Oct 23, 2019

Trump calls Pompeo-appointed ambassador Bill Taylor a "Never Trumper"

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

President Trump attacked acting U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Bill Taylor as a "Never Trumper" in a tweet Wednesday, after Taylor testified to House investigators that Trump had withheld military aid until Ukraine agreed to investigate his political opponents.

Never Trumper Republican John Bellinger, represents Never Trumper Diplomat Bill Taylor (who I don’t know), in testimony before Congress! Do Nothing Democrats allow Republicans Zero Representation, Zero due process, and Zero Transparency. Does anybody think this is fair? Even though there was no quid pro quo, I’m sure they would like to try. Worse than the Dems!

The big picture: Taylor is a long-standing public servant who graduated from West Point, fought in Vietnam, and has worked at the Department of Energy, the Senate, NATO, the State Department and the United States Institute of Peace. He has served in every administration since 1985 and was asked to return to serve as acting ambassador to Ukraine in May by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

  • In his testimony, Taylor expressed concerns that while there is an official channel for U.S.-Ukraine policy decisions, there has also been also an "irregular, informal" back channel run by Rudy Giuliani, special envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker, Energy Secretary Rick Perry and EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland.
  • Taylor testified that Trump withheld desperately needed military aid as leverage to get Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden and allegations of interference in the 2016 election on behalf of Democrats — the quid pro quo that Trump and his allies have long denied.
  • Taylor is being represented by attorney John Bellinger, who Trump also referred to as a "Never Trumper."

Earlier Wednesday, Trump tweeted that "Never Trumper Republicans, though on respirators with not many left, are in certain ways worse and more dangerous for our Country than the Do Nothing Democrats. Watch out for them, they are human scum!"

Go deeper ... Reports: Ukraine felt early Trump pressure and knew of military aid freeze

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Protests for George Floyd continue for 10th day

Thousands of protesters march over the Brooklyn Bridge on June 4 in New York City. Photo: Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images

All four former Minneapolis police officers have been charged for George Floyd’s death and are in custody, including Thomas Lane, J. Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao, who were charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter.

The latest: A man in Buffalo, New York bled out of one ear and lay motionless on the ground after police pushed him backward at a protest. He was later taken to the hospital and appeared to be alert, per a local reporter on the scene. Officers arrested five people during the protests in Niagara Square, a Buffalo Police Department statement noted.

Trump says he will campaign against Lisa Murkowski after her support for Mattis

Trump with Barr and Meadows outside St. John's Episcopal church in Washington, D.C. on June 1. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump tweeted on Thursday that he would endorse "any candidate" with a pulse who runs against Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska).

Driving the news: Murkowski said on Thursday that she supported former defense secretary James Mattis' condemnation of Trump over his response to protests in the wake of George Floyd's killing. She described Mattis' statement as "true, honest, necessary and overdue," Politico's Andrew Desiderio reports.

4 hours ago - World

The president vs. the Pentagon

Trump visits Mattis and the Pentagon in 2018. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty

Over the course of just a few hours, President Trump was rebuffed by the Secretary of Defense over his call for troops in the streets and accused by James Mattis, his former Pentagon chief, of trampling the Constitution for political gain.

Why it matters: Current and former leaders of the U.S. military are drawing a line over Trump's demand for a militarized response to the protests and unrest that have swept the country over the killing of George Floyd by police.