U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio became one of the key players in the impeachment drama playing out in Washington this week.
Jordan, one of President Donald Trump's key Republican allies from, went after one of the Democrats’ key witnesses. Serving as a temporary member of the House Intelligence Committee to defend Trump, he questioned acting Ukraine Ambassador Bill Taylor about whether he could give a legitimate testimony.
Taylor did not hear the phone call with the president in which Trump is accused of threatening to withhold aid from Ukraine unless Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelinsky launched an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden, and released information about any Ukrainian interference in the 2016 elections. Rather, Taylor said that one of his aides heard Trump on a phone call with U.S. Ambassador to the E.U. Gordon Sondland.
In this phone call, Taylor said, his aide said that Trump asked Sondland about the investigations, and Sondland said that “Ukrainians were ready to move forward.”
“Ambassador [Taylor], you weren’t on the call, were you? You didn’t listen in on President Trump’s call and President [Volodymyr] Zelinsky’s call?” Jordan asked Taylor, to which he replied “I did not.”
Jordan went on to question Taylor about whether he had ever talked to acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, whether he had ever met Trump, whether Zelinksy brought up the alleged conversation in his meetings with Taylor, and whether Zelinksy ever made an announcement.
Taylor answered “no” to the first three questions; Jordan began to speak again before Taylor could confirm the fourth.
“This is what I can’t believe, and you’re their star witness,” Jordan said.
Trump had put Ukraine’s aid on hold from July until September without giving a reason. Later in September, Trump had a conversation with Zelinsky in which he requested an investigation into the Joe and Hunter Biden, according to the White House’s transcripts. The transcripts do not include any mention of aid.