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Analysis: Trump, White House aides show some restraint at impeachment hearings

John T. Bennett, CQ-Roll Call on

Published in News & Features

Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, temporarily added to the panel by Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy just for the public hearings, went after Taylor on just that matter. Jordan noted that Taylor never discussed quid pro quo arrangements in two meetings with Zelenskiy during the time under scrutiny, which begins around a May 23 White House meeting during which Trump informed aides that his personal attorney, Rudolph Giuliani, was in charge of all things Ukraine.

"Now, with all due respect, ambassador, your clear understanding was obviously wrong," Jordan said.

Jordan also rejected Taylor's attempts to explain his "clear understanding."

"As I testified, Mr. Jordan, this came from (EU) Ambassador (Gordon) Sondland," Taylor told a feisty Jordan. He also told the conservative firebrand that Sondland told him he said to Zelenskiy "that while this was not a quid pro quo, if Mr. Zelenskiy did not clear things up in public, we would be at a stalemate."

The president, repeating another weeks-old line, claimed he did tell the EU ambassador that "no quid pro quo" should occur in his administration's dealings with Ukraine's new government.

And he contended Sondland has stuck by initial testimony to that end even though the hotel mogul revised his testimony to say he came to understand the military aid package was contingent on Zelenskiy taking certain steps related to investigations of U.S. Democrats. Trump often utters and tweets claims that contradict those of senior White House aides and other administration officials.

 

There was one new line from the West Wing on Wednesday, however. Some senior aides seemed unimpressed by what quickly became a hearing thick on diplomatic protocol and the inner workings of Washington policymaking.

White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham called the impeachment inquiry's entry into public "boring."

Asked to clarify, she responded in an email that her intent was to express her view "that this is a waste of taxpayer time and money."

"There is nothing new here," she added.

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