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Bill Taylor, the acting US ambassador to Ukraine, has testified that President Donald Trump withheld military aid to pressure Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden and the 2016 election.

In a 15-page opening statement, obtained by The Washington Post, Taylor repeatedly expressed his shock and bewilderment as he watched US policy toward Ukraine get overtaken by Trump’s demand that newly elected president Volodymyr Zelensky “go to a microphone and say he is opening investigations of [Democratic presidential candidate Joe] Biden and 2016 election interference”.

Taylor's closed-door testimony contradicted ongoing insistence from the president and his allies that there was no "quid pro quo". Democrats signaled that Taylor's testimony was a turning point, indicating that the impeachment inquiry will be speeding up in the coming days.