Politics

House Democrats Release Transcript of Bill Taylors Impeachment Testimony

House Democrats on Wednesday released the transcript of Ukraine diplomat William Taylors secret testimony in the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump.

Taylor served as the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, and he was the first to testify that an alleged quid pro quo existed between the Trump administration and Ukraine. He suggested that there was an understanding that military aid would not be released to Ukraine as the White House waited for the country to publicly announce investigations into the Biden family and alleged Ukrainian interference in the 2016 election.

“That was my clear understanding, security assistance money would not come until the President [of Ukraine] committed to pursue the investigation,” Taylor said, according to the transcript (pdf).

Republicans on the panel, however, noted that Taylor didnt have firsthand contact with President Trump or lawyer Rudy Giuliani, just U.S. Ambassador to the European Union, Gordon Sondland, and former U.S. special envoy to Ukraine, Kurt Volker.

“What I know is what Ambassador Sondland was able to tell me about those investigations and Ambassador Volker,” Taylor said, according to the transcript. “I dont know what was in the Presidents mind.”

“The President has been crystal clear: No quid pro quos of any kind,” Taylor described of what Sondland had texted him.

sondland
sondland
U.S. Ambassador Gordon Sondland (C) arrives at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, on Oct. 17, 2019. (Olivier Doulier /AFP/Getty Images)

Taylor spoke of a Sept. 1 phone call with Sondland, who “told me that President Trump had told him that he wants President Zelensky to state publicly that Ukraine will investigate Burisma and alleged Ukrainian interference in the 2016 U.S. election.”

He continued, “Ambassador Sondland also told me that he now recognized that he had made a mistake by earlier telling Ukrainian officials to whom he spoke that a White House meeting with President Zelensky was dependent on a public announcement of investigations. In fact, Ambassador Sondland said everything was dependent on such an announcement, including security assistance. He said that President Trump wanted President Zelensky in a box by making public statement (sic) about ordering such investigations.”

On Tuesday, it was revealed that Sondland had revised his previous testimony to say that he told top Ukrainian official that aid will likely not resume until it issues a statement on corruption. Democrats have claimed it is evidence of quid pro quo.

Trump, meanwhile, has denied that any quid pro quo existed, and has urged people to read the transcript of a July 25 phone call between him and Ukraines president that has been the subject of the impeachment inquiry.

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