Seven questions for Ambassador Bill Taylor

Another secret hearing, another supposedly damning indictment of President Trump, another set of selective leaks from the Left.  Based on the current headlines, it's all over for President Trump.

Seems the testimony of former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Bill Taylor has finally done him in, according to the breathless press reports.  Here are the typical headlines:

Ukraine ambassador William Taylor's testimony backs Senate Republicans into a corner —Washington Examiner

The Most Damning Impeachment Testimony Yet —New York Times (they've got a ton of them on their site like this)

And in a nice case of trial by selective leak, Time magazine has "obtained" a copy of Taylor's opening statement, but not any transcript of the questions he may have answered.  Based on news reports, we already know that Republicans such as GOP rep. Andy Biggs have not been allowed into Democratic House Intelligence Committee chairman Rep. Adam Schiff's secret basement "hearings," despite, in Biggs's case, obvious standing to be there as a House Judiciary committee member.  But House ranking Intelligence Committee member Rep. Devin Nunes apparently couldn't be turned away.  Unlike whoever leaked that opening statement transcript, Nunes was keeping to the Schiff rules yet could see what was going on.  Last night, Nunes told Sean Hannity that none of the witnesses has provided any smoking guns to convict President Trump.

Once again, we get "clarity" from carefully released leaks, as Thomas Lifson has noted here.  Some clarity.

That leaves us with just the selectively leaked opening statement by Taylor, and the press's questionable "it's all over for Trump" headlines.  Nunes was there, and he's a consistently credible source.

It shows the problems that go on with holding secret hearings, something Democrats have bellowed mightily about in the past, hollering "functioning democracy" is at stake, as Hannity splendidly reported.

In a fair and open hearing, some actual questions could be asked of Taylor, a NeverTrump with a lot of laurels, as he emphasizes in his leaked transcript, and maybe the public could then see if Trump was really backed into a corner. 

Here are five that I'd ask:

Was he a NeverTrump?  How come his lawyer, John Bellingham, is a rabid NeverTrump who helped draft the infamous 2016 statement calling Trump "the most reckless president in American history"?  It would cast perspective on whether Taylor was just another swamp thing outraged at President Trump's election, as so much of the laureled Washington establishment actually is.  It's possible Taylor has some "interests" in ousting President Trump and that ought to be on the record.

Is he an overly rigid military general whose real beef was more than one channel of communication, feeling left out and angry his status was being undercut?  Chain of command and all that versus the way presidents of all parties often conduct diplomacy, including President Obama.  Seems to be the message from the statement, so maybe the question could have been asked.

Is his interest in Ukraine, and his rice bowl of being a Ukraine expert, maybe evidence he's "gone native," as so many of them do?  "Ukraine is special to me," he said in his leaked opening statement.  Really?  Going native is a no-no in diplomacy, but a lot of them ignore that and end up advocating for the interests of the countries they are stationed in.  Lot of us have seen that time and again, including in the sad case of Ambassador Chris Stevens.

Those are harsh personal questions, and obviously, Taylor won't answer any of them with any direct "yes" answers, but they need to be explored for perspective because it's pretty much the possibility that he had political motives based on what he's stated about himself.

Here are some far harsher questions he ought to answer based on the known facts.

Why the heck did he gloss over his involvement in a non-government organization in Ukraine, not stating its name for the record?  Here's what he said:

I had served as Ambassador to Ukraine from 2006 to 2009, having been nominated by George W. Bush, and, in the intervening 10 years, I have stayed engaged with Ukraine, visiting frequently since 2013 as a board member of a small Ukrainian non-governmental organization supporting good governance and reform.

A search of that was not easy to find, but it seems he served on the board of something called the U.S.-Ukraine Business Council, which has been credibly called a Soros front group.  That might just shift the motivation for his supposed Trump indictment just a little.  Turns out the U.S.-Ukraine Business Council is involved with Burisma, too.  Ummmm...

What about Taylor's meetings with Schiff's staff ahead of the impeachment inquiry?  Turns out the witness they pre-coordinated with was...Taylor.

What about the news that the U.S. embassy pressured Ukraine in 2016 to drop another investigation of another Soros front group -- that apparently was taking millions? John Solomon has the report here. What did Taylor, with his fingers in both pots, know about that?

Was there any corruption at the U.S. embassy being covered up on Taylor's watch, particularly when Ukraine's prosecutor, Viktor Shokin, was threatening to go after Burisma, and eventually got fired in a real quid pro quo operation by Biden during the Obama administration?

These are questions that could and should have been asked. Maybe they were behind closed doors by Republicans, but that certainly isn't being leaked.

One thing we do know from Nunes is that Taylor didn't prove any corruption on Trump's part. Whether that was by accident or design is not known, but it shows why secrecy and selective leaks are so unfair and undemocratic. 

I'll go with Nunes over the press any day of the week. The case rises for opening these hearings.

Image credit: Fox News via YouTube, screen shot.

