Politics: Ukraine Envoy Testifies Trump Linked Military Aid to Investigations - - PressFrom - US
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Politics Ukraine Envoy Testifies Trump Linked Military Aid to Investigations

03:40  23 october  2019
03:40  23 october  2019 Source:   nytimes.com

Sondland prepared to deny he was warned about Ukraine work

  Sondland prepared to deny he was warned about Ukraine work Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, is prepared to tell lawmakers this week that top White House national security officials never personally raised concerns with him about his dealings with Rudy Giuliani in Ukraine, a person familiar with his account told The Associated Press on Tuesday. That statement would be contrary to earlier testimony that Sondland's actions set off alarms in the West Wing. require(["medianetNativeAdOnArticle"], function (medianetNativeAdOnArticle) { medianetNativeAdOnArticle.

WASHINGTON — William B. Taylor Jr., the United States’ top diplomat in Ukraine , told impeachment investigators privately on Tuesday that President Trump held up security aid for the country and refused a White House meeting with Ukraine ’s leader until he agreed to investigate Mr. Trump ’s

Ambassador Bill Taylor’s testimony to House committees met with ‘sighs and gasps’.

WASHINGTON — William B. Taylor Jr., the United States’ top diplomat in Ukraine, told impeachment investigators privately on Tuesday that President Trump held up vital security aid for the country and refused a White House meeting with Ukraine’s leader until he agreed to make a public pledge to investigate Mr. Trump’s political rivals.

William B. Taylor Jr. wearing a suit and tie: William B. Taylor Jr., the United States envoy to Ukraine, arriving Tuesday on Capitol Hill.© Anna Moneymaker/The New York Times William B. Taylor Jr., the United States envoy to Ukraine, arriving Tuesday on Capitol Hill.

In testimony built around careful notes he took during his tenure and delivered in defiance of State Department orders, Mr. Taylor sketched out in remarkable detail a quid-pro-quo pressure campaign on Ukraine that Mr. Trump and his allies have long denied, one in which the president conditioned the entire United States relationship with Ukraine on a promise that the country would investigate former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his family, along with other Democrats.

Schiff: Mulvaney comments on Ukraine aid have made things 'much, much worse'

  Schiff: Mulvaney comments on Ukraine aid have made things 'much, much worse' House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) said Thursday that acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney's comments linked the withholding of aid to Ukraine to investigations into the 2016 election have made things "much worse" for the president. "I think Mr. Mulvaney's acknowledgment means that things have gone from very, very bad to much, much worse," Schiff, a key Democrat in the impeachment inquiry of President Trump, told reporters Thursday. require(["medianetNativeAdOnArticle"], function (medianetNativeAdOnArticle) { medianetNativeAdOnArticle.

President Donald Trump ’s top envoy to Ukraine arrived on Capitol Hill Tuesday with the potential to deliver some of the most revealing testimony to date about the concerns of a quid pro quo in Democrats’ impeachment inquiry. William Taylor will face questions from House investigators about

The release of US military aid to Ukraine was contingent on the country’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, publicly declaring that he was opening an investigation into the Bidens and the 2016 US presidential election, William Taylor, the top US diplomat in Ukraine , told Congress on Tuesday.

His account implicated Mr. Trump personally in the effort, citing multiple sources inside the government, including a budget official who said during a secure National Security Council conference call in July that she had been instructed not to approve a $391 million security assistance package for Ukraine, and that, Mr. Taylor said, “the directive had come from the president.”

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Mr. Taylor, in his opening statement obtained by The New York Times, described Rudolph W. Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer, as being at the center of what he called an “irregular policy channel” that operated outside of — and at odds with — normal American foreign policymaking. He further characterized the situation as “a rancorous story about whistle-blowers, Mr. Giuliani, side channels, quid pro quos, corruption and interference in elections.”

New testimony undercuts Trump’s claim of no quid pro quo on Ukraine. How will Washington respond?

  New testimony undercuts Trump’s claim of no quid pro quo on Ukraine. How will Washington respond? A senior diplomat, in a closed hearing, challenged Trump’s characterizations with a detailed rendering of events over many weeks.It is no longer a question of whether this happened. It is now a question of how the president explains it and how lawmakers — especially Republicans — choose to respond to it.

Read on: Ukraine Envoy Testifies Trump Linked Military Aid to Investigations , Lawmaker Says. A previous version of this article incorrectly referred to William B. Taylor Jr.'s title. He is an envoy to Ukraine , not the ambassador to Ukraine .

