House Democrats released a series of redacted transcripts of the closed-door testimonies including Ambassador to Ukraine Bill Taylor, ahead of his public testimony occurring next week.
Taylor delivered dire warnings that President Donald Trump’s dealings with Ukraine “fundamentally undermined” U.S. interests in the country of Ukraine. He is viewed as a key witness to the Democrats case to impeach the President.
PEN Media covered the fact that Republican Counsel Steve Castor asked Taylor if he knew the name whistleblower, who is alleged to be the whistleblower. (CLICK TO READ: Whistleblower Named In Adam Schiff Release Of Bill Taylor Deposition)
Castor asked about the “integrity of the criminal justice system in Ukraine?” Taylor responded calling it “flawed.”
The biggest bombshell of the deposition is that Taylor did not receive his knowledge of the phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky as a first hand witness.
Rep. Lee Zeldin questioned Taylor about the statements in his opening statement.
“A lot of claims in your opening statement are without firsthand knowledge, and I just — I wanted to ask about one of them. So, in your opening statement, you reference Burisma five times. You reference Biden twice. One of those references of Biden was just a reference to the July 25th call. The other reference was on page 12 of paragraph 3. On September 7th, Ambassador Sondland has a call with the President, according to the conversation that you had with Tim Morrison, right?”
Zeldin continues grilling Taylor and clarifies that his knowledge of the July 25th phone call between Trump and Zelenksy was based on his phone call with Tim Morrison, who testified and backed up the President.
Taylor’s information is third hand and is not first hand testimony to the call. This sequence happens at page 309 in the testimony.
Taylor also admits that he learned of Giuliani’s interest in Burisma from the New York Times. This means that he inferred the President’s goal from a report in the New York Times and not first hand knowledge.
“And this isn’t firsthand. It’s not secondhand. It’s not thirdhand,” Rep. Lee Zeldin, R-N.Y., said to Taylor. “But if I understand this correctly, you’re telling us that Tim Morrison told you that Ambassador Sondland told him that the president told Ambassador Sondland that Zelensky would have to open an investigation into Biden?”
“So do you have any other source that the president’s goal in making this request was anything other than The New York Times?” Zeldin asked.
“That’s correct,” Taylor admitted.
“I have not talked to the president,” Taylor said. “I have no other information from what the president was thinking.”
Taylor also admitted while being questioned by Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-Texas) that Ukrainian government was not aware that U.S. military funding had been suspended in late August. This is after the information was printed in U.S. media. This shows no quid pro quo.
Read this. Ratcliffe is a former federal prosecutor.
“So, if nobody in the Ukrainian government is aware of a military hold at the time of the Trump-Zelensky call, then, as a matter of law and as a matter of fact, there can be no quid pro quo, based on military aid,” Ratcliffe said.
“I just want to be real clear that, again, as of July 25th, you have no knowledge of a quid pro quo involving military aid.”
“July 25th is a week after the hold was put on the security assistance,” Taylor declared. “And July 25th, they had a conversation between the two presidents, where it was not discussed.”
“And to your knowledge, nobody in the Ukrainian government was aware of the hold?” Ratcliffe asked.
“That is correct,” Taylor responded.
Looks like Democrats may need a better witness. Read the entire transcript here.