Impeachment Inquiry: Transcripts of Depositions Released (Updated 11/18/19)

Posted: Nov 12, 2019
Updated: Nov 16, 2019
Updated, November 18, 2019

On September 24, 2019, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced the beginning of the impeachment inquiry. (see Tuesday, September 24, 2019: Speaker Nancy Pelosi Announces Formal Impeachment Inquiry).  Below are links to the full transcripts of the depositions that the Committee has released on a rolling basis. We will update this post as new transcripts are released to the public.
State/P Ambassador David Hale, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs
  • The testimony of Mr. Hale can be found here.
  • Key excerpts of Hale’s testimony can be found here.
State/FSO David Holmes, Political Counselor, US Embassy Kyiv, Ukraine
  • The testimony of Mr. Holmes can be found here.
  • Key excerpts of Holmes’ testimony can be found here.
WH/FSO Jennifer Williams, Vice President Pence’s Special Adviser on Europe and Russia
  • The testimony of Jennifer Williams can be found here.
  • Key excerpts of Jennifer Williams’s testimony can be found here.
WH/Timothy Morrison, Deputy Assistant to the President
  • The testimony of Timothy Morrison can be found here.
  • Key excerpts of Timothy Morrison’s testimony can be found here.
DOD/Laura Cooper, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Department of Defense
  • The testimony of Deputy Assistant Secretary Laura Cooper can be found here.
  • Key excerpts of Deputy Assistant Secretary Laura Cooper testimony can be found here.
STATE/FSO Catherine Croft, Ambassador Volker’s Advisor
  • The testimony of Catherine Croft can be found here.
  • Key excerpts of Catherine Croft’s testimony can be found here.
STATE/FSO Christopher Anderson, Ambassador Volker’s Advisor
  • The testimony of Christopher Anderson can be found here.
  • Key excerpts of Christopher Anderson’s testimony can be found here.
WH/Dr. Fiona Hill, NSC Russia Expert
  • The testimony of Dr. Fiona Hill can be found here.
  • Key excerpts of Dr. Fiona Hill’s testimony can be found here.
WH/Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman, NSC Russia Expert
  • The testimony of Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman can be found here.
  • Key excerpts of Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman’s testimony can be found here.
STATE/George Kent: Deputy Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs (EUR)
  • The testimony of Deputy Assistant Secretary Kent can be found here.
  • Key excerpts from Deputy Assistant Secretary Kent can be found here.
STATE/Ambassador Bill Taylor: Current Chargé d’Affaires, US Embassy Ukraine
  • The testimony of Ambassador Taylor can be found here.
  • Key excerpts from Ambassador Taylor’s testimony can be found here.
STATE/Kurt Volker:  Former U.S. Special Envoy to Ukraine
  • The testimony of Ambassador Volker can be found here.
  • Key excerpts from Ambassador Volker’s testimony can be found here.
  • the Committees released all additional Volker text messages received by the Committees, which can be found here.
  • Key excerpts from these additional text messages can be found here.
  • The Committees first released excerpts of text messages produced by Ambassador Volker on October 2, 2019, which can be found here.
STATE/Ambassador Gordon Sondland:  Current U.S. Ambassador to the European Union
  • The testimony of Ambassador Sondland can be found here, including an addendum he filed on November 4, 2019
  • Key excerpts from Ambassador Sondland’s testimony can be found here.
STATE/Ambassador Michael McKinley:  Former Senior Advisor to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo
  • The testimony of former Senior Advisor to the Secretary of State Ambassador P. Michael McKinley from October 16, 2019 can be found here.
  • Key excerpts from McKinley’s testimony can be found here.
STATE/Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch: Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine
  • The testimony of former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie “Masha” Yovanovitch from October 11, 2019 can be found here.
  • Key excerpts from Yovanovitch’s testimony can be found here.

 

 

 

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Dear @StateDept, How Many More Mina Changs Do You Have?

