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Let's be clear about something. We really already know everything we need to know to impeach Donald Trump. We know what he did. (He knows what he did.) All of the witnesses are telling us the same story, and even the Gordon Sondlands who keep changing their stories are confirming the basic narrative, which is that Trump extorted a foreign country to meddle in the 2020 election on his behalf, and that he did so with a quid pro quo holding up military aid that country desperately needed, in exchange for politically motivated investigations of his opponents.

Alllllll these transcripts are coming out right now from the closed door depositions taken by the House impeachment investigators. Today we're going to take a quick look at some of the highlights from (acting) Ambassador to Ukraine Bill Taylor's testimony. But we already looked at his opening statement, and it was HOLYSHITWOW. And next Wednesday, we're going to be able to liveblog it, because Taylor is testifying in public, on TV, and he will tell the devastating story in real time. And next Friday, former ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch is testifying! We are confident that whatever is in these transcripts (the "albums"), the live shows will be so much better.

So in the interest of "we are tired" and "don't feel like reading 324 pages," let's just look at a few highlights. If you want to read all 324 pages, rock out with your cock out, Reading Rainbow! Do a goddamn dramatic playacting! And then be executed as a witch for playacting! Alas, you will have brought that on yourself.


Here is "transcript" for you to follow along!

So our favorite part of the whole Taylor transcript comes on pages 132 and 133, as he discussed the time when Trump was withholding the aid Ukraine desperately needed in order to try to extort them into announcing investigations into his political rivals. Taylor says literally every agency agreed the aid needed to be sent, that it was the "unanimous opinion of every interagency discussion." And the CIA director and the secretary of Defense and the national security advisor were all trying to get Trump to sit down with them, all together, so they could tell him to release the damn hold on the money. But they were having a hard time getting such a meeting set up, and part of it was that they were all out of town in different places.

But the other part of it ... well ... Trump was kind of preoccupied trying to buy Greenland.

TAYLOR: I think this was also about the time of the Greenland question, about purchasing Greenland, which took up a lot of energy in the NSC.

ADAM SCHIFF: Okay. That's disturbing for a whole different reason.

In case you ever wonder if Trump flights of fancy like "WE MUST BUY GREENLAND" or "I MUST DRAW DICKS ON HURRICANE MAPS" are things he only does on Twitter in order to keep us distracted and entertained, the answer is no, he really is that stupid. And the director of the CIA, the secretary of Defense, and the national security advisor had a really hard time getting a meeting with the president about security assistance for our ally Ukraine, which was under attack from Russia, because he was too busy getting mad that he couldn't buy Greenland, which wasn't for sale.

And this was taking up "a lot of energy" at the National Security Council. This is our real life in America now.

Can we just hold the impeachment vote right now, while everybody is still absorbing that?

The excerpts released by Adam Schiff start with this fun exchange, about Trump's extortion, and about what words mean:

Q. And when you say that, this was the first time I heard that the security assistance -- not just the White House meeting -- was conditioned on the investigation, when you talk about conditioned, did you mean that if they didn't do this, the investigations, they weren't going to get that, the meeting and the military assistance?

A. That was my clear understanding, security assistance money would not come until the President [of Ukraine] committed to pursue the investigation.

Q. So if they don't do this, they are not going to get that was your understanding?

A. Yes, sir.

Q. Are you aware that quid pro quo literally means this for that?

A. I am.

NO QUID PRO QUO! NO QUID PRO QUO! Oh, you mean the kind that just means if they do this, we will do that? OK.

Taylor testified that in May, when the "irregular channel" of Ukraine foreign policy idiots that included Ambassador Gordon Sondland, Energy Secretary Rick Perry and Ukraine special envoy Kurt Volker -- the "three amigos"! -- came back from President Volodymyr Zelenskiy's inauguration, Trump instructed them that if he was ever to do any nice things for Zelenskiy, the three amigos needed to "work with Rudy Giuliani," who as we all know was off huffing butterscotches as he created his own crime foreign policy for Ukraine that involved Ukraine manufacturing dirt on Trump's political opponents to help him get re-elected.

Taylor testified there was "discomfort" at State, because of how Sondland, that idiot who was supposed to be the ambassador to the EU, was working on Ukraine, which is not EU. And the discomfort only grew when, on June 28 of this year, there was a phone meeting President Zelenskiy was brought into, where Sondland "cut out" all the interagency people who would normally be involved, and moreover asked that there be no transcript. Obviously these assholes knew they were doing something wrong.

Taylor confirmed accounts from former White House Russia adviser Fiona Hill and Lt. Col. Alex Vindman about the White House Ukraine meeting on July 10 where John Bolton stormed out after Gordon Sondland brought up tying "investigations" to a White House meeting for President Zelenskiy, which set off Bolton's "political antenna," and made Bolton very huffily explain that "we don't do politics here."

And Taylor confirmed that by that time, Ukraine knew that to conduct or announce such investigations at Trump's behest "would have involved Ukraine in the 2020 election campaign." Ukraine did not like that.

Taylor recounted how he "sat in astonishment" on July 18, when, on an interagency call, he found out that Trump had personally ordered the hold on Ukraine's military aid, and that the order had come from Trump through Mick Mulvaney to the OMB.

Taylor was "alarmed" when former White House Russia adviser Tim Morrison told him that Gordon Sondland had personally delivered the quid pro quo to Ukrainian official Andriy Yermak in Warsaw, just after Mike Pence and Volodymyr Zelenskiy had met and discussed the hold on the security assistance. As Taylor explained in his opening statement, that was when he figured out that the security assistance was specifically part of the quid pro quo, and not just a White House meeting for Zelenskiy.

And Taylor testified that both Kurt Volker and Gordon Sondland used the terms "pay up" and "signing the check," referring to what Zelenskiy needed to do (announce investigations on CNN, apparently to Fareed Zakaria!) in order to get the military assistance his country needed.

Are you seeing what we're saying about how everybody's stories are lining up perfectly now?

We fucking know what happened, and we know who is guilty. (And it's not just Trump, but he is definitely the guiltiest of them all, INPEACH!)

Can't wait to watch it all play out on live television!

[transcript / excerpts]

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Evan Hurst

Evan Hurst is the senior editor of Wonkette, which means he is the boss of you, unless you are Rebecca, who is boss of him. His dog Lula is judging you right now.

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