Pompeo voices support for work of diplomat criticized by Trump

Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoKobach has lead in Kansas Senate race unless Pompeo enters: report The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by AdvaMed — House panel delays impeachment vote until Friday Senate gears up for battle over witnesses in impeachment trial MORE appeared to offer support for a diplomat who has come under fierce attacks from President TrumpDonald John TrumpDemocrats ask if they have reason to worry about UK result Trump scramble to rack up accomplishments gives conservatives heartburn Seven years after Sandy Hook, the politics of guns has changed MORE over his testimony in the House’s impeachment investigation. 

When asked by The Sunflower if he still has confidence in William Taylor, who serves as the chargé d’affaires for Ukraine, Pompeo said the two are aligned on how the U.S. should approach its relationship with Ukraine.

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“I’ve watched Bill — he and I have talked about Ukranian policy at some length. How do you take down corruption? How do you now help the new leader there, President Zelensky? How do we deliver on America’ national security interests? And he and I — full accord on that," he said. "He and I both share this vision for how American interests in Ukraine can properly be represented. I have every reason to think that he’s still out there, banging away at that problem set."

The comments come as Taylor faces a barrage of attacks from Trump over his testimony that the White House tied hundreds of millions of dollars in military aid to Ukraine to the country’s compliance with Trump’s request that it announce an investigation into former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenDemocrats ask if they have reason to worry about UK result Media organization fights Trump administration over Ukraine documents FOIA Buttigieg releases list of campaign bundlers MORE.

“Here’s the problem, he’s a Never Trumper,” the president told reporters Friday at the White House in response to a question about Taylor’s explosive testimony from earlier this week.

"This is a hoax," Trump added. "This is a disgrace that this could happen in our country."

Taylor this week laid out in detailed testimony that Trump decided to withhold roughly $400 million in financial aid until he secured a commitment from Ukraine officials that they would investigate Biden, one of his top political rivals. 

“During our call on September 8, Ambassador Sondland tried to explain to me that President Trump is a businessman," Taylor told congressional investigators during his nearly 10-hour appearance behind closed doors, referring to ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland.

"When a businessman is about to sign a check to someone who owes him something, he said, the businessman asks that person to pay up before singing the check," he continued.

Democrats have seized on Taylor’s testimony, saying it lays out a quid pro quo between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky

“This testimony is a sea change. I think it could accelerate matters,” Rep. Stephen LynchStephen Francis LynchHillicon Valley: Groups file appeal over net neutrality ruling | Lawmakers raise concerns over foreign apps | Payroll data stolen from Facebook House Democrat questions Google, Apple over handling of foreign-linked apps Maloney wins House Oversight gavel MORE (D-Mass.), a member of the Oversight and Reform Committee, said this week.