Politics: 6 highlights from Ukraine envoy Bill Taylor's 'explosive' testimony - - PressFrom - US
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Politics 6 highlights from Ukraine envoy Bill Taylor's 'explosive' testimony

12:26  23 october  2019
12:26  23 october  2019 Source:   nbcnews.com

Bill Taylor, Trump's top diplomat to Ukraine, is Democrats' next impeachment witness

  Bill Taylor, Trump's top diplomat to Ukraine, is Democrats' next impeachment witness Ambassador Bill Taylor, who is scheduled to serve as the next key witness in the House impeachment inquiry, came out of retirement to lead the US embassy in Kiev -- a post he needed some convincing to take. It was a decision the longtime diplomat did not take lightly, sources said, and one that may have been taken out of a sense of duty after the politically motivated removal of the previous ambassador to Ukraine."He's somebody who's been willing to take hard jobs," retired Ambassador Ronald Neumann told CNN. Taylor is expected to be deposed by the House Intelligence, Oversight and Foreign Affairs committees on Tuesday.

Taylor ' s testimony raised serious concerns about Trump's denials of a quid pro quo. Bill Taylor , the top U.S. diplomat to Ukraine , arrives at a closed session before the House Intelligence, Foreign Affairs and Oversight committees on Oct. 22, 2019 at the U.S. Capitol.Alex Wong / Getty Images.

WASHINGTON — William B. Taylor Jr., the top American diplomat in Kiev, provided the most explicit account to date of President Trump’ s insistence that Ukraine publicly announce an investigation of Mr. Trump’ s political rivals in exchange for an Oval Office meeting and military assistance to fight

President Donald Trump has insisted there was "quid pro quo" in his dealings with the Ukrainian government, and "no pressure" for Ukraine's president to open an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son.

William B. Taylor Jr. wearing a suit and tie standing in front of a crowd: Image: Top US Diplomat To Ukraine Bill Taylor Is Deposed In House Impeachment Inquiry © Alex Wong Image: Top US Diplomat To Ukraine Bill Taylor Is Deposed In House Impeachment Inquiry

In his remarkable 15-page statement before delivered to Congress on Tuesday, Trump's top diplomat to the Ukraine painted a picture of both.

"I do not know how you would listen to today's testimony by the ambassador, Ambassador Taylor, and draw any other conclusion, except that the president abused his power and withheld foreign aid," said Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla. "It's a direct line." Rep. Adriano Espaillat, D-N.Y., referred to the testimony as "explosive."

Who Is Bill Taylor and Why Was His Testimony to Congress So Shocking?

  Who Is Bill Taylor and Why Was His Testimony to Congress So Shocking? Those who witnessed his testimony said he caused “a lot of sighs and gasps.”Who is this man who caused such a stir? Here’s what you need to know about Bill Taylor.

Bill Taylor testimony : In a statement for lawmakers, Bill Taylor outlines the quid pro quo the White House said never happened. Taylor ' s name first surfaced in connection with the Ukraine scandal earlier this month, when the House released a series of text messages between him fellow diplomat

Bill Taylor , the top U. S . Diplomat to Ukraine , leaves Capitol Hill on October 22, 2019 in Washington, DC.By First there were the explosive text messages that mentioned “withhold[ing] security for In his damaging testimony to the House committees investigating impeachment, Taylor confirmed that

Here are the 6 of the statement's most astonishing scenes described in Taylor's testimony, which may potentially be a major milestone in Democrats' impeachment inquiry:

1. Taylor details 'highly irregular' backchannel

Taylor, who was ambassador to Ukraine during the Bush administration, returned to service to replace Marie Yovanovitch, who was recalled from the position in May. Taylor said that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo assured him at the time that the U.S.'s "policy of strong support for Ukraine would continue and that he would support me in defending that policy."

"But once I arrived in Kyiv, I discovered a weird combination of encouraging, confusing, and ultimately alarming circumstances," Taylor wrote in his statement.

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.

Mr. Taylor ’ s testimony could make it harder for Republicans to brush off Mr. Trump’s actions as unimportant or distorted by partisan foes. Defending Ukraine against Russian encroachment, much like defending the United States’ Kurdish allies against Turkey, has been a high priority for many

William B. Taylor Jr., the United States envoy to Ukraine , arriving Tuesday on Capitol Hill.CreditAnna Moneymaker/The New York Times. In testimony that Democrats in attendance called the most damaging account yet for the president, Mr. Taylor provided an “excruciatingly detailed” opening

"I found a confusing and and unusual arrangement for making U.S. policy towards Ukraine. There appeared to be two channels of U.S. policy-making and implementation, one regular and one highly irregular."

The "irregular, informal channel" included then-Special Envoy Kurt Volker, European Union Ambassador Gordon Sondland, Secretary of State Rick Perry and Trump's personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani.

"The push to make President Zelenskiy publicly commit to investigations of Burisma and alleged interference in the 2016 election showed how the official foreign policy of the United States was undercut by the irregular efforts led by Giuliani," Taylor added later.

