A Democratic member of the House Intelligence Committee said Wednesday that testimony he heard from Bill Taylor, the top US diplomat in Ukraine, about President Donald Trump’s dealings with the country was “startling” and the most “detailed (and) specific” he’s heard so far in the impeachment inquiry.
“Well, John, it was pretty startling testimony. You know, when the ambassador got done with his opening statement – which is now public so we can talk about it under the rules – you could hear a pin drop in the room,” Rep. Jim Himes of Connecticut told CNN’s John Berman on “New Day.”
“It was some of the most detailed, specific testimony. It wasn’t some of the most, it was the most detailed and specific testimony we have heard in these many depositions about the holding up of military aid,” Himes said.
On Tuesday, Taylor testified before three House committees that he had been told Trump would withhold military aid to Ukraine until it publicly declared an investigation would be launched that included Burisma, the company whose board Joe Biden’s son Hunter sat on, and Ukraine’s alleged involvement in the 2016 election, according to a copy of Taylor’s opening statement obtained by CNN
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Taylor testified he was told that “everything” Ukraine wanted – from a one-on-one meeting between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to hundreds of millions in security aid – was dependent on them publicly announcing an investigation.
Taylor’s explosive testimony is likely to add fuel to Democrats’ impeachment inquiry into Trump and his dealings with Ukraine, with Democratic lawmakers leaving the closed door session declaring Taylor’s testimony was damning for the President.
“I know we’re having this long conversation about what the definition of a quid pro quo is, but there’s no question from his testimony that everything in the words of Ambassador (to the European Union Gordon) Sondland are contingent on the Ukrainians agreeing to go after Burisma, agreeing to go after Biden and all the other sort of things they asked for,” Himes said on Wednesday.
CNN’s Manu Raju, Jeremy Herb, Lauren Fox, Kylie Atwood and Gloria Borger contributed to this report.