Trump wanted public statement by Zelensky about start of investigation into Burisma – Taylor
U.S. Chargé d'Affaires a.i. in Ukraine William Taylor has said that it was not enough for U.S. President Donald Trump to receive a personal pledge from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate the Burisma Holdings company, where Joe Biden Hunter, the son of former U.S. Vice President, worked.
"I realized that President Trump, through Ambassador Sondland (U.S. Ambassador to the EU Gordon Sondland), asked President Zelensky to publicly order these investigations, it was not enough to promise this personally, he needed a public statement," Taylor said during a public hearing on impeachment against President Donald Trump on Wednesday in the U.S. House of Representatives.
The ambassador called alarming the use of the need for investigations in return for military assistance.
"It’s one thing to use the lever of pressure to meet in the White House. Another thing, I think, is to use the lever to provide security assistance - a country in a state of war, dependent on assistance and demonstration of support. This is much more alarming," Taylor noted.
The diplomat also said that he had recently learned that on July 26, the day after Trump and Zelensky's call, Ambassador Sondland was present at a meeting with "the highest Ukrainian official in Kiev."
So, in particular, an embassy official accompanied Sondland to a restaurant after this meeting, where the latter phoned the U.S. president.
"Ambassador Sondland told President Trump that the Ukrainians are ready to move forward," Taylor said.
Taylor said his employee then asked Sondland about the conversation.