House Democrats have released the latest in the series of heavily-redacted transcripts of the secret hearings they had undertaken in recent weeks – that of Bill Taylor – the top US diplomat in Ukraine – ahead of his public testimony next week.
As The Hill notes, Taylor is viewed as a key witness who previously testified in meticulous detail about what he considered an effort by Trump and his allies to pressure Ukraine into opening investigations that would benefit Trump politically.
In leaked copies of his 15-page opening statement, Taylor voiced concerns that the Trump administration had withheld nearly $400 million in aid as leverage to get Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to open investigations into interference in the 2016 election and former Vice President Joe Biden, one of his leading 2020 political rivals.
Taylor also testified that his knowledge of the phone call between Trump and Ukrainian president Volodymr Zelensky wasn’t first-hand knowledge.
“And this isn’t firsthand. It’s not secondhand. It’s not thirdhand,” Rep. Lee Zeldin, R-N.Y., said to Taylor. “But if I understand this correctly, you’re telling us that Tim Morrison told you that Ambassador Sondland told him that the president told Ambassador Sondland that Zelensky would have to open an investigation into Biden?”
“That’s correct,” Taylor admitted.
“So do you have any other source that the president’s goal in making this request was anything other than The New York Times?” Zeldin asked.
“I have not talked to the president,” Taylor said. “I have no other information from what the president was thinking.” – READ MORE