 

As far as we know, no one starts a job at the State Department without a security clearance. Diplomatic spouses working security escort or mailroom jobs are not even allowed to start work without a security clearance or an interim clearance.
So when NBC News Investigation reported that a senior political appointee at the Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations — a deputy assistant secretary (she’s one of the top three senior bureau officials)  made false claims and exaggerations, we were wondering what this means to the thoroughness of the background investigations conducted by the Bureau of Diplomatic Security? Were the adjudicators aware of these issues prior to the issuance of the clearance? If not, why not? If yes, well, what in guacamole’s name happened here?

A senior Trump administration official has embellished her résumé with misleading claims about her professional background — even creating a fake Time magazine cover with her face on it — raising questions about her qualifications to hold a top position at the State Department.

An NBC News investigation found that Mina Chang, the deputy assistant secretary in the State Department’s Bureau of Conflict and Stability Operations, has inflated her educational achievements and exaggerated the scope of her nonprofit’s work.

Whatever her qualifications, Chang had a key connection in the Trump administration. Brian Bulatao, a top figure in the State Department and longtime friend of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, attended a fundraiser for her nonprofit in Dallas and once donated $5,500 to her charity, according to a former colleague of Chang’s.

As of this writing, her biography is still up on state.gov. Her Twitter account appears to have disappeared but her Instagram account is still online. Back in July 2019, she was also rumored to be the next U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines, a report that was officially denied by US Embassy Manila.
The Diplomatic Security Service (DSS headed by Director Todd J. Brown), an office which resides under the Bureau of Diplomatic Security (headed by Michael T. Evanoff), under the umbrella of the Under Secretary for Management (headed by Brian Bulatao), conducts personnel security background investigations for the Department of State and other federal agencies. After determining the candidate’s national security eligibility, DSS contacts the appropriate hiring authority.
According to Diplomatic Security, the national security eligibility determinations take into account a person’s:
  • Stability
  • Trustworthiness
  • Reliability
  • Discretion
  • Character
  • Honesty
  • Judgment
  • Unquestionable loyalty to the U.S.
The organization she once served as CEO, Linking The World, has now posted a lengthy message on its website primarily defending its former CEO. It claims that “Mina has undergone 4 independent agency reviews, including the FBI, and ultimately garnered both Top Secret and Sensitive Compartmented Information clearances.”
Item #8 says:

Mina obtained her position at the State Department on her own merit, at no time was Brian Bulatao part of her nomination / recruitment / review process.  An auction bid from 2015, is a despicable example of correlation with no foundation.  Anyone who reads her online articles would know that she has both supported and been critical of the current administration.  

Career diplomat George Kent who serves as Deputy Assistant Secretary (DAS) in the European and Eurasian Bureau and testified on Wednesday at the Impeachment Hearings — now, he obtained his position as a DAS at the State Department on his own merit.
A political appointee gets  a job through a political connection. Ms. Chang is a political appointee; are we to understand that she got her job on her own merit by knocking on Foggy Bottom’s door?  Or did she apply through USAjobs.gov? Should be interesting to know how she got to Foggy Bottom.
According to Linking the World, Ms. Chang’s nomination was also “not withdrawn by the Administration of anyone other than herself.”

“Mina’s nomination was not withdrawn by the Administration, or anyone other than herself.  Simply, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee has been rather busy with other activities and all nominees were subject to extensive delays.  Mina loves her position at State and decided to withdraw herself from the process to focus on stabilization operations.  Again, anyone who reviewed her recent past, with work in Iraq, Afghanistan, Nigeria and Somalia, would know that this decision makes absolute sense.

This is, of course, contrary to reporting and public records that indicate the nomination was withdrawn by the President.  Ms. Chang was nominated in 2018 to be Assistant Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development, vice Jonathan Nicholas Stivers (see PN2528).  On January 03, 2019 the nomination was  “Returned to the President under the provisions of Senate Rule XXXI, paragraph 6 of the Standing Rules of the Senate.” The renomination was received by the Senate on January 16, 2019 (see PN115). On September 9, 2019, the U.S. Senate “Received message of withdrawal of nomination from the President.”
Deputy assistant secretaries do not require Senate confirmations. Appointments are typically not publicly announced.
So, now we’re left wondering if this case is an exception, or if there are any more cases like this in Foggy Bottom?

