Acting U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Bill Taylor testified yesterday in the House Democrats’ first public hearing for their impeachment investigation about President Donald Trump and Ukraine.
Below are four key questions that lawmakers failed to ask Taylor during his public testimony.
1 – What was discussed when a staffer for Rep. Adam Schiff’s House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence met with Taylor on a visit to Ukraine less than two weeks after the so-called whistleblower filed his complaint? The Schiff staffer’s trip was sponsored by a Busirma-funded thinktank.
As Breitbart News reported, itinerary for a trip to Ukraine in August organized by the Atlantic Council think tank reveals that a staffer on Rep. Adam Schiff’s House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence held a meeting during the trip with Taylor, now a key witness for Democrats pursuing impeachment.
The Atlantic Council is funded by and works in partnership with Burisma, the natural gas company at the center of allegations regarding Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden.
Thomas Eager, a staffer on Schiff’s House Intelligence Committee, took a trip to Ukraine in August billed as a bipartisan “Ukraine Study Trip” in which ten Congressional staffers participated.
Eager is also currently a fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Eurasia Congressional Fellowship, a bipartisan program that says it “educates congressional staff on current events in the Eurasia region.” The pre-planned Ukraine trip was part of the fellowship program.
Burisma in January 2017 signed a “cooperative agreement” with the Council to specifically sponsor the organization’s Eurasia Center, the same center that sponsored Eager’s Ukraine trip.
A closer look at the itinerary for the August 24 to August 31 trip shows that the delegation’s first meeting upon arrival in Ukraine was with Taylor.
Spokespeople for Schiff’s office did not reply to multiple Breitbart News requests sent over the course of the last three days for comment on Eager’s meeting with Taylor.
The dates of the pre-planned trip are instructive. Eager’s visit to Ukraine sponsored by the Burisma-funded Atlantic Council began 12 days after the so-called “whistleblower” officially filed his August 12 complaint.
Schiff and his office have offered seemingly conflicting statements on the timeline of the California Congressman’s initial contact with the so-called “whistleblower.”
Speaking on September 17, Schiff told MSNBC, “We have not spoken directly with the whistleblower. We would like to.”
Schiff’s spokesperson, Patrick Boland, was quoted on October 2 saying, “At no point did the committee review or receive the complaint in advance.” Boland said Schiff’s committee received the complaint the night before it publicly released the document.
On Oct 2, however, the New York Times reported that Schiff received some of the contents of the complaint through an unnamed House Intelligence Committee aide initially contacted by the so-called “whistleblower,” described as a CIA officer.
The Times reported the aide “shared some of what the officer conveyed to Mr. Schiff.” The referenced officer refers to the so-called “whistleblower.”
The newspaper also reported:
By the time the whistle-blower filed his complaint, Mr. Schiff and his staff knew at least vaguely what it contained
Speaking to CBS’s Face the Nation on Sunday, Schiff conceded that he was not clear enough about his contact with the so-called “whistleblower.”
“I should have been much more clear,” Schiff said.
2 – What interactions, if any, did Taylor have with Hunter Biden when the diplomat led an election observation delegation in Ukraine earlier this year for a George Soros-funded organization that at the time boasted Biden on its small chairman’s council?
Two months before he came out of retirement to serve as the highest-ranking U.S. official in Ukraine, Taylor led an election observer delegation to Ukraine’s April 21, 2019 second round presidential election for the National Democratic Institute (NDI) organization.
The delegation’s mission, according to NDI literature, was to “accurately and impartially assess various aspects of the election process, and to offer recommendations to support peaceful, credible elections and public confidence in the process.”
Taylor led the team along with former Director of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (OSCE/ODIHR) Audrey Glover and former Minister for European Union Affairs Birgitta Ohlsson.
Hunter Biden at the time served on NDI’s ten person Chairman’s Council, which describes itself as bringing together “leaders from corporate, philanthropic, and academia sectors to provide expertise, counsel and resources to help the Institute meet these evolving challenges.”
Biden was engaged in Ukraine in his role as a board member for Burisma, the Ukranian natural gas company at the center of allegations regarding Joe Biden’s involvement in Ukraine policy during the Obama administration while his son was being paid by Burisma.
NDI did not respond to a Breitbart News inquiry about when Hunter Biden was removed from the organization’s chairman’s council. The WayBack Internet archive shows Biden was listed on NDI’s website in that position until at least August 2019, encompassing the period when Taylor led the organization’s delegation.
An attorney for Biden said the former vice president’s son had stepped down from the Burisma board and that he planned to step down from the board of BHR, a Chinese company seeking to invest Chinese funds outside China.
NDI lists partners and sponsors who “provide much-needed resources,” including Soros’s Open Society Foundation, Google Inc., the National Endowment for Democracy, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the U.S. Department of State.
Besides Burisma funding, the Atlantic Council is also financed by Soros’s Open Society Foundations, Google, and the U.S. State Department. Another Atlantic Council funder is the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Inc.,
3 – What is the full extent of Taylor’s relationship with the Burisma-funded Atlantic Council?
