Philippine Daily Inquirer
TRUMP LINKED UKRAINE ASSISTANCE TO PROBE OF DEMOCRATS, SAYS DIPLOMAT
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 .
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.