The following is an excerpt from Blaze Media’s Capitol Hill Brief email newsletter:
Along with the announcement that the first public impeachment probe hearings would start next week, on Wednesday, House Democrats released the deposition transcript of one of their star witnesses in the probe: Top U.S. diplomat to Ukraine Bill Taylor.
During his testimony, Taylor said that it was his “clear understanding” that the release of military aid to Ukraine was contingent upon the country’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, agreeing to investigate what happened in the 2016 election and the energy company that used to employ Hunter Biden as a board member. He also said that he believed President Donald Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani was behind a suggestion to get Zelensky to publicly commit to the probes.
But while impeachment boosters may hail Taylor’s testimony as damaging to the president, they might need to take a second look at it. Indeed, it appears that many of Taylor’s opinions about the Ukraine matter were, as the Federalist’s Sean Davis put it, “formed largely from conversations with anti-Trump staffers within the diplomatic bureaucracy.” Taylor admitted that he’d had no direct contact with Trump or Giuliani during the time period relevant to the investigation. He wasn’t on the July 25 call between Trump and Zelensky and said that the first time he “had seen the details” of the call was when the transcript was publicly released in September. He even admitted at one point that his main source for his understanding of why the president wanted the investigations was the New York Times. When asked whether or not he did any due diligence to find out what the concerns about Burisma or the 2016 election were before he took his post earlier this year, he responded “no.”