Transcript of George Kent’s testimony released

FILE – In this Oct. 15, 2019, file photo, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State George Kent arrives on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)

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UPDATED 7:18 PM PT — Thursday, November 7, 2019

The House has released the transcript of Deputy Assistant Secretary of State George Kent.

During his testimony, the top State Department official said the Ukrainian president met with special envoy Kurt Volker prior to the July phone call between President Trump and President Zelensky. Volker reportedly wanted to “underscore the importance of the messaging Zelensky needed to provide to President Trump about his willingness to be cooperative.”

Volker also told Kent he was going to reach out to the president’s attorney directly because he had the ear of the president on Ukrainian issues. When Kent pushed back on the idea, he mentioned Rudy Giuliani’s record of attacking former Ukraine Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch and tweeting about launching probes into the Bidens.

“If there’s nothing there, why does it matter?” asked Volker. “If there is something there, it should be investigated.”

Kent finally told Volker that asking another country to investigate a prosecution for political purposes undermines their advocacy for the rule of law.

FILE – In this Aug. 1, 2018 file photo, Rudy Giuliani, attorney for President Donald Trump, addresses a gathering during a campaign event in Portsmouth, N.H. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa, File )

The transcript also allegedly showed that Giuliani “waged a campaign of lies” to smear Yovanovitch to Ukrainian journalists during his attempts to oust her. Noting that Giuliani’s claim of the ambassador’s connection to George Soros was false, Kent said there was absolutely no basis for the allegation and called it “fake news.”

Kent also told investigators that back in 2015, he believed Hunter Biden’s position with Burisma could create the perception of a conflict of interest regarding his father, then-Vice President Joe Biden.

The State Department official went on to say acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney froze the Ukrainian military aid at the direction of President Trump on July 18th. He said he did not receive a coherent explanation for why that happened at the time. Mulvaney has since said there was no quid pro quo involved and that President Trump’s foreign policy directives were focused on investigating corruption in the 2016 election.

“The look back to what happened in 2016 certainly was part of the thing he was worried about in corruption with that nation, and that is absolutely appropriate,” stated Mulvaney.

White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney announces that the G7 will be held at Trump National Doral, Thursday, Oct. 17, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Kent’s testimony also showed that EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland had an independent relationship with Mulvaney. He said Sondland was allowed to attend meetings with Ukrainian delegations without the approval of the National Security Council — which goes against the normal protocol.

It also revealed Sondland used the shorthand ‘Clinton’ when referring to possible Ukrainian investigations into the 2016 election and the alleged DNC server hack. Kent confirmed that the shorthand was used in reference to 2016.

Kent also spoke of the failed public statement the administration was attempting to get out of Zelensky. He said Sondland spoke with President Trump about his expectations for the Ukraine leader.

“POTUS wanted nothing less than President Zelensky to go to a microphone and say ‘investigations, Bidens, Clinton,’” stated Sondland.

US Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland walks to a secure area of the Capitol to testify as part of the House impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, Monday, Oct. 28, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

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