Second Trump call on Ukraine reveals president's insistence on Biden probe
A top US diplomat told Congress on Wednesday, in the impeachment hearings on Donald Trump, that a member of his staff had overheard the president on the phone with Ukraine pressing for a probe into the Biden family.
William Taylor, the acting US ambassador to Ukraine, said an unnamed member of his staff overheard a 26 July phone call between Trump and Gordon Sondland, the US ambassador to the EU.
Taylor said: “The member of my staff could hear President Trump on the phone, asking ambassador Sondland about ‘the investigations".
Taylor told the House intelligence committee that "the member of my staff asked Ambassador Sondland what President Trump thought about Ukraine. Ambassador Sondland responded that President Trump cares more about the investigations of Biden, which Giuliani was pressing for."
Taylor gave testimony at the impeachment hearing called by Democrats, probing allegations that Trump leveraged US official policy on Ukraine to secure political benefits for himself.
“Ambassador Sondland told President Trump that the Ukrainians were ready to move forward,” said Taylor.
The comments acted to reinforce the belief that the effort led by Rudy Giuliani - Trump’s personal attorney at the time - to secure the investigations through means that included withholding congressionally-approved military aid to Ukraine, was real.
Trump still claims he does not “recall” the phone conversation with Gordon Sondland, where he allegedly pressed for updates on investigations into the Bidens and the 2016 election.
Trump recently told a reporter regarding the calls: “I know nothing about that, first time I’ve heard it”.
But Adam Schiff, the Democratic chair said: “The matter is as simple and as terrible as that. Our answer to these questions will affect not only the future of this presidency but the future of the presidency itself.”