John Thune, the second-highest ranked Republican in the Senate, said Wednesday that the impression coming from top Ukraine diplomat Bill Taylor’s testimony is “not a good one.”
“The picture coming out of it, based on the reporting that we’ve seen, I would say is not a good one,” he said to assembled reporters, per CNN. “But I would say also that until we have a process that allows for everybody to see this in full transparency, it’s pretty hard to draw any hard and fast conclusions.”
Thune’s office did not immediately respond to a request for elaboration.
During Taylor’s testimony Tuesday, he painted perhaps the most explicit picture yet of the quid pro quo President Donald Trump and those in his inner circle pressured Ukraine with in the hopes of manufacturing a phony scandal concerning former Vice President Joe Biden.
Thune’s statement is notable coming from such a high-ranking Republican, as many of his peers have stayed in lockstep with Trump, or at least reticent on the issue, throughout the impeachment inquiry so far.
Thune’s superior, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), also distanced himself from the President this week, flatly contradicting Trump’s claim that the two discussed Trump’s July call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and that McConnell deemed it “the most innocent phone call” he’d ever heard.
McConnell said Tuesday that he doesn’t “recall” having any conversation with Trump about the call.