TLDRUpFront: Strong testimony today from Ambassador William Taylor before the House Intelligence Committee marks another break in the wall around President Trump.
FullContext in the Back:
Ambassador Taylor replaced Ambassador Yovanovitch in May for Ukraine. An Army combat veteran and life-long career civil servant under multiple Republican and Democratic administrations he provides an extremely compelling testimony.
He was already aware he may be walking into a scandal based on Yovanovitch’s sacking, so he kept meticulous notes throughout the entire timeline of the Ukrainian abuse-of-power scandal, including memorializing conversations at the times they occurred for record keeping.
Also, as a central figure in the activities his opening statement provides the connective fabric between the previously provided bits by the whistleblowers, Sondland, Volker, Hill, and corroborates multiple accounts of the behaviors of Giuliani, Perry, Bolton, and Mulvaney. He demonstrates how an official diplomatic channel (DoS, DoD, CIA, NSA) operated in parallel with what he called an “irregular” diplomatic channel consisting of Giuliani, Perry, Sondland and Mulvaney.
He even relates how the “formal channel” heard from an off-screen OMB staffer on a video conference call that military aid was held up on direct request from the President and how that kicked over an ant’s hill within the Executive Branch: the DoD rushing to reverse it, CIA and DoS protesting, and the National Security Advisor alerting White House lawyers that improper behavior was going on.
This all surrounds and confirms the quid-pro-quo transactional relationship: President Trump was using US national security policy as a bargaining chip in return for foreign governmental assistance in domestic US election politics.
Again, an impeachment does not need to establish quid pro quo to establish abuse of power. But it becomes a far more compelling case when such can be established.
And with the White House ban on testimony – the only evidence Democrats are acquiring is favorable to the Democratic case and damning to the President as discussed previously.
Separately House Speaker Pelosi is describing shifting from closed-door testimony to open hearings. The current procedure is that witnesses submit prepared remarks, which are then released by the Committee (which is what’s linked in the sources.) Witnesses then sit in Q&A for several hours. That occurs “behind closed doors”, due to the national security considerations both of the topic (military aid to Ukraine) and that the inquiry may touch on how the White House stores, records, and transmits classified information – all of which is highly sensitive. I do not know if there is a video record of it, but there are going to be transcripts made by the Committee staff. But first they’re going to go through and make sure there are no inadvertent leaks of what should be classified material, and if there is, that those are redacted.
In a way, one can consider this part of the inquiry as the “investigation”. They’re collecting as much information as they can (or are allowed too) and finding where the bodies are so to speak. If they move into open-hearings those will most likely be of a nature of “making the case” where they recall these witnesses to repeat what they’ve already said once but in an open format.
However, due to Ambassador Taylor’s testimony the Committee has already called Ambassador Sondland to ‘clarify’ a few of his remarks as Taylor’s testimony contradicts, and has supporting documentation in the form of time-stamped dated memos, Sondland’s. We’re going back to Sonderland!
I think we’ll see more of that going forward. I’m noticing a trend that on each new pass the list of witnesses isn’t expanding as much, and there’s more corroboration or commentary on previous areas. That means they’re filling in the “boundary” as it were, but not going too far outside it. Like a clock counting down, when the boundary is “mostly full” I think we’ll see them begin having open hearings with a focus more on creating that “here’s the case” narrative.
From a timing standpoint it’s in their best interests to to delay a Senate trial starting until after 2020 primaries are complete on the GOP side.
Opening statement of Ambassador Taylor
Discussion on how the White House defense strategy: deny, delay, obstruct – may be backfiring on them since it only seems to be being followed by those who might help the President.
Discussion of Boundary & Factor analysis of abuse of power charge.
Original Facebook Post: www.facebook.com/tim.clancy.313/posts/10211169850962709