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William Taylor’s testimony backs Senate Republicans into a corner

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William Taylor, the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, admitted in a closed-door hearing before Congress today that he had been acting under the impression that there was indeed a quid pro quo between President Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

This is bad news for Trump, and even worse for the Senate Republicans who will undoubtedly be forced to take a side when the Democrats’ impeachment proceedings move to the Senate for a trial.

In his opening statement before Congress, Taylor confirmed that his message was not merely a reaction to the media, but a condemnation of a coordinated effort by Trump, Sondland, and the president’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani.

“I said on Sept. 9 in a message to [Sondland] that withholding security assistance in exchange for help with a domestic political campaign in the U.S. would be ‘crazy,’” Taylor said in his testimony, “I believed that then, and I still believe that.”

Taylor then lays out the timeline of Trump’s interactions with Zelensky and the “highly irregular” channel of U.S. policymaking in Ukraine that included then-Special Envoy Kurt Volker, Sondland, Secretary of Energy Rick Perry, and Giuliani. This “irregular” channel actively worked against U.S. interests and in favor of Trump’s personal interests, Taylor said.

“By mid-July it was becoming clear to me that the meeting President Zelensky wanted was conditioned on the investigations of Burisma [the Ukrainian oil company that Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, worked for] and alleged Ukrainian interference in the 2016 U.S. elections,” Taylor said in his testimony. “It was also clear that this condition was driven by the irregular policy channel I had come to understand was guided by Mr. Giuliani.”

Taylor soon after realized that the hold placed on security assistance to Ukraine by the Office of Management and Budget ran counter to the State and Defense Departments’ recommendation that the U.S. assist Ukraine in its battle against Russia, and that it had more to do with Sondland’s demand that Ukraine commit to an investigation into Hunter Biden’s dealings with Burisma than it did with the U.S.’s investigation into election meddling.

Taylor’s testimony is both clarifying and damning for the Trump allies and Senate Republicans who have insisted there was no quid pro quo. Ukrainian officials might not have been aware that foreign aid was being withheld, but the U.S. government certainly was aware. And if it wasn’t clear before, it is now clear that Trump had a personal agenda and used Sondland and Giuliani to further it.

https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/ukraine-ambassador-william-taylors-testimony-backs-senate-republicans-into-a-corner

remember this day. this is the turning point. and notice the story comes from one of your conservative source allies

a multiple war veteran. decades of service as a diplomat for presidents on both sides of the aisle. as untouchable politically as you can get. THIS is the guy pointing the finger at shit lump and his corrupt 'think he can get away with anything' fat ass

i am now in favor of impeaching this piece of shit. its no longer an exercise in futility. this is the smoking gun that will force the soulless republicans in the senate to go on record as choosing between party despite confirmable corruption at the top or the good of the country

to all my maga friends out there, why dont you take your shamelessly unamerican asses and jump into the middle of lake fuck off

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All your name calling is beneath you meathead. Your anger is clouding your spirit. Maybe he should get impeached. Maybe not. I’m going to invest some dough in blood pressure medication stock

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sorry, i dont agree

this one man is ruining america. the damage hes doing to our country is massive. hes a piece of shit and the country is following his lead

his supporters are vile enablers that need to be called out. what other topic have i ever done this with before? none. but thats how important this is

once we get this piece of shit out, then we can talk about reconciliation. but right now, fuck you people who support this guy like hes some kind of fucking king. its absurd and its shameful

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Vile enablers. <——————-is this just generally people that support him?

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i cant believe i have to explain how serious it is to have the president of the united states giving things to foreign countries on the condition that they investigate political enemies!

thats like the height of dangerous political corruption. its what dictators and despots do. it compromises the integrity of the republic and sends cascading damage down just about every channel we have in america

supporting that behavior is akin to treason. im not going to just sit here and remain silent about it. and im going to call out the brain damaged idiots that enable it

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8 minutes ago, jc856 said:

Vile enablers. <——————-is this just generally people that support him?

it depends on what you mean about supporting him

for example, i support him on china. i give him an A+ for what hes done on china. so i support the president on that initiative

vile enablers are those that support him unconditionally - most of the senate, for example. and the cranially challenged posters on here that run around posting MAGA! in threads that talk about his long list of blatant corruption. if thats not vile, idk what is

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I’m not sure how to argue supporting him. I voted for him, because, Hillary. He’s pompous, retarded, wrong a lot, but is worse than others?. Every president did stuff that were vilified. But trump gets vilified just for being trump

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I mean it, I never saw you guys whining about previous presidents. And c’mon, they were good ?

