Acting U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, William B. Taylor Jr., told impeachment investigators behind closed doors on Tuesday that Donald Trump withheld vital military aid for Ukraine and refused a White House meeting with Ukraine’s leader until he agreed to make a public pronouncement pledging to investigate Mr. Trump’s political opponents.
From 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 statement that described in blunt and unsparing terms the quid-pro-quo pressure campaign that Mr. Trump and his allies have long denied.
When he objected to that effort, Mr. Taylor said in his opening statement obtained by The New York Times, Gordon D. Sondland, the United States ambassador to the European Union and a Trump campaign donor, sought to explain Mr. Trump’s actions by noting that he was a businessman.
Mr. Taylor recounted Mr. Sondland saying that “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.”
Taylor testified today that Trump had made his position clear: Ukrainian President 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 launch the investigations sought by Trump.
Before Trump supporters begin their expected attacks, it’s worth noting that Taylor is a West Point graduate who served in Vietnam with the 101st Airborne.
“All I have to say is in my ten short months in Congress, it’s not even noon and this is my most disturbing day in Congress so far. Very troubling.” – Rep. Andy Levin’s comments after emerging from Bill Taylor’s testimony pic.twitter.com/huOD2j54yR
— Acyn Torabi (@Acyn) October 22, 2019
New: Per source in the room, Bill Taylor’s opening statement was 15 pages long and prompted “a lot of sighs and gasps.”
— Andrew Desiderio (@AndrewDesiderio) October 22, 2019
Wow — > Bill Taylor’s testimony totally contradicts Amb. Sondland’s claim that he recalls “no discussions” with anyone at the State Department or White House about Biden or his son. Taylor says Sondland heard about Biden directly from Trump:https://t.co/mkmJWgSbjz pic.twitter.com/7xXzBJAd5E
— John Hudson (@John_Hudson) October 22, 2019