William B. Taylor, Jr., acting U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, came Tuesday to the House Permanent Select Commitee on Intelligence with a calm, businesslike attitude.
His lean frame, neatly combed gray hair and natty suit provided a perfect contrast to chaotic president Donald John Trump, the grossly overweight man with an often disheveled look and a ridiculous comb over that attempted to hide his baldness with dyed hair.
Then he told the committee that Trump lied to Congress and the American people with his attempt to withhold foreign aid to try to force the leader of Ukraine to dig up dirt on Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son.
“In August and September of this year, I became increasingly concerned that our relationship with Ukraine was being fundamentally undermined by an irregular informal channel of U.S. policy-making and by the withholding of vital security assistance for domestic political reasons,” Taylor told the committee in his testimony.
Taylor said Trump personally decided that only a public declaration by Ukraine’s president would allow the military aid to flow to the nation. He said so in a call to the president of Ukraine.
“If Ukraine succeeds in breaking free of Russian influence, it is possible for Europe to be whole, free, democratic and at peace,” Taylor said. “In contrast, if Russia dominates Ukraine, Russia will again become an empire, oppressing its people and threatening its neighbors and the rest of the world.”
Reports Peter Baker of The New York Times:
“Ukraine is special to me,” Taylor said, and what has happened in the five months since he was asked to return to Kiev was “crazy,” “improper” and “folly” with far-reaching implications.
“We must support Ukraine in its fight against its bullying neighbor,” he told House investigators. “Russian aggression cannot stand.”
He recalled being stunned to learn during a secure video conference call on July 18 that the aid to Ukraine had been delayed with no explanation other than that “the directive had come from the president to the chief of staff to” the Office of Management and Budget.
“I and others sat in astonishment,” he testified. “The Ukrainians were fighting the Russians and counted on not only the training and weapons, but also the assurance of U.S. support.”
An Army veteran and respected diplomat was brought out of retirement by Trump to take the position in Ukraine after firing the previous ambassador. Now, Trump is calling Taylor a traitor who is trying to “lynch” the president.
Trump knew Taylor had the goods on him and tried one of his distracting stunts of firing off a tweet to his declining mob of followers with the “lynching claim” about 90 minutes before the ambassador arrived at the Capitol.
“It was a grotesque provocation, clearly aimed at fomenting racial division,” writes Dana Milbank in The Washington Post. “But ultimately no amount of distraction could counter what was happening in HVC-304, three floors beneath ground level in a secure room in the Capitol Visitor Center. As the day wore on, and reports of the deposition leaked out, there was a palpable change above ground.”
At the weekly news conference of Republican Senate leaders, Chad Pergram of Fox News asked Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY): “Are you willing to defend the president in this matter?”
“I’m willing to talk about the process,” McConnell said.
McConnell, usually a unflappable Trump loyalist, also called use of the word “lynching” an “unfortunate choice of words.” In response to another question about Trump’s claim that McConnell told hi the call with the Ukrainian president was “innocent,” he would not confirm that claim.
“We’ve not had any conversations on that subject,” McConnell said.
Conservative Republican leaders forced Trump to cancel his plans to use his Doral golf resort in Florida to host next year’s G-7 Summit, a move that clearly violates the Constitution’s rule that presidents cannot accept money from foreign governments. They told him that his latest out-of-control moves are driving Republicans towards support of his impeachment.
Writes Jesse Wegman of The New York Times:
There are two stories to tell about Ukraine, Mr. Taylor said. One story, the bad one, involves whistle-blowers, back channels and quid pro quos. The other is a positive one — about “a young nation, struggling to break free of its past” and eager to “enjoy a more secure and prosperous life.” Mr. Taylor might have added that there are also two American stories — one in which politicians use foreign policy to maneuver for domestic advantage, and one in which there is bipartisan support for fledgling democracies that share our values and there are diplomats who devote their lives to delivering on that support.
In that America, there should be no room in the Oval Office for someone like Donald Trump.
Impeachment is now certain as more facts show his contempt for the Constitution and his unbridled corruption.
Removal from office by the Senate is still a long shot, but the trial of the former reality show host who turned the White House into a grotesque haven for personal enrichment as well as illegal and immoral behavior should convince the voters to take America back and ride the nation of Trump.
Then, they should take the same action on the Republicans who let him get away with so much for so long.
Copyright © 2019 Capitol Hill Blue