William Taylor, Top Diplomat in Ukraine and Key Impeachment Witness, Is Stepping Down

A Vietnam veteran with decades of State Department experience, William B. Taylor Jr. sharply objected to what he saw as the Trump administration’s shadow foreign policy in Ukraine.

Comments: 113

  1. Mr. Taylor, thank you so much for your service to our country. Thank you for coming forward and speaking the truth. Perhaps in your retirement, NPR will snap you up because I would love to hear your beautiful voice on the radio! Now, that's not such an 'outlandish' idea, is it? Thank you for being an American patriot for all of us. I tear up just thinking about you and the other civil servants who came forward during this difficult time for our country.

  2. @sophia I think a good part of what got trump rolling was that he stopped offering up pablum and a lot of people took notice. If the American voter doesn't oust trump next November, then we really need to come to grips with what our Nation has become.

  3. @Jaffa Bozare Still waiting for the Republicans to crawl out from under their rocks and let us hear some *firsthand* testimony, like Mulvaney, Bolton, Nunes, and their ick. Err, ilk. "Nothing to hide here, oh, no, not us!"

  4. @Jaffa Bozare: Taylor’s testimony was consistent with what other witnesses told, and with Trump and Mulvaney’s admissions of their actions. How much more first hand evidence do you need? Bolton, Pompeo, Giuliani? Trump should be eager to let them testify... Any criticism of Taylor’s testimony not being first hand enough, loses all credibility as long as the first hand witnesses are kept from testifying by Trump.

  5. There is no other choice, yet the consequences for the American people of losing the kind of experience, expertise, and values represented by Ambassador Taylor and others who have stepped down, will step down, or will now never step up are beyond measure.

  6. How exactly does the state department set foreign policy independent of the president, in a manner that leads us to conclude that what the president is doing is "shadow" foreign policy? Is anyone in the state department elected? Isn't the secretary of state a presidential appointee?

  7. @Middleman MD ... To answer your question: the US President normally conducts US foreign policy through the State Department in an open and transparent fashion so everyone knows where the US stands. Trump undercut this normal conduct of US foreign policy by establishing a separate "Three Amigos" channel outside the purview of the State Department in a closed and secretive personal policy initiative calculated to benefit Trump personally rather than the United States (or Ukraine, for that matter). So, YES, the president does indeed set foreign policy, but does so through the institutions of the US government (in this case, the State Department), not through a secretive separate "Three Amigos institution" in conflict with established foreign policy.

  8. @Middleman MD Rudy Guilliani =/= Presidential foreign policy.

  9. @Middleman MD Nice try. Your question presumes a modicum of normalcy. Hah. When the president is a malignant sociopath with zero geo-pol experience, and demonstrated cognitive decline, who thinks he is a king who can run foreign policy through sleazy back-channels that are not beholden to or constrained by Congress, then a person of deep experience and integrity, like Taylor has no choice but to walk. (it's code for pulling the alarm) Of course the sec'y of state and other high level officials are political appointees. But, see, here's the thing - Donald can't attract the deep talent and skills needed for these sensitive jobs. He repels the very people he needs. Or he turns them (like Pompeo) into sniveling cowards who let their dedicated staff be underbussed. But no worries- Donald can just appoint the ridiculous Jarvanka to run everything. That'll fix it.

  10. It seems there a lot of diplomats that served in the armed forces. It makes great sense, people who serve in war time service know what can happen when things go wrong. This president appears to have made one those things go wrong, and Mr. Taylor did duty, didn't flinch - just told it like it was. Mr. Taylor is a true patriot whose service is worlds beyond the president.

  11. To Mr Taylor and his fellow diplomats around the world, honesty in reporting what you knew and heard to the Congress, was and is the only true path forward. Around the world, and in your own country millions of people ~ you will never meet ~ are deeply grateful for your professionalism and courage in testifying.

  12. As much as America touts our superior military might, the forgotten heroes are the men and women who have dedicated literal decades of their lives to understanding foreign affairs and beneficial U.S. policy goals, and specific regional diplomacy. These men and women who work in the State Department truly are our "soft power", and continuing to lose incredibly talented and smart people like Mr. Taylor and Ms. Yovanovitch will not only hurt our ability to secure our interests abroad, but will ultimately lead to the use of traditional military power. Every problem we can solve with words, is a problem that won't require an American soldier to be put in harms way. I hope we make it through the Trump era and are able to restore some dignity and credibility to the hollowed out State Department.

