Ukraine diplomat dodges questions on Trump controversy

Ukraine diplomat dodges questions on Trump controversy
© Aaron Schwartz

Acting Ambassador William Taylor dodged questions about his testimony in the impeachment inquiry against President TrumpDonald John TrumpGOP divided over impeachment trial strategy Official testifies that Bolton had 'one-on-one meeting' with Trump over Ukraine aid Louisiana governor wins re-election MORE at an event Tuesday in Ukraine.

Taylor declined to answer questions about his testimony before Congress last week but was greeted by applause at the international economic conference for diplomats and business leaders in Mariupol, Ukraine, NBC News reported

The diplomat instead praised Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

“President Zelenskiy ran on two things: One was ending the war on Ukrainian terms. And the second was defeating corruption," Taylor told NBC News. “He has done some very brave things on ending the war.”

The Ukrainian president also declined to answer questions from NBC News about the controversy surrounding his call with President Trump from July. 

“I can give you many comments about the USA,” Zelensky told NBC News. “Great country, great people, but I don’t know what’s going on in the USA. I’m so sorry. I’m the president of Ukraine.”

Taylor testified in front of the House committees leading the impeachment inquiry last week, providing testimony that Democrats said gave the clearest evidence that the president withheld military aid from Ukraine to get the country to investigate former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenBudget official says he didn't know why military aid was delayed: report Growing 2020 field underscores Democratic divide READ: Foreign service officer Jennifer Williams' closed-door testimony from the House impeachment inquiry MORE and his son Hunter.

A whistleblower report detailing a call between Trump and Zelensky sparked Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiLouisiana governor wins re-election Dynamic scoring: Forward-thinking budgeting practices to grow our economy Pelosi: Trump tweets on Yovanovitch show his 'insecurity as an imposter' MORE (D-Calif.) to launch the impeachment inquiry after reporting Trump asked the Ukrainian leader to look into Biden and his son. 

Most of the hearings, including Taylor’s testimony, have taken place behind closed doors, in front of the House Intelligence, Foreign Affairs and Oversight and Reform committees. Republicans have condemned the proceedings for being private and staged a protest during one of the hearings last week. 

House Democrats said Monday they plan to open the inquiry to a vote Thursday.