- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 13, 2019

A witness at the House impeachment hearing Wednesday revealed that one of his staffers overheard administration officials discussing a quid pro quo in President Trump’s dealings with Ukraine.

William Taylor, the top diplomat in Ukraine, said he recently learned that a staffer overheard a conversation between Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland and Mr. Trump about the investigations he wanted into political rival former Vice President Joseph R. Biden and his son Hunter.

The quid pro quo is the linchpin of House Democrats impeachment case that Mr. Trump abused his office by withholding $391 million in military aid to Ukraine to force an investigation for his political benefit.

SEE ALSO: Devin Nunes slams hearing: ‘Impeachment process in search of a crime’

There are conflicting views about whether the quid pro quo creates grounds for removing a president from office, which has prompted House Democrats to describe it as a bribe or extortion.

Mr. Taylor said he learned of this interaction only last Friday, though it took place a day after the July 25th phone call between Mr. Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

“Ambassador Sondland told President Trump that the Ukrainians were ready to move forward,” Mr. Taylor said.

SEE ALSO: Impeachment inquiry opens with fireworks: A search for truth or a ‘smear campaign?’

His staffer pressed Mr. Sondland about the president’s position on Ukraine and was told “that President Trump cares more about the investigations of Biden, which Giuliani was pressing for,” referring to Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani.

Mr. Taylor testified that Mr. Sondland told him in early September that both military aid and a White House meeting between the two world leaders were contingent on the investigations.

Mr. Sondland, slated to testify next week, revised his testimony and said he was the one who informed Ukrainians that aid would be delayed until the investigations were agreed to.

He admitted that he made that assumption after hearing Mr. Giuliani press for specific commitments to investigate 2016 election interference and Ukrainian energy company Burisma Holdings, where Hunter Biden got a lucrative job while his father was the point man for Obama White House policy in that graft-riddled country.

The crux of the impeachment inquiry centers on allegations that Mr. Trump pressured Mr. Zelensky via a quid pro quo to open investigations into alleged 2016 election interference and the Bidens’ connection to corruption at Burisma.

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Manage Newsletters

Copyright © 2019 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide