Acting U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Bill Taylor, who provided key testimony this week in the Democrat-led impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, has substantial connections to an organization funded by the same Ukrainian gas company on which former Vice President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter, served on the board.
“In addition to a direct relationship with the Atlantic Council, Taylor for the last nine years also served as a senior adviser to the U.S.-Ukraine Business Council (USUBC), which has co-hosted events with the Atlantic Council and has participated in events co-hosted jointly by the Atlantic Council and Burisma,” according to Breitbart.
Further, David J. Kramer, another senior adviser to USUBC, served as a longtime adviser to the late Arizona Sen. John McCain.
Kramer helped disseminate the unverified Trump-Russia dossier to multiple media outlets and the Obama administration following Donald Trump’s victory in the 2016 presidential election, The Arizona Republic reported.
Taylor is said to have testified before House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff’s closed-door impeachment inquiry that Trump sought a quid pro quo of military aid in exchange for an investigation into Joe and Hunter Biden’s dealings in Ukraine.
The transcript the White House released of Trump’s July 25 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky shows no quid pro quo.
However, in his 15-page opening statement to Schiff’s committee, which has been published by multiple media outlets, Taylor said he was shocked by Trump’s demand that Zelensky “go to a microphone and say he is opening investigations of [Joe] Biden and 2016 election interference.”
Further, “‘Everything’ was dependent on such an announcement, including security assistance,” Taylor claimed U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland told him.
Democratic Rep. Lacy Clay of Missouri tweeted afterward,“I was in the room. Jaws dropped, heads shook in disbelief, this president and his enablers willfully put #NationalSecurity at risk to benefit his political campaign. This wasn’t just a smoking gun, it was a smoking cannon.”
Sondland in fact made it clear to Taylor in a text message exchange on Sept. 9 that Trump specifically was not demanding a quid pro quo.
“I think it’s crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign,” Taylor wrote to Sondland.
Sondland replied, “Bill, I believe you are incorrect about President Trump’s intentions. The President has been crystal clear no quid pro quo’s of any kind.”
He added, “The President is trying to evaluate whether Ukraine is truly going to adopt the transparency and reforms that President Zelensky promised during his campaign I suggest we stop the back and forth by text.”
Trump directed the release of the aid two days later, following an appeal by Republican Ohio Sen. Rob Portman and others.
Ukraine had not opened an investigation of the Bidens.
Zelensky told reporters multiple times last month he did not feel pushed by Trump to open an investigation.
GOP Rep. Lee Zeldin of New York, who sits on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, told reporters Wednesday that Taylor’s testimony about Trump’s alleged quid pro quo demand to investigate Joe Biden is based on hearsay.
The big substantive reference to “Biden” in Taylor’s opening (pg 12) leaked by Dems was 4th HAND INFO! Taylor says Morrison told him that Sondland told Morrison that POTUS told Sondland that POTUS told Zelensky.
From this AM outside Schiff’s secret Capitol basement bunker: pic.twitter.com/JLt3LdstHK
— Lee Zeldin (@RepLeeZeldin) October 23, 2019
Zeldin said there is only one substantive reference to Joe Biden in Taylor’s opening statement.
“In that one reference, it’s not firsthand [knowledge] from Ambassador Taylor. It’s not secondhand from Ambassador Taylor. It’s not thirdhand from Ambassador Taylor,” Zeldin said.
“You all are making a big deal of Ambassador Taylor telling them that [National Security Council senior director for European and Russian affairs] Tim Morrison told him that Sondland told Morrison that the president told Sondland that the president told Zelensky,” Zeldin said.
“Give me a break,” Zeldin added.
“On the process and the substance, this whole thing has been a joke.”
Trump described Taylor as a “Never Trumper” in a Wednesday tweet.
“Never Trumper Republican John Bellinger, represents Never Trumper Diplomat Bill Taylor (who I don’t know), in testimony before Congress! Do Nothing Democrats allow Republicans Zero Representation, Zero due process, and Zero Transparency,” the president wrote.
….Does anybody think this is fair? Even though there was no quid pro quo, I’m sure they would like to try. Worse than the Dems!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 23, 2019
He continued, “Does anybody think this is fair? Even though there was no quid pro quo, I’m sure they would like to try. Worse than the Dems!”
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