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THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER

Impeachment Hearings Continue; Inspector General Report Finds Start of Russia Probe Justified and Unbiased. Aired 3-3:30p ET

Aired December 9, 2019 - 15:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[15:00:02]

EVAN PEREZ, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: And I guess you can sum it up this way, that Horowitz seems to be giving the FBI, at least on that part of the investigation, is saying that it's a clean bill.

Essentially, they had enough reason to do this investigation. Everybody who was interviewed seems to indicate the FBI would have been negligent if they did not open this investigation.

Bill Barr disagrees.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: He does, indeed. Evan Perez, thank you so much.

Joining our panel now, we have with us former FBI general counsel Jim Baker.

You are not singled out for any specific criticism, but the report does make clear that Mr. Horowitz, the inspector general, thinks that the FBI failed when it came to the administering of these FISA warrants, that too much stuff was either left out or misleadingly presented to the court.

So do you accept what the inspector general is saying?

JIM BAKER, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I'm accepting what the inspector general is saying in the report.

I think there are two big groups of conclusions. One is, as Evan was just saying, it was not a politically motivated investigation and it was properly predicated. There were enough facts to support, under the attorney general guidelines, us going forward with that investigation.

And it would have been, as others have said, malpractice for us not to have opened this particular investigation. There was -- the investigation was not a hoax. All these statements that the investigation was a hoax are just -- are and have been wrong this whole time.

The investigation was not a coup or a coup attempt. It was not sedition, it was not treason, it was none of that stuff that people have said for a long time. But, having said that, look, he does point out many mistakes that were

made with respect to errors, omissions in the FISA process. And those are unacceptable. And I'm not going to sit here and try to defend those. Those have to have to be addressed. They should be addressed, both with respect to the individuals involved.

And then, as I understand, the director of the FBI, Chris Wray, is taking a hard look at changing policies and procedures. And that's a good thing, because the FISA court process is so critically important to the country that it is needs to have the confidence of the American people at all times.

And if things need to be fixed, then they should be fixed. And if people need to be held accountable, they should be held accountable.

TAPPER: Interestingly, a lot of civil libertarians and ACLU types have been criticizing the FISA process for years...

BAKER: Sure.

TAPPER: ... saying that FBI agents cook the books and only put in the worst information, leave out stuff that might be counterbalancing it.

Now we have perhaps some movement on that. It does say, the report, that somebody might be, well, investigated for possible prosecution, an FBI lawyer, I believe.

BAKER: Yes, that's right. That's my understanding from the report. I haven't had a chance to read the whole report yet. It just came out a little while ago. But, yes, that's my understanding, that he's been referred for criminal investigation.

TAPPER: And there's also Bruce Ohr, whose wife, Nellie, worked for the opposition research firm in question, Fusion GPS. Bruce Ohr, an FBI official, it says -- it recommends, the I.G., that he be referred to the Office of Professional Responsibility.

BAKER: Professional Responsibility, yes.

TAPPER: What does that mean?

BAKER: That means that his conduct will be looked at as an attorney in the Department of Justice by the office that sort of -- it's an internal watchdog specifically focused on attorneys.

And so they will make a decision with respect to any punishment or clarification that needs to be made with respect to his situation.

TAPPER: And I also want to just get your response to the fact that you have the attorney general kind of disagreeing with the inspector general, saying -- criticizing the fact that the investigation started into associates of the Trump campaign.

And, very unusual, the U.S. attorney John Durham, who is currently leading Attorney General Barr's investigation into the origins of the Russia investigation, issued a statement in which he said that: "Last month, we advised the inspector general we do not agree with some of the report's conclusions as to predication and how the FBI case was opened."

What do you make of that?

BAKER: Well, both of these statements are highly unusual.

First of all, I think the attorney general statement just in its in -- what he says is just wrong, based on the information that we have from the I.G.

