Ukrainian Foreign Minister Vadym Prystaiko said on Thursday that the United States Ambassador Gordon Sondland did not link financial military assistance to a request for Ukraine to open up an investigation into former vice president and current Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden.
“Ambassador Sondland did not tell us, and certainly did not tell me, about a connection between the assistance and the investigations,” Prystaiko said, according to Reuters. “You should ask him.”
“I have never seen a direct relationship between investigations and security assistance,” Prystaiko continued. “Yes, the investigations were mentioned, you know, in the conversation of the presidents. But there was no clear connection between these events.”
Prystaiko’s comments came after House Democrats launched their public impeachment inquiry hearings on Wednesday on the House Intelligence Committee.
During the hearing, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) specifically picked apart Ambassador William Taylor, who Jordan called Democrats’ “star witness,” on the issue of whether there was ever any linkage between the military assistance and a request to open up an investigation into the Bidens.
“In those 55 days that aid is delayed, you met with President Zelensky three times,” Jordan said.
The first one was on July 26, the day after the famous call now between President Trump and President Zelensky.
President Zelensky meets with you, Ambassador Volker, and Ambassador Sondland, and again, according to your deposition and your testimony, there was no linkage of security assistance dollars to investigating Burisma or the Bidens.
Second meeting was August 27, President Zelensky meets with you, Ambassador Bolton and others, and again there’s no linkage of security assistance dollars to an investigation of the Bidens,” Jordan continued. “And then of course, the third meeting was September 5, President Zelensky meets with you and Senators Johnston and Murphy, and once again there was no linkage of security assistance dollars to investigating Burisma or the Bidens.
“Three meetings with the president of Ukraine and no linkage,” Jordan added. “That’s accurate?”
“Mr. Jordan, it’s certainly accurate on the first two meetings, because to my knowledge the Ukrainians were not aware of the hold on assistance until the 29th of August,” Taylor responded. “The third meeting that you mentioned, with Senator Murphy and Senator Johnston, there was discussion of security assistance but … but, uh, there was not a discussion of linkage.”
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Jordan continued to press Taylor: “President Zelensky had to commit to an investigation of the Bidens before the aid got released and the aid got released and he didn’t commit to an investigation.”
“I was not wrong about what I told you because that is what I heard,” Taylor replied. “That’s all I’ve said, I’ve told you what I heard.”
“And that’s the point,” Jordan responded. “What you heard did not happen. It didn’t happen. You had three meetings with the guy, he could have told you, he didn’t announce that he was going to do an investigation before the aid happened.”
“It’s not just could it have been wrong, the fact is, it was wrong, because it didn’t happen.” Jordan continued. “The whole point was, you had a clear understanding that aid will not get released unless there is a commitment, not maybe, not I think the aid might happen, not it’s my hunch it’s going to get released, you used clear language, clear understanding and commitment and those two things didn’t happen, so you had to be wrong.”