A top United States diplomat in Ukraine on Tuesday testified that President Donald Trump would withhold military aid to the country until it publicly declared that politically motivated investigations would be launched against his rivals, CNN reported.
The comments by William Taylor, a career diplomat and former Army officer who serves as the charge d’affaires in the US embassy in Ukraine, marked an important development in the impeachment investigation against Trump.
In a closed-door testimony to the three Democratic-led House of Representatives committees, Taylor mentioned in detail about his meeting with senior US officials, and that he learned how Trump and his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani pushed Ukraine to open an investigation against Joe Biden and his son and the 2016 presidential election.
Former Vice President Joe Biden is a leading Democratic contender in the fight against Trump in the 2020 presidential election. The inquiry could lead to a trial in the Senate on whether to remove Trump from office.
Taylor alleged that Trump administration had established an “irregular, informal channel of US policy-making” that ran counter to stated diplomatic goals, Reuters reported. “It is a rancorous story about whistleblowers, Mr. Giuliani, side channels, quid pro quos, corruption, and interference in elections,” Taylor testified.
Trump has denied any wrongdoing in the matter and repeatedly attacked the investigation.
“There was no quid pro quo,” said White House spokesperson Stephanie Grisham. “Today was just more triple hearsay and selective leaks from the Democrats’ politically-motivated, closed door, secretive hearings,” she added.
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