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Thu Oct 31, 2019, 02:50 PM

White House Aide Confirms He Saw Signs of a Quid Pro Quo on Ukraine

Source: New York Times

WASHINGTON — A National Security Council aide testified on Thursday that a top diplomat who was close to President Trump told him that a package of military assistance for Ukraine would not be released until the country committed to investigating Mr. Trump’s political rivals, corroborating a key episode at the center of the impeachment inquiry.

The closed-door deposition by Timothy Morrison, who announced his resignation on Wednesday on the eve of his appearance before impeachment investigators, suggests that a Trump-appointed ambassador proposed a quid pro quo in which security assistance money allocated by Congress would be provided only in exchange for the political investigations the president was seeking. His account confirmed the one given last week by Ambassador William B. Taylor Jr., the top American diplomat in Ukraine, during his private testimony.

Mr. Morrison briefed Mr. Taylor on a series of communications involving the president and his ambassador to the European Union, Gordon D. Sondland, according to his prepared remarks for Thursday’s appearance, which was reviewed by The New York Times. “I can confirm that the substance of the statement, as it relates to conversations he and I had, is accurate,” he said.

Mr. Taylor testified last week that Mr. Morrison, a top Russia and Europe expert, had informed him in early September of a meeting in Warsaw between Mr. Sondland and a top aide to President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine. Mr. Sondland told the Ukrainian aide that the United States would only provide a package of $391 million in security assistance that Congress had allocated for the country if Mr. Zelensky committed to investigate allegations related to former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his son, who sat on the board of Burisma, a Ukrainian energy company.

Read more: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/31/us/politics/morrison-testimony-impeachment.html

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