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Maloney Questions First Witnesses in Impeachment Open Hearings

Nov 13, 2019
Press Release

Maloney Questions First Witnesses in Impeachment Open Hearings

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (NY-18) questioned William Taylor, Acting Ambassador to Ukraine, and George Kent, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, two witnesses subpoenaed by the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence for the committee’s first public hearings on the impeachment inquiry.

A clip of Rep. Maloney’s line of questioning and a full transcript is below:


Watch here





Representative Maloney: What year did you graduate from West Point?


Ambassador Taylor: 1969, sir.


Rep. Maloney: That was the height of the Vietnam War, wasn't it, sir?


Amb. Taylor: The height was about that time.


Rep. Maloney: What was your class rank at West Point?


Amb. Taylor: I was number five.


Rep. Maloney: How many people were in your class?


Amb. Taylor: 800.


Rep. Maloney: 800 cadets, you were number five.


Amb. Taylor: Yes, sir.


Rep. Maloney: So when you're top 1 percent of your class at West Point, you probably get your pick of assignments, but you picked the infantry.


Amb. Taylor: I did, sir.


Rep. Maloney: You were a rifle company commander.


Amb. Taylor: Yes sir.


Rep. Maloney: Where'd you serve?


Amb. Taylor: In Vietnam.


Rep. Maloney: Did you see combat in Vietnam, sir?


Amb. Taylor: I did.


Rep. Maloney: Did you earn any commendations for that service?


Amb. Taylor: I was awarded the Combat Infantryman's Badge, which I'm proudest of. There was a Bronze Star. There was an Air Medal.


Rep. Maloney: That's for valor, isn't it, sir?


Amb. Taylor: It is.


Rep. Maloney: Let's talk about July 26th, lot of years later, you go to the front, you go to Donbass with Ambassador Volker I believe, and you're on the bridge, and you're looking over on the front line at the Russian soldiers, is that what you recall?


Amb. Taylor: Yes, sir.


Rep. Maloney: And you said the commander there, the Ukrainian commander thanked you for the American military assistance that you knew was being withheld at that moment.


Amb. Taylor: That's correct.


Rep. Maloney: How'd that make you feel, sir?


Amb. Taylor: Badly.


Rep. Maloney: Why?


Amb. Taylor: Because it was clear that that commander counted on us. It was clear that that commander had confidence in us. It was clear that that commander was appreciative of the capabilities that he was given by that assistance but also the reassurance that we were supporting him.


Rep. Maloney: You don't strike me as a quitter, Ambassador, but you threatened to resign, or you mentioned it in your statement. Before I ask you about that, let's just talk about a couple days later - excuse me – one month later -- on August 28th. You find yourself in Ukraine with the National Security Advisor Mr. Bolton, right?


Amb. Taylor: Yes, sir.


Rep. Maloney: And you convey to him your concerns. You've testified to this previously about the withholding of military assistance. What does he say to you?


Amb. Taylor: He says that he shares my concern, and he advises me to express that in a very special way to the Secretary of State.


Rep. Maloney: Now, he's the National Security Advisor, works directly with the President, but he tells you that you should bring it up with the Secretary of State.


Amb. Taylor: Yes, sir.


Rep. Maloney: Have you ever sent a cable like that? How many times in your career of 40-50 years have you sent a cable directly to the Secretary of State?


Amb. Taylor: Once


Rep. Maloney: This time?


Amb. Taylor: Yes, sir.


Rep. Maloney: In 50 years?


Amb. Taylor: Rifle company commanders don't send cables but yes, sir.


Rep. Maloney: So the National Security Advisor who can tell it to the President himself and who shares your concern says you, the Ambassador serving in Ukraine, should cable the Secretary of State directly and you do so, don't you?


Amb. Taylor: Yes, sir.


Rep. Maloney: What'd the cable say, sir?


Amb. Taylor: It's a classified cable.


Rep. Maloney: Without going into classified information.


Amb. Taylor: Without going into classified, it says security assistance, it's what we've been talking about today, security assistance to Ukraine at this particular time, as in previous times, is very important. Ukraine – I also make the point that we've also talked about here today – Ukraine is important for our national security. And we should support it. Not to provide that would be folly.


Rep. Maloney: Did you get an answer to your cable?


Amb. Taylor: Not directly, no, sir.


Rep. Maloney: Do you know what happened to it? Secretary Kent, do you know what happened to it?

Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs George Kent: I was on vacation when his cable came in but my understanding is it made it to the recipient, Secretary Pompeo.


Rep. Maloney: And we know Pompeo was on the call on July 25th. It's not like he's in the dark about any of this. What'd he do with it?


Sec. Kent: I honestly can't say for sure what happened with the cable once the message was brought in at the highest level.


Rep. Maloney: One other question, gentlemen. On September 1st, you recall a meeting between the Vice President and the President of Ukraine, Mr. Zelensky, in which right off the bat the President of Ukraine raises security assistance and the Vice President according to your telling says I'll talk to the President about that tonight. I'll make a call. Do you know whether the Vice President made that call?


Amb. Taylor: I don't know, sir.


Rep. Maloney: Do you know what, if anything, the Vice President had to do with, any of this? What more can you tell us about the Vice President's role in this? Do you know if he ever raised this issue with anyone in the administration? Whether he ever pushed for the release of that security assistance?


Amb. Taylor: I can't sir.


Sec. Kent: I believe to the best of my understanding the Vice President was an advocate for the release of the assistance.


Rep. Maloney: Thank you, I yield back.