In addition, he's got the statement about it was -- the FBI investigation was open on the thinnest of predications or thinnest of facts, something along those lines. Well, that's what the A.G. guidelines permit.

That's what his guidelines that he is in charge of actually permit. And these guidelines were established by a Republican attorney general, Attorney General Mukasey back in 2008 under President Bush. Those are the -- those are the guidelines that the FBI has operated on -- under since then.

If they don't like them, they can change them. They're the attorney -- he's the attorney general if he doesn't like it. But he should be careful about changing that, because those guidelines were written in the post-9/11 era to allow the FBI to open investigations on very thin information about what terrorists might be doing.

And so these investigations -- these guidelines apply both to terror -- counterterrorism cases and counterintelligence. He needs to be careful about what he wishes for.

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Let me just say that Mr. Baker is behaving, I think, with characteristic restraint here. But let's be clear about what happened today.

[15:05:02]

For years and years, Donald Trump has said that the FBI and the deep state was involved in an illegal conspiracy to bring down his campaign, that they relied on the Steele dossier to investigate and launch this investigation.

TAPPER: To launch the investigation, yes.

TOOBIN: And now, after years of investigation, the inspector general said, not true, didn't happen. There was nothing wrong with the origin of this investigation.

So this conspiracy theory that the president of the United States has been pushing for years was a total lie.

But then we learn that the attorney general is not happy with, that he wants to continue investigating and investigating. And his handpicked investigator, U.S. attorney Durham, out of the blue, out of nowhere, comes out and says, oh, well, we disagree.

Like, based on what? Where are facts?

TAPPER: It is surprising that he would do that, Mr. Durham, considering the fact that he's not refuting it with any facts. He's just saying, we disagree.

BAKER: Right.

TAPPER: I mean, he could have just kept his mouth and then if -- when his report comes out, we will see what he has.

BAKER: Yes, it's highly unusual. And making a statement like that in the middle of an investigation is something that we got criticized at the FBI for doing with respect to Hillary Clinton.

And there was a whole I.G. investigation about that. So, I would -- I would encourage the I.G. to take a look at Mr. Durham's statement.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Right. I mean, it is political. It sounds or it seems highly political, which is, of course, what everyone at the FBI was accused of being.

TAPPER: You're talking about what the attorney general did?

BORGER: And the attorney general -- well, and Mr. Durham, in particular, who hasn't issued a report, who hasn't shown us what he's got, is saying, well, we disagree.

You do? Why? Why did you feel the need to do that? I mean, it seems that the administration, which is -- and the attorney general, who is clearly charging everyone else with being political, seems to have some issues on his hands as well.

LAURA COATES, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: It's very important, though, to consider the fact that they are very critical of part of the process.

I think it's justifiable to say that they are criticizing -- certainly, they are saying the conspiracy theory has been that everything was launched with the Christopher Steele dossier. Not true. George Papadopoulos is the true origin of this. Everything else followed from that.

However, we have been saying for the better part of two to three years that the FISA process is so important -- and it is -- but you rely -- the court is only as good as the information it receives.

They have to give a benefit of the doubt and trustworthy investigators who give information. If any part or layer of that is inaccurate, the court is at the mercy of them. Are they are handcuffed in ability to make a true decision.

The court -- the report goes through at least seven different instances of where there are key omissions, where the court is saying, hold on a second, where they should have said, Steele, they have overstated his credibility, the fact that he's been corroborated in the past as somebody they can trust, that they're -- that these emissions were so clear, that they should have done that.

And also a part of that is that debriefing they gave to a presidential candidate, that being Donald Trump, was also used for investigative purposes.

Now, all of these things are not against a rule. There's an absence of a rule in that respect. But it's important to point out that a lot of what happened here does, in fact, support the president's narrative that there were people who were against them and not doing his bidding.

Now, that's OK if the FBI.

(CROSSTALK)

BORGER: But it wasn't political. It doesn't support his narrative.