America’s top Ukraine diplomat has testified that Donald Trump made the release of military aid to the country conditional on investigations into the Bidens and the 2016 election being announced, contradicting White House denials.

When he objected to Mr. Trump’s efforts to tie security aid and a White House meeting to the investigations, Mr. Taylor said Gordon D. Sondland, the United States ambassador to the European Union and a Trump campaign donor, told him there was no quid pro quo. But then Mr. Sondland described just that, telling Mr. Taylor to think of Mr. Trump as a businessman looking to make sure he would benefit before he closed a deal.

“When a businessman is about to sign a check to someone who owes him something, he said, the businessman asks that person to pay up before signing the check,” Mr. Taylor testified, quoting Mr. Sondland.

Mr. Taylor’s testimony directly contradicted repeated assertions by Mr. Trump and his Republican allies that there was never a direct linkage involving investigations into Burisma, a Ukrainian gas company that employed Hunter Biden, the former vice president’s son, or other Democrats.

Contradicting Trump, Ukraine Knew of Aid Freeze Before It Became Public

  Contradicting Trump, Ukraine Knew of Aid Freeze Before It Became Public Word of the aid freeze had gotten to high-level Ukrainian officials by the first week in August, according to interviews and documents obtained by The New York Times. The problem was not a bureaucratic glitch, the Ukrainians were told then. To address it, they were advised, they should reach out to Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, according to the interviews and records.The timing of the communications about the issue, which have not previously been reported, shows that Ukraine was aware the White House was holding up the funds weeks earlier than United States and Ukrainian officials had acknowledged.

Top Ukraine diplomat Bill Taylor testified Tuesday that he was told a military aid package to Ukraine had been withheld by President Donald Trump pending an agreement Diplomat says he was told that Ukraine military aid was linked to investigations into Bidens and 2016 election. Published 8 min ago.

Taylor testified he was told by Gordon Sondland, the U.S. envoy to the European Union, that Trump had made the release of the withheld aid contingent Trump has denied any wrongdoing and accused Democrats of trying to oust him to prevent him from being re-elected. Trump made his request, which

a group of people looking at a phone: Representative Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, Democrat of Florida, on Capitol Hill in February. “I have not seen a more credible witness than this,” Ms. Wassserman-Schultz said of Mr. Taylor.© J. Scott Applewhite/Associated Press Representative Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, Democrat of Florida, on Capitol Hill in February. “I have not seen a more credible witness than this,” Ms. Wassserman-Schultz said of Mr. Taylor. It also raised questions about the veracity of the testimony of other prominent impeachment witnesses, including Mr. Sondland and Kurt D. Volker, the special envoy to Ukraine, who have said behind closed doors they had not been aware of any improper pressure tactics.

That is not true, Mr. Taylor told the committee. He said the president had explicitly made it clear that Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, would not be invited to the White House or secure much-needed security aid unless the Ukrainian leader made a public announcement that his country would start the investigations that Mr. Trump so badly wanted.

Mr. Taylor testified that he was told of Mr. Trump’s demands for investigations during a telephone call with Mr. Sondland.

“Ambassador Sondland said that ‘everything’ was dependent on such an announcement, including security assistance,” Mr. Taylor told lawmakers on Monday. “He said that President Trump wanted president Zelensky ‘in a public box’ by making a public statement about ordering such investigations.”

Sondland seeks to align himself with Taylor after bombshell testimony

  Sondland seeks to align himself with Taylor after bombshell testimony The bombshell testimony of veteran diplomat William Taylor, President Donald Trump’s top envoy to Ukraine, has raised a crucial question of whether Trump admitted to Gordon Sondland that he was withholding military aid in exchange for an investigation into political rivals. Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the E.U., indicated as much in a phone call between the two in September, Taylor says. Sondland, however, had said previously he didn’t understand until later that Trump had in fact sought a quid pro quo for aid.

Envoy Says Trump Linked Aid With Biden Probe: Impeachment Up The top U.S. envoy to Ukraine testified that a senior diplomat told him in early September that President Donald Trump made U.S. security aid to Ukraine entirely dependent on a public promise to investigate former Vice

A key envoy tells the impeachment inquiry ties with Ukraine were undermined for "political reasons". A top US diplomat has told Congress that aid to Ukraine and a meeting with President Donald Trump were linked to public investigations of a rival.

