Kurt Volker, the Former envoy to Ukraine, who is at the center of an impeachment inquiry, spent on Thursday more than eight hours being deposed by lawmakers and aides from three House committees. The committees are looking into allegations that include whether president’s personal lawyer Rudy Giulian and President Drumpf improperly pressured Ukrainian officials to launch an investigation into the Bidens while withholding U.S. military aid.
Kurt Volker provided Democrats with 60 pages of text messages and other documents that the Drumpf administration would try to make aid to Ukraine contingent on efforts to help the president’s reelection campaign.
One text between Volker and Andrey Yermak, a top Zelensky adviser,
If there was an Academy Award for leading the witness, my Democratic colleagues would have gotten three Oscars today,”Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.)
On July 25th, the day of the Drumpf-Zelenksy call, One text between Volker and Andrey Yermak (a top Zelensky adviser), linked a Zelensky visit to Washington to whether the Ukrainians moved ahead with the Biden probe. Volker said:
“Heard from the White House. Assuming President Z (Zelensky) convinces T (Trump) he will investigate/ ‘get to the bottom of what happened in 2016, we will nail down date for visit to Washington.”
In a Sept. 9, Bill Taylor, the chargé d’affaires of the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine’s capital, Kiev, expressed outrage to any linkage between U.S. aid to whether the Ukrainians took the steps Drumpf and Giuliani wanted regarding the Bidens. And we read at the message:
“I think it’s crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign,”
there is more and more evidence that the president of the United States was improperly using his office, using our taxpayer dollars, to leverage help from an ally in our upcoming 2020 elections.”Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.)
In response to Taylor message, Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, strongly denied any linkage between U.S. aid to whether the Ukrainians took the steps Drumpf and Giuliani wanted regarding the Bidens. And Sondland wrote:
“I believe you are incorrect about President Drumpf’s intentions… The President has been crystal clear: no quid pro quo’s of any kind. The President is trying to evaluate whether Ukraine is truly going to adopt the transparency and reforms that President Zelensky promised during his campaign.”
According to several people involved in the hearing, The New York Times first reported that Volker testified that, under pressure from Giuliani, him and Sondland also asked to draft a statement saying Ukrainian officials were committed to beginning investigations into Biden and other Drumpf rivals. Volker also told investigators that he warned Giuliani that he was being fed some incorrect information on the Bidens from Ukrainian contacts…
Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), a member of the House Oversight and Reform panel, acknowledged that:“The ambassador’s view of Ukrainian corruption and Rudy Giuliani’s view of corruption are at odds with one another, I think the ambassador had a much more forward-looking position on what he believes the new Ukrainian government will do, and I think that’s at odds with what Rudy Giuliani believes.”
Mark Meadows told reporters after leaving the Volker deposition: “What we do know is there was definitely not quid-pro-quo… Any comments that would indicate that there was some nefarious purpose on behalf of this president was not backed up by the facts today., If there was an Academy Award for leading the witness, my Democratic colleagues would have gotten three Oscars today,”
Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.), said Volker’s testimony “blew a massive hole” through allegations that Drumpf sought a quid pro quo from the Ukrainian leader leader.
Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.), a member of the House Intelligence Committee. said: “We saw further evidence that there was a shadow shakedown, and I would say, the lead deputy for the president was Rudy Giuliani… You had an experienced diplomat, working for free as a special envoy, who in many ways was a front for the work being done on the side, parallel to his efforts, by Rudy Giuliani. there is more and more evidence that the president of the United States was improperly using his office, using our taxpayer dollars, to leverage help from an ally in our upcoming 2020 elections.”
Cover photo by Jose Luis Magana