Behold, the quid pro quo

Word is that Taylor’s statement and testimony are very damaging to Dirty Donnie. The Guardian has some summaries:

In the 15-page statement, the acting US ambassador to Ukraine and longtime civil servant describes how he became “increasingly concerned” that the US-Ukraine relationship was being “fundamentally undermined” by withholding military aid for “domestic political reasons.”

Taylor added that he stood by his Sept. 9 text message to Gordon Sondland and Kurt Volker, in which he said it would be “crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign.”

He also said he was worried about taking the job as acting ambassador to Ukraine because Giuliani was gumming up the works.

The longtime diplomat said: “I worried about what I had heard concerning the role of Rudolph Giuliani, who made several high-profile statements about Ukraine and U.S. policy toward the country.

“So during my meeting with Secretary [Mike] Pompeo on May 28, I made clear to him and the others present that if U.S. policy toward Ukraine changed, he would not want me posted there and I could not stay.”

After accepting the role, Taylor said he realized that Giuliani – along with Kurt Volker, Gordon Sondland and Rick Perry – controlled “an irregular, informal channel of U.S. policy-making with respect to Ukraine.”

Taylor said: “Although this irregular channel was well-connected in Washington, it operated mostly outside of official State Department channels.”

Which is a polite way of saying they had no business doing what they were doing.

He also said

he was told by an official at the National Security Council that Trump had insisted the Ukrainian president himself publicly announce a probe into Joe Biden and his son.

The acting US ambassador to Ukraine said: “President Trump did insist that President Zelensky go to a microphone and say he is opening investigations of Biden and 2016 election interference, and that President Zelensky should want to do this himself.”

However, Taylor said that Trump had told Gordon Sondland, the US ambassador to the EU, he was not seeking a “quid pro quo,” even as military aid to Ukraine hung in the balance.

At the risk of stating the obvious: if Trump demanded that the Ukrainian president make public announcements of investigations into Democrats before he would authorize the release of military aid, then his actions were the very definition of a quid pro quo.

Well. Trump is like a toddler: he thinks he can just say “No I didn’t” and it will all go away. He’s a liar and he’s stupid and he consults only his own wants.

Taylor also said:

“Ambassador Sondland also told me that he now recognized that he had made a mistake by earlier telling the Ukrainian officials to whom he spoke that a White House meeting with President Zelenskyy was dependent on a public announcement of investigations – in fact, Ambassador Sondland said, ‘everything’ was dependent on such an announcement, including security assistance.

“He said that President Trump wanted President Zelenskyy ‘in a public box’ by making a public statement about ordering such investigations.”

Meaning…Trump wanted to force Zelensky to make this public statement so that he would be trapped and have to do the dirty things Trump wanted him to do. It doesn’t get much more gangster than that.

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