  13. Our superior military might. Ever heard of Afghanistan? Vietnam? Korea?

  14. This just makes me sick. Another respected American diplomat driven out by this corrupt administration. Seriously, enough is enough.

  15. And the GOP - Putin propaganda mill will say he is resigning in disgrace.

  16. Now which yes man will Trump appoint to take his place?

  17. @JHP Ivanka seems to have some time on her hands. Or maybe her mother Ivana would be willing to fill in.

  18. Marie needs to be given her position as ambassador back !

  19. @MJS But she should wait till 2021, and be given it by someone who'd know enough to appreciate her.

  20. @MJS Maybe not the best idea Guiliani and co., have painted a target on her back, she would not be safe from pro-corruption oligarchs and their American pals.

  21. @angel98 True. Targeted as in acid. Do you think if our Prez threw acid in someone's face, on Fifth Avenue, that he could get away with it? Verbal acid is almost--almost--as bad.

  22. Love the diplomats that think they decide what our foreign policy is. Where do these people come from? You serve at the pleasure of the President. And our foreign policy is whatever the President wants it to be. You have no say. The President is the only one that has say. Don't like it? Quit. Oh, thank goodness you did.

  23. @Larry Thiel "Our foreign policy is whatever the President wants it to be." You mean our president is really a King?! Who'da thought?

  24. @Larry Thiel - Ignorance is not acceptable at any level, even from the President of the United States. Let's carry this to the end point. President Trump invites Vladimir Putin to participate in our next elections in any way Putin sees fit. You okay with that?

  25. @Larry Thiel: Nope, that foreign policy is not whatever the president wants it to be. Not if in the process he violates the Constitution with an impeachable offense. Strong arming foreign heads of state to discredit a political opponent by withholding congressionally appropriated support against a common adversary and conditioning a meeting on same, is an impeachable offense, not allowable foreign policy. Mr. Taylor did the right thing in defending the Constitution, not the president violating it.

  26. I eagerly await two things. 1) perhaps a book by the experienced and intellectual Mr. Taylor, expanding beyond his experiences and comparing this “president” to previous ones in direction of the Department of State. (He may be too respectful of the underserving Office of the President to do so, however. 2) his appointment as a representative to a world power by our next President, whom I am confident will be any of the Democrats running.

  27. Thank you for such professional service to our nation. I hope you will become a strong voice against Trump in the election.

  28. I wonder if that "nightmare situation" wasn't in the back of Mr. Trump's mind all along. I guess we'll never know.

  29. The nightmare scenario is we now lose individuals like Ambassador Taylor because of Trump-Giuliani’s escapades, and will be stuck with yes men with no scruples. The house is burning, but McConnell and company refuse to pull the alarm. Thank you Ambassador Taylor, you’ll be missed, and not forgotten.

  30. @JCGMD Not only do McConnell and Co not pull the alarm--they try to punish those that do!

  31. Yes. The house is burning and Trump’s approval is up. Nothing seems to get through to some Americans. The lack of critical thinking skills displayed by trump backing Americans is terrifying. If he gets four more years he’ll be successful in purging the government of all ethical people and our transition to authoritarianism will be complete.

  32. Consider the ongoing brain drain at the State Dept and EPA owing to the retrograde and corrupt policies of the Trumpsters. If he's re-elected, this will only accelerate, and it will take at least a generation to rebuild these critical government agencies.

  33. @Rich And the organization meant to oversee elections is gutted.

  34. Mr. Taylor is stepping up, not down. Thank you for your courageous service to us all.

  35. Taylor is a true hero. I remember when the Soviet Union would “purge”those felt to be undesirable (in contrast to Putin killing some). In any event the Taylor news reminded me of “purge” and how being dormant for years this action has resurfaced in the USA of all places! Taylor is a national hero, a most admirable public servant. It would seem that Trump is purging admirable patriots who no longer will be on board to serve our country. Tragic doesn’t begin to describe what is happening.

