- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Stephen R. Castor, the lead counsel for Republicans, attempted to downplay the seriousness of Ambassador William Taylor’s notion of an “irregular channel” led by the president’s personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani.

“This irregular channel of diplomacy — it’s not as outlandish as it could be. Is that correct?” Mr. Castor asked.

“It’s not as outlandish as it could be,” Mr. Taylor said with a chuckle.

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In his opening statement, Mr. Taylor described said Kurt Volker, the former envoy to Ukraine, Gordon Sondland, the Ambassador to the European Union, and Rick Perry, the Energy Secretary were all involved with this irregular channel.

Mr. Castor argued that it wasn’t completely surprising that those three individuals were involved in a project President Trump was interested in.

“It is a little unusual for the Ambassador to the EU to play a role in Ukraine policy,” Mr. Taylor pointed out.

“It might be irregular but its certainly not outlandish,” Mr. Castor countered.

The Republican counsel also zeroed in on the fact that Mr. Taylor never confronted Mr. Giuliani or tried to take control back from what he saw as a rouge operation.

“I didn’t try to wrest control from the irregular channel,” Mr. Taylor said. “At the time both of those channels were interested in having a meeting between President Zelensky and President Trump…. I was concerned when the irregular appeared to be going against the overall purpose of the regular channel.”

In his testimony, Mr. Taylor explained he believed the two channels “diverged” in August.

Mr. Castor was transferred to the House Intelligence Committee for the impeachment hearings from his previous post as the chief investigative counsel for the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

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