(CNSNews.com) - Has Ukraine President Zelensky given you "any reason to question his honesty or his integrity?" Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-Texas) asked William Taylor, who is serving as the de facto ambassador to Ukraine.
"No sir," said Taylor, who was one of two witnesses called by Democrats as part of their public impeachment inquiry, which began on Wednesday.
Using Zelensky's own words, Ratcliffe established that Zelensky was not aware of the hold on U.S. military aid when he spoke to President Trump by telephone on July 25.
Democrats recently seized on that call as the basis for impeaching Trump.
Democrats insist that Trump abused his power by bringing up investigations into Ukraine's alleged role in the 2016 election; as well as Joe Biden's public statement that he used a U.S. loan guarantee as leverage to force Ukraine to fire its prosecutor-general at a time when Hunter Biden was sitting on the board of Burisma, an allegedly corrupt energy company.
Ratcliffe recited some of President Zelensky's many statement to various reporters on October 10, "where he said repeatedly and consistently over hours and hours that he was not aware of a military hold during the July 25 call."
Ratcliffe also pointed to Zelensky's official press release following the July 25 call, where Zelensky said, "Our phone conversation bears no relation to arms. They blocked the provision of military assistance prior to our conversation, but the issue had not been discussed during our conversation -- I mean, I didn't even know."
Ratcliffe asked Taylor if he has any evidence that President Zelensky was lying when he said those things.
"I have no reason to doubt what the president said," Taylor responded.
Ratcliffe told Taylor:
Mr. Ambassador, I think everyone knows that House Democrats have made up their mind to impeach one president. The question that we've just learned is, whether or not they're prepared to impeach two.
Because to be clear, if House Democrats impeach President Trump for a quid pro quo involving military aid, they have to call President Zelensky a liar. If they impeach him for abusing his power or pressuring or making threats or demands, they have to call President Zelensky a liar to do it. If they impeach President Trump for blackmail or extortion or making threats or demands, they have to call President Trump (he meant President Zelensky) a liar to do it.
In his five minutes of questioning, Ratcliffe also asked Taylor and State Department official George Kent to identify the "impeachable offense" in the July 25 phone call.
He was met with silence, until Taylor finally responded that it wasn't his job or Kent's job to decide an impeachable offense. "This is your job," Taylor told Ratcliffe.
President Trump tweeted Thursday morning: "
.@RepRatcliffe asked the two “star” witnesses, “where is the impeachable event in that call?” Both stared straight ahead with a blank look on their face, remained silent, & were unable to answer the question. That would be the end of a case run by normal people! - but not Shifty!