House Democrats Thursday night released a trove of explosive text exchanges between top U.S. diplomats that provides a closer look into U.S. President Donald Trump’s months-long effort to pressure Ukraine’s leader to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden.
The text messages, provided to House committees by then special envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker, show that the Trump administration attempted to use a possible meeting between the U.S. president and Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky to pressure Kyiv to launch an investigation into Biden and his son Hunter.
The messages also showed Bill Taylor, the top American diplomat in Ukraine, raising alarm about Trump’s attempt to withhold aid to Ukraine for electoral purposes.
“Are we now saying that security assistance and WH meeting are conditioned on investigations?” Taylor asked Volker and U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland on Sept. 1, before the whistleblower complaint about Trump’s call with Zelensky went public.
Sondland replied simply, “Call me.”
Eight days later, Taylor wrote to Volker and Sondland, “As I said on the phone, I think it’s crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign.”
Sondland insisted that Trump “has been crystal clear no quid pro quo’s of any kind.”
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