“During that phone call,” Mr. Taylor said, “Ambassador Sondland 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.”

One lawmaker described the testimony as drawing a “direct line” between American foreign policy and his own political goals.

Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Democrat of Florida, who sat in on the deposition as a member of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, said that Mr. Taylor relied in part on detailed “notes to the file” that he had made as he watched the pressure campaign unfold. His testimony shed new light on the circumstances around a previously revealed text message in which Mr. Taylor wrote to colleagues that he thought it was “crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign.”

He “drew a very direct line in the series of events he described between President Trump’s decision to withhold funds and refuse a meeting with Zelensky unless there was a public pronouncement by him of investigations of Burisma and the so-called 2016 election conspiracy theories,” Ms. Wasserman Schultz said.

In his statement, Mr. Taylor described a July 18 call in which he learned that the directive to withhold Ukraine’s aid had come to the White House budget office directly from Mr. Trump, through his acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney.

We all 'can get it wrong': Mike Pompeo suggests William Taylor misunderstood Ukraine controversy

  We all 'can get it wrong': Mike Pompeo suggests William Taylor misunderstood Ukraine controversy Secretary of State Mike Pompeo cast doubt on the testimony of the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine by suggesting that the envoy might have misread the diplomatic dialogues that sparked an impeachment inquiry. © Provided by MediaDC: Washington Newspaper Publishing Company, Inc.“We all, as human beings, can get it wrong,” Pompeo said Friday. “We see things through a certain prism; we address things in a certain way. We all have a responsibility to make sure we’re getting it as right as we can each and every day.

WASHINGTON — Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, said Thursday that the Trump administration withheld nearly 0 million in military aid to pressure Ukraine to investigate what the president has long insisted was Kiev’s assistance to Democrats during the 2016 election.

Taylor testified that he was told by Gordon Sondland, a Trump donor who was named Despite being America’s top envoy to Ukraine , Taylor was not given a readout of Trump ’s July 25 call at what he saw as a “crazy” link between military aid and Trump ’s desire for investigations to help his political

“In an instant I realized one of the key pillars of our strong support for Ukraine was threatened,” Mr. Taylor said in his testimony.

In his statement, Mr. Taylor described with almost cinematic sweep his return to Ukraine in mid-June, after a long diplomatic career in the country, only to discover with dismay in the months that followed “a weird combination of encouraging, confusing and ultimately alarming circumstances.”

A West Point graduate with a nearly 50-year career as a diplomat, Mr. Taylor testified about his growing realization that Mr. Trump had put in place “two channels of U.S. policymaking and implementation, one regular and one highly irregular,” with the latter group made up of Mr. Sondland, Energy Secretary Rick Perry, Mr. Volker and Mr. Giuliani.

Throughout the summer, Mr. Taylor said, it became clear that the irregular group was focused on only one thing: the investigations sought by the president. And at a July 18 meeting, Mr. Taylor said he learned that the president had held up “until further notice” all military aid needed to repel attacks from Russian-backed forces.

About ten days later, Mr. Taylor said he traveled to the front lines of Ukraine fighting in northern Donbass for a briefing from the country’s commanders, who thanked him for the security assistance being provided by the United States government — assistance that Mr. Taylor by then knew was no longer coming.

Mr. Taylor said he could see the “armed and hostile Russian-led forces on the other side of the damaged bridge across the line of contact. Over 13,000 Ukrainians had been killed in the war, one or two a week. More Ukrainians would undoubtedly die without the U.S. assistance.”

Bolton looms large as impeachment inquiry accelerates

  Bolton looms large as impeachment inquiry accelerates One of the loudest voices emerging from House Democrats impeachment inquiry about President Trump's alleged abuse of power has come from a man who has yet to utter a word publicly about the probe: former national security adviser John Bolton. © The Hill Bolton looms large as impeachment inquiry accelerates Testifying witnesses have placed Bolton at the center of some of the most explosive scenes related to questions of abuse of power by the president and officials he tasked with a shadow foreign policy in Ukraine, described by one witness as an "irregular channel.