(CROSSTALK)

COATES: No, that's true.

(CROSSTALK)

TAPPER: In fact, let me read from this, and then I will come right back to you, because the president talks a lot about Lisa Page and Peter Strzok, who have those -- the text chain in which they're saying many, many unkind things about then candidate Trump.

COATES: Yes.

TAPPER: The report says: "While Lisa Page attended some of the discussions regarding the opening of the investigation, she did not play a role in the decision to open Crossfire Hurricane or the four individual cases about Peter Strzok."

It says: "While Strzok was directly involved in the decision to open Crossfire Hurricane and the four individual cases" -- that's the four FISA warrants, I believe the four investigations into...

(CROSSTALK)

BAKER: It was additional people, yes.

TAPPER: Additional, Carter page, et cetera.

"He was not the sole or even the highest level decision maker as to any of those matters."

So I wouldn't say this is like clearing Peter Strzok and Lisa Page in terms of what they wrote. But it certainly clears them of the idea that these -- the investigation happened because of Lisa Page and Peter Strzok being biased against him.

The report says the exact opposite.

COATES: It does. And it should, if that's the case. The main part here in the word to take away is scrupulously accurate. That is the standard that you had to have in order to have a FISA warrant really be meritorious. Because of the omission, the I.G. report is saying they did not go to such great lengths to have it be scrupulously accurate.

Now, there are ways to reform that, and there are things -- I think you made a great point, James, about the notion of, if you are going to require people to have all the information, it's going to take a toll on the intelligence community at this way.

But I think what was happening here, from the words of Barr, the idea of that wafer-thin, well, didn't we hear that last week? They want to have a common theme of why everyone's against Trump.

TAPPER: Do you feel vindicated today, Mr. Baker? Do you feel as though you have been cleared, not that you had a -- necessarily a cloud above your head, but in terms of the aspersions that were being cast by President Trump?

[15:10:02]

I mean, by the way, just as a note, there's nothing in here about Obama tapping his phones at Trump Tower, despite that long-discredited bit of nonsense from the president.

BAKER: Yes.

TAPPER: But do you feel cleared?

BAKER: Well, two things.

One, I have slept well for a long period of time, because I know we didn't do anything wrong. And I'm glad that the I.G. confirmed that we didn't do anything wrong, in the sense of trying to do some political -- misuse our power. We did not abuse our power for some political purpose.

I think that's one of the key takeaways. That people within the organization screwed up and made mistakes or left things out, OK, fine. That seems like a valid criticism, and that needs to be addressed.

Quite honestly, I have been working on investigations for almost 30 years now, and most investigations have mistakes in them. So...

TAPPER: All right, thanks, Mr. Baker.

We're going to go back to Jerrold Nadler, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, and this hearing.

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Chairman, I have a unanimous consent request before we start.

REP. JERROLD NADLER (D-NY): The gentleman will state his unanimous consent request.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would request that we enter into the record the FISA applications and other aspects of the FBI's Crossfire Hurricane investigation.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I observe a point of order.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think if we're going to...

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The FISA report that just came out.

NADLER: Oh, the -- we need...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The inspector general's report, the genesis of this whole thing.

(CROSSTALK)

NADLER: We will take that under advisement so we can review it, and we will rule on it later. I mean, we will hopefully grant it later.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I withdraw my reservation.

NADLER: Mr. Sensenbrenner.

REP. JAMES SENSENBRENNER (R-WI): Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.

I would like to follow up on two series of questions that the ranking member, Mr. Collins, directed at Mr. Goldman relative to the telephone company subpoenas and the inclusion of certain information in the majority report from the Intelligence Committee.

Let me say that there are two issues involved. One that is not involved is the legality of the subpoena. I believe that that was a subpoena that was fully authorized under the law and under congressional procedures.

Where I do have a problem and a really big problem, however, is the fact that somebody made a decision to match certain data, mega-data -- metadata -- that had been collected through the subpoena with phone numbers of journalists and members of Congress.

