Washington — In extraordinary testimony that left lawmakers stunned, Bill Taylor – the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine – testified on Tuesday that U.S. aid to Ukraine was explicitly tied to the country’s willingness to investigate President Trump’s political rivals, providing new details about the events at the center of the impeachment inquiry.
William Taylor, the chargé d’affaires of the U.S. embassy in Kiev, delivered a 15-page statement behind closed doors to members of the House committees leading the impeachment probe.
Taylor emerged as a key witness in the investigation into the Trump administration’s efforts to pressure Ukraine when text messages between him and two other top diplomats came to light earlier this month.
In the statement, Taylor describes a concerted effort to use U.S. leverage to get Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to commit to opening investigations into debunked allegations of Ukrainian interference in the 2016 U.S. election, as well as the gas company Burisma, which had hired former Vice President Joe Biden’s son in 2014.
Taylor said these efforts came via an “irregular, informal channel of U.S. policy-making” consisting of Rudy Giuliani, then-special envoy Kurt Volker, Energy Secretary Rick Perry and U.S. Ambassador to the E.U. Gordon Sondland.
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