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remember, i didnt vote for either asshole bc neither one deserved my vote. and ive complained/praised vociferously about presidents from either party when they deserved it

but no president in modern history comes anywhere near the corruption that this asshole does. hes blown the lid clean off american standards for presidents

and now that weve found the smoking gun, more evidence will follow. we need to throw him out to clearly demonstrate that country ALWAYS comes before party

thats why i dont mind calling out the magats specifically. they dont give a fuck about the good of the country, they only care about their party. that sick enough as it is, add in the support for this mega-corrupt asshole and it is akin to treason

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Ya know, recently, a guy I knew pretty well, was convicted of crimes committed while he was a union member . Greed is inherent in our human condition. I liked him. But fuck him. Most people believe there’s corruption in govt. why do we only care when people aren’t as suave as Obama? Was he squeaky clean? You’re a fool if you believe that

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i didnt vote for obama either time and i thought he was a sucky president

but hes not even in the same stratosphere of corruption that this piece of asswipe is

and its not about greed this time, its MUCH MUCH worse. its about using the power of the federal gubmint to go after your political opponents. there arent too many things more dangerous to our democracy than that. just imagine how history would change for the dramatically worse if we did not do something about this. he needs to be made an example of what we do to people that severely threaten our democracy from the inside like that

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4 minutes ago, 212frawk said:

what meat said plus vagineck...... yuk!

spacer.png

Good to have you aboard again Frawk! We haven’t seen vagineck in a while!

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1 hour ago, jc856 said:

All your name calling is beneath you meathead. Your anger is clouding your spirit. Maybe he should get impeached. Maybe not. I’m going to invest some dough in blood pressure medication stock

How can there be any "maybe" about it anymore? The list of offenses is stupid long. The dispute over whether there was a Quid Pro Quo is no longer a dispute. The disputes over anything you guys try to deny is no longer a dispute. Nothing, Everything we accuse him of, he's guilty of. Everything! Aren't you sick of trying to defend him?

For 3 years, you Trump people have had to constantly try and defend a corrupt President and the things you've had to defend are crazy. All of a sudden, you make it seem OK to fuck our Allies over.Since when? You make it seem OK to circumvent the Constitution. It's the Republicans that waved  the Constitution around for years and tried to wear the cape of being the defenders of the Constitution.

At some point, you have to just grow weary of making excuses for the guy

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1 hour ago, Meathead said:

i cant believe i have to explain how serious it is to have the president of the united states giving things to foreign countries on the condition that they investigate political enemies!

thats like the height of dangerous political corruption. its what dictators and despots do. it compromises the integrity of the republic and sends cascading damage down just about every channel we have in america

supporting that behavior is akin to treason. im not going to just sit here and remain silent about it. and im going to call out the brain damaged idiots that enable it

Welcome to the fight. About time someone else decided to step up and call this what it is and treasonous is a great word

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Then, why are you guys upset? You should be rubbing your hands together? No? You SHOULD BE HAPPY. ABSURDLY HAPPY. UNBELIEVABLY HAPPY. Not angry. If this guy is a douche, this should pan out for you

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34 minutes ago, jc856 said:

Ya know, recently, a guy I knew pretty well, was convicted of crimes committed while he was a union member . Greed is inherent in our human condition. I liked him. But fuck him. Most people believe there’s corruption in govt. why do we only care when people aren’t as suave as Obama? Was he squeaky clean? You’re a fool if you believe that

Dude, other Presidents are Todd Collins and Trump is  the Tom Brady of corruption. Have you noticed that they no longer count how many times he lies? Like, 14,000 was just so outrageous that they decided to stop counting?

Since you like famous quotes; 
"To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public." — Theodore Roosevelt

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5 minutes ago, HipKat said:

How can there be any "maybe" about it anymore? The list of offenses is stupid long. The dispute over whether there was a Quid Pro Quo is no longer a dispute. The disputes over anything you guys try to deny is no longer a dispute. Nothing, Everything we accuse him of, he's guilty of. Everything! Aren't you sick of trying to defend him?

