Jordan to Star Witness Taylor: 'I've Seen Church Prayer Chains that Are Easier to Understand Than This'
Republican Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio argued on Wednesday that the way in which Bill Taylor, the top American diplomat to Ukraine, came to his “clear understanding” of President Donald Trump’s supposed intention to delay aid to Ukraine is more convoluted than a “church prayer chain.”
Taylor testified in the House Democrat-led impeachment inquiry on Wednesday that his understanding was that Trump was offering Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky a quid pro quo: U.S. aid to Ukraine would be released after the Zelensky’s administration announced it would be opening anti-corruption investigations.
Jordan pressed Taylor on the source of this “understanding” by directing him to supplemental written testimony offered by U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland earlier this month in a closed-door hearing.
“Ambassador Taylor recalls that [National Security Council adviser Tim] Morrison told Ambassador Taylor that I told Mr. Morrison that I conveyed this message to [Zelensky adviser Andrey] Yermak on Sept. 1, 2019, in connection with Vice President Pence’s visit to Warsaw and a meeting with President Zelensky,” Jordan quoted from Sondland’s testimony.
“We got six people having four conversations in one sentence, and you just told me this is where you got your clear understanding,” the Ohio Republican said.
“I’ve seen church prayer chains that are easier to understand than this,” he added, which drew a smile from Taylor.
In a series of questions, Jordan highlighted the fact that Taylor had no firsthand knowledge of Trump’s intentions of delaying aid to Ukraine.
Jordan: You didn’t listen in on President Trump’s call and President Zelensky’s call?
Taylor: I did not.
Jordan: You’ve never talked with Chief of Staff [Mick] Mulvaney?
Taylor: I never did.
Jordan: You’ve never met the president?
Taylor: That’s correct.
Taylor confirmed that he had three meetings with Zelensky following Trump’s July 25 call with the Ukrainian president and at no time did the issue of any linkage to U.S. aid being released in exchange for an announcement of anti-corruption investigations into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden or anyone else ever come up.
“This is what I can’t believe, and you’re their star witness. You’re their first witness,” Jordan said.
“I don’t consider myself a star witness for anything,” Taylor responded. “I’m not here to take one side or the other or to advocate any particular outcomes.”
“My understanding is only coming from people that I talked to.”
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