations started? Did President Trump ever ask you as America’s top representative in Kiev to pressure Ukrainians to start an investigation about Burisma Holdings or the Bidens?

What was the Ukrainians’ perception of President Trump after he allowed lethal aid to go to Ukraine in 2018?

In the spring and summer of 2019, did you ever become aware of any U.S. intelligence or U.S. treasury concerns raised about incoming Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky and his affiliation or proximity to certain oligarchs? Did any of those concerns involve what the IMF might do if a certain oligarch who supported Zelensky returned to power and regained influence over Ukraine’s national bank?

Back in May 2018, then-House Rules Committee chairman Pete Sessions wrote a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo suggesting you might have made comments unflattering or unsupportive of the president and should be recalled. Setting aside that Sessions is a Republican and might even have donors interested in Ukraine policy, were you ever questioned about his concerns? At any time have you or your embassy staff made comments that could be viewed as unsupportive or critical of President Trump and his policies?

John Solomon reported at The Hill and your colleagues have since confirmed in testimony that the State Department helped fund a nonprofit called the Anti-Corruption Action Centre of Ukraine that also was funded by George Soros’ main charity. That nonprofit, also known as AnTac, was identified in a 2014 Soros foundation strategy document as critical to reshaping Ukraine to Mr. Soros’ vision. Can you explain what role your embassy played in funding this group and why State funds would flow to it? And did anyone consider the perception of mingling tax dollars with those donated by Soros, a liberal ideologue who spent millions in 2016 trying to elect Hillary Clinton and defeat Donald Trump?

In March 2019, Ukrainian prosecutor general Yuriy Lutsenko gave an on-the-record, videotaped interview to The Hill alleging that during a 2016 meeting you discussed a list of names of Ukrainian nationals and groups you did not want to see Ukrainian prosecutors target. Your supporters have since suggested he recanted that story. Did you or your staff ever do anything to confirm he had recanted or changed his story, such as talk to him, or did you just rely on press reports?

Now that both the New York Times and The Hill have confirmed that Lutsenko stands by his account and has not recanted, how do you respond to his concerns? And setting aside the use of the word “list,” is it possible that during that 2016 meeting with Mr. Lutsenko you discussed the names of certain Ukrainians you did not want to see prosecuted, investigated or harassed?

Your colleagues, in particular Mr. George Kent, have confirmed to the House Intelligence Committee that the U.S. embassy in Kiev did, in fact, exert pressure on the Ukrainian prosecutor’s office not to prosecute certain Ukrainian activists and officials. These efforts included a letter Mr. Kent signed urging Ukrainian prosecutors to back off an investigation of the aforementioned group AnTac as well as engaged in conversations about certain Ukrainians like Parliamentary member Sergey Leschenko, journalist Vitali Shabunin and NABU director Artem Sytnyk. Why was the US. Embassy involved in exerting such pressure and did any of these actions run afoul of the Geneva Convention’s requirement that foreign diplomats avoid becoming involved in the internal affairs of their host country?

Marie Yovanovitch (Credit: U.S. Embassy, Ukraine)

On March 5 of this year, you gave a speech in which you called for the replacement of Ukraine’s top anti-corruption prosecutor. That speech occurred in the middle of the Ukrainian presidential election and obviously raised concerns among some Ukrainians of internal interference prohibited by the Geneva Convention. In fact, one of your bosses, Under Secretary David Hale, got questioned about those concerns when he arrived in country a few days later. Why did you think it was appropriate to give advice to Ukrainians on an internal personnel matter and did you consider then or now the potential concerns your comments might raise about meddling in the Ukrainian election or the country’s internal affairs?

If the Ukrainian ambassador to the United States suddenly urged us to fire Attorney General Bill Bar or our FBI director, would you think that was appropriate?

At any time since December 2015, did you or your embassy ever have any contact with Vice President Joe Biden, his office or his son Hunter Biden concerning Burisma Holdings or an investigation into its owner Mykola Zlochevsky?

At any time since you were appointed ambassador to Ukraine, did you or your embassy have any contact with the following Burisma figures: Hunter Biden, Devon Archer, lawyer John Buretta, Blue Star strategies representatives Sally Painter and Karen Tramontano, or former Ukrainian embassy official Andrii Telizhenko?

