November 20, 2019 / 4:39 PM / 20 days ago

Factbox: 'Getting caught is no defence' - Quotes from Trump impeachment hearing

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The following are quotations from the fourth day of hearings by the U.S. House of Representatives Intelligence Committee on Wednesday in an impeachment inquiry examining President Donald Trump’s dealings with Ukraine.

U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland stated that his efforts to press Ukraine for investigations sought by Trump were well known to the leadership of the White House National Security Council and the State Department.

Two other witnesses - Laura Cooper, deputy assistant secretary of defence for Russia, Ukrainian and Eurasia; and David Hale, undersecretary of state for political affairs - also testified.

ADAM SCHIFF, CHAIRMAN OF THE HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE:

“When the president said ‘investigation,’ he meant ‘Biden.’ He made that abundantly clear.”

“The question is not what the president meant. The question is not whether he was responsible for holding up the aid – he was. The question is not whether everybody knew it – apparently, they did. The question is what are we prepared to do about it?”

“My colleagues would suggest that because the president got caught, we should ignore the fact that he was conditioning official acts in order to get political favours, in order to get an investigation against his rival. Getting caught is no defence.”

HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE SENIOR REPUBLICAN DEVIN NUNES:

“Nothing we have heard establishes a claim that the president acted improperly in his dealings with Ukraine, and certainly nothing has been presented to support anything near impeachment.”

“President Trump was sceptical of foreign aid generally, and especially sceptical of aid to corrupt countries like Ukraine.

He wanted to discover the facts about Ukrainian meddling in the 2016 election against his campaign. A brief hold on Ukrainian aid was lifted without Ukraine taking any of the steps they were supposedly being bribed to do.”

LAURA COOPER, DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF DEFENSE:

“In a series of interagency meetings, I heard that the president had directed the Office of Management and Budget to hold the funds because of his concerns about corruption in Ukraine. Let me say at the outset that I have never discussed this or any other matter with the president and never heard directly from him about this matter.”

REPUBLICAN REPRESENTATIVE MIKE TURNER:

“This is part of the problem, Ambassador Sondland. And I just want to walk you through this. You’ve said to us ‘everyone was in the loop’. Now hold on a second. I’ve listened to you today, as (have) a lot of people, and not only are your answers somewhat circular. Frequently, you’ve contradicted yourself in your own answer.”

DEMOCRATIC REPRESENTATIVE ERIC SWALWELL:

“Ambassador Sondland, you were told by the president and others to not show up. You showed up. I think that says a lot about you, and I think history will look kindly on you doing that.”

DEMOCRATIC REPRESENTATIVE SEAN PATRICK MALONEY:

“You’ve been very forthright? This is your third try to do so sir,” Maloney told Sondland. “It didn’t work so well the first time did it? We had a little declaration come in after, remember that? And now we’re here a third time and we got a doozie of a statement from you this morning. There’s a whole bunch of stuff you don’t recall.”

“So with all due respect sir, we appreciate your candor, but let’s be really clear on what it took to get it out of you.”

Reporting by David Morgan, Susan Cornwell, Doina Chiacu and Patricia Zengerle; Editing Cynthia Osterman and Lisa Shumaker

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