Breitbart News reported that Taylor has evidenced a close relationship with the Atlantic Council think tank, writing Ukraine policy pieces with the organization’s director and analysis articles published by the Council.
In March, three months before he became Trump’s ambassador to Ukraine, the Atlantic Council featured an oped co-authored by Taylor in which the diplomat argued Ukraine “has further to travel toward its self-proclaimed European goal” of reformation.
In 2017, Taylor wrote a piece for the Atlantic Council about a Ukrainian parliament vote on health care reform.
Last year, he participated in an online Atlantic Council Q & A on the Crimea.
In November 2011, the Atlantic Council hosted Taylor as the featured speaker at a discussion event when he was appointed that year as Special Coordinator for Middle East Transitions at the State Department.
In March 2014, Taylor co-authored an analysis piece at Foreign Policy magazine written together with John E. Herbst, a former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine who serves as director of the Eurasia Center for the Atlantic council – the same Eurasia Center that is specifically funded by Burisma.
That same year, Taylor also co-authored a New York Times op-ed with the Atlantic Council’s Herbst on Ukraine. The duo co-authored another Times op-ed one year later on the future of Ukraine. The op-ed was reprinted on the USUBC’s website.
In addition to a direct relationship with the Atlantic Council, Taylor for the last nine years also served as a senior adviser to the U.S.-Ukraine Business Council (USUBC), which has co-hosted events with the Atlantic Council and has participated in events co-hosted jointly by the Atlantic Council and Burisma. USUBC events have been financially sponsored by Burisma.
4 – What is the full extent of Taylor’s relationship with David J. Kramer, a long-time adviser to late Senator John McCain? Kramer played a central role in disseminating the anti-Trump dossier to the news media and Obama administration.
Kramer is senior adviser to the USUBC, where Taylor also served as senior advisor for the last nine years.
Taylor participated in events and initiatives organized by Kramer.
Kramer also held a November 2011 event at the Atlantic Council’s D.C. offices for a group that he heads called Freedom House. Taylor was one of six featured speakers at Kramer’s event.
The Atlantic Council published what it deemed a 24-point plan for ending the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. In conjunction with the plan, Kramer, in his role as director of Freedom House, organized a letter by American and European experts and former officials urging Russia to end its conflict with Ukraine.
Signatories of the letter, published on the Burisma-funded Atlantic Council’s website, include Taylor, Kramer and the Atlantic Council’s Herbst.
As late as this past March, Taylor was listed as one of nine members of the Friends of Ukraine Network Economic Security Task Force. Another member is Kramer.
When he deployed to Ukraine as Trump’s ambassador in June, the USUBC authored a piece in the Kyiv Post welcoming him.
In the USUBC piece welcoming Taylor to Ukraine, Kramer himself commented about Taylor’s ambassador position. “He’s a great choice for now,” Kramer gushed.
The USUBC’s piece noted that the “USUBC has worked closely with Ambassador Taylor for many years,” touting his role as the business group’s senior adviser.
On June 26, just nine days after arriving in Ukraine as ambassador, the USUBC already hosted Taylor for a roundtable discussion about his new position.
Vadym Pozharskyi, adviser to the board of directors at Burisma Holdings, was also previously hosted as a USUBC featured speaker.
Geysha Gonzalez is the sponsoring Atlantic Council officer listed on the Congressional disclosure form for the Schiff staffer’s trip to Ukraine in August. She is deputy director of the Atlantic Council’s Eurasia Center.
Gonzalez is also one of eleven members of the rapid response team for the Ukrainian Election Task Force, which says it is working to expose “foreign interference in Ukraine’s democracy.” Another member of the team is Kramer.
Kramer revealed in testimony that he held a meeting about the anti-Trump dossier with a reporter from BuzzFeed News, who he says snapped photos of the controversial document without Kramer’s permission when he left the room to go to the bathroom. That meeting was held at the McCain Institute office in Washington, Kramer stated.
BuzzFeed infamously published the Christopher Steele dossier on January 10, 2017, setting off a firestorm of news media coverage about the document.
The Washington Post reported last February that Kramer received the dossier directly from Fusion GPS after McCain expressed interest in it.
In a deposition taken on December 13, 2017, and posted online earlier this year, Kramer revealed that he met with two Obama administration officials to inquire about whether the anti-Trump dossier was being taken seriously.
In one case, Kramer said that he personally provided a copy of the dossier to Obama National Security Council official Celeste Wallander.
In the deposition, Kramer said that McCain specifically asked him in early December 2016 to meet about the dossier with Wallander and Victoria Nuland, a senior official in John Kerry’s State Department.
Aaron Klein is Breitbart’s Jerusalem bureau chief and senior investigative reporter. He is a New York Times bestselling author and hosts the popular weekend talk radio program, “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio.” Follow him on Twitter @AaronKleinShow. Follow him on Facebook.
Joshua Klein contributed research to this article.