And that is the beginning of a surveillance state, which I think is outrageous, particularly since, with the Freedom Act in 2013, we curtailed the NSA's ability about that.

Now, had Chairman Schiff decided to man up and come here and talk, rather than hiding behind Mr. Goldman, his chief investigator, as his surrogate or legate, if you will, I think we could have gotten to the bottom of this, and we could have taken action to make sure that this never happens again.

I do not want to see members of Congress, through their subpoena power, being able to subpoena the telephone records of private citizens willy-nilly, without any kind of cause, or to match the numbers up with somebody else to see who they were talking to, and then going the next step, and publishing the results of that match in a report that the minority hadn't seen until it was released.

That, I think, is an abuse of power. We're talking a lot about abuses of power here in the White House and in the executive branch. Here, we see a clear abuse of power on the part of the people who are prosecuting this impeachment against the president of the United States.

They should be ashamed of themselves. Now, I come from the state where Joe McCarthy came from. I met Joe McCarthy twice when I was first getting into politics as a teenager.

Folks, you have made Joe McCarthy look like a piker with what you have done with the electronic surveillance involved. It is something that has to be put a stop to now. It is something that has to be fessed up to now, whether it's you, Mr. Goldman, that authorized the matching and the publication, or whether it was Chairman Schiff.

I would have loved to put Chairman Schiff under oath, so that he could be required to answer, the same way you have, Mr. Goldman, on how this all happened.

But as one who has been quite a bit of time curtailing the excesses of the Patriot Act, which I authored, with the Freedom Act, which I all also authored, the surveillance state can get out of control.

[15:15:03]

This is a major step in the surveillance state getting out of control in the hands of the Congress and in the hands of a majority party that wants to influence political decisions relative to politicians, in this case, President Donald Trump, that they don't like.

And they haven't liked him from the beginning of his term. They have tried to talk about impeachment since the beginning of his term. They thought that the Mueller report was going to be the smoking gun. It ended up being a cap pistol.

Now they're working on this. And the steps that they have gone, the violation of common sense, the precedent that they have started, and looking at the way the chairman has conducted this hearing today and in the previous hearings, not even to allow Mr. Gaetz to make a point of order, that he can't see what you put on the screen, I think goes against the entire fabric of American democracy.

Shame on those who have done it. And if we want to get back to something objective, maybe it's time to push the reset button.

I yield back.

DANIEL GOLDMAN, DEMOCRATIC COUNSEL: Chairman Nadler, could I just respond quickly on the phone records?

(CROSSTALK) NADLER: The gentleman can respond.

SENSENBRENNER: Mr. Chairman, I yielded back.

NADLER: No, no, no.

SENSENBRENNER: I didn't ask him a question. I made a statement.

NADLER: The gentleman yielded back. The gentleman yielded back.

Ms. Jackson Lee is recognized.

REP. SHEILA JACKSON LEE (D-TX): So, Mr. Goldman, let's get to the facts again.

During the phone conversation July 25 with President Zelensky, President Trump was narrowly focusing on his own political survival, using his public office for private and political gain.

The truth matters.

Then we heard counsel for the Republicans say the president is concerned about foreign aid, because you could kiss it goodbye, assuming that's referring to anti-corruption.

But let's look at the facts of the July 25 call -- I happened to have read it just recently -- which sharply illustrates the president's willingness to abuse the power of his office for his own personal benefit.

The memorandum of that call is on the screen in front of you. And it shows that President Trump says -- and, by the way, right after President Zelensky spoke about defense support and the Javelins -- "I would like you to do us a favor, though."

So this is a president's own behavior and words. Mr. Goldman, what was that favor?

GOLDMAN: The favor was to investigate a debunked conspiracy theory related to Ukraine interference in the 2016 election and then later...

