Taylor: No Linkage Between Aid, Biden Investigation Mentioned in Face-to-Face Meetings with Zelensky

By Melanie Arter | November 13, 2019 | 4:11pm EST
(Photo by OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images)
(Photo by OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images)

(CNSNews.com) – U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine William Taylor testified Wednesday that withholding aid to Ukraine in exchange for investigating the Bidens and Burisma did not come up during the three meetings Taylor had with the president of Ukraine following the July 25th phone call in question between President Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Zelensky.

During the first day of impeachment hearings held by the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) also pointed to the revised testimony of Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, who admitted that Taylor’s testimony was based on hearsay.


JORDAN: Aid is held up on July 18th, is that right?

TAYLOR: That’s when I first heard about it—

JORDAN: Then it’s released, Ambassador Taylor, on September 11th, and we know that from your deposition in those 55 days that aid is delayed, you met with President Zelensky three times. The first one was July 26th, the day after the famous call now between President Trump and President Zelensky. President Zelensky meets with you, Ambassador Volker and Ambassador Sondland, and again, according to your deposition and your testimony, there was no linkage of security assistance dollars to investigating Burisma or the Bidens. 

Second meeting’s August 27th – again, in this 55-day timeframe, second meeting’s August 27th. President Zelensky meets with you and Ambassador Bolton and others, and again, there’s no linkage of dollars, security assistance dollars to an investigation of the Bidens. And of course, the third meeting is September 5th. President Zelensky meets with you and Senators Johnson and Murphy, and once again, there is no linkage of security assistance dollars to an investigation of Burisma or the Bidens. 

Three meetings with the president of Ukraine – the new president – and no linkage. That’s accurate?

TAYLOR: Mr. Jordan, it’s certainly accurate on the first two, first two meetings, because to my knowledge, the Ukrainians were not aware of the hold on assistance until the 29th of August.

JORDAN: The Politico article.

TAYLOR: The Politico article. The third meeting that you mention with the senators – Senator Murphy and Senator Johnson – there was discussion of the security assistance, but –

JORDAN: The linkage

TAYLOR: But there was not discussion of linkage.

JORDAN: Three meetings face-to-face with President Zelensky, no linkage, yet in your deposition, you said this, and you said it again the first hour of the majority: My clear understanding was security assistance money would not come until President Zelensky committed to pursue the investigation. My clear understanding was they weren’t going to get the money until President Zelensky committed to pursue the investigations.

Now with all due respect, Ambassador, your clear understanding was obviously wrong, because it didn’t happen. President Zelensky didn’t announce he was going to investigate Burisma or the Bidens. He didn’t do a press conference and say, I’m going to investigate the Bidens. We’re going to investigate Burisma. He didn’t tweet about it, and you just told the ranking member he didn’t do the CNN interview and announce he’s going to investigate Burisma or the Bidens. 

So three face-to-face meetings, it doesn’t come up, no linkage whatsoever. President Zelensky doesn’t announce it before the aid is released on the 11th, and yet, you said you have a clear understanding that those two things were gonna happen. The money was going to get released, but not until there was an investigation, and that in fact, didn’t happen. So what

I’m wonder is, where’d you get this clear understanding?

TAYLOR: As I testified, Mr. Jordan, this came from Ambassador Sondland.

JORDAN: Can you hold one second, Ambassador. I’m going to bring you a piece of paper from Ambassador Sondland’s statement, and you can take a look at this. Go ahead, though, I want to let you finish.

TAYLOR: Should I read this?

JORDAN: I just want you to have it, because I’m going to read it, but I want you to go ahead and finish, you said you got this from Ambassador Sondland.

TAYLOR: That is correct. Ambassador Sondland also said that he talked to President Zelensky and Mr. Yearmach, and told them that all of this was not a quid pro quo. If President Zelensky did not clear things up in public we would be at a stalemate. That was one point. It was also the case---

JORDAN: Mr. Morrison talked to you, right?

TAYLOR: No, what I was going to say was Ambassador Sondland also told me that he recognized that it was a mistake to have told the Ukrainians that only the meeting with the president in the Oval Office was held up in order to get these investigations. No, it was not just the meeting. It was also the security assistance. That is everything was, so those two discussions.

JORDAN: I understand. So just to recap. You had three meetings with President Zelensky. No linkage in those three meetings came up. Ambassador Zelensky didn’t announce that he was going to do an investigation of the Bidens or Burisma before the aid was released. He didn’t do a tweet. He didn’t do anything of that--- President Zelensky, excuse me. 
And then what you have in front of you is an addendum that Mr. Sondland made to his testimony that we got a couple of weeks ago. It says declaration of Ambassador Gordon Sondland, I, Gordon Sondland, do hereby swear and affirm as follows. I want you to look at bullet point number two, second sentence: ‘Ambassador Taylor recalls that Mr. Morrison told Ambassador Taylor that I told Mr. Morrison that I conveyed this message to Mr. Yermack on September 1st, 2019 in connection with Vice President Pence’s visit to Warsaw in a meeting with President Zelensky.’

Now this is his clarification. Let me read it one more time: ‘Ambassador Taylor recalls that Mr. Morrison told Ambassador Taylor that I told Mr. Morrison that I conveyed this message to Mr. Yermack on September 1st, 2019 in connection with Vice President Pence’s visit to Warsaw in a meeting with President Zelensky.’

We got six people having four conversations in one sentence, and you just told me this is where you got your clear understanding, which I mean, even though you had three opportunities with President Zelensky for him to tell you, you know what? We’re going to do these investigations to get the aid, didn’t tell you three different times, never makes an announcement, never tweets about it, never does a CNN interview. Ambassador, you weren’t on the call, were you? You didn’t listen in on President Trump’s call and President Zelensky’s call?

TAYLOR: I did not.

JORDAN: You never talked to Chief of Staff Mulvaney?

TAYLOR: I never did.

JORDAN: You never met the president.

TAYLOR: That’s correct.

JORDAN: You had three meetings again with Zelensky, and it didn’t come up.

TAYLOR: And two of those they had never heard about it as far as I know. There was no reason for it to come up.

JORDAN: And President Zelensky never made an announcement. This is what I can’t believe, and you’re their star witness. You’re their first witness. You’re the guy based on this, based on, I mean I’ve seen church prayer chains that are easier to understand than this. Ambassador Taylor recalls that Mr. Morrison told --- now again, this is I hereby swear and affirm from Gordon Sondland. Ambassador Taylor recalls that Mr. Morrison told Ambassador Taylor that I told Mr. Morrison that I conveyed this message to Mr. Yarmuck on September 1st, 20—
This all happens, by the way, this all happens by the way in Warsaw where Vice President Pence meets with President Zelensky, and guess what? They didn’t talk about any linkage either.

TAYLOR: The only response—I have two responses, Mr. Chairman, thank you, and Mr. Jordan, glad to take those questions. Let me just say that I don’t consider myself a star witness for anything.

JORDAN: They do. You don’t.

TAYLOR: I don’t. I’m responding to your question. I think I was clear about, I’m not here to take one side or the other or to advocate any particular outcome, so let me just restate that. Second thing is that my understanding is only coming from people that I talked to, and I think this clarification from Ambassador Sondland was because he said he didn’t remember this in his first deposition. But I think, Mr. Jordan, the way I read this, he remembers it the same way I do.

JORDAN: Yeah, and it’s real clear, right?

TAYLOR: It’s very clear.


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