US Envoy: Trump did tie aid to politically motivated investigation

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  1. Don W profile image82
    Don Wposted 17 months ago

    "The senior U.S. diplomat in Ukraine told lawmakers Tuesday that President Trump made the release of military aid contingent on public declarations from Ukraine that it would investigate the Bidens and the 2016 election, contradicting Trump’s denial that he used the money as leverage for political gain...

    '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 said...

    Taylor testified that Trump told Sondland himself in a September 7 phone call that Zelensky must “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.”

    The contents of this conversation were given to Taylor by the White House official in charge of Europe, Tim Morrison, who after hearing that call notified Bolton and National Security Council lawyers, Taylor said...

    Taylor testified that he first learned about U.S. military aid being leveraged on a promise by Ukraine to investigate Trump’s political foes in an early September phone call with Morrison. The top National Security Council official described how Sondland had told a Ukrainian official that “the security assistance money would not come until President Zelensky committed to pursue the Burisma investigation,” Taylor testified.

    Taylor told lawmaker he was “alarmed” by the news. “This was the first time I had heard that security assistance—not just the White House meeting—was conditioned on the investigations,” he told lawmakers."

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/powerpos … story.html

    How strange that Sondland (a hotelier with no political experience until Trump appointed him envoy to the EU) couldn't remember the same things that Taylor (a career diplomat with no allegiance to Trump) could remember in detail. I wonder why that is?

    1. profile image0
      promisemposted 17 months agoin reply to this

      Trump supporters won't remember Taylor's testimony, either.

      1. Randy Godwin profile image60
        Randy Godwinposted 17 months agoin reply to this

        It's all fake news according to the mental giant in the WH. What an embarrassment Trump is to the country.

      2. Sharlee01 profile image85
        Sharlee01posted 17 months agoin reply to this

        It would be beneficial to be able to read transcripts from all that have testified. Only bits and pieces are leaking. Taylor's testimony is from his perspective, which I respect due to his good reputation. It certainly carries good weight. I would like to hear from Sondland, Portman,  Mulvaney, and Bolton. It would work to give a more complete picture.

        In my opinion, I think a Quid pro quo will be very hard to prove. Due to having to assign or determine what the president was considering when he gave the order to hold up the funds. Plus, he was fully within his right to ask Ukraine to investigate any form of what he felt was corruption by an American citizen that may have been purpatrated in their country.  Ultimately he had the right to hold up the funds.  I think what will matter is what he indicated to his officials at the time he told them to hold up the funds. Some sort of verbal command that offered an explanation of his reasoning for holding up the funds.

        One must keep in mind, the president requested not only the Biden's be investigated in regards to Burisma. But also that Trump mentioned during the conversation CrowdStrike.   CrowdStrike the company hired by the DNC in 2016 to investigate how hackers, which is later identified as Russian groups, breached a DNC network. and then released stolen emails from the DNC and Hillary Clinton’s campaign to Wikileaks. The mention of CrowdStrike indicates Trump was looking into the 2016 election corruption.  Seems it would be hard to determine if Trump was asking Zelinsky to aid in several election-related corruptions?

        It would be beneficial to hear all sides of this story.  It seems there is a lot of smoke, but will it be enough?  Seems it will be hard to prove why the funds where being held up, as well as Trump's motive when he requested the Ukrian help with two possible election-related corruption crimes.

      3. Don W profile image82
        Don Wposted 17 months agoin reply to this

        Taylor's opening statement to Congress:

        https://www.washingtonpost.com/context/ … 45468a3ff/

        Watch the knives come out for Taylor in the right-wing media now. His public service as a  diplomat, his military service, all will be ignored (maybe even denigrated) in the effort to discredit him and his testimony. What he's about to go through will be nothing short of shameful. Hope I'm wrong.

        1. Randy Godwin profile image60
          Randy Godwinposted 17 months agoin reply to this

          Mark Meadows said he didn't see any evidence of a quid pro quo during the many hours of the interview although Taylor listed it in final thoughts among other disturbing things.

          I've never witnessed such loyalty to an obvious scoundrel in my life, Don. I suppose many are simply too invested in him already to be saved from his final days as POTUS.

          Some rats aren't smart enough to flee a sinking ship.

        2. hard sun profile image83
          hard sunposted 17 months agoin reply to this

          Most assuredly..I never thought I would see so many Americans, who claim to be patriots, turn on any and everyone who says anything negative about one man. It doesn't matter if they served in the military honorably for forty years and all their peers state they are the most honorable, duty driven individual they know...they are trash if Trump says so. It's time for the real patriots to get rid of the real trash in the White House.

      4. Don W profile image82
        Don Wposted 17 months agoin reply to this

        Some key comments from Taylor's opening statement:

        "I sensed something odd when Ambassador Sondland told me on June 28 that he did not wish to include most of the regular interagency participants in a call planned with President Zelenskyy later that day. Ambassador Sondland, Ambassador Volker, Secretary Perry, and I were on this call, dialing in from different locations. However, Ambassador Sondland said that he wanted to make sure no one was transcribing or monitoring as they added President Zelenskyy to the call."

        "By mid-July it was becoming clear to me that the meeting President Zelenskyy wanted was conditioned on the investigations of Burisma and alleged Ukrainian interference in the 2016 U.S. elections. It was also clear that this condition was driven by the irregular policy channel I had come to understand was guided by Mr. Giuliani."

