Sen. Moran on Bill Taylor’s Ukraine testimony: ‘We’ll see how this story develops’


Selena Favela

U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran takes questions from press Thursday after a tour of Textron Aviation East with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Ivanka Trump. Moran said he does not know enough about a recent testimony in the impeachment inquiry to have an opinion.

Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) said Thursday that he does not know enough to have an opinion about American diplomat Bill Taylor’s recent closed-door testimony as part of the impeachment inquiry — but he appears to be keeping an open mind.

“I’ll wait to see what the total story is. What I know about this is basically what you told me and bits and pieces that I’ve read and seen in the news,” Moran said. “We’ll see how this story develops.” 

Moran visited Textron Aviation East Thursday morning as part of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Ivanka Trump’s visit to Wichita.

Bill Taylor, acting U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, read a 15-page opening statement to a House committee in closed session Tuesday, saying he has reason to believe that the withholding of over $400 million in aid to Ukraine was directly tied to President Donald Trump’s efforts to pressure the Ukraine government to investigate Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, for Hunter’s business dealings in the former Soviet state.

“Based on the opening statements in the public domain, Ambassador Taylor drives a stake through any possible legal defense that Donald Trump would have,” Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) told VICE News Tuesday as he headed in to listen to more of Taylor’s ongoing testimony. “He’s very clear in that statement.”

Asked if he would be concerned if the House determines Taylor’s testimony to be accurate, Moran said he doesn’t have all the facts yet and said he feels the inquiry is being conducted in a way that encourages partisanship. 

“This current inquiry related to what transpired in Ukraine was initiated before the transcript or the phone call was event presented,” he said, “so it seems to me that the House is starting in a way that makes this a lot more partisan and political than — it’s just discouraging to me.

“This process, if it’s going to take place, it needs to be done involving both Republicans and Democrats in an open and transparent way.” 

Moran’s comments come one day after about two dozen House Republicans attempted to storm a closed impeachment deposition, echoing Moran’s sentiment that Democrats are pursuing the impeachment inquiry in an unfair way.

Though Democrats represent a majority in the House, Republicans still sit on the committees involved in the closed hearings.

Some Democrats say the Republican lawmakers’ attempt to interrupt a closed hearing is meant to halt advancement in the impeachment inquiry.

“All this is an attack right on the investigation, and so when you don’t have law or the facts, you attack and disrupt the process,” Lieu, a member of the House Judiciary Committee, told The New York Times on Wednesday.

Moran also spoke briefly about speculation that Pompeo’s visit to Kansas could be related to a possible bid for a U.S. Senate seat, which will be up for grabs in 2020 as longtime Sen. Pat Roberts plans to retire. 

Moran said he did not have a conversation in “any serious way about that topic during our visit today.”

“If [Pompeo] had an interest in running for the United States Senate, I think he’s got some time to make that decision,” Moran said. 

“I suppose his presence here in Kansas today fuels further speculation. I do not know what he’s thinking.” 

Selena Favela
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo laughs Thursday during a tour of Textron Aviation East. He and Ivanka Trump, right, visited the site as part of their trip to Wichita.