  36. Another good man down in the Trump administration. One of the few patriots left in this administration willing to speak out and put telling the truth above protecting the president and his party. Good luck to him, wherever the next chapter of his life takes him.

  37. If impeachment were really a "hoax," as Trump has called it, career diplomats like William Taylor would not be resigning.

  38. Mr Taylor, I am grateful beyond words that you chose to fill the void at the time you did. And your courage throughout your history of serving our nation is inspiring. Thank you. And may you find smooth waters wherever you decide to sail.

  39. Mr. Taylor, I echo my thanks to you for stepping up and courageously appearing before Congress. I would hope that your voice continues in some forum to express support for your colleagues at the State Department, as well as for our national security.

  40. A new edition of "profiles in Courage" is being written in plain sight — both the committee witnesses and the swing-district members of Congress deserve our thanks and honor. This assumes we still have a right to read books and speak our minds after the 2020 election.

  41. Thank-you for your honesty!

  42. I hope he writes a book, and makes a bloody fortune. The Trump administration is unworthy of this patriot.

  43. A simple message to Mr. Taylor and his professional associates: Thank you so much.

  44. There is probably a family member of Donald Trump already shortlisted for this appointment.

  45. Thank you, Mr. Taylor, for your many years of service to our country. And for standing up for Marie Yovanovitch when Pompeo didn’t.

  46. Thank you Ambassador Taylor for all you've done for our country. You are are truly a great public servant and one that we all look up to when we think of what the Foreign Service means to this country. All the best to you!

  47. Mr. Taylor's temporary appointment to Ukraine was an anomaly. Most Trump appointees into acting or temporary roles are unqualified Trump-agenda-driven lackies. Mr. Taylor was the exception, not the rule, and for that our country should be eternally grateful.

  48. And so another USA diplomatic position becomes vacant. It seems this administration doesn't care to gather nuanced information from professionals assigned to observe and interact with foreign entities. The "gut feelings" of Trump rule supreme.

  49. @GP, it's a big gut. ;)

  50. I hear "hero" and "patriot" and I firmly support these people who had the courage to stand up to the high crimes of the Trump Administration. Yet I want to see how our country rewards these folks. Taylor may have the luxury of retirement. Others, I fear, will have become figurative martyrs having given up their careers and future lives as a result of their behavior. Such patriots are seldom rewarded.

  51. @DGP Remember, this will be his second retirement. I bet he makes it final this time, given the sorry state of the leadership at State.

  52. In the prescient words of R. E. M. Team by team, reporters baffled, trumped, tethered, cropped Look at that low plane, fine, then Uh oh, overflow, population, common group But it'll do, save yourself, serve yourself World serves its own needs, listen to your heart bleed Tell me with the Rapture and the reverent in the right, right You vitriolic, patriotic, slam fight, bright light Feeling pretty psyched It's the end of the world as we know it

  53. That song had been in my head since November 2016

  54. What a true American hero and patriot looks like.

  55. Thank you, Mr. Taylor for your bravery and for stepping up to do the right thing for our country. Your legacy is secured by your decades of service to our country and, sadly, for being one of the few to stand up and be counted as a defender of our nation, facts and the truth when Fox News Talk Show Hosts and Trump are determined to tear us all apart.

  56. It would be a wonderful thing if all of the appointees in the Trump Administration spoke forthrightly about what is going on. Thank you to Ambassador Taylor for your service to our Country. You are a shining beacon of hope to those who have very little left.

  57. How can this or any other administration run a "shadow" foreign policy? The executive branch sets foreign policy; any official who acts counter to that policy is the one who is running a "shadow" policy.

  58. The shadow policy making in this case was being made up by Trump’s personal lawyer, working behind the backs of people like Mr. Taylor, the person charged by Trump and employed by our government to be our point player in dealing with the new president in Ukraine. And it is still going on. And we see where that got us.

  59. @Greg Clark then Trump should have recalled everyone else and told them Rudolf Giuliani was the new Ambassador. Or told them what he wanted to do —Which if he did would be direct evidence for impeachment. But he couldn’t do that. See quotes by Michael Cohen to read up on how Trump operates and gets his wishes known.