John Solomon obtained documents showing Burisma representatives were pressuring the State Department in February 2016 to help end the corruption allegations against the company and were invoking Hunter Biden’s name as part of their effort. Did you ever subsequently learn of these contacts and did anyone at State — including but not limited to Secretary Kerry, Undersecretary Novelli, Deputy Secretary Blinken or Assistant Secretary Nuland — ever raise Burisma with you?

What was your embassy’s assessment of the corruption allegations around Burisma and why the company may have hired Hunter Biden as a board member in 2014?

In spring 2019 your embassy reportedly began monitoring briefly the social media communications of certain people viewed as supportive of President Trump and gathering analytics about them. Who were those people? Why was this done? Why did it stop? And did anyone in the State Department chain of command ever suggest targeting Americans with State resources might be improper or illegal? (John Solomon, 11/15/2019)  (Archive)

October 29, 2019 – The “coup” against Trump is formalized…a resistance member shows up to testify at Trump’ impeachment inquiry, wearing a military uniform

“The word “coup” shifted to a new level of formalized meaning last week when members of the political resistance showed up to remove President Trump wearing military uniforms.

Not only did U.S. military leadership remain silent to the optics and purpose, but in the testimony of Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman he admits to giving instructions to ignore the instructions from a sitting United States President.

In the absence of push-back from the Joint Chiefs, from this moment forth, the impression is tacit U.S. military support for the Vindman objective.

Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman, a National Security Council official, testified before congressional committees conducting an impeachment inquiry on October 29, wearing a full military uniform.

To date, there has been no visible comment from U.S. military sanctioning Lt. Col. Vindman for his decision; or correcting the impression represented by Vindman’s military appearance.  The willful blindness is concerning, but it gets much worse.

Beyond the debate about the optics of the “coup“, within the testimony of Lt. Col Vindman, the witness readily admits to understanding the officially established policy of the President of The United States (an agreement between President Trump and President Zelenskyy), and stunningly admits that two weeks later he was giving countermanding instructions to his Ukrainian counterpart to ignore President Trump’s policies.

The coup against President Donald Trump went from soft, to hard.  Consider…

The testimony from Lt. Col. Vindman is available here.

Borrowing from Roscoe B Davis, here are some highlights:

Representative John Ratcliffe begins deconstructing Lt. Col Vindman, while his arrogant attorneys begin trying to interfere with the questioning.

(Vindman’s testimony with Congressman Ratcliffe continues on Conservative Treehouse linked here:)

This next section is very interesting and very important.

Congressman John Ratcliffe begins questioning Vindman from the perspective of an Article 92 violation, coupled with an Article 88 violation.  President Trump is Lt. Col Vindman’s superior.  President Trump sets foreign policy. 

Two weeks after President Trump has established an agreement with Ukraine President Zelenskyy, and established the policy direction therein, Lt. Col. Vindman is now giving contrary instructions to the Ukranian government.  Vindman’s lawyer recognizes where the questioning is going and goes absolutely bananas:

(Read more: Conservative Treehouse, 11/09/2019)

October 22, 2019 – A transcript of William Taylor’s testimony against President Trump shows all of his evidence is hearsay

“A key Democratic witness against Trump admitted in congressional testimony last month that he was not part of the July 25 phone call between the U.S. and Ukrainian presidents, that he didn’t see a transcript or readout of it until late September when it was declassified and released, and that he has never even spoken to President Donald Trump.

William Taylor, the charge d’affairs of the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv, Ukraine, told lawmakers in secret testimony two weeks ago that his opinions about an alleged quid pro quo demanded by Trump were formed largely from conversations with anti-Trump staffers within the diplomatic bureaucracy.

William Taylor (Credit: Ovsyannikova Yulia/Getty Images)

“[Y]ou’ve never spoken to Mr. [Rudy] Giuliani?” Taylor was asked.

“No, no,” he replied.

“Has anyone ever asked you to speak to Mr. Giuliani?”

“No,” Taylor said.

“And if I may, have you spoken to the president of the United States?” Taylor was asked.

“I have not,” he said.

“You had no communications with the president of the United States?”

“Correct,” Taylor said.

He also admitted he had never spoken to Mick Mulvaney, Trump’s chief of staff.

When asked who exactly he had spoken to about the brouhaha, Taylor confirmed that his only contacts about the matter were with John Bolton, the former national security adviser who was fired by Trump, Fiona Hill, Alexander Vindman, and Tim Morrison. Both Hill and Vindman are rumored to have been sources for the so-called whistleblower who filed a complaint against Trump in August.