Another secret hearing, another supposedly damning indictment of President Trump, another set of selective leaks from the Left.  Based on the current headlines, it's all over for President Trump.

Seems the testimony of former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Bill Taylor has finally done him in, according to the breathless press reports.  Here are the typical headlines:

Ukraine ambassador William Taylor's testimony backs Senate Republicans into a corner —Washington Examiner

The Most Damning Impeachment Testimony Yet —New York Times (they've got a ton of them on their site like this)

And in a nice case of trial by selective leak, Time magazine has "obtained" a copy of Taylor's opening statement, but not any transcript of the questions he may have answered.  Based on news reports, we already know that Republicans such as GOP rep. Andy Biggs have not been allowed into Democratic House Intelligence Committee chairman Rep. Adam Schiff's secret basement "hearings," despite, in Biggs's case, obvious standing to be there as a House Judiciary committee member.  But House ranking Intelligence Committee member Rep. Devin Nunes apparently couldn't be turned away.  Unlike whoever leaked that opening statement transcript, Nunes was keeping to the Schiff rules yet could see what was going on.  Last night, Nunes told Sean Hannity that none of the witnesses has provided any smoking guns to convict President Trump.

Once again, we get "clarity" from carefully released leaks, as Thomas Lifson has noted here.  Some clarity.

That leaves us with just the selectively leaked opening statement by Taylor, and the press's questionable "it's all over for Trump" headlines.  Nunes was there, and he's a consistently credible source.

It shows the problems that go on with holding secret hearings, something Democrats have bellowed mightily about in the past, hollering "functioning democracy" is at stake, as Hannity splendidly reported.

In a fair and open hearing, some actual questions could be asked of Taylor, a NeverTrump with a lot of laurels, as he emphasizes in his leaked transcript, and maybe the public could then see if Trump was really backed into a corner. 

Here are five that I'd ask:

Was he a NeverTrump?  How come his lawyer, John Bellingham, is a rabid NeverTrump who helped draft the infamous 2016 statement calling Trump "the most reckless president in American history"?  It would cast perspective on whether Taylor was just another swamp thing outraged at President Trump's election, as so much of the laureled Washington establishment actually is.  It's possible Taylor has some "interests" in ousting President Trump and that ought to be on the record.

Is he an overly rigid military general whose real beef was more than one channel of communication, feeling left out and angry his status was being undercut?  Chain of command and all that versus the way presidents of all parties often conduct diplomacy, including President Obama.  Seems to be the message from the statement, so maybe the question could have been asked.

Is his interest in Ukraine, and his rice bowl of being a Ukraine expert, maybe evidence he's "gone native," as so many of them do?  "Ukraine is special to me," he said in his leaked opening statement.  Really?  Going native is a no-no in diplomacy, but a lot of them ignore that and end up advocating for the interests of the countries they are stationed in.  Lot of us have seen that time and again, including in the sad case of Ambassador Chris Stevens.

Those are harsh personal questions, and obviously, Taylor won't answer any of them with any direct "yes" answers, but they need to be explored for perspective because it's pretty much the possibility that he had political motives based on what he's stated about himself.

Here are some far harsher questions he ought to answer based on the known facts.

Why the heck did he gloss over his involvement in a non-government organization in Ukraine, not stating its name for the record?  Here's what he said:

I had served as Ambassador to Ukraine from 2006 to 2009, having been nominated by George W. Bush, and, in the intervening 10 years, I have stayed engaged with Ukraine, visiting frequently since 2013 as a board member of a small Ukrainian non-governmental organization supporting good governance and reform.

A search of that was not easy to find, but it seems he served on the board of something called the U.S.-Ukraine Business Council, which has been credibly called a Soros front group.  That might just shift the motivation for his supposed Trump indictment just a little.  Turns out the U.S.-Ukraine Business Council is involved with Burisma, too.  Ummmm...

What about Taylor's meetings with Schiff's staff ahead of the impeachment inquiry?  Turns out the witness they pre-coordinated with was...Taylor.

What about the news that the U.S. embassy pressured Ukraine in 2016 to drop another investigation of another Soros front group -- that apparently was taking millions? John Solomon has the report here. What did Taylor, with his fingers in both pots, know about that?

Was there any corruption at the U.S. embassy being covered up on Taylor's watch, particularly when Ukraine's prosecutor, Viktor Shokin, was threatening to go after Burisma, and eventually got fired in a real quid pro quo operation by Biden during the Obama administration?

These are questions that could and should have been asked. Maybe they were behind closed doors by Republicans, but that certainly isn't being leaked.

One thing we do know from Nunes is that Taylor didn't prove any corruption on Trump's part. Whether that was by accident or design is not known, but it shows why secrecy and selective leaks are so unfair and undemocratic. 

I'll go with Nunes over the press any day of the week. The case rises for opening these hearings.

Image credit: Fox News via YouTube, screen shot.