JACKSON LEE: So, Mr. Goldman, the investigative committees received evidence from multiple witnesses, who testified that President Trump was provided specific talking points in preparation for the July 25 call geared toward protecting the American people's national security.

Is that correct?

GOLDMAN: The talking points certainly were part of the official U.S. policy. And they included anti-corruption efforts and national security efforts, yes.

JACKSON LEE: And those talking points were provided to help the president effectively communicate official U.S. policy interests during calls with foreign leaders. Is that right?

GOLDMAN: That is correct. It's a routine process that the National Security Council does.

But the president generally is able to use them or not use them. Witnesses said the president's not required to use them.

What was so startling here is that he not only veered off from them...

JACKSON LEE: Thank you.

GOLDMAN: ... but that he went to his own personal interests.

JACKSON LEE: And it is fair to say such talking points signal the purpose of a given call, correct?

GOLDMAN: Yes.

JACKSON LEE: Witnesses testified that the talking points for the July 25 call included recommendations to encourage President Zelensky to continue to promote anti-corruption reforms in Ukraine, which has a focus of American foreign policy in Eastern Europe. Is that correct?

GOLDMAN: Yes.

JACKSON LEE: So, to be clear, the talking points created for the president or other principals to discuss specific matters that really protect the American people. Is that accurate?

GOLDMAN: Yes, generally.

JACKSON LEE: But witnesses such as Tim Morrison, the deputy assistant to the president and senior director for Europe, testified about what was not in those talking points.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

GOLDMAN: Now, Mr. Morrison, were these references to CrowdStrike, the server in 2016 election, and to Vice President Biden and his son, were they included in the president's talking points?

TIM MORRISON, FORMER SENIOR DIRECTOR FOR RUSSIA AND EUROPE, NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL: They were not.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

JACKSON LEE: Are you aware of any witness who testified that investigating the Bidens was an objective of official U.S. policy?

GOLDMAN: No, it was not before and it was not after this call.

JACKSON LEE: And anything ever found know those investigations that might have occurred?

GOLDMAN: I'm sorry. Can you repeat the question?

JACKSON LEE: Anything ever found of those investigations that may have occurred with respect to the former vice president?

[15:20:04]

GOLDMAN: Every single witness said there's no factual basis for either of the investigations.

JACKSON LEE: So, Mr. Trump did not use official talking points?

GOLDMAN: Correct.

JACKSON LEE: And there were fact witnesses who confirmed that?

GOLDMAN: That's right.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When you hear those words, do you hear the president requesting a thoughtful and well-calibrated anti-corruption program consistent with U.S. policy?

(END AUDIO CLIP)

JACKSON LEE: So, Mr. Goldman...

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I do not.

We were hoping -- we recommended the president very clearly support what President Zelensky had run on his own election and what his Servant of the People Party had run on its election, where it received a majority mandate.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But that didn't come up in the call, did it?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, sir.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

JACKSON LEE: So, Mr. Goldman, did the evidence prove that Mr. Trump utilized his position of public trust in order to accomplish these goals, his goals, in order to hurt his domestic political opponent?

GOLDMAN: Yes, that's what the evidence showed.

JACKSON LEE: I have come to understand that America's values of democracy and justice must have the vital pillars of truth, factual truth, and trust. The former judge and one who sat on this committee during impeachment in 1998, the truth matters.

It's clear that the president really cared about -- did not really care about fighting corruption in Ukraine, but wanted his own personal interests to be considered.

That kind of puts in perspective Ambassador Sondland, that they didn't care whether Ukraine actually investigated, but really whether they just announced it. It is certainly well-known that it is our duty, as the president poses a continuing threat, to, under the Constitution, pursue the truth. That is our duty. We're now proceeding to do our duty to find the truth.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

NADLER: The gentlelady yields back.

The gentleman from Ohio.

REP. STEVE CHABOT (R-OH): Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

This is the second hearing on impeachment that this committee has held in the last week. Well, I would submit that you're investigating the wrong guy.

