A senior White House official who listened to President Donald Trump's infamous July 25 call with Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelenskiy said he didn’t worry Trump broke the law.
And, according to Tim Morrison, who served as the senior director for European affairs on the National Security Council until his resignation Wednesday, he also wasn’t aware of any meaningful material being left out of the memo on the exchange.
“I want to be clear, I was not concerned that anything illegal was discussed,” Morrison said in a prepared statement to Congress that was obtained by The Hill and The Daily Beast.
After the call between Zelenskiy and Trump took place, Morrison ordered the transcript be put on a secret White House server.
“To the best of my recollection, the MemCon [memorandum of conversation] accurately and completely reflects the substance of the call,” he testified.
“I was aware that the president thought Ukraine had a corruption problem, as did many others familiar with Ukraine," he also stated, according to the transcript. "I was also aware that the president believed that Europe did not contribute enough assistance to Ukraine."
Morrison says he had a different recollection of events than what Ambassador Bill Taylor described in his Oct. 22 testimony — including an episode that appeared to indicate the expectations Trump had for Zelenskiy’s commitment to investigating Joe Biden and his son Hunter.
In his testimony, Taylor recounted a conversation in which Morrison briefed him on another conversation between Ambassador Gordon Sondland and a top adviser to Zelenskiy.
Taylor testified Morrison informed him that Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union at the heart of the impeachment inquiry, told Zelenskiy-aide Andriy Yermak that U.S. security aid wouldn’t come until Zelenskiy publicly committed to an investigation into Burisma, the company on whose board Hunter Biden served.
Morrison testified that isn’t how he remembers it.
“My recollection is that Ambassador Sondland’s proposal to Yermak was that it could be sufficient if the new Ukrainian prosecutor general, not President Zelenskiy, would commit to pursue the Burisma investigation,” Morrison said.
Morrison’s statements may be a setback for Democrats who have argued the call amounted to an impeachable offense since it involved the president demanding an exchange of a political favor for military aid, The Hill reported.
Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., agreed.
"I don't think you'll get any opening statements leaked from the Democrats today," he said, adding Morrison's remarks are "very damaging to the Democrats' narrative,” he told The Hill.
Democrats countered that Morrison corroborated key elements of previous testimony heard by investigators, and further validated the initial allegations that Trump pressured a foreign government to provide a "favor" that would benefit him politically.
"I guess they have to try to put a spin on it," Rep. Tom Malinowski, D-N.J., told The Hill. "But awhile ago they were saying, 'There's nothing here because there's no quid pro quo.' Take a look at the opening statement. It's crystal clear. ... It's overwhelming."
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