This Is The Moment Of Bill Taylor’s Testimony Trump Should Fear Most

Ambassador Bill Taylor’s testimony tied President Trump even closer to the extortion plot executed by his allies on his behalf.
Acting Ambassador to Ukraine Bill Taylor (Official Photos) and President Donald Trump (AP)

Acting Ambassador to Ukraine Bill Taylor (Official Photos) and President Donald Trump (AP)

The first impeachment hearing has come and gone and laid out some damning evidence. There’s one new detail that paints President Trump’s July 25th phone call with Ukrainian President Zelensky in an even more corrupt light.

Today, Ambassador Bill Taylor and Deputy Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs George Kent delivered powerful testimony. Taylor’s testimony, which was largely based on his closed-door deposition, methodically detailed the Trump Administration’s effort to withhold military aid and a White House meeting from Ukraine in pursuit of investigations into Trump’s political targets. It also had this new detail involving one of his staffers, who is now scheduled to testify:

“Last Friday, a member of my staff told me of events that occurred on July 26. While Ambassador Volker and I visited the front, this member of my staff accompanied Ambassador Sondland. Ambassador Sondland met with Mr Yermak. Following that meeting, in the presence of my staff at a restaurant, Ambassador Sondland called President Trump and told him of his meetings in Kyiv. The member of my staff could hear President Trump on the phone, asking Ambassador Sondland about ‘the investigations’. Ambassador Sondland told President Trump that the Ukrainians were ready to move forward.”

If true, this would mean that one day after President Trump’s phone call with Zelensky, Trump followed up on his request for the probes into the Bidens and the Ukrainian election meddling conspiracy theory. Why should Trump worry about this? It’s yet another piece of evidence that links President Trump directly to the extortion campaign. Bill Taylor also highlighted a portion of his previous testimony for the first time on live TV that further ties Trump to the extortion campaign:

Sondland, who already revised his testimony to corroborate Bill Taylor’s previous testimony about how Sondland relayed the “quid pro quo” directly to Ukrainian officials, may need to update it again ahead of his public testimony next week. Taylor also testified that he was told by a staffer of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) that “the directive [to withhold aid] had come from the President to the Chief of Staff to OMB.”

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As I wrote in an op-ed today in The Independentthis new allegation adds further evidence to the fact Zelensky was prepared to move on the request:

Taylor also said that he knew the Ukrainians were very concerned about the security assistance and that they were prepared to make a statement announcing the probes on CNN, which corroborates a New York Times report alleging the same. Zelensky was allegedly prepared to make the public announcement on September 13th, but the White House released the aid after House Democrats were made aware of the whistleblower complaint.

That undermines the Republican argument that the extortion campaign wasn’t completed, so, therefore, it’s not a crime. I went on to write in The Independent about how Republicans failed to counter the narrative House Democrats outlined:

Rather than try and defend the substance of the extortion allegations against President Trump, House Intelligence Ranking Member Devin Nunes (R-CA) began what would become a baseless line of questioning into the Ukraine meddling conspiracy theory. This defense of President Trump is laser-targeted to the GOP echo chamber and will do nothing to swing Independents.

The bottom line here is this: if this testimony had happened under any other presidency, and in a world without right-wing media absolutely loyal to that president, it would have brought that administration to a screeching halt. Not only is it illegal to solicit something of value from a foreign power in connection with an election, but the extortion/bribery plot showcases an even larger abuse of power.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) asked after the hearing: “If this is not impeachable conduct, what is?”

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News // Bill Taylor / Donald Trump / Impeachment / Ukraine