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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

Go deeper

46 mins ago - Technology

Scoop: More boycotts coming for Facebook

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Leaders of the Stop Hate For Profit social media boycott group are discussing whether to organize another campaign against Facebook in light of an explosive investigative series from The Wall Street Journal, Common Sense CEO Jim Steyer tells Axios.

The intrigue: Sources tell Axios that another group, separate from the Stop Hate For Profit organization, is expected to launch its own ad boycott campaign this week.

Democrats' dwindling 2022 map

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Democrats are trying to unseat only about half as many Republican House members next year as they did in 2020, trimming their target list from 39 to 21.

Why it matters: The narrowing map — which reflects where Democrats see their best chance of flipping seats — is the latest datapoint showing the challenging political landscape the party faces in the crucial 2022 midterms.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
1 hour ago - Economy & Business

Evergrande's reassuring default

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

It's not a Lehman moment but it's still a very big deal. Chinese construction giant Evergrande looks set to default on its $300 billion of liabilities, in a move that has already had global market repercussions.

Why it matters: Evergrande is the first big test of the global financial system — and especially the Chinese financial system — since the pandemic-induced chaos of March 2020, when central banks around the world were forced to take unprecedented measures to prevent total collapse. So far, world markets seem to be coping just fine.