Let's look at the facts. Mr. Castor, Ukraine that's been at the center of attention of this impeachment hearing, has historically been one of the world's most corrupt nations. Is that correct?

STEVE CASTOR, REPUBLICAN COUNSEL: That's correct.

CHABOT: And under legislation that Congress passed, the National Defense Authorization Act, it was President Trump's responsibility, his duty to see that U.S. tax dollars did not go to Ukraine unless they were making progress in reducing corruption. Is that also right?

CASTOR: Yes, that's right.

CHABOT: And isn't it true that Joe Biden's son Hunter had placed himself right smack dab in the middle of that corruption?

CASTOR: Yes, he did. Burisma was one of the most corrupt companies in Ukraine.

CHABOT: And contrary to what House Democrats and many in the media would have you believe, the concerns about Hunter Biden's involvement in Ukrainian corruption, they're not some sort of vast right-wing conspiracy concocted by supporters of the president, are they?

In fact, the concerns about Hunter Biden were first raised by the Obama administration. Is that right?

CASTOR: That's right, and also "Washington Post," lot of publications and the State Department.

CHABOT: And the Obama administration's concerns about Biden didn't end there, did they? The former ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, she was coached by the Obama administration on how to answer pesky questions related to Hunter Biden and Burisma that might arise during her Senate confirmation process. Is that right?

CASTOR: The State Department was so concerned about this, they gave her a mock Q&A on this question. CHABOT: And nearly every single witness who testified at the

Intelligence Committee impeachment inquiry agreed that Hunter Biden's Burisma deal created at the very least the appearance of conflict of interest. Is that correct?

CASTOR: That's correct.

And Deputy Assistant Secretary George Kent testified that there was an investigation in Burisma, into their head, Zlochevsky. And they were trying to track down $23 million that he had -- he had taken out of the country. And they were working with the United Kingdom.

They were working -- the United States, the United Kingdom. Ukraine was working on tracking this money down. And there was an investigation, an active investigation going on, and a bribe was paid.

And that bribe was paid. It allowed Zlochevsky to get off scot-free. Right around that time is when Burisma went about sprucing up their board, shall we say?

CHABOT: And yet, with all that evidence, the Democrats on the Intelligence Committee under Chairman Schiff, and now the Democrats here, are determined to sweep the Biden corruption under the rug, ignore it, not let us call witnesses on it, and instead rush to impeach the president, all to satisfy, I would argue, their radical left-wing base.

What a disservice to the country. Imagine this. You have got the vice president, Joe Biden, in charge of overseeing our Ukrainian policy, and his son, Hunter Biden, receiving 50 grand a month with no identifiable expertise in either energy or Ukraine.

[15:25:10]

Yet the Democrats won't let us president witnesses on that. So let's do the next best thing. Since we can't bring the witnesses here, let's watch a couple of videos.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

QUESTION: You didn't have any extensive knowledge about natural gas or Ukraine itself, though?

No. The list you gave me of the reasons why you're on that board, you did not list the fact that you were the son of the vice president.

HUNTER BIDEN, SON OF JOE BIDEN: Of course. Yes. No.

QUESTION: What role do you think that played?

H. BIDEN: I think that it is impossible for me to be on any of the boards that I just mentioned without saying that I'm the son of the vice president of the United States.

QUESTION: If your last name wasn't Biden, do you think you would have been asked to be on the board of Burisma? H. BIDEN: I don't know. I don't know. Probably not.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHABOT: You know, Joe Biden got a little testy with a voter at one of his events in Iowa last week, calling the man a liar, challenging him to a pushup contest, among other things, and falsely -- falsely stating once again that nobody said there was anything wrong with his son's deal in Ukraine.

