The opening statement of Bill Taylor, the top US diplomat in Ukraine, is "reverberating" on Capitol Hill among Republicans, according to GOP Hill sources, who told CNN that Taylor's testimony is a game changer in the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump.
A senior Republican source on Capitol Hill told CNN that Taylor's statement was so detailed, so specific and that he is so respected that it is having an impact.
"It points to quid pro quo," the GOP source told CNN.
There is an ongoing conversation among GOP members on Capitol Hill about the impact of Taylor's testimony, but it remains a question whether it will move Republicans closer to considering impeachment.
In a closed-door deposition Tuesday, Taylor said he had been told by Gordon Sondland, the US ambassador to the European Union, that "everything" Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky wanted, including a White House meeting and military aid to the country, would be held up until he publicly declared investigations sought by Trump. Taylor's statement undercut the White House's defense that there had been no quid pro quo offered on the call, as well as Sondland's previous testimony to Congress, but it corroborated many of the claims made by the intelligence community whistleblower whose complaint prompted the impeachment inquiry.
While most Republicans have sided publicly with the President, they've been privately grumbling that they're "fed up and tired" of being asked to defend him in the impeachment investigation.
Republican sources on Capitol Hill told CNN there's a "growing unease that there is no defense" of the President's actions.
"How do you defend the indefensible?" one source told CNN. "We can't defend the substance, all we can do is talk about process."
But no Republican wants to come out and say anything. The one Republican who did, Justin Amash, was run out of the party in under 30 days. Nobody will follow suit. Nobody.
Impeachment will still happen. But I don't get what the Republicans are leaking about. Trump will crucify any Republican who defies him, Republicans don't have a choice now, they're drowning on the Titanic as it goes down, so who does a leak like this serve?
I have no clue.