As House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump continues to ramp up, investigators have now released another transcript of witness testimony from a previous private hearing. This time, top Ukraine diplomat Bill Taylor is in the spotlight, and the documents reveal that he told Congress that it was his “clear understanding” that a quid pro quo arrangement existed covering the Trump team’s desire for Ukraine to announce an investigation into Bidens and U.S. military aid that had already been approved for that country. How much more straightforward than that testimony can you get?
Taylor told House Intelligence Committee Chairman and lead impeachment investigator Adam Schiff (D-Calif.):
‘That was my clear understanding, security assistance money would not come until the President committed to pursue the investigation.’
Schiff followed up:
‘So if they don’t do this, they are not going to get that was your understanding.’
After Taylor replied in the affirmative, the chairman continued:
‘Are you aware that quid pro quo literally means this for that?’
At another point during his testimony, Taylor told New Jersey’s Democratic Congressman Tom Malinowski that none other than personal Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani was, in his understanding, the originator of the idea to have Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky publicly announce an investigation into baseless allegations of Biden corruption.
As Taylor put it, asserting shortly after that Giuliani was representing the interests of President Trump himself in the situation:
‘I think the origin of the idea to get President Zelensky to say out loud he’s going to investigate Burisma and 2016 election, I think the originator, the person who came up with that was Mr. Giuliani.’
Giuliani has already been documented to have collaborated with Trump administration officials including now former U.S. Special Envoy Kurt Volker and Trump donor turned E.U. Ambassador Gordon Sondland in the drafting of a public statement for Ukrainian authorities to issue. Sondland eventually texted a version of that to Ukrainian presidential adviser Andriy Yermak, who Giuliani also met with at one point. That meeting came shortly after the phone conversation between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that was at the center of a whistleblower complaint that helped kickstart the impeachment inquiry.
Going forward, Taylor is one of a handful of witnesses who will be appearing at public hearings set for next week. The other witnesses are top State Department official George Kent and former Ukraine Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, who Trump — at Giuliani’s urging — abruptly fired on the basis of the false allegations that she was harboring some kind of political conspiracy plan against the Trump administration.
Republicans have groveled to high heaven essentially every step of the way, although it’s not like those of them on the committees participating in the private hearings were shut out.
Schiff noted this week:
‘What Americans will see from that [Bill Taylor] transcript is is what they have seen from the others — that the GOP claims to be locked out, prohibited from participating… are simply false… Republican members have had equal opportunity.’
Yet, they continue to stick to losing their minds over the process anyway.
Chairman Schiff: “What Americans will see from that [Bill Taylor] transcript is is what they have seen from the others — that the GOP claims to be locked out, prohibited from participating … are simply false … Republican members have had equal opportunity.”
Via ABC pic.twitter.com/6ivDe7Fu8s
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) November 6, 2019