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Those in charge of the impeachment inquiry pulled a double whammy on Wednesday when they not only released Acting U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Bill Taylor’s previous deposition testimony but also shared that he will be the first witness as the hearings go public next week.
This, of course, means what Taylor is testifying to carries a lot of weight. One of the most telling pieces of his testimony is the admission that Donald Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani was behind the efforts to pressure Ukraine to conduct investigations of the president’s political rivals, past and present. He also said the former mayor of New York was acting on behalf of his client.
During a joint session next Wednesday, House Democrats will put Taylor and another senior diplomat, Georg Kent, who oversees policy in the region, on the stand. Two days later we’ll hear from former ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch about her release from her position due to the push by Giuliani and Trump. This shows that the Democrats are laying out a very distinctive narrative to this story.
Taylor has also testified that he understands the Ukraine policy to be that it stood on the precondition that Zelensky launch the investigations Trump was demanding.
“That was my clear understanding, security assistance money would not come until the president committed to pursue the investigation,” he said in the transcript.
While laying out that Trump was demanding this, Taylor also laid out that Giuliani was behind the efforts.
“I think the origin of the idea to get President Zelensky to say out loud he’s going to investigate Burisma and 2016 election, I think the originator, the person who came up with that, was Mr. Giuliani,” stated Taylor.
He also acknowledged that he never spoke directly about this policy to Trump, which is something the Republicans will try to highlight during the public hearing next week.
Throughout all testimony that has been divulged so far, however, it’s become clear that there are two figures behind it: Trump and Giuliani.
Giuliani even announced publicly in May that he was going to travel to Ukraine to investigate Ukraine’s influence on former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign, as well as former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter.
He doubled down on that even after Trump’s July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky became public. Not only did he admit to it, he also said he was proud of it.
But after that, after he admitted to it, he went silent, as if the attorney was advising himself to lay low.
All of this just leads more credence to the Russia investigation. As much as Trump wants to put both issues away, they both show the same thing: Trump is willing to use foreign powers to advance politically.
Giuliani has shown he will do whatever it takes to support his client. Except for the past month or so. He has to know it’s not looking good. That’s why he’s quiet.
But throughout all the names mentioned so far as being a part of the effort to force Ukraine to investigate Trump’s Democratic rivals, Giuliani is always at the center of it.
And next week, the public hearings will begin to show how it all lays out, and this time they won’t need a special counsel methodically laying it all out, as Giuliani and Trump left enough bread crumbs for the investigators to follow.
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