Ambassador Taylor Admits: No Quid Pro Quo in Three Meetings With Zelensky After Trump Call
During the first day of public impeachment hearings, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) asked former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine William Taylor whether there was any "linkage" of security assistance dollars to investigating Burisma, the corrupt Ukrainian company where Joe Biden's son Hunter served on the board despite not having any experience in the industry. Taylor testified that he met three times with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky and that there was "no linkage" of these issues in any of those meetings.
"We know that from your deposition in those 55 days that aid is delayed, you met with President Zelensky three times," Jordan started. "The first one was July 26, the day after the famous call (now) between President Trump and President Zelensky. President Zelensky meets with you, Ambassador [to the U.N. Kurt] Volker, and Ambassador [to the E.U. Gordon] Sondland. And again according to your deposition, your testimony, there was no linkage of security assistance dollars to investigating Burisma or the Bidens."
Taylor nodded throughout the congressman's summary of his testimony.
Jordan continued: "The second meeting is August 27. President Zelensky meets with you, Ambassador [John] Bolton and others, and again there’s no linkage of dollars — security assistance dollars — to an investigation of the Bidens. Then of course the third meeting is September 5, President Zelensky meets with you and Senators [Ron] Johnson and [Chris] Murphy and once again there was no linkage of security assistance dollars to an investigation of Burisma and the Bidens."
"Three meetings with the president of Ukraine and no linkage," the congressman summarized. "That’s accurate?"
"Mr. Jordan, it’s certainly accurate on the first two. To my knowledge, Ukrainians were not aware of the hold on assistance until the 29th of August," Taylor said. "The third meeting that you mentioned with the senators… there was discussion of the security assistance... but there was not discussion of linkage."
The Democrats have centered their impeachment inquiry on the claim of a quid pro quo: that President Donald Trump withheld security assistance funding from Ukraine in order to convince Zelensky to investigate Burisma and the Bidens. This testimony should severely damage their attacks on Trump.
Follow Tyler O'Neil, the author of this article, on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.