The Latest: Diplomat: Aid withheld until Ukraine OK’d probe
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on President Donald Trump and testimony by Ambassador William Taylor in the House impeachment probe (all times local):
A State Department official has told Congress that U.S. military aid to Ukraine was withheld until the country’s leader agreed to investigate a gas company tied to Joe Biden’s family.
That’s according to a copy of diplomat William Taylor’s opening statement to House impeachment investigators Tuesday. The statement was obtained by The Washington Post and published online.
Taylor says Ambassador Gordon Sondland told him “everything” Ukraine wanted from the United States, including a visit with President Donald Trump and millions of dollars in security aid, was dependent on the country agreeing to investigate the gas firm Burisma and the 2016 U.S. election. Taylor said a White House official told him the same thing.
Democrats say the testimony points to what Trump has long denied: a quid pro quo for an investigation of his political rival.
Three federal officials, including one from the FBI, say they believe it’s inappropriate for a president to ask a foreign government to investigate a political rival.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler posed that question at a committee hearing Tuesday on election security. Nadler was referencing a July phone call in which President Donald Trump prodded his Ukrainian counterpart to investigate Democratic rival Joe Biden.
Three officials answered that it was not appropriate to ask a foreign leader for a political investigation.
A deputy assistant attorney general in the Justice Department’s national security division, Adam Hickey, said he would not comment on the president’s activities.
Trump has denied doing anything wrong.
The top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, William Taylor, was drawn into a Trump administration effort to leverage U.S. military aid for Ukraine. Taylor is on Capitol Hill to testify behind closed doors.
Members of Congress are set to hear directly from the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, who was drawn into a Trump administration effort to leverage U.S. military aid for the country.
William Taylor is scheduled to testify before closed doors Tuesday in an inquiry trying to determine if Trump committed impeachable offenses by pressing the president of Ukraine into pursuing information that could help his campaign.
In excerpts of text messages released by impeachment investigators in Congress, Taylor wrote: “I think it’s crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign.”
Taylor was tapped for the post after U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch was removed before the end of her term following a campaign against her led by Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani.