Testimony from U.S. diplomat Bill Taylor was “very damaging to Donald Trump” on the first day of public impeachment hearings, Fox News host Chris Wallace says.
Taylor served as the top U.S. diplomat to Ukraine and had raised concerns about Trump apparently holding up military aid as a means of pressuring the Ukrainian president into investigating Joe Biden and Biden’s son, Hunter. Taylor testified on Wednesday before the House Intelligence Committee, saying that Trump’s urging of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to launch a public investigation of the Bidens appeared to be motivated solely by politics.
Wallace said that Taylor’s testimony struck a major blow to Trump’s impeachment defense.
“I think that William Taylor was a very impressive witness and was very damaging to the president,” Wallace said, via The Hill.
Wallace added that Republicans in Congress could still blunt the effect of Taylor’s testimony, but noted that the U.S. diplomat’s thorough testimony and painstaking recording of events made for strong testimony. Wallace noted how in Taylor’s opening statement, he used direct quotes from what was said during deliberations over withholding aid that were taken from his copious notes on the proceedings as they happened.
It was more than just his thorough nature that made Taylor a strong witness, Wallace said, adding that it “doesn’t hurt that he has a voice like Edward R. Murrow.”
After Republicans offered a defense of Trump by claiming that the impeachment hearings are motivated by politics and a witch hunt against Trump, Wallace noted that Taylor offered a strong counterpoint.
“He is a pretty impressive presence up there. And, I think, very nonpolitical,” Wallace noted. “He went out of his way to talk about what he knew, what he was specifically testament to. The only thing he talked about was a strong feeling that it was in the U.S. national security interest to support Ukraine in the fight against Russia. But he certainly wasn’t taking any partisan position.”
Wallace was not the only one to peg Taylor’s testimony as damaging to Trump. During the hearing, Taylor revealed a yet-undisclosed and potentially damaging phone call between Trump and the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, Gordon Sondland. Taylor said the call took place one day after the phone call between Trump and Zelensky in which Trump urged the Ukrainian president to “look into” the Bidens. As CBS News reported, Taylor testified that he heard Trump ask Sondland about “the investigations” and that when asked afterward what Trump thought of Ukraine, Sondland said the president was more concerned with their investigation of the Bidens.