  60. @Greg Clark So clearly untrue. Congress allocated and mandated the military aid. Other elements of the executive branch certified that the new Ukrainian government was cleared to receive the aid. Trump and others (with the collusion of Giuliani, acting as a shadow official) held up the aid and have since tried to cover up their misdeeds. “Shadow foreign policy” is right on the money.

  61. Just echoing thanks for your service and dedication to the work of and for the people of our country. Hope you have a good next step.

  62. I overheard I think I believe This might be the case I presume I suppose I dare say I imagine I expect

  63. @P&L Don’t forget: “I would like you to do us a favor, though...”

  64. This is part of the same scam scheme of the two malign Stephens. Stephen ' Rasputin' Bannon and Stephen ' Gollum ' Miller want to hollow out the ' Deep State'. And all of their roads lead to Moscow, Riyadh and Tel Aviv.

  65. @Blackmamba As a relatively benign Stephen, I echo and endorse your findings.

  66. Perhaps Mr. Taylor should just take a well deserved rest so he can go back to serving the American people in another responsible role after the current administration is voted out in 2020.

  67. Wasn't having an ambassador to Pres Trump's liking a recent concession, among others, made by Pres. Zelensky in his attempt to appease Trump?

  68. Another win for Russia and another loss for us, but I don't see how Mr. Taylor could have done otherwise. Thank you for all your service.

  69. Puts the Administration in a jam. Now it must find and name an Ambassador who buys into its plans to subvert Ukraine, but will be accepted by the current Ukrainian government. Under Yanukovych, not a problem. But now it is.

  70. @Bob T There is always more aid money for Trump to withhold, when he wants another 'favor' from Ukraine.

  71. People need to take off their rose-colored glasses and realize that Taylor and the others are upscale well-educated professionals doing their jobs, not heroes. Coming forward burnt bridges but created opportunities. I commented. when he testified, where this was likely headed: "Think tank salaries are looking more and more like lobbyist salaries." Taylor is headed for bigger and better and more lucrative. That's great for him as far I'm concerned because that's how it is for skilled professionals. I am worried that the rest of you will be disillusioned when he gets the big bucks and buys a big house on a big hill. As for me, I saw it coming.

  72. @mickjas —quoting yourself! Real cool

  73. @michjas Sour grapes michjas. Maybe not a “hero” but Taylor has more ethics than trump and his 4 tricksters. Bolton and Pompeo could learn a lot from him. Claiming that he did this for the money tells me you could too.

  74. Even if we take your cynical assessment at face value (and we have no reason to do so), at least Ambassador Taylor and the other witnesses who testified before Congress did do their job, as the law and the constitution require, which is more than you can say about Donald Trump.

  75. Thank you Ambassador Taylor for your long and honorable service. If only we had more people like you throughout government. My father in law was a West Point graduate from the D-Day class. Like you, he did not hesitate to speak out against injustice even at personal risk. He would surely be appalled at what he would see if he was alive today but just as surely he would have been cheering you on.

  76. Thanks so much, Mr. Taylor, for both a lifetime of service to this country as well as the incredible courage to stand up and report what was/is going on. I hope that many others show the kind of integrity that you have shown.

  77. A grateful nation thanks you, Ambassador Taylor, for speaking truth to power at a perilous moment in our history. You and the other brave and principled Congressional witnesses, who honorably defied corrupted superiors seeking to censor your invaluable testimony, represent the very finest of our devoted, selfless public servants. Your willingness to step forward, without regard to consequences, was heroic.

  78. Looks like we're going to need more institutions to stand up for America's role in global stability, trade, and hopefully peace and democracy too. Somebody's got to do it.

  79. @Bob T Thank you Bob. Everybody knows "It can't happen here."

  80. Thank you for your service, Mr. Ambassador. We are grateful for your honesty and courage at this precarious time in our history.

  81. Thank you, Ambassador Taylor, for your diligence and courage in telling the truth. May you continue your good works.

  82. Thank you for your years and years of honorable service and for the courage and integrity you demonstrated in testifying in the Trump impeachment inquiry.

  83. Should we assume that all the "acting" secretaries including White House chief of staff must leave within 200 days of appointment? Moreover, can the President nominate another "acting" official in those positions to avoid Senate confirmation?

