Nunes Stumps Impeachment Witness on Obama-Russia Hot Mic Moment: ‘Was That Inflammatory to the Ukrainians?’

U.S. President Barack Obama, left, and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev chat during a bilateral meeting at the Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul, South Korea, Monday, March, 26, 2012. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais

House Intelligence Committee Ranking Member Devin Nunes (R-CA) used his opening line of questioning to demonstrate the instances of Ukrainian meddling in the presidential election against President Trump and reminded the witnesses – and Democrats on the committee – of former President Obama’s infamous “hot mic” moment with the former Russian president in 2012.

Nunes used his opening line of questioning to demonstrate Ukrainian election interference, validating Trump’s initial concerns in regard to Ukraine.

“Alexandra Chalupa, a former staffer for the Democratic National Committee, admitted to Politico that she worked with officials at the Ukrainian embassy in Washington, DC, to dig up dirt on the Trump campaign, which she passed on the DNC and Hillary Clinton campaign,” Nunes stated.

“Chalupa revealed that Ukrainian Embassy officials themselves are also working directly with reporters to trade information and leads about the Trump campaign,” he continued.

“Ambassador Taylor. You testified to this committee that you only recently became aware of reports of this cooperation between Ukrainian Embassy officials and Chalupa to undermine the Trump campaign from your last deposition. Is that correct?” he asked.

“It is correct that I had not known about this before,” acting U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Bill Taylor said, as Nunes continued to set the table, demonstrating the Ukrainian effort to undermine Trump’s campaign.

Taylor told Nunes that he looked into the circumstances for “several” of the points Nunes highlighted, and suggested that Ukrainians were bothered by Trump’s remarks on Crimea.

“In 2016 candidate Trump had made a statement saying that it was possible that he would allow Crimea to go back to Russia. He expressed the sentiment, or the opinion that it’s possible that Crimea wanted to go back to Russia,” Taylor said.

“What I can tell you, Mr. Nunes, is that those, that sentiment is amazingly inflammatory to all Ukrainians,” he added.

“Are you aware, during the 2012 election when, at the time, President Obama leaned over on a hot mic to the then-Russian president and said that he’d have to wait until after the election? Was that inflammatory to all Ukrainians also?” Nunes asked.

“I don’t know sir,” Taylor said.

At the time, during a meeting in Seoul in 2012, Obama leaned over to Russian President Dmitri Medvedev and famously asked for more time “particularly with missile defense,” and told him that he would have more “flexibility” after the election.

“On all these issues, but particularly missile defense, this can be solved, but it’s important for him to give me space,” Obama said.

“This is my last election,” he added. “After my election I have more flexibility.”

“I will transmit this information to Vladimir,” Medvedev replied.

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