President Donald Trump‘s former Russia probe lawyer John Dowd expressed a less than kindly opinion on Ambassador Bill Taylor after the latter’s impeachment testimony before the U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday.
According to the New York Times, Dowd attacked Taylor thusly:
A pitiful, ignorant, insubordinate gossip with no trustworthy information.
Reaction to Dowd’s uncharitable description was similarly unkind:
John Dowd has said far worse things to me about myself– on the phone or in person. “Pitiful is new” though. Bill Taylor’s testimony speaks for itself. https://t.co/liYETrkKZy
— murray waas (@murraywaas) November 14, 2019
When George Kent said, "you can't promote principled, anti-corrupt action without pissing off corrupt people", this is what he meant.
— Holly Figueroa O'Reilly (@AynRandPaulRyan) November 14, 2019
John Dowd would know how to identify trustworthy information, given that he allowed Don McGahn to give 30 hours' worth of testimony to Mueller's team https://t.co/WuaiYwQ3ei
— Quinta "Pro Quo" Jurecic (@qjurecic) November 14, 2019
Dowd’s categorization of the U.S. Chargé d’Affaires for Ukraine comes far out of left field–or, perhaps more appropriately, out of the far-right recesses of the conservative movement and White House allies.
Taylor is a well-respected former member of the U.S. military who served in Vietnam and has worked for multiple administrations and under presidents from both major U.S. political parties. Essentially a career diplomat, Taylor’s front-and-center presence in the ongoing impeachment contretemps is also his first-ever brush with any form of scandal whatsoever. Taylor, a Bronze Star recipient, graduated in 1969 from West Point; he graduated fifth in a class of 800.
As Law&Crime previously reported, Taylor went out of his way in his opening statement to note that he considers himself “non-partisan.” He has served under presidents of both parties since Ronald Reagan.
Initial impressions by various legal experts cast Taylor’s testimony in a decidedly glowing light and offered all-but unmitigated praise.
“Don’t think I’ve seen a straighter arrow than Bill Taylor,” former U.S. attorney Preet Bharara tweeted, “His testimony is thorough, steady, compelling, credible, and devastating.”
“Ambassador Taylor’s testimony is very devastating to Trump, and contains new facts,” added former acting solicitor general Neal Katyal via Twitter, “Wow.”
“Taylor was an extremely credible, unflappable and compelling witness who did not take sides but testified about facts that are very damning to President Trump, and the Republicans did not lay a glove on him,” mainstay D.C. attorney Ted Boutrous told the Times. “It’s way too soon to tell how the public and Congress will react, [but] both Taylor and [George] Kent provided a very strong foundation for the case against Mr. Trump.”
Dowd’s comments strayed from the script maintained by congressional Republicans–who appeared uncharacteristically loathe to criticize the diplomat in personal terms on Wednesday. The blistering verbal assault on Taylor does, on the other hand, track with the image being presented by extreme right media loyal to President Trump.
Representative Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), who lead the House GOP response, mainly attempted to present the Democratic case for impeachment as an unclear mess of charges based on second-, third- and fourth-hand information.
“You’re the guy based on this, based on–I mean, I’ve seen–I’ve seen church prayer chains that are easier to understand than this,” the Ohio Republican said as Taylor sat with an amused but patient smile. “Ambassador Taylor recalls that Mr. Morrison told–now again, this is–I hereby swear and affirm from Gordon Sondland. Ambassador Taylor recalls that Mr. Morrison told Ambassador Taylor that I told Mr. Morrison that I conveyed this message to Mr. Yarmak on September 1, 20–this all happens, by the way, this all happens by the way in Warsaw–”
Jordan came closest to actually going after Taylor by repeatedly referring to him as the Democrats’ “star witness.”
Eventually reacting to the label used by Jordan, Taylor again asserted his independence and tried to shrug his way above the fray.
“Let me just say that I don’t consider myself a star witness for anything,” Taylor said.
Dowd previously represented Trump during the special counsel investigation led by Robert Mueller. The D.C. fixture represented Rudy Giuliani‘s indicted Ukrainian hatchet men Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, but now only represents Fruman.
[image via Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images]