Impeachment Open Hearings Week #1: William Taylor, George Kent, Marie Yovanovitch

Updated: Nov 13, 2019
Updated: Nov 15, 2019

The House Intelligence Committee  Chairman Adam Schiff announced the first open hearings this week:

Wednesday, November 13, 2019 10:00 am ET

WHERE: Longworth House Office Building, Room 110
WATCH: Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LrL2q91fnnQ&feature=youtu.be
Witnesses:
  • Ambassador William Taylor
    Chargé D’affaires, US Embassy Kyiv, Ukraine
  • Deputy Assistant Secretary George Kent
    Deputy Assistant Secretary in the European and Eurasian Bureau at the U.S. Department of State.

Friday, November 15, 2019 9:00am ET

Ambassador Marie “Masha” Yovanovitch
US Ambassador to Ukraine (2016-May 2019)
WHERE: Longworth House Office Building, Room 1100
WATCH: Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sPoc_sj1hgQ

 

Pompeo Mad at Congress For “Bullying” @StateDept Employees as @StateDept Bullies Own Employee

 

Related posts:

EUR/DAS George Kent Honors Subpoena, Appears For Deposition Over #Ukraine

 

House Committees Subpoena Pompeo For Documents, Schedule Depositions of Senior @StateDept Officials

 

On September 27, Rep. Eliot L. Engel, the Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, Rep. Adam Schiff, the Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, and Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, the Chairman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, sent a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for documents related to their impeachment inquiry. The letter says that the documents they seek include many Pompeo “has refused to produce for weeks.” The original document request was sent by Congress to Secretary Pompeo on September 9, 2019. A follow-up letter was sent on September 23, 2019.

“Pursuant to the House of Representatives’ impeachment inquiry, we are hereby transmitting a subpoena that compels you to produce the documents set forth in the accompanying schedule by October 4, 2019,” the Chairmen wrote.

Your failure or refusal to comply with the subpoena shall constitute evidence of obstruction of the House’s impeachment inquiry,” the Chairmen wrote. 

The Chairmen also sent a separate letter on September 27, notifying Pompeo that the Committees have scheduled depositions for five State Department officials over the next two weeks.
October 2, 2019:  Ambassador Marie “Masha” Yovanovitch
(Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine (2016-2019)

(Via Georgetown/ISD: Ambassador Marie L. Yovanovitch joins ISD after three years as the U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine (2016-2019). She previously served as Ambassador to the Republic of Armenia (2008-2011) and the Kyrgyz Republic (2005-2008). From 2012-2013, Ambassador Yovanovitch was the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs, where she was responsible for policy on European and global security issues. She also served as the Senior Advisor to the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs from 2004-2005. Ambassador Yovanovitch served as the Dean of the School of Language Studies at the Foreign Service Institute, as well as the Deputy Commandant at the Eisenhower School at the National Defense University, where she also taught national security strategy. A Career Minister in the U.S. Foreign Service, Ambassador Yovanovitch has received numerous Presidential and State Department Awards, including the Secretary’s Diplomacy in Human Rights Award. Ambassador Yovanovitch graduated from Princeton University and holds a master’s degree from the National Defense University.

 

October 3, 2019:  Ambassador Kurt Volker
(U.S. Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations)

(Via state.gov: Ambassador Kurt Volker is a leading expert in U.S. foreign and national security policy with some 30 years of experience in a variety of government, academic, and private sector capacities. Ambassador Volker serves as Executive Director of The McCain Institute for International Leadership, a part of Arizona State University based in Washington, DC. He is also a non-resident Senior Fellow at the Center for Transatlantic Relations at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies, a Senior Advisor at the Atlantic Council, and a Trustee of IAU College in Aix-en-Provence, France. He is a consultant to international business, a member of the Board of Directors of CG Funds Trust, and had previously served as Managing Director, International, for BGR Group. He has taught Transatlantic Relations at The George Washington University Elliott School of International Affairs. In July, 2017, Secretary of State Tillerson appointed Ambassador Volker as U.S. Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations).