2. Taylor describes when he learned about the Ukraine aid hold

On July 10, Taylor said he was told by a Ukrainian official that Giuliani had informed him that a planned phone call between Trump and new Ukraine president Volodomyr Zelenskiy was "unlikely to happen." A week later, Taylor heard from an Office of Management and Budget staffer in a National Security Council conference call that a hold has been placed on Ukraine aid.

Bill Taylor spent years fighting corruption in Ukraine. His last four months under Trump were the ‘antithesis’ of that.

  Bill Taylor spent years fighting corruption in Ukraine. His last four months under Trump were the ‘antithesis’ of that. Instead of encouraging officials to follow the letter of the law, U.S. diplomats were pressing Ukraine to open investigations that could benefit President Trump politically, diplomat says.He had spent much of the 1990s telling Ukrainian politicians that nothing was more critical to their long-term prosperity than rooting out corruption and bolstering the rule of law, in his role as the head of U.S. development assistance for post-Soviet countries.

Taylor ' s 15-page opening statement was described as " explosive " by Democratic members of Congress present for his testimony . Taylor said the irregular channel began in May 2019 after an American delegation returned from Ukraine . Taylor says he was told a White House meeting with

Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Bill Taylor arrives at the U.S. Capitol, Oct. House Democrats issued a subpoena for Taylor ' s testimony on Tuesday morning after the State Department's attempt Special Envoy for Syria Jim Jeffrey’s testimony to Congress contradicted the president’s assertion

Slideshow by photo services

"All that the OMB staff person said was that the directive had come from the president to the chief of staff to OMB. In an instant, I realized that one of the key pillars of our strong support for Ukraine was threatened," Taylor wrote.

He said he later found out that in a meeting with Ukrainian officials and NSC staffers that Sondland "had connected 'investigations' with an Oval Office meeting for President Zelenskiy."

3. A Ukrainian official tells Taylor that Zelenskiy 'did not want to be used as a pawn'

As Taylor kept working to set up the call between the two leaders, he said "Sondland told me that he had recommended to President Zelenskiy that he use the phrase, 'I will no leave no stone unturned' with regard to 'investigations'" when they speak. "

A Ukrainaian official told Taylor that Zelenskiy "did not want to be used as pawn in the U.S. re-election campaign," a concern Taylor passed on to Sondland and Volker.

Trump said he and Zelenskiy spoke five days later. "I received no readout of the call from the White House," Taylor said.

4. Taylor says it became clear to him that the aid freeze was tied to the Biden probe

Ukrainian officials found out about the hold on aid on Aug. 29, after a story in Politico.

"It had still not occurred to me that the hold on security assistance could be related to the 'investigations.' That, however, would soon change," Taylor wrote.

In early September, Taylor said he spoke with an NSC official who described a conversation Sondland had with a Ukrainian official at an event in Poland. Sondland told the official "the security assistance money would not come until President Zelenskiy committed to pursue the Burisma investigation" — a reference to the company Hunter Biden was working for.

Taylor said he texted Sondland, who asked him to call. "During that phone call, Ambassador Sondland told me that President Trump had told him that he wants President Zelenskyy to state publicly that Ukraine will investigate Burisma and alleged Ukrainian interference in the 2016 U.S. election," Taylor wrote.

"Ambassador Sondland also told me that he now recognized that he had made a mistake by earlier telling the Ukrainian officials to whom he spoke that a White House meeting with President Zelinskiy 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 Zelenskiy 'in a public box' by making a public statement about ordering such an investigation."

5. Taylor says Trump officials denied a quid pro quo, while urging what appeared to be a quid pro quo

On September 7, the NSC official told Taylor about another disturbing conversation between Sondland and Trump.

"President Trump told Ambassador Sondlond that he was not asking for a 'quid pro quo.' But President Trump did insist that President Zelenskiy go to a microphone and say he is opening investigations of Biden and 2016 election interference, and President Zelenskiy should want to do this himself."

The next day, Taylor said he and Sondland spoke on the phone. According to Taylor, Sondland said he had told Zelenskiy and one of his top advisers "that, although this was not a quid pro quo, if President Zelenskiy did not 'clear things up in public,' we would be at a 'stalemate.

"I understood a 'stalemate' to mean that Ukraine would not receive the much-needed military assistance. Ambassador Sondland said this conversation concluded with President Zelenskiy agreeing to make a public statement in an interview with CNN," Taylor wrote.

6. Taylor said Sondland told him it was just business as usual

Taylor said he objected to Trump's plans, telling Sondland it was "crazy" to hold up security assistance "for help with a political campaign."

The two spoke by phone on September 8, and "Sondland tried to explain to me that President Trump is a businessman. When a businessman is about to sign a check to someone who owes him something, he said, the businessman asks that person to pay before signing the check."

Taylor said "the Ukrainians did not 'owe' President Trump anything, and holding up security assistance for domestic political gain was 'crazy.'"

The hold on the aid was lifted on Sept. 11.

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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