Taylor also testified that his knowledge of the phone call between Trump and Ukrainian president Volodymr Zelensky wasn’t first-hand knowledge.

(Read more: The Federalist, 11/06/2019)  (Transcript)

Updates may be added:

October 6, 2019 – Intelligence community Inspector General Michael Atkinson interviews second whistleblower

“Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson interviewed a second whistleblower with alleged knowledge about the call between President Donald Trump and the leader of Ukraine.

Democrats have led an impeachment inquiry over the call.

The first whistleblower’s attorney, Mark Zaid, confirmed on Oct. 6 that he’s also representing the second whistleblower. Like the first whistleblower, the second one is also a member of the intelligence community. According to Zaid, the anonymous official has firsthand knowledge of some of the events described by the first whistleblower. Both “made a protected disclosure under the law and cannot be retaliated against,” the attorney wrote on Twitter.

Zaid didn’t clarify whether the second whistleblower has filed a formal complaint, revealing only that he or she has spoken with Atkinson. Zaid didn’t reply to a request from The Epoch Times for clarification.” (Read more: The Epoch Times, 10/06/2019)

September 27, 2019 – The Trump-Zelensky transcript contradicts the whistleblower complaint in three notable instances

“The Trump-Zelensky transcript contradicts the whistleblower complaint in three notable instances, raising questions about the credibility of the whistleblower and his or her purported White House sources.

First, WB claims that his sources told him that after “an initial exchange of pleasantries” Trump “used the remainder of the call to advance his personal interests.” The transcript shows that the leaders discussed meetings in Poland and DC before ending the call.

 

Second, WB claims that aside from the cases “purportedly dealing with the Biden family and the 2016 US election … no other ‘cases’ were discussed.” But the transcript shows that Trump and Zelensky talked of a potential probe of Marie Yovanovitch. (misspelled as Ivanovich)

Zelensky: “if you have any additional information that you can provide to us, it would be very helpful for the investigation to make sure that we administer justice in our country” in regards to Yovanovitch.

In the transcript, Yovanovitch’s name is misspelled “Ivanovich” and Zelensky appears to have misstated her title as “Ambassador to the United States from Ukraine.”

WB claims the loading of the call transcript onto a secure system amounted to an abuse of that system since the “the call did not contain anything remotely sensitive from a national security perspective.” The transcript was labeled (properly) “SECRET/ORCON/NOFORN.”

The “SECRET/ORCON/NOFORN.” label was appropriate since the call contained Trump’s views on foreign nations, including Germany, a key U.S. ally. Unauthorized disclosure of such information has the potential to harm national security.

Pelosi kicked off impeachment before the White House released the transcript of the call and before the complaint was made public. As a result, she may not have been aware that the complaint is based on hearsay, some of which has now been contradicted by the call transcript.” (Ivan Pentchoukov @IvanPentchoukov/Twitter, 9/27/2019)

September 26, 2019 – The anonymous “hearsay whistleblower” complaint re Trump/Zelensky call, is released (pdf)

Eric Ciaramella

“If you have read any of the documents that came from Fusion-GPS, Nellie Ohr and Christopher Steele, you will likely find an amazing amount of similarity to the format and writing in this “whistleblower” complaint.

It was obviously written by a Lawfare member.

The complaint is the same structure as the Steele Dossier.  No direct knowledge; no direct evidence to the claims; second-hand gossip, rumors from people who might have known another person to have overheard something, mixed with prior media reports to narrate a story as told by the author. Here is the complaint:

The complaint is based on the July 25th phone call between President Trump and President Zelenskyy of Ukraine.  Here’s the transcript of that call:

The Intelligence Community Inspector General (ICIG) is Michael K Atkinson.  ICIG Atkinson is the official who accepted the ridiculous premise of a hearsay ‘whistle-blower‘ complaint; an intelligence whistleblower who was “blowing-the-whistle” based on second-hand information of a phone call without any direct personal knowledge, ie ‘hearsay‘.

Michael K Atkinson was previously the Senior Counsel to the Assistant Attorney General of the National Security Division of the Department of Justice (DOJ-NSD) in 2016. That makes Atkinson senior legal counsel to John Carlin and Mary McCord who were the former heads of the DOJ-NSD in 2016 when the stop Trump operation was underway.

