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William Taylor, a career diplomat, went behind closed doors in the basement of the Capitol on Tuesday and told a tale that added up to the ultimate oxymoron - a 10-hour bureaucratic thriller.
His testimony was laden with precision - names, dates, places, policy statements and diplomatic nuance, not typically the stuff of intrigue. But from the moment Taylor revealed that his wife and his mentor had given him conflicting advice on whether he should even get involved, the drama began to unfold.
Instead, on June 17, Taylor, a West Point graduate, Vietnam veteran and tenured foreign service officer, arrived in Ukraine’s capital of Kyiv as the chief of mission. He had been recalled to service after the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine had been forced out. That alone offered foreshadowing of troubles to come.
And, soon enough, Taylor said in his written opening statement, he discovered “a weird combination of encouraging, confusing and ultimately alarming circumstances.”
The story Taylor related from there amounted to a detailed, almost prosecutorial, rejoinder to White House efforts to frame President Donald Trump’s actions in Ukraine as perfectly normal and unworthy of an impeachment investigation. With each documented conversation, he made it harder for the president to press his argument that there was no quid pro quo in which he held up military aid to advance his political interests.
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