Note: BGR Group indicates Ambassador Volker as a Senior International Advisor. Also see Trump’s Ukraine envoy has a problem named Rudy Giuliani. Tillerson Appoints Ex-USNATO Ambassador Kurt Volker as Special Representative For Ukraine Negotiations (July 2017). As of late Friday, shortly after subpoenas for documents and scheduled depositions were announced, media reported the resignation of Ambassador Volker as Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations.

October 7, 2019:  Deputy Assistant Secretary George Kent
Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs

(Via state.gov: George Kent currently serves as Deputy Assistant Secretary in the European and Eurasian Bureau at the U.S. Department of State, overseeing policy towards Ukraine, Moldova, Belarus, Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan. Previously, he was Deputy Chief of Mission in Kyiv, Ukraine (2015-18). In 2014-15, George was the Senior Anti-Corruption Coordinator in the State Department’s European Bureau from 2014-15, leading development and advocacy of anti-corruption messages across Europe and Eurasia).

 

October 8, 2019:  T. Ulrich Brechbuhl
Counselor of the U.S. Department of State

Via state.gov: T. Ulrich Brechbuhl currently serves as the Counselor of the Department. In this capacity, he provides strategic guidance to the Secretary on foreign policy, undertakes efforts to enhance U.S. diplomacy and public outreach, and conducts special diplomatic assignments as directed by the Secretary. Prior to joining the Department, Mr. Brechbuhl was president of Appenzeller Point, LLC, a family investing and consulting business. He also served as the executive chairman of Avadyne Health and on the board of five other healthcare and financial services businesses. Mr. Brechbuhl graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1986 and served as a cavalry officer with the Second Armored Cavalry Regiment patrolling the Iron Curtain before its fall. He also served with the 1st Squadron, 7th Cavalry in the U.S. Army’s First Calvary Division during the Persian Gulf War. After leaving active duty, Mr. Brechbuhl graduated from Harvard Business School, receiving his Master of Business Administration in 1994. Since then he worked with Bain and Company, Inc., and has served as the CFO and CEO of multiple companies, both private equity owned and publicly traded. Born in Switzerland, Mr. Brechbuhl grew up in Garden City, New York, and speaks French, German, and Swiss-German.

 

October 10, 2019:  Ambassador Gordon Sondland
U.S. Ambassador to the European Union, Belgium

Via USEU: Gordon Sondland was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on June 29, 2018, as U.S. Representative to the European Union with the rank of Ambassador.  He arrived in Brussels on July 8, 2018, and presented his credentials at the European Commission and to President of the European Council Donald Tusk on July 9, 2018. Ambassador Sondland is the Founder and CEO of Provenance Hotels, a national owner and operator of full-service boutique “lifestyle” hotels.  Provenance and its affiliates (founded in 1985), currently own and/or operate 19 hotels in seven states and have another six hotels currently under development.  Provenance creates unique, independent full-service, urban hotels, each with their own design, story and closely associated art collection.  The Company employs over 1,000 associates between its hotels and its Portland headquarters.  The Company has received critical acclaim for its hotels from such varied publications as The New York Times, Conde Nast, Travel and Leisure, and many other national and international publications.  In 2015, Provenance consolidated more than half of its assets into a $500mm fund with a strong balance sheet and liquidity.  The Fund anticipates reaching a gross asset value of approximately $1 billion in 2018.

 

Click here to read the subpoena letter.

Click here to read the deposition letter.

Read the full text of the Trump-Ukraine whistleblower complaint

Read full text of Trump-Zelensky July 25, 2019  Memorandum of Conversation