        "In the same July 19 phone call, [then-Senior Director for European and Russian Affairs, Fiona Hill, and the NSC's Director of European Affairs, Alex Vindman] gave me an account of the July 10 meeting with the Ukrainian officials at the White House. Specifically, they told me that Ambassador Sondland had connected 'investigations' with an Oval Office meeting for President Zelenskyy, which so irritated Ambassador Bolton that he abruptly ended the meeting, telling Dr. Hill and Mr. Vindman that they should have nothing to do with domestic politics. He also directed Dr. Hill to 'brief the lawyers.' Dr. Hill said that Ambassador Bolton referred to this as a 'drug deal' after the July 10 meeting. Ambassador Bolton opposed a call between President Zelenskyy and President Trump out of concern that it 'would be a disaster'"

        "Ambassador Sondland told Mr. Yermak that security assistance money would not come until President Zelenskyy committed to pursue the Burisma investigation. I was alarmed by what Mr. Morrison told me about the Sondland-Yermak conversation."

        "Very concerned, on that same day I sent Ambassador Sondland a text message asking if now saying that security assistance and [a] WH meeting are conditioned on investigations Ambassador Sondland responded asking me to call him, which I did. 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 interference in the 2016 U.S. election".

        "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, AmbassadorS ondland said, everything 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"

        "Accordingto Mr. Morrison,President Trump told Ambassador Sondland that he was not asking for a 'quid pro quo." But President Trump did insist that President Zelenskyy go to a microphone and say he is opening investigations of Biden and 2016 election interference, and that President Zelenskyy should want to do this himself. Mr. Morrison said that he told Ambassador Bolton and the NSC lavers of this phone call between President Trump and Ambassador Sondland"

      5. Don W profile image82
        Don Wposted 17 months agoin reply to this

        I've noticed a shift. Seems Trump acolytes are no longer trying to defend Trump's actions, which is getting increasingly difficult even for them. Instead they are attacking the process to try to distract from what Trump and his cohort have been doing.

    2. Randy Godwin profile image60
      Randy Godwinposted 17 months ago

      They've nothing left to attack, Don. Trump obviously broke his oath of office with the Ukraine extortion so what's to defend?

      1. Don W profile image82
        Don Wposted 17 months agoin reply to this

        What's most concerning is the fact that Trump, Republicans and Trump supporters seem happy to dump all over the Constitution because, but why? Why are Trump's supporters happy to use the Constitution as toilet paper? What do they think they are getting in return?

        1. Randy Godwin profile image60
          Randy Godwinposted 17 months agoin reply to this

          I think many are already too invested in him to abandon him now, Don. You can see their desperate attempts at explaining his actions almost everyday now. They buy every lie out of his mouth and amplify it if they can. Sad...

          1. hard sun profile image83
            hard sunposted 17 months agoin reply to this

            No Randy, the rest of us are just "unequipped to handle the genius of our great president."  That is some creepy cult-like stuff there.

            1. PrettyPanther profile image83
              PrettyPantherposted 17 months agoin reply to this

              Ew, I haven't heard that one. Who said that?

              1. hard sun profile image83
                hard sunposted 17 months agoin reply to this

                Stephanie Grisham the WH press secretary. Crazy

                1. PrettyPanther profile image83
                  PrettyPantherposted 17 months agoin reply to this

                  Oh my, I forgot a WH press secretary even existed anymore.

                  1. hard sun profile image83
                    hard sunposted 17 months agoin reply to this

                    Good one...and this is the most open administration in history...just don't ask any questions

                  2. IslandBites profile image88
                    IslandBitesposted 17 months agoin reply to this

                    And that was a response about John Kelly! SMH

                    White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham added, "I worked with John Kelly, and he was totally unequipped to handle the genius of our great President."

                    Ugh.

                    1. PrettyPanther profile image83
                      PrettyPantherposted 17 months agoin reply to this

                      I think they've all lost their marbles.

                    2. profile image0
                      promisemposted 17 months agoin reply to this

                      Right. All four-star generals and Cabinet secretaries with two master's degrees like John Kelly are idiots compared to Forrest Trump.

            2. Randy Godwin profile image60
              Randy Godwinposted 17 months agoin reply to this

              Yes, Mike said we weren't intelligent enough to debate with him properly. tongue

              1. hard sun profile image83
                hard sunposted 17 months agoin reply to this

                Well, that's now been confirmed with alternative facts.

    3. Credence2 profile image81
      Credence2posted 17 months ago

      I did say that I would accuse Trump of only poor judgement IF if his request to the Ukraine for investigation of the Bidens was not linked to withholding funds appropriated to the Ukraine by Congress.

      I did not intend for this to be a political witch hunt, which I think will backfire for Democrats and their cause. Mr. trump, by withholding congressionally appropropriated funds for his own political benefit not having anything to do with 'national security" and all of that, will not stand.

      So, IF it can be proven that there is a connection, then he will deserve whatever is coming to him.

      1. Don W profile image82
        Don Wposted 17 months agoin reply to this

        Do you think there is any reasonable amount evidence that could cause the Republican Senate to find Trump guilty? At this stage, I don't. I think the chances of the Senate finding Trump guilty are virtually nil, regardless of what evidence is presented. I think Republicans in the Senate have sold out to Trump.

        There is also a question of what standard of proof should be applied (though it's academic because the Senate will find Trump not guilty regardless). As far as I'm aware, there is no requirement for "beyond reasonable doubt" in an impeachment trial, and the Constitution is silent on the issue. I think "preponderance of evidence" is more appropriate for an impeachment.

    4. GA Anderson profile image92
      GA Andersonposted 17 months ago

      I agree with you Cred. I think the "quid pro quo" point has been established, but . . .

      I think it is your "proven" point that will make the difference. It seems there are two possible/plausible explanations; one, his story - he was pushing for an investigation into corruption that would be in our own national interest, or, two, (almost everyone else's story) - the quid pro quo was purely for his own personal interests.

      I think it might be harder than folks think to prove it was purely for his personal benefit.

      Just say'n

      GA

     
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