Bill Taylor's Testimony Is HOLY SH*T WOW And Trump Is F*CKED
We had a feeling when acting ambassador to Ukraine Bill Taylor sat down with Congress today that shit was gonna be lit as a motherfucker, and as usual, our feeling was right.
We got a clue when we saw this tweet:
Desiderio followed up to say that another source he talked to said all the gasping and sighing was in response to Taylor describing "how pervasive the efforts were to tie an investigation of Burisma and 2016 election 'interference' to a White House meeting and aid being released."
We also saw a thing about how when GOP Rep. Jim Jordan came out of the room for lunch, he didn't have a word to say. If Jim Jordan is STFU, you know it's bad.
Spoiler, it is bad, and Donald Trump is fucked.
Here's the Washington Post's lede on what has happened so far:
The senior U.S. diplomat in Ukraine said Tuesday he was told release of military aid was contingent on public declarations from Ukraine that it would investigate the Bidens and the 2016 election, contradicting President Trump's denial that he used the money as leverage for political gain.
Acting ambassador William B. Taylor Jr. testified behind closed doors in the House impeachment probe of Trump that he stands by his characterization that it was "crazy" to make the assistance contingent on investigations he found troubling.
Upon arriving in Kyiv last spring he became alarmed by secondary diplomatic channels involving U.S. officials that he called "weird," Taylor said, according to a copy of his lengthy opening statement obtained by The Washington Post.
All emphasis ours. And here's Taylor's opening statement, so you can follow along!
The "public declarations" Taylor is talking about are public statements Trump wanted from Ukraine, saying they would investigate both the Bidens and the 2016 election. In their text messages, they referred to this as the "deliverable," in discussions about pressuring Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy about "investigating corruption" in exchange for a White House visit and the military aid Congress had already appropriated. And Bill Taylor is the guy in the text messages who very studiously typed out, verbatim, "As I said on the phone, I think it's crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign," you know, just to have a record. From his opening statement:
During that phone call, Amb. Sondland told me that President Trump had told him that he wants President [Volodymyr] Zelensky to state publicly that Ukraine will investigate Burisma and alleged Ukrainian interference in the 2016 election.
Gordon Sondland swore to God and Congress he had no idea "Burisma" meant "Biden," even though Trump and Rudy Giuliani had been rubbing off in public to conspiracy theories about Biden and Burisma for months at that point. You betcha! Several congressmen have now commented that Sondland may just have to come back to Congress, which means they are saying he might have lied. But even if Sondland really didn't know that, you know who definitely did? Donald Trump and Rudy Giuliani.
(By the way, Taylor's opening statement really embussens Sondland. It's pretty sweet.)
"[Sondland told Taylor] that President Trump wanted President Zelensky 'in a public box' by making a public statement about ordering such investigations.'" [...]
"It was just the most damning testimony I've heard," Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) said in an interview partway into Taylor's testimony.
"He drew a very specific direct line from President Trump to the withholding of foreign aid and the refusal of a meeting," between Trump and the new Ukrainian leader, Wasserman Schultz said, "directly related to both insisting on Zelensky publicly say that he'll have an investigation, that they will investigate."
That's ballgame, y'all! They did it, the glove fits, you must not acquit, INPEACH!
Speaking of things Taylor did very studiously and just to have a record, it turns out his 15-page opening statement is backed up by copious notes, like Taylor is a career official or something. (Know who hates note-takers? Donald Trump, as we learned in the Mueller Report when he got mad at then-White House counsel Don McGahn for taking notes all the time. Know whose perky white ass still needs to sit the fuck down in Congress and talk? Don McGahn.)
By the way, we now know that the State Department tried to block Taylor's testimony, but Congress sent him a friendly subpoena, and he was like "Cool, see you there!"
In his opening statement, Taylor reiterated his belief from his September 9 text message that it would indeed be "crazy" to withhold aid in exchange for political reacharounds. A couple of revelations:
1. Taylor was worried when he was asked to take over from the recently ousted Marie Yovanovitch, because HE had already been hearing about Rudy Fucking Giuliani conducting illegal shadow foreign policy with Ukraine. He was also worried that our policy toward supporting Ukraine against Russian aggression was changing. He wasn't wrong, was he?
