After days of anticipation, Ambassador Bill Taylor gave testimony that decimated Donald Trump’s claim that there was no quid pro quo when he shook down the president of Ukraine.
Taylor, a career civil servant, served America for fifty years in multiple posts Stateside and abroad. He came back from retirement to serve as ambassador to Ukraine following Trump’s crude dismissal of Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch because she got in the way of Trump’s scam.
According to reports, Taylor backed his opening statement and testimony up with documentation and copious notes. Taylor’s statement corroborates what we already know from other witnesses, also from the White House’s own readout of a conversation Trump had with the newly-elected president of Ukraine, and from Mick Mulvaney’s confession.
From Taylor’s opening statement, you see the story of a career civil servant who worked for every administration since 1985.
“For 50 years, I have served the country, starting as a cadet at West Point, then as an infantry officer for six years, including with the Division in Vietnam; then at the Department of Energy; then as a member of a Senate staff, then at NATO; then with the State Department there and abroad in Afghanistan, Iraq, Jerusalem and Ukraine; and more recently, as Executive Vice President of the nonpartisan United States Institute of Peace.”
Ambassador Taylor’s statement is damning at every turn. According to several reports, the ambassador provided detailed notes and documentation to support his statement.
The statement itself tells of Donald Trump’s attempt to strong-arm newly-elected Ukraine President Zelensky into giving him dirt on Joe and Hunter Biden. He tells of the regular foreign policy process that career diplomats are familiar with and the “irregular channels” through which the shadier aspects of Donald Trump’s foreign policy flowed.
The statement outlines the devastation among Kyiv embassy personnel as Trump imposed the condition of publicly announcing an investigation into the Biden family in exchange for military aid, phone calls and a meeting in the Oval Office with him.
Trump insisted on putting Zelensky in that “public box,” that is publicly announcing an investigation into the Bidens, which would benefit Trump in the 2020 election. Trump didn’t care about an investigation. He cared about Zelensky making a public statement in the name of weakening Joe Biden’s primary run, possibly destroying his prospects to become the Democratic nominee.
In short, there was an abuse of power, because Trump made clear the Ukrainian president would only get promised military aid and access to Trump via phone calls and a meeting if Zelensky made that public announcement to investigate the Bidens.
This, right here, is an abuse of power, an impeachable offense. Contrary to Donald Trump’s tweets and statements to the press, there was a quid pro quo.
Had Taylor been less dedicated and knowledgeable, maybe Trump would have gotten away with it. But Taylor cared about Ukraine and knew a fighting and aggressive Russia sought to recreate its grander Soviet past. He also knows that this plan of exchanging already-promised military aid for manufactured dirt on the Bidens is, as he described it, crazy.
It’s worth noting that Taylor came out of retirement to serve in Ukraine when approached by Secretary Mike Pompeo. That speaks to his dedication, but also to his credibility as someone with a distinguished career serving every administration since 1985. He’s there because he cares, while Trump is in this for himself.
This isn’t just my perception. Anyone who speaks publicly about Taylor speaks highly of him. That includes Tom Warrick, a former senior official at the State Department and Department of Homeland Security, who has known Taylor over the years. He said the following in a statement to PoliticusUSA:
“I’ve known Bill Taylor since 1998 when we both worked on Balkans issues. Later, during the Bush Administration, we also both worked on Middle East issues.
I would join with the many people who have said Bill is a consummate professional, one of the most knowledgable [sic] people on international assistance and conflict resolution that the United States has ever had. He’s also someone people turn to in a crisis — as Secretary Pompeo was right to do in May 2019”
In the coming days, Donald Trump and his surrogates will smear Ambassador Taylor to anyone who will listen because the facts and the evidence are too powerful for Trump to offer yet another defense.
Taylor’s statement corroborates what we know about what the Whistleblower knows and Mick Mulvaney’s confession: quid pro quo is part of foreign policy in the Trump administration.
Those who heard Bill Taylor’s testimony describe him as meticulous, knowledgeable, and credible.
And then there’s Donald Trump, whose multiple versions of his story keep falling apart under the weight of his lies.