For 3 years, you Trump people have had to constantly try and defend a corrupt President and the things you've had to defend are crazy. All of a sudden, you make it seem OK to fuck our Allies over.Since when? You make it seem OK to circumvent the Constitution. It's the Republicans that waved  the Constitution around for years and tried to wear the cape of being the defenders of the Constitution.

At some point, you have to just grow weary of making excuses for the guy

I’m sorry, I’ve seen this same thing from you before.and nothing came of it. What should I make of it?

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3 minutes ago, jc856 said:

Then, why are you guys upset? You should be rubbing your hands together? No? You SHOULD BE HAPPY. ABSURDLY HAPPY. UNBELIEVABLY HAPPY. Not angry. If this guy is a douche, this should pan out for you

Cough cough Lindsay Graham, Mitch McConnell, Jim Jordan, Mark Meadows, and the rest of the chickenshit Republicans are corrupting themselves by defending him, turning a blind eye to him and doing everything they can to impede the process. Lindsay Graham has flip-flopped so many times this month he probably isn't sure which way he's facing anymore

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4 minutes ago, jc856 said:

I’m sorry, I’ve seen this same thing from you before.and nothing came of it. What should I make of it?

Follow the truth, take the blinders off, stop looking for reasons to defend him and you shouldn't have to ask this question.

When someone testifies about the things he's done wrong and the only remaining defense is to deflect to other people, the fight is over.

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I’m sorry, if you don’t see what politics is today by the Mueller investigation, you never will. I wish I could have the skills to bring up all the things you said condemning that nincoompoop, but I don’t. Now you have this. 

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Hip, you probably are more astute than me as far as how we have fucked over our allies. ALL governments play each other. And, because this government of ours meddles in everyone’s business, we fork over huge sums of money. If you don’t believe this, I don’t know what to tell you.why shouldn’t we question ANY Ally ? Isn’t the number one thing for any nation, to look after it’s own sovereignty?

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6 minutes ago, jc856 said:

I’m sorry, if you don’t see what politics is today by the Mueller investigation, you never will. I wish I could have the skills to bring up all the things you said condemning that nincoompoop, but I don’t. Now you have this. 

The problems with the Mueller Investigation is 1, it took WAY too long. 2, it stopped short of where it should have - by design - because of the DOJ Opinion regarding indictment of a sitting President. 3, it was mishandled by William Barr, who lied about the report's findings. 4, the Republicans ran a successful smear campaign that cast doubt into the minds of the US Citizens. The facts are in the report but 5, it's 438 very hard to read pages that you need to have an advanced political and legal vocabulary to keep up with.

What Mueller should have done was included a summary with the report. Something along the lines generalizing the findings by listing briefly the 10 cases of obstruction - instead of burying them so it took surgical precision to extract them from the report itself. The only conclusion that was written as a summary - and even that was cryptic - was the statement that the report could not absolve the President.

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4 minutes ago, jc856 said:

Hip, you probably are more astute than me as far as how we have fucked over our allies. ALL governments play each other. And, because this government of ours meddles in everyone’s business, we fork over huge sums of money. If you don’t believe this, I don’t know what to tell you.why shouldn’t we question ANY Ally ? Isn’t the number one thing for any nation, to look after it’s own sovereignty?

Absolutely and yes we do try to maneuver and manipulate as do our Allies but we don't turn our backs on them. We don't spread lies in order to smear their names. 

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According to an opinion piece in WaPo by Minnesota's The Fix political writer Aaron Blake, there are five key take-aways from Ambassador pro tem or Charge d'Affairs (NOT Acting Ambassador - there is no such title and I don't care what the media uses) Bill Taylor's testimony this morning:

  1. There was a quid pro quo on military aid.
    Taylor had previously texted: “Are we now saying that security assistance and WH meeting are conditioned on investigations?” And “it’s crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign.” Today he said: “I believed that then, and I still believe that.”
  2. Withholding either the military aid or a White House meeting was excellent leverage.

Would Trump have gotten leverage from a) withholding hundreds of millions of dollars in military aid, or b) from withholding an Oval Office meeting that new Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky badly wanted? Taylor said "yes" to both questions, testifying: “By mid-July it was becoming clear to me that the meeting President Zelenskyy wanted was conditioned on the investigations of Burisma,” (which employed Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden) “and alleged Ukrainian interference in the 2016 U.S. elections.” Taylor also said that military aid was being held up at the same time, but "it took him longer to reach the same conclusion about it." He said: “It still had not occurred to me that the hold on security assistance could be related to the ‘investigation. That, however, would soon change.”

