News photos of Ambassador William B. Taylor, Jr., leaving Capitol Hill on Tuesday evening showed him to be a white man with light-gray hair. He was wearing steel glasses and a dark suit. If you had to pick him out of a police lineup, about the only distinguishing feature that would help you are his thick eyebrows. But the chief diplomat at the U.S. Embassy in Kiev is no longer anonymous. With his testimony to House lawmakers, Taylor has made it a racing certainty that Democrats will bring impeachment charges against Donald Trump. Arguably, he has also removed the automatic presumption that Trump will survive an impeachment trial.
To be sure, impeachment charges have been likely ever since the House Intelligence Committee released a complaint from an anonymous intelligence whistle-blower, on September 26th, which alleged that the White House put a hold on military aid to Ukraine at the same time that Trump and his sidekick Rudy Giuliani were demanding that the recently elected President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, launch a pair of investigations—one into Ukraine’s possible involvement in the 2016 U.S. Presidential campaign, the other into Burisma, the Ukrainian energy company that hired Hunter Biden. It was the whistle-blower’s complaint that prompted Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic Speaker of the House, to announce that an impeachment inquiry had officially begun, and to shift its focus from the purview of the Judiciary Committee to that of the Intelligence Committee.