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The Latest: White House slams testimony as ‘triple hearsay’

Jerrold Nadler

House Judiciary Committee Chairnam Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., leaves at the conclusion of a House Democratic Caucus meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2019. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on President Donald Trump and testimony by Ambassador William Taylor in the House impeachment probe (all times local):

6:10 p.m.

The White House is slamming testimony from former U.S. Ambassador William Taylor as part of the House impeachment inquiry “triple hearsay” and insisting that President Donald Trump “has done nothing wrong.”

Press secretary Stephanie Grisham released a statement Tuesday after Taylor told lawmakers that Trump had made clear that vital military aid to Ukraine hinged on the country’s new president making a public statement that he was opening an investigation into a company linked to the family of Trump’s potential 2020 Democratic rival Joe Biden and the 2016 election.

Grisham insists “there was no quid pro quo.” She says, “Today was just more triple hearsay and selective leaks from the Democrats’ politically-motivated, closed door, secretive hearings.”

And she is slamming the inquiry as “nonsense” and “a coordinated smear campaign.”


4:50 p.m.

A diplomat is telling Congress that President Donald Trump wanted to put Ukraine’s leader “in a public box” by withholding security assistance until they agreed to open an investigation linked to Joe Biden’s family.

That’s according to the opening statement delivered Tuesday by William Taylor to House impeachment investigators. The 15-page document was obtained by The Associated Press.

Taylor told Congress that Ambassador Gordon Sondland was the one who relayed Trump’s position. He says Sondland told him “everything” that Ukraine wanted from the United States was dependent on the country agreeing to investigate the gas firm Burisma, where Biden’s son served on the board, and the 2016 U.S. election.

Democrats say the testimony points to what Trump has long denied: a quid pro quo for an investigation of his political rival.


4:10 p.m.

A State Department official has told Congress that U.S. military aid to Ukraine was withheld until the country’s leader agreed to investigate a gas company tied to Joe Biden’s family.

That’s according to a copy of diplomat William Taylor’s opening statement to House impeachment investigators Tuesday. The statement was obtained by The Washington Post and published online.

Taylor says Ambassador Gordon Sondland told him “everything” Ukraine wanted from the United States, including a visit with President Donald Trump and millions of dollars in security aid, was dependent on the country agreeing to investigate the gas firm Burisma and the 2016 U.S. election. Taylor said a White House official told him the same thing.

Democrats say the testimony points to what Trump has long denied: a quid pro quo for an investigation of his political rival.


11:45 a.m.

Three federal officials, including one from the FBI, say they believe it’s inappropriate for a president to ask a foreign government to investigate a political rival.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler posed that question at a committee hearing Tuesday on election security. Nadler was referencing a July phone call in which President Donald Trump prodded his Ukrainian counterpart to investigate Democratic rival Joe Biden.

Three officials answered that it was not appropriate to ask a foreign leader for a political investigation.

A deputy assistant attorney general in the Justice Department’s national security division, Adam Hickey, said he would not comment on the president’s activities.

Trump has denied doing anything wrong.

The top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, William Taylor, was drawn into a Trump administration effort to leverage U.S. military aid for Ukraine. Taylor is on Capitol Hill to testify behind closed doors.


12:35 a.m.

Members of Congress are set to hear directly from the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, who was drawn into a Trump administration effort to leverage U.S. military aid for the country.

William Taylor is scheduled to testify before closed doors Tuesday in an inquiry trying to determine if Trump committed impeachable offenses by pressing the president of Ukraine into pursuing information that could help his campaign.

In excerpts of text messages released by impeachment investigators in Congress, Taylor wrote: “I think it’s crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign.”

Taylor was tapped for the post after U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch was removed before the end of her term following a campaign against her led by Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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