It took all of about 90 minutes for the public phase of the House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump to yield its first big new revelation.
Appearing this morning before the House Intelligence Committee, Ambassador William Taylor told lawmakers—and the millions of people watching around the world—that on the day after his now-infamous call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Trump personally asked a top U.S. diplomat, Ambassador Gordon Sondland, about the investigations he wanted Zelensky to pursue against the Biden family. Taylor told the committee that a member of his staff overheard the call between Trump and Sondland and then asked Sondland, the ambassador to the European Union, what the president thought about Ukraine.
“Ambassador Sondland responded that President Trump cares more about the investigations of Biden, which [Rudy] Giuliani was pressing for,” Taylor testified, referring to the presidential lawyer and former New York City mayor, who had been conducting a back-channel effort in Ukraine on Trump’s behalf.
Taylor, the ambassador to Ukraine, had already testified for hours behind closed doors before the House Intelligence Committee last month, and much of the account he delivered this morning had already become public in transcripts of his earlier deposition. But this part of the story was new and potentially damaging to the president’s case. Taylor told lawmakers that this staff member only informed him about the Trump-Sondland phone call in the days after his private deposition on October 22.