Ambassador Bill Taylor blows up Trump's "no quid pro quo" defense to impeachment

Bill Taylor, who became the Acting US Ambassador to Ukraine after Trump and Pompeo removed Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch because she refused to play Rudy Giuliani’s game to get the new Ukrainian administration to dig up fake dirt on Joe Biden (or get out of his way), is testifying in the impeachment inquiry on Capitol Hill today. Taylor is complying with a subpoena issued by the House, defying State Department and White House directives for all executive branch personnel to keep their mouths shut.

The White House’s gag order is backfiring on them spectacularly as a gaggle of State department officials and other public servants have headed to Congress to offer their testimony in compliance with the House’s plenary power to impeach. Last week, Ambassador Yovanovitch testified for 10 hours and confirmed that she was removed because of pressure from Trump at the behest of Giuliani, whose clients - now charged with federal crimes - were looking to financially benefit in Ukraine.

It was against the backdrop of that blockbuster testimony that Bill Taylor, former and Acting Ambassador to Ukraine, is testifying today. Also, he is testifying as the House Intelligence Committee spearheading the impeachment inquiry tries to decipher the contents of the phone conversation between Taylor and EU Ambassador and Trump donor Gordon Sondland on September 9, before Taylor texted Sondland that it was “crazy” to hold up aid to Ukraine for a domestic political campaign. Sondland eventually responded, five hours later, saying that Trump was not offering a “quid pro quo”, a line that Sondland has since testified was written at the direction of Donald Trump and not from his own conviction.

Now we have an idea about the contents of that phone call. CNN’s Manu Raju says on Twitter that according to his sources in both parties,

For Donald Trump, this is damaging in a multitude of ways. Given the contents of the call, here is what we now know:

  1. Trump and Giuliani ran a shadow foreign policy and ousted career diplomats.

  2. Bill Taylor raised concerns over and over again about Trump seeking to leverage foreign aid dollars for political dirt on Joe Biden and an investigation into a pure conspiracy theory to let Russia off the hook for invading American democracy.

  3. Trump confidant and ally Gordon Sondland told Bill Taylor that the release of the aid was conditioned, at least partially, on Ukraine announcing an investigation to dig up dirt on Joe Biden.

Quid. Pro. Quo.

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