Philippine Daily Inquirer


- —AP

WASHINGTON—FORMER US Ambassador William Taylor provided lawmakers on Tuesday with a vivid, detailed and what some lawmakers called “disturbing” account of the way President Donald Trump wanted to put the new Ukraine president “in a public box” by demanding a quid pro quo at the center of the impeachmen­t probe.

In a lengthy opening statement to House investigat­ors, Taylor described the way Trump’s demand that “everything” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy wanted, including vital military aid to counter Russia, hinged on making a public vow that he would investigat­e Democrats going back to the 2016 US election as well as a company linked to the family of Trump’s potential 2020 Democratic rival Joe Biden.

Taylor testified that what he discovered in Kyiv was the Trump administra­tion’s back channel to foreign policy, led by the president’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani and a “weird combinatio­n” of “ultimately alarming circumstan­ces” that threaten to erode the United States’ relationsh­ip with a budding Eastern European ally.

Lawmakers emerging after hours of the private deposition said Taylor relayed a “disturbing” account, including establishi­ng a “direct line” to the quid pro quo at the center of the impeachmen­t probe .

Very disturbing

Lawmakers said Taylor recalled events that filled in gaps from the testimony of other witnesses, particular­ly Ambassador Gordon Sondland, who testified last week and whose statements now are being called into question by Taylor’s account. They said Taylor kept records of conversati­ons and documents.

“The testimony is very disturbing,” said Rep. Carolyn Maloney, Democrat from New York.

Rep. Dean Phillips used the same word. Asked why, he said, “Because it’s becoming more distinct.”

Taylor’s appearance was among the most watched because of a text message, released by House investigat­ors earlier in the probe, in which he called Trump’s attempt to hold back military aid to Ukraine “crazy.”

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz said Taylor “drew a straight line” with documents, timelines and individual conversati­ons in his records.

“I do not know how you would listen to today’s testimony from Ambassador Taylor and come to any other [conclusion] except that the president abused his power and withheld foreign aid,” she said.

 ?? —AFP ?? William Taylor
—AFP William Taylor

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