The Committee has heard from many of my colleagues about the strategic importance of Ukraine as a bulwark against Russian aggression. It is important to note that our country’s policy of supporting Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity, promoting Ukrainian prosperity, and strengthening a free and democratic Ukraine, as a counter to Russian aggression, has been a consistent, bipartisan foreign policy objective and strategy across various administrations, both Democrat and Republican, and that President Zelensky’s election, in April 2019, created an unprecedented opportunity to realize our strategic objectives.
In the Spring of 2019, I became aware of two disruptive actors — primarily Ukraine’s then-Prosecutor General Yuri Lutsenko and former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, President Trump’s personal attorney — promoting false information that undermined the United States’ Ukraine policy. The NSC and its inter-agency partners, including the State Department, grew increasingly concerned about the impact that such information was having on our country’s ability to achieve our national security objectives.
April 21, 2019: President Trump Calls Ukraine President Zelensky
On April 21, 2019,
President Trump called President Zelensky on April 21, 2019, to congratulate him for his victory. I was the staff officer who produced the call materials and was one of the staff officers who listened to the call. The call was positive and President Trump expressed his desire to work with President Zelensky and extended an invitation to visit the White House.
May 2019: Inauguration Delegation Goes to Ukraine
In May, I attended the inauguration of President Zelensky as part of the Presidential delegation led by Secretary Perry. Following the visit, the members of the delegation provided President Trump a debriefing offering a positive assessment of President Zelensky and his team. After this debriefing, President Trump signed a congratulatory letter to President Zelensky and extended an invitation to visit the White House.
July 10, 2019: Danylyuk Visit
On July 10, 2019, Oleksandr Danylyuk, then Ukraine’s National Security Advisor, visited Washington, D.C. for a meeting with National Security Advisor Bolton. Ambassadors Volker and Sondland and Secretary Rick Perry also attended the meeting. I attended the meeting with Dr. Hill. Volodymyr Zelensky was elected President of Ukraine in a landslide victory on a unity, reform, and anti-corruption platform.
We fully anticipated the Ukrainians would raise the issue of a meeting between the two presidents. Ambassador Bolton cut the meeting short when Ambassador Sondland started to speak about the requirement that Ukraine deliver specific investigations in order to secure the meeting with President Trump.
Following this meeting, there was a short debriefing during which Amb. Sondland emphasized the importance of Ukraine delivering the investigations into the 2016 election, the Bidens, and Burisma. I stated to Ambassador Sondland that this was inappropriate and had nothing to do with national security. Dr. Hill also asserted his comments were improper. Following the meeting Dr. Hill and I had agreed to report the incident to the NSC’s lead counsel, Mr. John Eisenberg.