November 21, 2019 / 1:42 PM / 20 days ago

'Politically driven falsehoods': Quotes from Trump impeachment hearing

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

WITNESS FIONA HILL, FORMER NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL SENIOR DIRECTOR FOR EUROPE AND RUSSIA:

“Some of you on this committee appear to believe that Russia and its security services did not conduct a campaign against our country - and that perhaps, somehow, for some reason, Ukraine did. This is a fictional narrative that has been perpetrated and propagated by the Russian security services themselves.”

“Right now, Russia’s security services and their proxies have geared up to repeat their interference in the 2020 election. We are running out of time to stop them. In the course of this investigation, I would ask that you please not promote politically driven falsehoods that so clearly advance Russian interests.”

“I refuse to be part of an effort to legitimize an alternative narrative that the Ukrainian government is a U.S. adversary, and that Ukraine - not Russia - attacked us in 2016.”

DEVIN NUNES, TOP REPUBLICAN ON THE HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE:

“From the Russia hoax to this shoddy Ukrainian sequel, the Democrats got caught. Let’s hope they finally learn a lesson, give their conspiracy theories a rest, and focus on governing for a change.”

“Needless to say, it is entirely possible for two separate nations to engage in election meddling at the same time. And Republicans believe we should take meddling seriously by all foreign countries, regardless of which campaign is the target.”

ADAM SCHIFF, DEMOCRATIC CHAIRMAN OF THE HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE:

“In the coming days, Congress will determine what response is appropriate. If the president abused his power and invited foreign interference in our elections, if he sought to condition, coerce, extort, or bribe a vulnerable ally into conducting investigations to aid his reelection campaign and did so by withholding official acts - a White House meeting or hundreds of millions of dollars of needed military aid — it will be up to us to decide, whether those acts are compatible with the office of the Presidency.”

DAVID HOLMES, POLITICAL COUNSELOR AT THE U.S. EMBASSY IN KIEV:

“It is important to understand that a White House visit was critical to President Zelenskiy. President Zelenskiy needed to show U.S. support at the highest levels in order to demonstrate to Russian President Putin that he had U.S. backing, as well as to advance his ambitious anti-corruption reforms at home.”

FILE PHOTO: Reporters type during a House Intelligence Committee impeachment inquiry hearing with Laura Cooper, deputy assistant secretary of defense for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia, and David Hale, undersecretary of state for political affairs, on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC on November 20, 2019. Erin Schaff/Pool via REUTERS

“(Trump’s personal attorney Rudy) Giuliani was also making frequent public statements pushing for Ukraine to investigate interference in the 2016 election and issues related to Burisma and the Bidens ... it became apparent that Mr. Giuliani was having a direct influence on the foreign policy agenda ... on the ground in Ukraine.”

“Ambassador Sondland agreed that the president did not ‘give a s—t about Ukraine.’ I asked why not, and Ambassador Sondland stated that the President only cares about ‘big stuff.’ I noted that there was ‘big stuff’ going on in Ukraine, like a war with

Russia, and Ambassador Sondland replied that he meant ‘big stuff’ that benefits the president, like the ‘Biden investigation’ that Mr. Giuliani was pushing.”

Reporting by David Morgan, Patricia Zengerle and Richard Cowan; Editing by Bernadette Baum

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