House Asks Current Top Diplomat In Ukraine To Testify Next Week

Charge d'affaires at the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine Bill Taylor speaks during a press-conference about US-Ukrainian relations, in Kiev, Ukraine, on 27 July 2019. (Photo by STR/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
October 16, 2019 2:10 p.m.

House Democrats this week asked Bill Taylor, the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, to testify as part of the impeachment inquiry.

In a letter to Taylor, Democratic committee chairs leading the inquiry asked him to attend a deposition on Oct. 22. Previously, they wrote, they’d asked him to attend an Oct. 15 deposition. The chairs of the House Intelligence, Oversight and Foreign Affairs Committees signed the request, which was dated Oct. 14 and was obtained by NBC News.

Taylor is currently the United States’ top diplomat in Ukraine after the recall of Marie Yovanovitch in May. Yovanovitch testified on Friday.

In explosive text messages turned over to Congress earlier this month by former U.S. special envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker, Taylor is seen expressing alarm over the prospect of the United States withholding military aid to Ukraine while President Donald Trump insisted that the country provide dirt on his rivals.

“I think it’s crazy to withold security assistance for help with a political campaign,” Taylor said in one text message.

Ambassador to the European Union Gordan Sondland replied in the text exchange that Trump “has been crystal clear no quid pro quo’s [sic] of any kind.”

Reports have subsequently indicated that Sondland plans to tell Congress that Trump ordered him to send that text.

CNN reported on Friday that Taylor had been asked to testify, though at the time, the outlet said Taylor’s testimony had not yet been formally scheduled.

The House has subpoenaed several witnesses for their appearances in light of Trump administration efforts to prevent depositions. Sondland, for example, initially skipped scheduled testimony after he was forbidden by the State Department. He’s now scheduled to testify on Thursday.

Notwithstanding the State Department’s current direction to not testify, Ambassador Sondland will honor the committees’ subpoena,” Sondland’s attorney said.

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