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Transcript: Rep. Jim Jordan on "Face the Nation", November 17, 2019

Jordan: Ukraine aid delay in the "best interest" of U.S.
Jordan says Ukraine aid delay done in the "best interest" of U.S. 07:24

The following is a transcript of an interview with Rep. Jim Jordan that aired Sunday, November 17, 2019, on "Face the Nation." 

MARGARET BRENNAN: We're back now with Republican Congressman Jim Jordan. Good morning to you. 

REPRESENTATIVE JIM JORDAN: Morning. Good to be with you. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: It's good to have you here in person. And- and before we get going, the cut above your eye. You didn't get into a fistfight. This was just a run in--

REP. JORDAN: No I- I- I got between Adam Schiff and a camera. How bout that?  No, actually, it's somewhat embarrassing. But the door to the Intelligence Committee hearing room--


REP. JORDAN: --in the bunker in the basement where- where we've been doing these depositions, it opens and it stays open all the time and then it closes on its own. I stepped out to say something to my colleague, Mr. Meadows. It started to close and I didn't realize I turned and bumped into the door so yeah. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: So just so we clear that up--


MARGARET BRENNAN: --right out of the gate.

REP. JORDAN: Exactly. That's real important. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: As you heard from the speaker in that interview, she argues that the aid to Ukraine was only released because of the whistleblower. What reason were you given that the aid to Ukraine--


MARGARET BRENNAN: --was eventually released?

REP. JORDAN: Because President Zelensky met five times with senior U.S. officials. One, of course, was the phone call with President Trump. And then four meetings, actually face to face meetings, with U.S. senators, ambassadors, with Vice President Pence. And in each of those meetings, never was it talked about linking the security assistance dollars to any type of investigations. But what did happen in those meetings is they all became convinced Zelensky's the real deal. Remember, we're talking about Ukraine. One of the three most corrupt countries on the planet. And we're talking about the hard earned tax dollars of the American people. So, they became convinced that this media star, this new guy to politics, his party just won an overwhelming majority in their parliament, was the real deal. And he was legit and he was worth the risk-- 

MARGARET BRENNAN: So that September 9th complaint--

REP. JIM JORDAN: --and they said we'll release the aid. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: --and then the September 11th release of the aid, you're saying that's just- just the calendar just happened to happen that way?

REP. JORDAN: Well, it did and plus, remember, the aid didn't have to be released till September 30th. 


REP. JORDAN: So it gets released on the 11th and most importantly-- 


REP. JORDAN: --most importantly, the Ukrainians did nothing to, as- as far as investigations goes, to get the aid release. So there was never this quid pro quo that the Democrats all promise existed before President Trump released the phone call.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, I want to get to some new testimony. An American diplomat named David Holmes testified before- behind closed doors on Friday. And I want to know, do you think, because he now has firsthand knowledge in which he explains he overheard a conversation between the president of the United States and Gordon Sondland, isn't he credible? This was first hand.

REP. JORDAN: Well, I mean, look, he overheard a conversation--

MARGARET BRENNAN: Specifically, mention of the Bidens--

REP. JORDAN: We don't know if the other two people--

MARGARET BRENNAN: --and investigation into the Bidens.

REP. JORDAN: --at the table are gonna vouch for his story. We'll see, because there was four people at the table and-- 

MARGARET BRENNAN: Are they coming to testify? Those other two? 

REP. JORDAN: That's Adam Schiff. Adam Schiff controls the witness list. We gave our list. He doesn't give us the witnesses we want and he can call witnesses anytime he wants. We had to give our list last Saturday. Just one of the many problems and- and unfairness of this process. So I'm sure Mr. Holmes will get called by the Democrats. He'll come in and we'll have him under oath in front of the committee, in front of the cameras and we'll ask him questions, and we'll see how his story holds up.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Gordon Sondland, the ambassador to the EU is a ally of the president. He was a financial donor to the president's campaign, but he's changed his testimony already. Do you think he's credible?

REP. JORDAN: His- his addendum to his testimony, never forget he said, 'I presume this happened.' So, again, this is- he'll be in front of us this week as well, as will Mr. Morrison, as will Mr. Vindman, as was Ms. Williams. And we're gonna have a host of witnesses. So, again, we'll see how his testimony plays out. What I also know is he said there was never any quid pro quo in the text message responding to others on that text chain. So, we'll have him in front of us and we'll find out. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: That text chain- you're, you're right, but then in this conversation that David Holmes has testified about, he says he heard the president ask, "So he's going to do the investigation." And Sondland replied, "He's going to do it." Holmes then said he spoke to Sondland, who told him Trump was interested in the Biden investigation, that Mr. Giuliani was pushing.

REP. JORDAN: It's interesting you're talking about all these details from a deposition that hasn't been released, that just happened Friday night that we're not supposed to even talk about, is it? This is, again, an example of the unfair process. He'll be under oath-- 

MARGARET BRENNAN: You want him to testify under oath--

REP. Jordan: He'll be- well--

MARGARET BRENNAN: --in the public eye? 

