The top American diplomat to Ukraine admitted before the House Intelligence Committee on Wednesday that he did not have firsthand knowledge of an alleged quid pro quo involving President Donald Trump.
Bill Taylor has previously testified about an alleged quid pro quo demand from Trump to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
In large part due to Taylor’s testimony, Democrats have claimed Trump planned to withhold military aid from Ukraine until that nation’s government investigated former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter.
While he was vice president, Joe Biden pressured Ukraine to fire a prosecutor who had investigated Burisma Holdings, an energy company where Hunter served on the board.
But the U.S. military aid to Ukraine was released in September without Ukraine launching an investigation into the Bidens.
Under questioning from Daniel Goldman, the lead counsel for House Intelligence Chairman Rep. Adam Schiff, Taylor admitted his knowledge of an alleged quid pro quo was not firsthand.
“Regardless of what you call it, whether it’s a quid pro quo, bribery, extortion, abuse of power of the office of the presidency, the fact of the matter, as you understood it, is that security assistance and the White House meeting were not going to be provided unless Ukraine initiated these two investigations that would benefit Donald Trump’s re-election,” Goldman said.
“Is that what you understood the facts to be?” he asked.
Taylor then admitted he had heard this from others.
“Mr. Goldman, what I can do here for you today is tell you what I heard from people,” Taylor replied. “In this case, it was what I heard from [U.S. Ambassador to the E.U. Gordon] Sondland. He described conditions for the security assistance and the White House meeting in those terms.
“That is — they were dependent upon, conditioned on pursuing these investigations.”
Taylor acknowledged that he heard something similar from Tim Morrison, who until last month served as the top Russia and Europe adviser on the National Security Council.
The fact that Taylor had no firsthand knowledge of an alleged quid pro quo has actually been reported before.
“Mr. Taylor neither described any direct conversation with Mr. Trump himself nor made any reference to documents or recordings that would explicitly implicate the president. Instead, he provided a road map for investigators by quoting others around Mr. Trump describing his actions and statements,” The New York Times reported last month following Taylor’s closed-door testimony.
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