Democrats on Wednesday released a transcript of testimony from U.S. diplomat Bill Taylor in which he claimed to have a “clear understanding” that President Trump wanted to leverage military aid to Ukraine in return for investigations that could benefit him politically — while acknowledging he didn’t have firsthand knowledge of “what was in the president’s mind.”
“That was my clear understanding, security assistance money would not come until the President [of Ukraine] committed to pursue the investigation,” Taylor said.
Taylor is a top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine who has emerged as a key figure of interest in the Trump impeachment inquiry, having alleged a quid pro quo was at play despite White House denials.
The transcript shows that Taylor testified he had been told by other officials that the White House was willing to hold up both military aid and a prospective White House meeting with Ukraine’s president to extract a public announcement from Kiev that probes related to election interference and a company linked to former Vice President Joe Biden’s son were underway.
“That’s what Ambassador Sondland said,” Taylor said, referring to E.U. ambassador Gordon Sondland. “He said that they were linked. They were linked.”
But Republicans have pushed back that Taylor did not have primary knowledge regarding the key events in question, but rather based his testimony off conversations with others.