Impeachment transcript for State Department official released

President Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch Mc Connell at a campaign rally in Lexington Ky. on Monday

Top US diplomat in Ukraine says there was 'clear understanding' aid tied to investigation announcement

In an orchestrated rollout alongside the release of a transcript of Trump's Ukraine call, the department publicly announced that criminal division prosecutors had found no wrongdoing by the President, at least as it relates to campaign finance law.

Marie Yovanovitch, who served as former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine until May when she was dismissed, will testify Friday.

He described the intent by President Trump, as described by another diplomat, to put Ukraine's president "in a public box" committing to investigations that Trump thought might help him in the 2020 elections.

"I have not talked to the president", Taylor said.

In the final stretch of questioning, Rep. Lee Zeldin, R-N.Y., Taylor conceded he didn't "know what was in the president's mind". "And I quit", should that hypothetical scenario unfold, he said. "And [Ukraine Finance Minister] Danyliuk, at least, understood and I'm sure that he briefed President Zelensky".

Sondland submitted the supplemental testimony on Monday after testimony by other officials, including Bill Taylor, the top U.S. diplomat at the embassy in Kyiv.

Taylor Jr., the top USA official in Ukraine and a key witness in the impeachment inquiry into President Trump, told House investigators about a "nightmare" foreign policy gambit in pursuit of political dirt against Joe Biden that he believed was likely to embolden Russian Federation and how he threatened to resign over it.

The State Department officials set to testify next week had all previously provided potentially damaging information regarding the administration's conduct in dealings with Ukraine.

Democrats said they had enough material to move forward with public impeachment hearings even though some Trump administration officials have refused to cooperate.

Taylor's account has now been corroborated by other officials.

"Let me be clear: Mr. Giuliani does not work for me or for my mission, and I do not know what official or unofficial role, if any, he has with the State Department", he said in his opening statement.

"I asked him something like, shouldn't we let everybody else know who's supposed to be on this call?"

"This suggested to me that the normal channel, where you would have staff on the phone call, was being cut out".

People familiar with the matter say the highest-ranking career diplomat in the foreign service, David Hale, plans to say that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and other senior officials determined that defending Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch would hurt the effort to free up USA military assistance to Ukraine.

They argued that Taylor's testimony shows how a "shadow foreign policy channel" pursued by Giuliani, along with Sondland and Volker, "placed huge pressure on the Ukrainian government to accomplish the President's goal".

When U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland testified to the congressional impeachment inquiry last month, he denied ever having been part of a quid-pro-quo scheme.

William Taylor arrives for a closed deposition on Capitol Hill, in Washington, D.C., on October 22, 2019.

On Nov. 15, Yovanovitch will testify, he added.

Separately on Tuesday, House investigators released text messages from Taylor in which he expressed concerns to Volker that he was "struggling" with a decision to take the top Ukraine job because he was anxious whether anyone could "succeed with the Giuliani-Biden issue swirling for the next 18 months".

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