Republican Rep. Jim Jordan questioned Ambassador William Taylor pointedly about the bizarre chain of communication that led to Taylor’s “clear understanding” of quid pro quo, causing Taylor to begin laughing while testifying.
Taylor, who returned to his prior position as Ambassador to Ukraine under the Trump administration, claims to have had knowledge of quid pro quo between President Donald Trump and the Ukrainian president.
Taylor alleges that President Trump threatened to withhold military aid unless Ukraine began an investigation into possible corruption on behalf of former vice president Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden.
Hunter Biden received in excess of $50,000 per month in exchange for his services to a Ukrainian energy company, despite the fact that Hunter Biden had no experience in the field and had recently been discharged from the military for reasons related to his drug addiction.
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Many conservatives believe the energy company, Burisma, would have been found to have engaged in corruption if Joe Biden did not use political leverage to force the Ukrainian government to end a corruption investigation and fire a prosecutor.
“You had three meetings with President Zelenskiy, no linkage in those meetings came up, [President] Zelenskiy didn’t announce that he was going to do an investigation into Biden and Burisma before the aid was released, didn’t do a tweet, didn’t do anything on CNN, didn’t do any of that,” Jordan questioned.
Jordan then referred to Ambassador Gordon Sondland’s statement that apparently led to Taylor “clear understanding” of quid pro quo.
GOP Rep. Jordan in questioning to Ambassador Taylor: Ukrainian President Zelenskiy never brought up investigations of Biden or Burisma. Follow live updates: https://t.co/HNWWM5kfHT #ImpeachmentHearings pic.twitter.com/eLMSgYE1Qk
— Reuters (@Reuters) November 13, 2019
“Ambassador Taylor recalls that Mr. Morrison told Ambassador Taylor that I told Mr. Morrison that I conveyed this message to Mr. Yermak on September 1, 2019, in connection with Vice President Pence’s visit to Warsaw and a meeting with President Zelenskiy,” Jordan quoted from Sondland’s statement.
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Jordan then continued to grill Taylor on the issue.
“We’ve got six people having four conversations in one sentence,” said Jordan. “And you just told me this is where you got your clear understanding.”
He continued, noting that Taylor spoke to President Zelenskiy on three separate occasions and the Ukrainian president never mentioned starting the investigations in exchange for receiving aid.
“Ambassador, you weren’t on the call were you” asked Jordan, to which Taylor responded that he did not.
“You’ve never talked with Chief of Staff Mulvaney” asked Jordan. Taylor replied that he did not.
“You never met the president” asked Jordan, receiving a negative response.
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At this point, exasperated by Taylor’s responses, Jordan expounded, “This is what I can’t believe, and you’re their star witness.”
“You’re their first witness, you’re the guy, based on this, based on – I mean I’ve seen church prayer chains that are easier to understand than this,” said Jordan.
At this point, Taylor began laughing.
Interestingly, the day after the phone call, Taylor seemed to believe the call was fine, according to his testimony before the House of Representatives.
Taylor explains, “We asked [Zelenskiy] how’d the call [go], he said ‘The call was fine, I-I was happy with the call.”
Taylor says Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told him, “The call was fine. I was happy with the call.” https://t.co/O6ybmtHEg0 pic.twitter.com/BR6B5GdQOe
— CBS News (@CBSNews) November 13, 2019