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William Taylor, with a small green notebook and Eagle Scout style, is a strong witness

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When Democrats announced last week that William B. Taylor Jr. from Wednesday their first witness to public hearings with hearings, the US top diplomat in Ukraine stood almost 5,000 miles away at the front line of that country's war with Russia, with Ukrainian troops camouflaged for maintaining an emerging ceasefire .

Taylor's failure to give up his daily ambassadorial duties in Kiev, even though he has become an important witness in the investigation of charges, is typical of the dedication and dedication that the 72-year-old Vietnam veterinarian and career officer has long shown, friends and colleagues say. # 39; s.

Some were surprised that the relatively inconspicuous diplomatic diplomat would play such a central role in the possible removal of a president. At the same time, it was Taylor's credentials and, in all likelihood, non-partisan gravitas that gave his explosive testimony such & # 39; n credibility on October 22.

Taylor does not crave the spotlight, friends say, but also does not shy away from denouncing corruption or misconduct, whether by officials in a host country or under his own bosses.

"I don't drop the term" Eagle Scout "often, but he is definitely one," said James Pettit, who served as Diplomat No. 2 during Taylor's first stint at the US Embassy in Kiev. " not that he was looking for this, but felt very strongly what was going on. "

Taylor, who grew up in a military family in Virginia and studied at Harvard, is seen in some circles as a diplomat in the form of former Foreign Minister Colin Powell and his deputy, Richard Armitage – successful military commanders who became effective senior diplomats in the George W. Bush administration.

William Courtney, a former ambassador to Georgia and Kazakhstan, who worked with Taylor in airborne medicines and other supplies with Taylor in the 1990s, says Taylor – tall and adorned with spectacle glasses – shows the combination of & # 39; disciplined thinking & # 39, which is being tightened up both in the army and in American diplomacy.

"His judgment is great," said Courtney, who is now in the Rand Corp. "He is simple, honest and always in a good mood. When you are with him, you do not only respect him, you feel good. & # 39;

Taylor & # 39; s duty in Ukraine has hardly happened this year.

He stopped in 2015 after nearly half a century at the State Department – working in the Middle East, Afghanistan and Eastern Europe – as well as stints at the Pentagon, Department of Energy and Capitol Hill. He has worked in both republican and democratic administrations.

He was struggling with the American Peace Institute, a government-funded non-partisan think tank in Washington, who wrote essays on the need to stand up against Ukraine against Moscow and impose stricter sanctions on Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Following the abrupt recall in May of Marie Yovanovitch, who was the US ambassador to Kiev since 2016, Foreign Minister Michael R. Pompeo asked Taylor to retire for a six-month tour.

Taylor had been an ambassador to Kiev from 2006 to 2009 and, he said, he became a passionate advocate for the struggle of the former Soviet republic in its own country against endemic corruption and internationally against Russia. His wife told him not to take the job. He was concerned that the dark politics that Yovanovitch had doomed was still in play.

But Taylor said he took the job after a Republican mentor had advised him that if you call country, you will stick.

"He was willing to go (to Kiev), knowing it was a challenging but critical time," said John Herbst, who led Taylor as an ambassador to Ukraine and has known him for years. "He is a first-class professional."

During his career, Taylor was rarely seen without a small green notebook, friends and colleagues remember. He carefully took notes of meetings, discussions, ideas.

"He writes everything down," said Pettit. "He could return from a meeting that I had not attended and recite every turn and turn of the conversation."

That attention to detail was evident in his testimony of October 22, which yielded startling memories of dates, times and comments describing how the Trump government conducted a parallel channel of diplomacy and withheld military aid to Ukraine until the new President Volodymyr Zelensky agreed. to make it publicly known he would investigate Trump's political rivals.

Trump, who has tried to discredit every witness who has appeared against him, described Taylor as a & # 39; never Trumper & # 39 ;, a reference to those members of the GOP site who were against the presidential candidate from the start. the real estate magnate. There is no evidence that Taylor was "never a trump" and colleagues said they had never discovered partiality in his work or professional interactions.

Pompeo did not defend Taylor against the aspersions of Trump. Both Pompeo, 55, and Taylor graduated 17 years apart at West Point, Pompeo at the top of his class and Taylor in the number 5 slot. Taylor served in the infantry for six years, saw battles in Vietnam with the 101st Airborne Division and earned a Bronze Star Medal.

Taylor & # 39; is the whole package & # 39 ;, said Mark Taplin, a retired career diplomat who has crossed the road with Taylor several times and stays in touch with him. "Smart policies, exceptional leadership and people's skills," he said. "At the same time, he knows how to manage resources and budgets and make things possible."

Friends and colleagues believe that the betrayal of the old American policy that upholds the strategic importance of Ukraine is Taylor's most concerned, and no one is surprised that he has chosen to talk about it.

Taylor first came to the attention of regret researchers because of his text message to the American ambassador to the European Union, Gordon Sondland, a major donor to Trump, who had taken charge of the Ukraine policy.

"I think it's crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign," wrote Taylor. This message was one of the creepiest descriptions of what the Democrats now say was abuse of presidential powers to pressurize a foreign government to get involved in an American election.

Taylor's friends said the choice of the somewhat uniplomatic word & # 39; crazy & # 39; had to be intentional, perhaps a sign that Taylor suspected his objections would come to light and he hoped to set a record.

"If he said, wrote, or texted, it wasn't a mistake," Pettit said. & # 39; He is not a loose gun. He did it for a reason. & # 39;

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