2. Taylor actually was encouraged when he went to Ukraine in June, because holy crap, the new president Zelenskiy was hitting the ground running trying to root out actual corruption! (This, we now know, put him in Trump's crosshairs, because Trump was trying to get him to DO corruption.)
3. In mid-July, before the famous July 25 crime call, Taylor was well aware that Trump wasn't going to be nice to Zelenskiy or invite him to the White House unless he investigated the Bidens and his weirdass conspiracy theories about the 2016 election. Taylor also says he knew at this point that this was being driven by the "informal" diplomatic channels outside the State Department led by Roodles The Clown Giuliani.
4. Taylor found out the Ukrainian military aid was on hold on an NSC conference call on July 18 -- one week before the crime call. He heard somebody say it, and that "the directive had come from the President to the Chief of Staff to OMB." He continues:
In an instant, I realized that one of the key pillars of our strong support for Ukraine was threatened. The irregular policy channel was running contrary to the goals of longstanding U.S. policy.
5. Guess who else was "skeptical" of Ukraine in the days after Bill Taylor found out about the hold on the funds? Why it's the crime-confesser himself, Mick Mulvaney, who ordered the hold for Trump!
6. Hey, guess who never got a true and full read-out of the infamous July 25 crime call between Trump and Zelenskiy? Bill Taylor, the acting ambassador to Ukraine.
7. Tim Morrison, the guy who replaced Fiona Hill at the National Security Council, told Taylor on August 22 that "it remains to be seen" whether US policy toward Ukraine was changing, and that "the President doesn't want to provide any assistance at all." This is when he started thinking about resigning. Remember, a couple weeks later, Taylor would text that the "nightmare" scenario would be that Ukraine would actually accede to Trump's demands for bullshit investigations, and then still not get the military aid, and that if that happens, he quits. In his opening statement, Taylor says he was dead serious when he said that.
8. Taylor officially figured out that they were withholding aid in exchange for investigations on September 1, roundabout Mike Pence's trip to Warsaw to meet President Zelenskiy, after he heard of a conversation on the same trip between Gordon Sondland and Zelenskiy's deputy Andrey Yermak, where Sondland apparently specifically told Yermak to his face that they don't get the aid unless they investigate Biden.
You see, before this, Taylor thought it was just the White House visit in exchange for investigations, which is improper in and of itself. That's why he texted Sondland on the record to say "we [are] now saying that security assistance and [a] WH meeting are conditioned on investigations?" That's when Sondland said, "Call me."
And on that phone call:
During that phone call, Ambassador Sondland told me that President Trump had told him that he wants President Zelenskyy to state publicly that Ukraine will investigate Burisma and alleged Ukrainian inteference in the 2016 U.S. election.
Indeed, Sondland expressed to Taylor that he had made an OOPSIE when he told the Ukrainians that it was just the White House visit for the investigations. He meant to say it was "everything" in exchange for investigations, because Trump wanted everything.
Like we said above, that's ballgame.
With an opening statement like that, can you imagine what the rest of the testimony is like? DAMN.
Politico has another fun reaction from the room as Bill Taylor gave his opening statement:
"The body language of the people hearing it was 'holy s---,' seriously," Rep. Harley Rouda (D-Calif.), a member of the Oversight Committee, said in reference to Taylor's opening statement.
Read Taylor's opening statement, by the way. This is a guy who has served Republican and Democratic presidents, who's been working with Ukraine for years, who went to West Point, who was nominated ambassador to Ukraine by George W. Bush. Are congressional Republicans going to add this dude to their conspiracy theory list of Deep Staters who are doing Witch Hunt Conspiracies to Donald Trump?
Or are they going to pull their heads out of their fucking asses and choose country over party for the first time in their sad shithole lives?
That was a question for you, Jim Jordan.
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