Two career diplomats — William Taylor and George Kent — are set to be the first witnesses to publicly testify Wednesday as part of the House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump after weeks of closed-door investigations.
Taylor, who serves the U.S. charges d’affaires in Kyiv, and George Kent, a top U.S. State Department official with decades of experience in Ukraine policy, appeared Wednesday morning before the House Intelligence Committee.
Both officials have expressed alarm in previous closed-door testimonies about Trump’s conduct with regards to Ukraine — highlighting allegations that he pressured Zelensky to investigate his political rival, Democratic 2020 presidential candidate Joe Biden and used his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani to subvert normal diplomatic channels in this pursuit. In these earlier hearings, they tried to help lawmakers decipher Trump’s message to Zelensky at the July 25 phone call at the center of the official whistleblower complaint, in which he said, “I would like you to do us a favor.”
Here’s the full transcript of Kent’s statement on the investigation:
In this sense, they are the 21st century heirs of two giants of 20th century U.S. national security policy who were born abroad: my former professor Zbigniew Brzezinski; and his fellow immigrant Henry Kissinger. Like the Brzezinskis and Kissingers, the Yovanovitches and Vindmans fled Nazi and communist oppression to contribute to a stronger, more secure America.
That honorable transatlantic tradition goes back to the very founding of our republic: our 18th century independence would not have been secured without the choice of European officers — the French-born Lafayette and Rochambeau, the German-born von Steuben, and the Poles Pulaski and Kosciuszko — to come to the New World and fight for our cause of freedom, and the birth of a new country free from imperial dominion. It is my privilege to sit next to Ambassador Taylor today, and it is my honor to serve with all of these patriotic Americans.