Former National Security Council and State Department official Tara Sonenshine appeared on CNN Thursday and spoke about the impeachment probe into Donald Trump, which went public on Wednesday. In particular, Sonenshine highlighted the testimony of acting U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, Bill Taylor, and his revelation that Trump used an “irregular” diplomatic channel in his efforts to push Ukraine to investigate political opponent Joe Biden, Newsweek reports.
“We have this kind of secret, informal, irregular channel. What it added up to, was taking a wrecking ball to American national security,” Sonenshine said.
“Taking established procedures, that involved our security our safety, getting on phone calls, talking on open lines, this is not how you secure a nation and its people.”
According to Sonenshine, the Ukraine scandal has harmed morale — which she says is “dangerously low” under Trump’s administration — at the State Department.
The impeachment probe was sparked by Trump’s phone call with Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky, in which he is accused of withholding military aid to pressure Zelensky to dig up dirt on Biden and his son, Hunter. The president also asked Zelensky to investigate a conspiracy theory that Democrats worked with Ukrainians to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.
Per Vox, Taylor’s testimony Wednesday revealed a previously unknown call involving Trump. Taylor described the account of an unnamed member of his embassy staff — believed to be David Holmes, per CBS News — that went to a restaurant with Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland on July 26, the day after Trump’s phone call with Zelensky. The staffer allegedly witnessed Sondland call Trump and heard Trump ask Sondland about “investigations” over the phone. Sondland reportedly said that Ukraine was ready to conduct such investigations.
Bill Taylor: The President of the United States ordered the President of Ukraine to go to a microphone and announce an investigation into Joe Biden.
— Pod Save America (@PodSaveAmerica) November 13, 2019
Sondland reportedly then told the staffer that Trump’s interest in Ukraine was mainly motivated by the investigations into Biden, highlighting just how involved Trump was with the campaign to apply pressure on Ukraine.
As The Inquisitr reported, Sondland’s call was allegedly overheard by a second U.S. embassy official believed to be Suriya Jayanti. The official — identified in the report as a “foreign service officer” — was reportedly at the restaurant table while the call took place.
As of now, Holmes is scheduled to testify behind closed doors in Congress on Friday, while it’s unclear if Jayanti will testify at all. Regardless, Jayanti may be a witness because she allegedly heard complaints of efforts on the part of Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, to remove ambassador Marie Yovanovitch. Yovanovitch reportedly lied under oath during her testimony as part of the inquiry into the president.