November 13, 2019 / 7:28 PM / 25 days ago

Who's a star witness? Diplomat, Republican spar at Trump impeachment hearing

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A U.S. diplomat testifying in a congressional impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump rejected Republicans’ efforts to label him a “star witness” for Democrats, adding that he was not pushing for a particular outcome.

“I don’t consider myself a star witness for anything,” said Bill Taylor, the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, during the first public hearing in the impeachment probe.

“I’m not here to take one side or the other or to advocate any particular outcome,” Taylor added.

The remarks came in response to questioning by Republican U.S. Representative Jim Jordan, who sought to portray Taylor as lacking firsthand knowledge of Trump’s dealings with Ukraine, which are at the focus of the House of Representatives’ impeachment investigation.

Under questioning by Jordan, Taylor said he had never met Trump and was not on the July 25 phone call in which the American president asked his Ukrainian counterpart to open a corruption investigation into a political rival, Democratic former Vice President Joe Biden, and his son Hunter Biden.

“That’s what I can’t believe: You’re their star witness,” Jordan said. “I’ve seen church prayer chains that are easier to understand than this.”

Reporting by Jan Wolfe; Editing by Scott Malone and Jonathan Oatis

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