Diplomat testifies it was his 'clear understanding' that Ukraine aid depended upon investigations

Bill Taylor.
(Image credit: OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images)

A U.S. diplomat told Congress it was his "clear understanding" that President Trump was tying aid to Ukraine to the country conducting investigations that might benefit him politically.

William Taylor, acting ambassador to Ukraine, in his recent testimony before Congress describes being told by U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland that Trump wanted Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to "state publicly that Ukraine will investigate Burisma," the gas company where former Vice President Joe Biden's son served on the board, and alleged Ukrainian interference in the 2016 presidential election. The House of Representatives is investigating whether Trump withheld aid to secure investigations that he thought could help him in the 2020 election.

It had previously been reported that Taylor said he was told "everything," including the aid and a meeting between Trump and Ukraine's president, "was dependent" upon the announcement of these investigations. But the full transcript released Wednesday provided additional details about Taylor's testimony and his description of an alleged quid pro quo.

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For instance, when House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) asked Taylor if he was saying he was under the impression that if Ukraine "didn't do this, the investigations, they weren't going to get that, the meeting and the military assistance," Taylor responded, "that was my clear understanding, security assistance money would not come until the president committed to pursue the investigation."

Schiff also asked Taylor if he is "aware that quid pro quo literally means this for that," to which Taylor responded, "I am." Trump has denied allegations of a quid pro quo, and Taylor testified that Sondland said the president told him "it was not a quid pro quo."

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