US diplomat links Trump to order to withhold aid to Ukraine

Bill Taylor told Congress during the impeachment inquiry that the president had made the order, and he detailed the White House’s pressure campaign.
3:52 | 10/22/19

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Transcript for US diplomat links Trump to order to withhold aid to Ukraine
to have you with us here on a very busy Tuesday night. And we begin with what the Democrats tonight are calling the most damaging testimony yet in the impeachment inquiry. Some Republicans concerned tonight, too. What the top U.S. Diplomat to Ukraine said today about president trump and about that money withheld from Ukraine. That diplomat, bill Taylor, testifying under subpoena, that the order to withhold U.S. Military aid came directly from the president and that giving Ukraine that money meant the Ukrainian president would have to say publicly he was investigating the Bidens, the company Joe Biden's son worked for and the Democrats in the 2016 election. ABC's Mary Bruce leads us off from the hill tonight. Reporter: Tonight, the top U.S. Diplomat in Ukraine, bill Taylor, is directly linking president trump to the heart of the impeachment inquiry. Telling congress tum P himself ordered a hold on foreign aid to Ukraine until that country's president publicly declared they would investigate the Bidens and debunked theories about the 2016 election. In my ten short months in congress, it's not even noon, right, and this is the -- my most disturbing day in congress so far. Reporter: Democrats in the room say there were audible gasps and sighs as Taylor, a career dip low malt, detailed the white house's pressure campaign. Taylor says he was given no official reason for why millions of dollars in foreign aid was held up but that the U.S. Ambassador to the eu told him president trump wanted the Ukrainian president to announce a public investigation into his democratic rivals. Ambassador sondland said everything was dependent on such an announcement, including security assistance. He said that president trump wanted president zelensky in a public box by making a public statement about ordering such investigations." The president's acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, has admitted military aid was cut off in part to pressure Ukraine to investigate Democrats. Did he also mention to me in the past the corruption related to the DNC server, absolutely, no question about that. What you just described is a quid pro quo. It is funding will not flow unless the investigation into the democratic server happens, as well. We do -- we do that all the time with foreign policy. Reporter: Mulvaney has since tried to walk that back, but Taylor today testified that it was clear, that money would not come unless Ukraine investigated. He says "My understanding is that the secretaries of defense and state, the CIA director and the national security adviser sought a joint meeting with the president to convince him to release the hold" but that meeting never happened. But Taylor saying trump was adamant, that the president told sondland the Ukrainian president had to clear things up and do it in public and if he didn't, trump said they would be at a stalemate, which Taylor took to mean that Ukraine would not receive that much-needed money. The next day, Taylor sent sondland that now famous text message, saying he thought it was "Crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign." Sondland replied that the president has been "Crystal clear, no quid pro quos of any kind." A message sondland has testified was dictated by trump himself. All right, so, let's get to Mary Bruce, live up on the hill tonight. And bill Taylor describing two channels of policy-making with regard to Ukraine. The official channel and, he said, the one led by the president's personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani. Reporter: And David, the two channels were separate and often at odds. One pushing for military aid for Ukraine, the other trying to use that same aid to pressure Ukraine to investigate. And Taylor says that unofficial channel led by Rudy Giuliani was, quote, running contrary to the goals of long-standing U.S. Policy. David? Mary Bruce on a very busy day on the hill. Mary, thank you.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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