  84. Thank you, Mr. Taylor, for the work you have done for this country. We are in a time when any sense of normalcy and order have been cast aside for the ego of an inept, bullying president. Your dignity and measured presentation as part of the impeachment investigation brought the necessary gravitas to a fraught proceedings. As a nation we are in desperate need of dignity-- a sense that we as a nation have values and standards that need to be protected; that we ask of our elected officials represent our highest ideals, our loftiest aspirations not pettiness and name calling. You represent the best of what a leader should be. Coming forward when it would have been so easy to stay away because of the pressure imposed by the White House to not appear shows bravery and a level of true patriotism that has been distorted and demeaned by the behavior of President Trump and his Republican cronies. And, though I am deeply troubled about the state of our nation, I must have hope that we will rise above this dark time. I have to believe that there are Americans who have the best interests of our country in their hearts not the destruction of the very fabric of who we are. And you, sir, gave me that hope. Thank you.

  85. Thank you, Ambassador Taylor. Thank you for serving us both in Vietnam and in later diplomatic posts. I do respect and appreciate your service to your country. Did you not wonder what Ambassador Voynavitch had done that was so wrong, she needed to be replaced? Did you not learn that she was a respected, anti-corruption diplomat? A shining star to her colleagues in our Department of State? Did you not learn to respect her three-plus decades of stellar service in the State Department? I wonder, sir. Can you sleep at night? Knowing that our president withheld military assistance to our ally because Ambassador Voynatvitch had integrity? And that you weren’t explicit about that in your testimony?

  86. No doubt Mr. Taylor knew what speaking before the House Intelligence Committee would mean for his long-term career. But ever the true diplomat he is keeping the integrity of his office and that of his own intact until the end. For your many years of service this country thanks you.

  87. A man dedicated to service. Who served. A man dedicated to the Constitution, its meanings, implications, functions, challenges and daily giftings. A man who is, and remains, an example and a model for personal accountability. Thank you Mr. Taylor’s. The known and unknown Taylors who were. Who are. And who will continue to “risk,” develop, grow and contribute to make a needed difference which makes a sustainable difference. Because of many known and “hiding” Taylors. Men and women. Of ALL ages and other dimensions. Thank you!

  88. Mr. Taylor deserves to receive some sort of Medal of Honor or Medal of Freedom or maybe a statue in front of the White House if and when this ever becomes possible in this country again. Honorable, courageous American diplomats are in very short supply these days.

  89. Let’s have Rudy G. exiled, I mean appointed, permanently to the Ukraine job and call it a day.

  90. Unceremoniously fired without cause, William Taylor, Top Diplomat in Ukraine and Key Impeachment Witness, steps down. —> There, fixed the headline for you.

  91. I fear all of these good folks leaving. It will create a huge vacuum that will never be filled.

  92. I think those who were courageous enough to share with the American people what they saw/heard/felt should be all over the airwaves, radio and TV alike, speaking out and drowning out the nonsense. They can educate more Americans and we would benefit from listening to them.

  93. I’m going to be frank with you , Ambassador Taylor. You and I? We are family. As the sister of a Vietnam War veteran, you have my utmost respect. So does my brother, who served alongside you. As the the daughter of a State Department Foreign Service Officer who reported to you? I respect you as much as I did Ambassador Voynavitich. She retains the respect of all who have represented our great country. Except for our current president.

  94. I have lived much of my 4 decades in the oil patch oversees. so, I am familiar with and counted on some in our embassies in some half a dozen countries as friends. and I respect them for their work. but this ambassador played into the hands of this political blood letting. there was absolutely no reason for him to inject himself in this partisan hunt. but his statement that this brief hold on Ukraine aid costed Ukrainians lives on battlefield is disingenuous at best and a lie that Democrats ran with. Others testified that the aid was to be used over next 1 year and was going to build on what our POTUS has been providing. and I dare say that this ambassador and others in the State dept have set a political trap for others who follow them. these so called career employees are going to be dealt with abundant caution and I dare say -are going to be marginalized by political appointees. and as this saga shows the political appointees are the ones who make real decisions. so, may be he thinks he did his duty - but it was more a harakiri for the whole State Dept.