Well, you know what? That's a lot of malarkey. A lot of people have been saying that for quite a while now, and they're right. And what's worse is that, first, the Intelligence Committee and now this committee are conducting an impeachment investigation against President Trump, based on, as Professor Turley put it last week, wafer-thin evidence and ignoring evidence of a high-level U.S. official who actually did engage in a quid pro quo with Ukrainian government, in fact, confessed to it in this video.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOSEPH BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I said, I'm telling you're not getting a billion dollars. I said, you're not getting a billion.

I'm going to be leaving here. And I think it was about six hours. I look at him, I said, I'm leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor is not fired, you're not getting the money. Well, son of a bitch, he got fired.

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHABOT: You're investigating the wrong guy, Mr. Chairman.

NADLER: The gentleman's time has expired.

Mr. Cohen.

REP. STEVE COHEN (D-TN): Thank you, sir.

Mr. Goldman, I would like to bring us back to the next president, not -- to this president, not the next president, and stay focused on the July 25 call, the president's abuse of office for his benefit, no one else's.

Now, as my colleague Ms. Jackson Lee confirmed, the president's request for these investigations was not an objective of U.S. foreign policy, correct?

GOLDMAN: That's right.

COHEN: Is there any evidence the National Security Council wanted an investigation into the Bidens, Burisma, or any alleged Ukrainian interference in 2016?

GOLDMAN: No.

COHEN: Any evidence about the State Department wanting them?

GOLDMAN: No.

COHEN: How about the DOD? Do did the DOD want those investigations?

GOLDMAN: No evidence of that.

COHEN: Did any witness tell you that they wanted Ukraine to investigate the Bidens or the 2016 election?

GOLDMAN: No.

COHEN: And we certainly know now that the Ukrainians did not want it either. In fact, they made it very clear they did not want to be an instrument -- and this is a quote -- an instrument in Washington domestic reelection politics.

So, the only person who is a beneficiary from that investigation is President Trump. And that's why everyone on the July 25 call knew it was wrong. They knew it was wrong.

The investigative committee heard testimony from three witnesses who participated in that call. Is that correct?

GOLDMAN: Yes -- well, listened to that call.

COHEN: Right.

Mr. Goldman, even in real time, the witnesses who listened on that call testified they were concerned by the call. Is that correct?

GOLDMAN: Yes.

COHEN: And, in fact, both Lieutenant Colonel Vindman and Mr. Morrison immediately reported the call to legal counsel. Is that right?

GOLDMAN: That's right.

COHEN: And why did they do so?

GOLDMAN: They did it for separate reasons.

Lieutenant Colonel Vindman was concerned about the substance of the call, that it was improper. Mr. Morrison was concerned about the potential political ramifications if the call was released because of the substance of the call and the political nature of the call.

COHEN: And they reported the call -- that they actually reported that to the internal legal channels.

Mr. Goldman, I have place Lieutenant Colonel Benjamin's testimony about why he reported the call on the screen. Am I correct his concern was based on the fact that the president was asking a foreign power to investigate a U.S. citizen? GOLDMAN: Yes. And he was not the only witness to express that concern.

COHEN: Am I also correct that he reported this concern because he thought it was his sense of duty, a duty that he felt something was wrong?

GOLDMAN: Yes.

So, as you probably know, Lieutenant Colonel Vindman is a Purple Heart award winner from -- or medal winner from Iraq. And he has been in the Department of Defense for 20 years, and has a great sense of duty and a great patriotism to this country, and felt compelled to follow that sense of duty and report it.

COHEN: And Ms. Williams, Vice President Pence's aide, was present for the call.

And she testified, as you brought out -- or was brought out earlier -- that it was unusual and inappropriate. Is that correct?

GOLDMAN: That's right.

COHEN: Now, when Mr. -- Vice President Biden got involved with the European Union and the IMF and Germany and France, and said, you have got to do something about corruption, that was OK, because they were doing something for the common good of a bunch of people, as distinguished from what is going on here, where somebody is doing it for their personal

[15:30:00]