Reporter Aaron Blake, writing for The Washington Post, said that White House official Tim Morrison was expected to confirm Bill Taylor’s account that Trump appeared to seek quid pro quo. He linked to an article at WaPo that suggested it had.
He was probably wrong. It did not seem to pan out as expected.
Mr. Morrison is the outgoing senior director for European and Russian affairs on the National Security Council (NSC).
Tim Morrison, the outgoing top White House Russia expert, testified behind closed doors, that he doesn’t believe the President did anything illegal in his July call to President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine, the Hill reported.
“I want to be clear, I was not concerned that anything illegal was discussed,” Morrison said in the remarks.
Several witnesses have testified that they think the President’s action — in holding up aid and then asking the Ukraine President to investigate the 2016 election and the Bidens — was improper.
It does seem improper to many, but Presidents do improper things all the time. Does this rise to the level of high crimes and misdemeanors?
THE TRANSCRIPT WAS ACCURATE AND COMPLETE
Army official Alex Vindman, who testified this week, said he was concerned about the transcript and wanted two changes to the transcript. Mr. Morrison was not concerned.
“To the best of my recollection, the MemCon accurately and completely reflects the substance of the call,” Morrison says, according to his prepared remarks.
His concerns centered around how it would look in Washington’s polarized environment and how it would affect the Ukraine-U.S. relationship.
MORRISON CONTRADICTED TAYLOR
Mr. Morrison couldn’t confirm the “substance” of Bill Taylor’s testimony, but he could differ on two points, according to the Hill article.
Morrison said that, contrary to Taylor’s claims, Morrison never met with the Ukrainian National Security advisor in his private hotel room, the Hill reported.
Morrison also said Taylor falsely claimed that Ambassador Gordon Sondland demanded a public statement from the Ukrainian president committing to investigate Burisma, the controversial Ukrainian energy company that paid Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s son Hunter millions of dollars to sit on its board.
“My recollection is that Ambassador Sondland’s proposal to [Ukrainian National Security Advisor Andriy] Yermak was that it could be sufficient if the new Ukrainian prosecutor general — not President Zelensky — would commit to pursue the Burisma investigation,” Morrison testified.
The Washington Post, on the other hand, claimed Morrison confirmed Taylor’s account. The part he seemed to confirm was that it looked improper and might affect relations with Ukraine.
The Post wrote, “Morrison told impeachment investigators that the account offered by William B. Taylor Jr., the acting ambassador to Ukraine, is accurate… said one person, who like others spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe sensitive discussions.”
Who is this “one person?”
Different observers see and hear different things. It’s like the witnesses to an accident or a crime. In the case of the Washington Post, they only see anti-Trumpisms.
This confused reporting is why we need the transcripts. The reporting is colored by the predispositions of the anonymous sources and the authors of the stories.
Morrison also said he does not have reason to believe Ukrainians knew the aid was withheld until late August.
CONFIRMING THE PRESIDENT’S STATEMENTS
Morrison confirmed two points the President made, according to the Hill report.
“I was aware that the President thought Ukraine had a corruption problem, as did many others familiar with Ukraine. I was also aware that the President believed that Europe did not contribute enough assistance to Ukraine,” Morrison’s prepared remarks say.
Morrison is planning to resign but held off since he doesn’t want anyone to think he’s leaving over this ‘scandal.’