  95. William B. Taylor, Jr. is a United States patriot and is to be commended at the highest level for his service to our country. Unlike the Vietnam War bone-spurs draft-dodger sitting in the Oval Office, Mr. Taylor exemplifies what it is to be an American with integrity, an ethical compass and a statesman and a Vietnam War veteran to boot! Thank you so very much, Mr. Taylor for your service to our country and your recent compelling testimony which I watched at the office while trying to do some work. You are a Hero, (yes, with a capital "H") to many Americans and, maybe when this crazy and frightening episode in our country's history is resolved you would consider returning - but if you just want to find a private beach somewhere and permanently "chill", I would say, "well deserved!"

  96. This feels like the same, endless drip, drip loss of professional, knowledgeable, qualified people from the Trump administration, and a true, real loss for the American people. People are not throw away, and people like this are not easily replaced with equally qualified individuals . . . one more example of the long-term damage being done to this country by this unfit president.

  97. Re: "...A Vietnam veteran with decades of State Department experience, William B. Taylor Jr. sharply objected to what he saw as the Trump administration’s shadow foreign policy in Ukraine..." One of the lasting disasters my country will require decades to recover, from, (due to Trump's national, 'N, international criminality / gross incompetence), will be a decimated state dept.! I'm constantly reminded of the old cliche, referring to how diplomats, in embassies tend to eliminate / lessen troops, on battlefields!

  98. I am sure they will be able to replace him with Giuliani or some kind of Sondland clone who knows nothing except how to say: "Yes Sir"

  99. Another experienced public servant gone, another shill for fascists coming in! I bet this time they'll be sure to vet them to guarantee they don't have a sliver of ethics.

  100. Giuliani wants the job.

  101. Sorry to see Ambassador Taylor go, but what an opportunity for Trump to name Rudy Guiliani as Ambassador to Ukraine! Great day for corruption!

  102. Cite Politico please!!

  103. Trump is a shadow to anybody.... We know about it.

  104. I want to press the “like” button about 50 times.

  105. Let’s have Rudy G. exiled, I mean appointed, permanently to the Ukraine job and call it a day.

  106. I hope Mr. Taylor enjoys a well deserved retirement, and I hope that Marie Yovonvich sues "Mayor 9/11 " for slander after his disgraceful statements about her on Fox last night.

  107. You sir are a hero and anyone who abides by the US law only can feel deep admiration, appreciation for your valiant effort and total respect. You are above all, a man of integrity, a patriot and we will miss you. Hopefully this decadent sham of presidency will end very soon.

  108. Hats off to William Taylor, an honest man, with the courage to show his value...by exposing the political trash. The antithesis of his fellow G.O.P. travellers, cowards in disguise, sold themselves so cheap it's a good omen for anybody needing to fill their trash can...before the dump car comes along. And that may be the best that could happen to this suffering democracy. Good riddance to this heap of 'stink'. At least, that's the hope, so sanity may return.

  109. This makes me so sorry for Ukraine and our embassy staff there. First they lost Marie Yovanovitch and now William Taylor. I fear the Senate will approve a Trump/Putin toadie which would be a terrible reversal of our support for this critical country.

  110. Say it ain't so. Joe. Ambassador Taylor appears to be the good and fair man we need to represent us in Ukraine. Ask him to fill the job permanently. And, bring back Marie Yavonovitch. We need her help to straighten out this mess. Yes, I know neither action will be taken but one can dream, can't one?

  111. If the President has done "nothing wrong", how come so many of his appointments, associates, acting directors, acting advisors, former associates, and acting actors have resigned, been forced out, stepped down, lost their job, been indicated, or have gone to jail? Trump did "nothing wrong", he just surrounded himself with a bunch of people who did a lot of bad things. He really didn't know any of them--only met them a few times--and had no idea of what they were doing. Mick Mulvaney is one of them. Rudy Giuliani is another. Then there are a few women that he didn't know either. But, I have a feeling he did know exactly what they were doing. Just a thought.

  112. A profile in courage. Nothing more, nothing less. A true patriot who served his country throughout his distinguished career instead of destroying it as his corruptly pathetic boss and those around him have conspired to accomplish under the direction of our most formidable sworn enemies. Who's next? One shudders at the thought.

  113. If we have learned anything from this inquiry, it's that the wrong person is stepping down. Thank you, Mr. Taylor, for your lifetime of service to our country.