Bill Taylor is Donald Trump's impeachment nightmare

The top US diplomat to Ukraine, Bill Taylor, addressed the House Intelligence Committee with a 40-minute opening statement and described an "irregular channel" of communication with Ukraine.

Posted: Dec 19, 2019 2:40 PM
Updated: Dec 19, 2019 2:40 PM

Bill Taylor was everything Democrats hoped he would be. And everything Republicans feared he might be.

Taylor, the top diplomat in Ukraine, was credible, serious, frank and deeply specific during his day-long testimony on Capitol Hill about his concerns regarding President Donald Trump's behavior toward top Ukrainian officials.

Taylor's opening statement, which spanned better than a half hour, was a tour de force of damaging details for the President -- culminating in a new revelation that an aide had overheard US Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland on the phone with the President on July 26 making clear that the Ukrainians were prepared to play ball. And that, when asked about Trump's views on Ukraine, Sondland had told the aide that the President was primarily focused on getting investigations into Joe and Hunter Biden started.

Democrats, led by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (California) largely just used their question time to allow Taylor to confirm and/or restate the timeline of events he laid out in scrupulous detail in his opening statement. How he first heard of the hold put on more than $400 million in US aid to Ukraine. How he realized that an "irregular" diplomatic channel -- led by Trump personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani -- had been opened up with Ukraine. How it became increasingly clear to him that Trump and those close to the President were seeking to leverage the political power of the United States to pressure a foreign country to dig up dirt on a possible 2020 rival.

Republicans on the committee did their best to disrupt the momentum that Taylor's opening statement had created by noting that all of his concerns were based on things conveyed to him second- and third-hand, and that because nothing ever came of these asks from Trump -- and Ukraine got the aid anyway -- that this was all a big nothingburger.

The GOP interrogators had limited success -- Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan's rapid-fire questioning strategy was probably the most effective -- because Taylor simply would not be ruffled. He repeatedly told Republicans that he wasn't there to make broad proclamations about whether the President deserved to be impeached or to speak for experiences from other people. He admitted there were things he didn't know. He was candid and honest.

In short: Taylor was deeply credible. Not just for what he said but for who he is -- a lifelong diplomat appointed by presidents of both parties to senior diplomatic circles. At the top of his graduating class from the US Military Academy at West Point, and a decorated Vietnam veteran.

Trump has -- and will -- accuse anyone who testifies in the House impeachment hearings as a "Never Trumper" or a member of the so-called "deep state" or worse. And there will be a decent chunk of his base that swallows those descriptions whole -- facts be damned.

But it's very difficult to read Taylor's opening statement, watch any of his testimony or scan his resume and believe that this accomplished but unassuming man is somehow motivated by his hatred of Trump rather than his love of country. This is someone with long and deep experience in diplomatic circles. Someone who has never been an irritant in the past. And someone who was deeply affected by what he saw and heard around that July 25 phone call.

So, when Taylor said Wednesday that he had never -- in his career -- seen this sort of blatant attempt to use the power of the presidency for personal political gain, it meant something. And nothing good for Trump.

West Lafayette
Clear
76° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 76°
Kokomo
Clear
70° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 70°
Rensselaer
Clear
68° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 68°
Fowler
Clear
68° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 68°
Williamsport
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 73°
Crawfordsville
Clear
66° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 66°
Frankfort
Clear
64° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 64°
Delphi
Clear
71° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 71°
Monticello
Clear
71° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 71°
Logansport
Clear
66° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 66°
Warm Weekend Continues Sunday
WLFI Radar
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 72254

Reported Deaths: 3023
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion15503725
Lake7447274
Elkhart476082
Allen3789161
St. Joseph337381
Hamilton2668105
Vanderburgh188813
Hendricks1833106
Cass17749
Johnson1719118
Porter126639
Clark117846
Tippecanoe117711
Madison91565
LaPorte88330
Howard87265
Kosciusko84012
Marshall77122
Bartholomew76647
Floyd76045
Monroe72230
Delaware70152
Dubois67612
Boone66246
Noble65929
Hancock64138
Vigo58610
Jackson5725
Warrick57030
LaGrange55610
Shelby54227
Grant52130
Dearborn49328
Morgan45934
Clinton4093
Henry37320
Wayne35410
White35410
Montgomery34821
Lawrence33627
Decatur33232
Harrison32123
Putnam2868
Miami2672
Daviess26320
Scott26310
Greene24634
Franklin23813
Jasper2272
DeKalb2264
Jennings22012
Gibson2144
Steuben2063
Ripley1977
Fayette1837
Perry18112
Carroll1772
Starke1767
Posey1670
Orange16624
Wabash1633
Wells1622
Fulton1612
Jefferson1552
Whitley1506
Knox1490
Tipton1336
Spencer1313
Washington1311
Huntington1213
Newton11510
Randolph1154
Clay1095
Sullivan1031
Adams952
Jay860
Owen841
Pulaski761
Rush744
Brown731
Fountain682
Blackford622
Ohio624
Benton600
Pike520
Parke511
Vermillion500
Switzerland450
Crawford440
Martin430
Union370
Warren221
Unassigned0202

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events