Taylor and Kent’s Impeachment Inquiry Transcripts
For just the fourth time in U.S. history, the House of Representatives held public impeachment hearings today. It began with the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, Acting U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine William Taylor, and career Foreign Service officer, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State George Kent, testifying before the House Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill. It which lasted nearly six hours. Here are the highlights and links to the full transcripts of their opening statements.
Acting U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine William Taylor
“I began to sense that these two separate decision-making channels — the regular and irregular — were separate and at odds.”
“As the Committee is aware, I wrote that withholding security assistance in exchange for help with a domestic political campaign in the United States would be ‘crazy.’ I believed that then and I believe it now.”
“I encountered an irregular, informal channel of U.S. policy-making with respect to Ukraine, unaccountable to Congress. A channel that included” Kurt Volker, Gordon Sondland, Rick Perry, Mick Mulvaney, and “as I subsequently learned, Mr. Giuliani.”
“By mid-July it was becoming clear to me that the meeting President Zelensky wanted was conditioned on the investigations of Burisma and alleged Ukrainian interference in the 2016 U.S. elections.”
“On July 20, I had a phone conversation with Alexander Danyliuk, President Zelensky’s national security adviser, who emphasized that President Zelensky did not want to be used as an instrument in a U.S. re-election campaign.”
“The odd push to make President Zelensky publicly commit to investigations of Burisma and alleged interference in the 2016 election showed how the official foreign policy of the United States was undercut by the irregular efforts led by Mr. Giuliani.”
William Taylor detailed new information he had recently received from a staffer. On July 26, one of Taylor’s staffers was at a restasurant in Ukraine with Gordon Sondland. He heard Trump on the phone with Sondland, asking him about the investigations. Sondland told Trump that the Ukrainians were ready to move forward. Taylor says his staffer then asked Sondland what Trump thought about Ukraine. Sondland responded that Trump “cares more about the investigations of Biden, which Giuliani was pressing for.”
Deputy Assistant Secretary of State George Kent
In his opening statement, Kent accuses Trump, Giuliani and their cronies, without naming them, of joining the Russians and corrupt Ukrainian officials in attacking established US-Ukraine policy that was in the national interests of both the United States and Ukraine.
“It was unexpected, and most unfortunate, to watch some Americans — including those who allied themselves with corrupt Ukrainians in pursuit of private agendas — launch attacks on dedicated public servants advancing U.S. interests in Ukraine.”
Kent makes it clear that Giuliani, Parnas and Fruman were working with former corrupt Ukrainian prosecutors, Victor Shokin and Yuriy Lutsenko, to spread false information about those actually fighting corruption in Ukraine to get revenge for being forced out of their jobs for being corrupt
“In mid-August, it became clear to me that Giuliani’s efforts to gin up politically-motivated investigations were now infecting U.S. engagement with Ukraine, leveraging President Zelensky’s desire for a White House meeting.”
“The chief agitators on the Ukrainian side of this effort were some of those same corrupt prosecutors I had encountered, particularly Yuri Lutsenko and Viktor Shokin.”