What you need to know about the Pentagon official testifying today

Bill Taylor testified behind closed doors on Tuesday. In his opening statement, the top US diplomat in Ukraine gave an account of his concern, beginning in August of this year, that the US relationship with Ukraine “was being fundamentally undermined by an irregular, informal channel of U.S. policy-making” led by President Donald Trump’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani.

In the 15-page statement obtained by CNN, Taylor corroborated many of the claims made by the intelligence community’s whistleblower, whose complaint and subsequent inspector general’s report prompted the impeachment inquiry.

Taylor also provided witness testimony to the events around the temporary withholding of US military aid to Ukraine, the July 25 phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, and the eventual release of that military aid in anticipation of a face-to-face meeting between the two leaders.

Taylor also undercut a key assertion made by US Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland, who testified to Congress last week that Trump had not directed him to tell the Zelensky government that a Ukrainian investigation into Trump’s political opponents, including former vice president Joe Biden, was a precondition for having the meeting with Trump.

Read a breakdown of the five most important lines from Taylor’s statement here.