Diplomat's Testimony Like a 'Saturday Night Live Skit,' Former Clinton Impeachment Manager Says

By Susan Jones | November 7, 2019 | 6:30am EST
Charge d'Affairs William Taylor stands behind then-National Security Adviser John Bolton in Kiev on August 27, 2019. (Photo by SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP via Getty Images)
Charge d'Affairs William Taylor stands behind then-National Security Adviser John Bolton in Kiev on August 27, 2019. (Photo by SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP via Getty Images)

(CNSNews.com) - "You couldn't do better on a 'Saturday Night Live' skit," Bob Barr, a former U.S. congressman from Georgia and the former Clinton impeachment manager, told Fox News Wednesday night.

He was talking about the third- or fourth-hand hearsay Ambassador William Taylor imparted to the House intelligence committee in his sworn, closed-door testimony on October 22.

According to the recently released transcript of Taylor's testimony, the ambassador opened by saying, "I appreciate the opportunity to appear here today to provide my perspective (emphasis added) on the events that are the subject of the committee's inquiry."

But, as noted by Fox News and as reflected in the transcript, Taylor's "perspective" did not include first-hand knowledge of key events.

Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.) pointed this out when he questioned Taylor:

"A lot of claims in your opening statement are without firsthand knowledge," Zeldin told Taylor.

Zeldin directed Taylor's attention to a Sept. 7 phone call Ambassador Gordon Sondland had with President Trump -- as described to Taylor by a third person, Tim Morrison, who served on President Trump's National Security Council:

"This is the only reference in your opening statement to Biden other than your one reference to the July 25th call," Zeldin said. "And this isn't firsthand. It's not secondhand. It's not third-hand. But if I understand this correctly, you're telling us that Tim Morrison told you that Ambassador Sondland told him that the President told Ambassador Sondland that Zelensky would have to open an investigation into Biden?" Zeldin asked.

"That's correct," Taylor responded.

The exchange brought howls from Fox News's Laura Ingraham and Bob Barr on "The Ingraham Angle" Wednesday night.

"You couldn't do better on a 'Saturday Night Live' skit than that," Barr said.

Ingraham scoffed, "You are going to impeach a president a year out from a presidential election on that?!"

Taylor, the former ambassador to Ukraine (2006-2009), most recently served as the charge d'affairs (in 2019) at the U.S. Embassy in Kiev, and before that he served as executive vice president of the U.S. Institute of Peace.

'I don't know'

At one point in his testimony, Taylor cited The New York Times as his source for believing that Trump's goal in requesting investigations into the 2016 election and Burisma was to influence the 2020 U.S. election.

Zeldin asked Taylor, "Is it possible that somewhere in that chain of events that the President spoke to President Zelensky about Burisma? Probably assume President Trump spoke to Ambassador Sondland about Burisma?"

"I don't know, Congressman," Taylor replied.

"Yeah," Zeldin said. "It's just it's hard when we -- I mean, it's one thing if you have firsthand information, but a lot of what you're saying in your opening statement is not firsthand information. That's one example. And it happens to be the only reference at all in your opening statement to Joe Biden.

"You testified that the goal in requesting investigations into the 2015 election and Burisma was to influence the U.S. election. Is that correct?" Zeldin asked Taylor.

"I'm sorry. Say that again, Congressman?" Taylor said.

Zeldin obliged: "I believe you testified earlier that the goal of requesting investigations into the 2016 election and Burisma was to influence the U.S. election. Is that an accurate reflection of your testimony from earlier?"

"I don't think so," Taylor said.

"Would you like to tell us what your position is on it? What was the goal of (Trump) requesting investigations into 2015 election and Burisma?" Zeldin asked.

"As I understand it from one of the -- maybe the article in The New York Times about Mr. Giuliani's interest in Burisma. In that article, he describes, and I think he quotes Giuliani at some length -- that article indicates that Giuliani was interested in getting some information on Vice President Biden that would be useful to Mr. Giuliani's client. I think that's what he says. He says he's got one client, and he's useful to the client."

Zeldin asked Taylor if that was "your inference" also:

"Yes," Taylor said.

"And your source is The New York Times?" Zeldin asked.

"Yes," Taylor said.

"So do you have any other source that the President's goal in making this request was anything other than The New York Times?" Zeldin asked.

"I have not talked to the president," Taylor said. "I have no other information from what the President was thinking."

Zeldin asked Taylor, "Is it possible that requesting an investigation, for example, into the 2015 election wasn't to influence a future election?"

"I'm sorry. Can you say that one again?" Taylor asked.

Zeldin asked, "Is it possible that the request to investigate interference with the 2015 election was not to influence a future election?"

"I don't know," Congressman," said Taylor -- one of the Democrats' star impeachment witnesses.



 

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