Ambassador Bill Taylor is concerned about process. The longtime diplomat—who began his career as a West Point cadet, went on to a role as an infantry officer in Vietnam, and now serves as a chief of mission in Ukraine—reluctantly took his current position in Kiev only to discover what he called last week “a confusing and unusual arrangement for making U.S. policy” toward Ukraine. There were, he said, “two channels of U.S. policy making and implementation, one regular and one highly irregular.”
The irregular channel, as Taylor described it while testifying to Congress in the course of its ongoing impeachment inquiry, included a trio of officials and Rudy Giuliani, the president’s personal attorney. That irregular channel, Taylor testified, was conducting a policy that deviated from traditional U.S. policy—holding military aid to Ukraine hostage to the willingness of Ukrainian officials to conduct “investigations” into the president’s political opponents.
What does a long-serving public servant do when he has such process concerns—in this case, process concerns that give rise to substantive concerns of the highest order? He raises them internally. He argues. He keeps copious notes. He sends text messages. He tries to manage the situation. He threatens to resign. And ultimately, he writes a 15-page opening statement before giving what appears to be detailed testimony to the House inquiry considering the impeachment of the president.