If the DOJ-NSD exploitation of the NSA database, and/or DOJ-NSD FISA abuse, and/or DOJ-NSD FARA corruption were ever to reach sunlight, current ICIG Atkinson -as the lawyer for the process- would be under a lot of scrutiny for his involvement.

Yes, that gives current ICIG Michael Atkinson a strong and corrupt motive to participate with the Schiff/Lawfare impeachment objective.

Atkinson’s conflict-of-self-interest, and/or possible blackmail upon him by deep state actors who most certainly know his compromise, likely influenced his approach to this whistleblower complaint.   That would explain why the Dept. of Justice Office of Legal Counsel so strongly rebuked Atkinson’s interpretation of his responsibility with the complaint.

In the Justice Department’s OLC opinion, they point out that Atkinson’s internal justification for accepting the whistleblower complaint was poor legal judgment.  [See Here]  I would say Atkinson’s decision is directly related to his own risk exposure:

(Read more: Conservative Treehouse, 9/26/2019)

September 19, 2019 – Schiff acts like he doesn’t know what was in the hearsay whistleblower complaint; Pelosi admits to knowing what was said in the Trump-Zelensky call before transcript was released

“In the days leading up to last week’s release of a whistleblower complaint against President Donald Trump, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff implied that he was unaware of the substance of the allegations in the document, which centered on Trump’s July 25 phone call with Ukraine’s president.

But a report from The New York Times on Wednesday raises news questions about Schiff’s claims.

According to the newspaper, Schiff had a general idea of the substance of the complaint by the time it was filed on Aug. 12. That’s because the would-be whistleblower approached a Schiff aide on the House Intelligence Committee. In turn, the aide directed the individual to the Intelligence Community Inspector General (IC IG), and briefed Schiff on the subject of the complaint.

Schiff and his staff “knew at least vaguely” what was in the complaint when it was filed, according to The Times.

But Schiff played coy for weeks when discussing the mysterious complaint. During his many interviews about the allegations against Trump, he did not reveal that his office had been in contact with the whistleblower or that he had any awareness of the person’s allegations.

In a Sept. 19 press conference, he suggested that he did not know what the whistleblower was alleging. He also asserted that he might not even know that a complaint had been filed if Michael Atkinson, the IC IG, had not contacted Congress earlier last month regarding the complaint.

“In the absence of the actions, and I want to thank the inspector general, in the absence of his actions in coming to our committee, we might not have even known there was a whistleblower complaint alleging an urgent concern,” Schiff said during a press briefing on Sept. 19.

Schiff left out the part about his staff member directing the whistleblower to contact the IC IG in the first place.

(Read more: The Daily Caller, 10/02/2019)

On Sunday, September 30, 2019, Nancy Pelosi appears CBS 60 Minutes and says the following:

“He told me it was perfect, that there was nothing on the call,” Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said on CBS News’ “60 Minutes,” referring to a conversation she had with President Trump before the Trump administration released the transcript.

But I know what was in the call,” Pelosi continued, before quickly adding, “I mean, uh, it was in the public domain.”
(Read more: Sarah Carter, 9/30/2019)

August 24-31, 2019 – Adam Schiff staffer meets with impeachment witness, Bill Taylor in Ukraine

Thomas Eager (l) and Bill Taylor (Credit: public domain)

“The Atlantic Council is funded by and works in partnership with Burisma, the natural gas company at the center of allegations regarding Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden.

Taylor has been called by House Democrats to appear next week to provide a deposition as part of the investigation being led by Schiff into President Trump’s phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Taylor himself has evidenced a close relationship with the Burisma-funded Atlantic Council, writing analysis pieces published on the Council’s website and serving as a featured speaker for the organization’s events. He also served for nine years as senior advisor to the U.S.-Ukraine Business Council, which has co-hosted scores of events with the Atlantic Council.

As Breitbart News reported, Thomas Eager, a staffer on Schiff’s House Intelligence Committee, took a trip to Ukraine in August billed as a bipartisan “Ukraine Study Trip” in which ten Congressional staffers participated.

Eager is also currently a fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Eurasia Congressional Fellowship, a bipartisan program that says it “educates congressional staff on current events in the Eurasia region.” The pre-planned Ukraine trip was part of the fellowship program.

Burisma in January 2017 signed a “cooperative agreement” with the Council to specifically sponsor the organization’s Eurasia Center, the same center that sponsored Eager’s Ukraine trip.