Bill Taylor, the acting US ambassador to Ukraine who took over the the post after the ouster of Maria Yovanovitch, is expected to testify at 9 In a September 9 text message to Kurt Volker, the former US special envoy to Ukraine , and Trump lashed out against the investigation in a series of tweets

Envoy ’s testimony ‘drew very specific direct line’ from Trump to the ‘withholding of foreign aid and refusal of meeting’ with foreign leader Volodymyr Zelensky. Ambassador William Taylor is escorted by US Capitol Police as he arrives to testify before House committees as part of the impeachment

In an almost hour-by-hour recitation, Mr. Taylor laid out his increasing panic through the summer and into September as he realized that the security aid Ukraine needed was being held up because of Mr. Trump’s political demands. In one text message to Mr. Sondland, he threatened to quit if Ukraine didn’t get the assistance.

“I was serious,” Mr. Taylor wrote in his statement.

The intelligence whistle-blower’s complaint that prompted the impeachment inquiry said that Mr. Trump’s effort to pressure Mr. Zelensky during a July phone call to open an investigation of Burisma was part of a concerted effort to use the power of his office to enlist foreign help in the 2020 election.

Mr. Taylor was the latest in a string of career diplomats and current and former administration officials who have defied a White House blockade of the impeachment inquiry and submitted to closed-door depositions with investigators digging into whether Mr. Trump abused his power to pressure Ukraine to investigate his political adversaries.

As Mr. Taylor made his way to Capitol Hill to testify early Tuesday, the president sought to discredit the inquiry with attention-grabbing rhetoric, comparing the impeachment investigation against him to a “lynching.”

His comment on Twitter drew bipartisan outrage in public as the ambassador made his case behind closed doors. Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the majority leader, separately quibbled with an assertion by Mr. Trump that the senator had described the July call with Mr. Zelensky as “perfect.”

“I don’t recall any conversation with the president on that phone call,” Mr. McConnell told reporters.

Ms. Wasserman Schultz said that in addition to referencing his notes, Mr. Taylor “had very specific recall of things,” including what she said were “meetings, phone calls, what was said.”

Diplomat offers details on ouster of Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch

  Diplomat offers details on ouster of Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch During testimony in the impeachment inquiry, Phillip Reeker corroborated what others have said, sources said Saturday.Yovanovitch, a well-respected expert on Ukraine, has said that she was fired by the direction of President Donald Trump at the recommendation of Rudy Giuliani.

Taylor testified that he was told by Gordon Sondland, the U.S. envoy to the European Union, that Trump had linked release of the aid to public The aid was later released. In his testimony, Taylor detailed numerous conversations and events and emphasized the strategic importance of Ukraine as

Several Democrats who participated in Mr. Taylor’s questioning described his testimony as stunning. Representative Ted Lieu, a California Democrat, shook his head after exiting the deposition, saying “what he said was incredibly damning to the president of the United States.”

Ms. Wasserman Schultz called it “one of the most disturbing days” she has had in Congress, and added.

“It’s like if you had a big, 1,000-piece puzzle on a table,” Ms. Wasserman Schultz said. “This fills in a lot of pieces of the puzzle.”

Republicans accused Democrats of exaggerating, but they declined to share details of the testimony.

“I don’t know that any of us, if we are being intellectually honest, are hearing revelations that we were not aware of,” said Representative Mark Meadows, Republican of North Carolina. “The bottom line is no one has yet to make the case for why the aid was withheld or even if the Ukrainians knew about it.”

Mr. Taylor became a star witness in the Democratic impeachment probe after Mr. Volker revealed texts they exchanged. In some of the text chains, as Mr. Taylor expressed his concerns about an apparent quid pro quo, Mr. Sondland sought to take the conversation offline, telling Mr. Taylor to “call me.”

Mr. Taylor’s habit of keeping notes throughout his tenure has given the inquiry a boost, allowing him to recreate crucial conversations and moments even as the administration seeks to block Congress from reviewing documents related to its dealings with Ukraine.

A battle over access to Mr. Taylor’s underlying notes may soon ensue. Mr. Taylor has shared them with the State Department but the department has not produced copies of them for lawmakers conducting the impeachment inquiry, a person familiar with his testimony said. The Department has already defied a subpoena from the House for any records related to their work.

Julian E. Barnes and Emily Cochrane contributed reporting.

Diplomat offers details on ouster of Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch .
During testimony in the impeachment inquiry, Phillip Reeker corroborated what others have said, sources said Saturday.Yovanovitch, a well-respected expert on Ukraine, has said that she was fired by the direction of President Donald Trump at the recommendation of Rudy Giuliani.

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