Tim Morrison, a top official with the National Security Council, told lawmakers Thursday that he did not believe “anything illegal was discussed during the conversation” between President Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, according to the opening statement reviewed by SaraACarter.com.
Morrison, who is the outgoing senior director of European and Russian affairs at the National Security Council and a deputy assistant to the president, told lawmakers that the transcript of the call was accurate but he contended that some of the details provided by other witnesses did not coincide with his regarding certain aspects of the the Ukrainian issue. House intelligence Committee Adam Schiff, D-CA, who has been criticized for his continued anti-Trump partisan rhetoric by Rebublicans, has been pushing for Trump’s impeachment
I want to be clear, I was not concerned that anything illegal was discussed, Top NSC Official Tim Morrison
Morrison told the closed door panel of lawmakers Thursday that he reviewed the Memorandum of Conversation regarding the July 25 phone call that was released by the White House. He said he listened to the call, along with others He noted it occurred from the Situation Room.
“To the best of my recollection, the MemCon accurately and completely reflects the substance of the call,” he said, regarding the transcript of Trump’s call with Zelensky.
He also said he had “no reason to believe the Ukrainians had any knowledge of the review until August 28, 2019.”
Moreover, Morrison noted that he had “three concerns about a potential leak” of the transcript between Trump and Zelensky. Information regarding the phone call leaked to the media before Trump released the full transcripts. The president released the transcripts of his private conversation with Zelensky saying it was a ‘perfectly fine’ conversation.
Morrison said the leak was damaging: “first, how it would play out in Washington’s polarized environment; second, how a leak would affect the bipartisan support our Ukrainian partners currently experience in Congress; and third, how it would affect the Ukrainian perceptions of the U.S.-Ukraine relationship. I want to be clear, I was not concerned that anything illegal was discussed.”
Morrison said according to his statement, which was reviewed by this news outlet, that he reviewed Ambassador William Taylor’s statement that was provided to lawmakers on Oct. 22, 2019.
“I am pleased our process gave the President the confidence he needed to approve the release of the security sector assistance. My regret is that Ukraine ever learned of the review and that, with this impeachment inquiry, Ukraine has become subsumed in the U.S. political process,” he noted in his statement.
Morrison confirmed that the substance of Taylor’s statement, was accurate, however, he differed on several of Taylor’s recollections of the details.
“I have a slightly different recollection of my September 1, 2019 conversation with Ambassador Sondland,” Morrison said. CBS posted Morrison’s full statement online. “On page 10 of Ambassador Taylor’s statement, he recounts a conversation I relayed to him regarding Ambassador Sondland’s conversation with Ukrainian Presidential Advisor Yermak. Ambassador Taylor wrote: ‘Ambassador Sondland told Mr. Yermak that security assistance money would not come until President Zelensky committed to pursue the Burisma investigation.’
Morrison said his recollection was that Ambassador Sondland’s proposal “was that it could be sufficient if the new Ukrainian prosecutor general—not President Zelensky—would commit to pursue the Burisma investigation. I also would like to clarify that I did not meet with the Ukrainian National Security Advisor in his hotel room, as Ambassador Taylor indicated on page 11 of his statement. Instead, an NSC aide and I met with Mr. Danyliuk in the hotel’s business center.”
Morrison also shot back at Democrats who contend that Trump colluded with Ukraine to investigate Biden saying that as “the former NSC official Ambassador Taylor and I had no reason to believe that the release of the security sector assistance might be conditioned on a public statement reopening the Burisma investigation until my September 1, 2019 conversation with Ambassador Sondland.”
“Even then I hoped that Ambassador Sondland’s strategy was exclusively his own and would not be considered by leaders in the Administration and Congress, who understood the strategic importance of Ukraine to our national security,” he said.