REP. JORDAN: I- I- I assume Adam Schiff--


REP. JORDAN: --is going to call him. And remember this, based on what Mr. Taylor told us in the open hearing earlier this week as their first witness, he said that this happened with- with a- a conversation that he wasn't a part of, Mr. Holmes, and he's listening in on a conversation between Ambassador Sondland and the President of the United States. So we'll have questions for him. We'll see how it stands out. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: Do you think Gordon Sondland was acting on his own? He says he talks to the president all the time.

REP. JORDAN: He's the Senate confirmed ambassador to the European Union. Mr. Volker is- is the special envoy, distinguished career serving our country in the diplomatic corps.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Right, but Sondland--

REP. JORDAN: We had- we had--

MARGARET BRENNAN: --is who I was asking about.

REP. JORDAN: --Rick Perry. We have Secretary Perry, Senate confirmed, working. This whole- this whole irregular channel I find interesting because they're all Senate confirmed individuals, respected individuals, accomplished individuals--


REP. JORDAN: --working on a diplomatic mission, and somehow that's- that's- that's crazy. I just don't follow- here's the- here's the bottom line--

MARGARET BRENNAN: But do you think that the project that Gordon Sondland was working on here, when he said, 'the Biden investigation that Mr. Giuliani was pushing,' was that with the president's 'OK'?

REP. JORDAN: Here's what I understand. We haven't heard from Kurt Volker yet. The first witness the Democrats call, the special envoy, Ambassador Volker, he said everything that was done here, there was no quid pro of any kind and it was all done in a way that was consistent with the mission of making sure the aid ultimately gets to the- to Ukraine and that things are done in the best interests of the United States, done in the best interests of Ukraine. And that's all- that all happened. And Ambassador Volker's testimony, I think, will be particularly good and particularly powerful when we get to hear from him later this week.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Specifically, Volker said he didn't know there was a quid pro quo. 

REP. JORDAN: Right. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: That none was ever communicated to him. Not that there was definitively no quid pro quo, just that he was not aware of it.

REP. JORDAN: No one's testified that there's been a quid pro quo. Everyone's got second, third hand, fourth hand information. Mr. Morrison, who was on the call, said he didn't think anything was improper or illegal on the call. Ms. Williams didn't think anything improper or illegal on the call. So--

MARGARET BRENNAN: She said inappropriate.

REP. JORDAN: So, but that- that's- those are the facts. Four facts will never change. Will never- that's a funny thing about facts. They don't change. The fact that the- that we have the transcript and there was no linkage of any type of a search- security assistance dollars for investigations--


REP. JORDAN: --on the call. We have the two guys on the call--


REP. JORDAN: --President Trump and President Zelensky said no pressure, no linkage--

MARGARET BRENNAN: So, just to be clear, though, are you okay--

REP. JORDAN: The Ukrainians didn't know that their aid was held at the time of the call, and most importantly, they didn't do anything. Any specific actions on investigations--

MARGARET BRENNAN: I- I understand you're saying that the aid was released-- 

REP. JORDAN: --to get the aid released.

MARGARET BRENNAN: I understand you're saying the aid was released, but to- to put a fine point on it, are you comfortable with the investigation that was requested?

REP. JORDAN: The investigation that- that- that was requested? Look, the president--

MARGARET BRENNAN: That the president spoke to Gordon Sondland--

REP. JORDAN: --I thought that--

MARGARET BRENNAN: --about this request to have--

REP. JORDAN: --I thought the--

MARGARET BRENNAN: --the Biden's investigated. 

REP. JORDAN: I thought we were supposed to be looking--

MARGARET BRENNAN: Are you comfortable with that? 

REP. JORDAN: --into potential impact on the 2016 election in- in- in foreign countries involvement in 2016 election. So, I'm comfortable with that. I think everyone is--

MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, this is the 2020 election. Does that make you uncomfortable? 

REP. JORDAN: Well, I don't think that's what took place here, because there was never an investigation undertaken. There was never an announcement from President Zelensky--

MARGARET BRENNAN: But the request for one that was overheard and testified to.

REP. JORDAN: But it didn't happen. There's- there's all kinds of talk about things, but they- it didn't happen. And well, remember when this all broke? What the Democrats tell us?

MARGARET BRENNAN: And the attempt itself doesn't bother you? 

REP. JORDAN: What the Democrats tell us? There was a quid pro quo. The scary thing is the Democrats have been out to get this president. I was struck by listening to Speaker Pelosi's comments, her answer to your second question. She used the word impostor. I'm talking about the president of the United States, who 63 million people voted for, who won an Electoral College--


REP. JORDAN: --landslide. And yet these Democrats have been trying to get him- the start of this Congress, Congresswoman Tlaib said--


REP. JORDAN: --she wants to impeach him before any evidence. Five members, think about this--

MARGARET BRENNAN: I understand. 

REP. JORDAN: --five members of the Dem- of the Democrat- five Democrat members on the Intelligence Committee have voted to move forward with impeachment even before the whistleblower complaint was filed.

MARGARET BRENNAN: I've got to go to a commercial break. Thank you very much, Congressman. 

REP. JORDAN: Thank you

MARGARET BRENNAN: We'll be back in a moment.

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