The senior U.S. diplomat in Ukraine said Tuesday he was told release of military aid was contingent on public declarations from Ukraine that it would investigate the Bidens and the 2016 election, contradicting President Trump’s denial that he used the money as leverage for political gain.
Acting ambassador William B. Taylor Jr. testified behind closed doors in the House impeachment probe of Trump that he stands by his characterization that it was “crazy” to make the assistance contingent on investigations he found troubling.
Upon arriving in Kyiv last spring he became alarmed by secondary diplomatic channels involving U.S. officials that he called “weird,” Taylor said, according to a copy of his lengthy opening statement obtained by The Washington Post.
Taylor walked lawmakers through a series of conversations he had with other U.S. diplomats who were trying to obtain what one called the “deliverable” of Ukrainian help investigating Trump’s political rivals.
Taylor said he spoke to Ambassador Gordon Sondland, the U.S. envoy to the European Union.
“During that phone call, Amb. Sondland told me that President Trump had told him that he wants President [Volodymyr] Zelensky to state publicly that Ukraine will investigate Burisma and alleged Ukrainian interference in the 2016 election,” Taylor said in the statement.
Former Vice President Joe Biden’s son Hunter had been a board member of Burisma, a large Ukrainian gas company. Joe Biden is a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate.
Is there enough Botox in the whole world to unfurrow Susan Collins’s brow? Will Cory “Dead Man Walking” Gardner have anything to say about these troubling developments? Is Mitt “Mitt” Romney screwing his courage to the sticking-place and strapping Rover to the top of the family wagon as he rides to the rescue of the Republic?
Of course one of the most surreal aspects of this most surreal of political moments is that Congress has to engage in an elaborate “investigation” of whether Donald Trump did something that Donald Trump already said Donald Trump did.
. . . Gott im Himmel, as they probably said every day in the bunker. Taylor’s opening statement.
“Ambassador 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 up before signing the check.”