A closer look at the itinerary for the August 24 to August 31 trip shows that the delegation’s first meeting upon arrival in Ukraine was with Taylor. (Read more: Breitbart, 10/17/2019)  (Archive)

August 12 – October 11, 2019: A look at IC IG Michael Atkinson’s activities surrounding the hearsay whistleblower

“Last week the Intelligence Community Inspector General, Michael Atkinson, testified behind closed doors to congress. Atkinson testified about his role in bringing the ‘whistle-blower’ complaint forward.  The details of that testimony are now starting to surface and thankfully congress is taking a closer look at the sketchy background of Michael Atkinson.

Michael Atkinson (Credit: public domain)

There are numerous aspects to the whistle-blower (likely CIA operative Michael Barry), and the complaint, that just don’t add up. One of the areas of focus is the backdating of changes made to the ‘whistle-blower’ complaint form.  As Sean Davis notes:

[…] Michael Atkinson, the intelligence community inspector general, told HPSCI lawmakers during a committee oversight hearing on Friday that the whistleblower forms and rules changes were made in, even though the new forms and guidance, which were not uploaded to the ICIG’s website until September 24, state that they were changed in August.

Despite having a full week to come up with explanations for his office’s decisions to secretly change its forms to eliminate the requirement for first-hand evidence and to backdate those changes to August, Atkinson refused to provide any explanation to lawmakers baffled by his behavior. (read more)

The CIA ‘whistle-blower’ had no first-hand knowledge; everything was based on hearsay.  The CIA operative never informed the ICIG about prior contact and coordination with the House Intelligence Committee (Adam Schiff).  The CIA operative never disclosed congressional contact on the complaint form, and the complaint forms were changed specifically to accommodate this CIA operative.

On Sunday, October 6th, Ranking Member Devin Nunes also discussed his concerns with the testimony of Michael Atkinson.  Nunes noted the testimony “was a joke.”

Nunes told Sirius XM’s Breitbart News Sunday host Matt Boyle, “[The ICIG is] either totally incompetent or part of the deep state, and he’s got a lot of questions he needs to answer because he knowingly changed the form and the requirements in order to make sure that this whistleblower complaint got out publicly.”

“So he’s either incompetent or in on it, and he’s going to have more to answer for, I can promise you because we are not going to let him go; he is going to tell the truth about what happened,” Nunes added.  (read more)

ICIG Atkinson never reviewed the call transcript and facilitated the complaint processing despite numerous flaws.  Additionally, Atkinson ignored legal guidance from both the director of national intelligence (DNI) and the Department of Justice Office of Legal Counsel that highlighted Atkinson’s poor decision-making.

President Trump announced Joseph Macguire as the Acting ODNI on August 8th, 2019. (link)  The CIA operative “whistle-blower” letter to Adam Schiff and Richard Burr was on August 12th (link).   Immediately following this letter, the ICIG rules and requirements for Urgent Concern “whistle-blowers” was modified, allowing hearsay complaints. On August 28th Adam Schiff begins tweeting about the construct of the complaint.

Given the nature of Atkinson’s background, it appears his prior work in 2016, during his tenure as the lead legal counsel for the DOJ-NSD, likely played a role in his decision.

Here’s Nunes Sunday Interview (audio):

The center of the 2016 Lawfare Alliance election influence was/is the Department of Justice National Security Division, DOJ-NSD. It was the DOJ-NSD running the Main Justice side of the 2016 operations to support Operation Crossfire Hurricane and FBI agent Peter Strzok. It was also the DOJ-NSD where the sketchy legal theories around FARA violations (Sec. 901) originated.

Michael K Atkinson was previously the Senior Counsel to the Assistant Attorney General of the National Security Division of the Department of Justice (DOJ-NSD) in 2016. That makes Atkinson senior legal counsel to John Carlin and Mary McCord who were the former heads of the DOJ-NSD in 2016 when the stop Trump operation was underway.

Michael Atkinson was the lawyer for the same DOJ-NSD players who: (1) lied to the FISA court (Judge Rosemary Collyer) about the 80% non compliant NSA database abuse using FBI contractors; (2) filed the FISA application against Carter Page; and (3) used FARA violations as tools for political surveillance and political targeting.

Yes, that means Michael Atkinson was Senior Counsel for the DOJ-NSD, at the very epicenter of the political weaponization and FISA abuse.” (Read more: Conservative Treehouse, 10/07/2019)

(Republished with permission)