  1. Yes the quid pro quo was explicit and directly related to Ukraine.
    Taylor testified that National Security Council aide Tim Morrison told him that Sondland, the ambassador to the European Union, directly communicated that quid pro quo to a top Zelensky aide, Andriy Yermak. Taylor said that “During this same phone call I had with Mr. Morrison, he went on to describe a conversation Ambassador Sondland had with Mr. Yermak at [a meeting in] Warsaw. Ambassador Sondland told Mr. Yermak that the security assistance money would not come until President Zelenskyy committed to pursue the Burisma investigation.”

Although not direct evidence, it is still explicit. Taylor also said that Sondland told him personally that both a meeting and military aid depended on the investigations. Taylor's testimony: “Ambassador Sondland also told me that he now recognized that he had made a mistake by earlier telling the Ukrainian officials to whom he spoke that a White House meeting with President Zelenskyy was dependent on a public announcement of investigations — in fact, Ambassador Sondland said, ‘everything’ was dependent on such an announcement, including security assistance. Sondland said that President Trump wanted President Zelenskyy ‘in a public box’ by making a public statement about ordering such investigations.”

Note: Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney last week appeared to confirm a quid pro quo — saying the aid was held up in part because Ukraine declined to investigate a conspiracy theory about the 2016 election that Trump favors. (he later tried to walk this back).

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) also described this, saying Trump told him about it in an Aug. 31 phone call. Johnson (not under oath but still relevant)said : “But the president was very consistent on why he was considering [holding up the aid]. it was corruption, overall, generalized — but yeah, no doubt about it, what happened in 2016 — what happened in 2016, as relates? What was the truth about that?” Johnson has also said Sondland told him at the time that the aid was tied to the investigation involving 2016 election interference, which Trump would apparently like to use to undercut the idea that Russia was behind it.

  1. Sondland has explaining to do
    Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee are talking about bringing Sondland back for more questioning, apparently believing he wasn’t forthcoming with them. (ya think?)

Sondland testified last week, he could say there was a lack of a quid pro quo. Taylor suggests he was directly involved in communicating one. Taylor says: “Ambassador Sondland said that he had talked to President Zelenskyy and Mr. Yermak and told them that, although this was not a quid pro quo, if President Zelenskyy did not ‘clear things up’ in public, we would be at a ‘stalemate. I understood a ‘stalemate’ to mean that Ukraine would not receive the much-needed military assistance.”

Another OPPS by Sondland - Sondland testified (under oath) “I recall no discussions with any State Department or White House official about former vice president Biden or his son, nor do I recall taking part in any effort to encourage an investigation into the Bidens.” Taylor directly contradicts that saying Sondland relayed a direct request involving Biden.

  1. They tried to hide it before the fact - and after.
    Taylor says on a June 28 call with Sondland, Volker and Energy Secretary Rick Perry Sondland said he wanted to prevent records of their upcoming call with Zelensky. He says Volker said on the call that he was going to make the White House demands to Zelensky explicit. Taylor testified: “I sense something odd when Ambassador Sondland told me on June 28 that he did not wish to include most of the regular interagency participants in a call planned with President Zelenskyy later that day. Ambassador Sondland, Ambassador Volker, Secretary Perry, and I were on this call, dialing in from different locations. However, Ambassador Sondland said that he wanted to make sure no one was transcribing or monitoring as they added President Zelenskyy to the call.” Taylor also said he was not given a read-out ( as it common) on Trump's call July 25 with Zelensky in their July 25 call. He says: "Strangely, even though I was the Chief of Mission and was scheduled to meet with President Zelenskyy along with Ambassador Volker the following day, I received no readout of the call from the White House."

Sondland also encouraged Taylor not to text, after Taylor raised concerns about quid pro quos, and to speak with him on the phone. Sondland has denied he was trying to avoid a written record of their conversation, saying that’s generally how he conducts business.

That may how HE conducts business, but that's not how diplomacy is conducted under normal circumstances.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2019/10/22/takeaways-bill-taylors-crucial-opening-statement/

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