On Tuesday, William B. Taylor Jr., the acting U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, testified in a closed-door deposition with Democrats that the White House threatened to withhold military aid to Ukraine until they agreed to investigate Trump’s political adversaries. The meeting lasted for 10 hours.
Multiple reports have stated that Taylor’s testimony revealed a potentially improper relationship between the Trump administration and Ukraine. It also gave Democrats credible evidence to solidify a “quid pro quo” which lies at the heart of the Party’s impeachment inquiry.
In Taylor’s 15-page opening statement which was obtained by The Washington Post, the country’s top diplomat in Ukraine revealed that Ukraine’s newly elected president was pressured to “go to a microphone and say he is opening investigations of [Democratic presidential candidate Joe] Biden and 2016 election interference.” Taylor, according to The Post, was told by Gordon Sondland, U.S. ambassador to the European Union, that “everything” was dependant upon that announcement.
Taylor also testified that behind the scenes, top officials tried to meet with Trump in an effort to push him to release nearly $400 million in aid that could help Ukraine defend itself against its next-door neighbor. The move nearly pushed Taylor to resign. “I could not and would not defend such a policy,” Taylor said.
The testimony from Taylor is yet another instance when a “quid pro quo” between Trump and Ukraine is clearly outlined. Last week the White House’s acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, outlined a “quid pro quo” when speaking to journalists. At the time he said that people need to “get over it.”
News of Taylor’s testimony comes amid backlash that Trump is facing after tweeting that the impeachment inquiry into his unethical dealings with Ukraine, is a “lynching.” Some have presumed that the morning tweet was intended to create a distraction for Taylor’s closed-door deposition, which many on the left have called “explosive.”