Hours of testimony Thursday by former U.S. special envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker did not advance the House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump, Republican congressmen told reporters.
Volker, the first impeachment inquiry witness, testified behind closed doors. He resigned from his unpaid U.S. Department of State post last Friday without providing an explanation. Volker stepped down amid the impeachment inquiry launched by House Democrats.
In a statement issued while Volker testified, Congressman Mike Turner (R-OH), a member of the House Intelligence Committee, declared:
It is deeply unfortunate and regrettable that Schiff’s show trial investigation has clearly affected Volker’s ability to advance U.S. interests with Ukraine. It is my strong belief that Volker would not have been involved in nor permitted anything inappropriate, let alone illegal, in his service to our country.
Today he continued his legacy of integrity under questioning from Schiff’s staff. I do not believe that Volker’s testimony advanced Schiff’s impeachment agenda.
Comments by other GOP House members and sources cited by members of the media echo Turner’s sentiment.
An official familiar with the testimony of State Dept. official Kurt Volker describes the testimony as a “setback” for Schiff’s impeachment efforts.
So far, Volker’s testimony “does nothing to advance Chairman Schiff’s theory of the case,” the official says.
— Sean Davis (@seanmdav) October 3, 2019
NEW: per a source with knowledge of ongoing #Volker interview:
"The information provided by Amb. Volker so far does nothing to advance @RepAdamSchiff theory of the case. Volker's testimony seems to be a disappointing event –and likely a setback–for the #impeachment effort."
— Brooke Singman (@brookefoxnews) October 3, 2019
The Washington Times reports:
Reps. Mark Meadows, Jim Jordan and Lee Zeldin took a break from the interview [with Volker] to tell reporters Mr. Volker’s testimony didn’t match up with the “narrative” coming from the pro-impeachment camp.
“Mr. Volker has been very impressive … and has said nothing — nothing — that coincides with what the Democrats are saying,” Mr. Jordan, Ohio Republican, said.
Democrats, meanwhile, remained mum as they emerged from the room where Mr. Volker had been testifying behind closed doors.
Meanwhile, Rep. Meadows reportedly “sounded optimistic.”
“I think anytime you can get clarity to what actually happened is a good day for Americans. And we’re getting more clarity,” he proclaimed, according to the Times.
Volker resigned last week after State confirmed that the former official linked Rudolph Giuliani, the president’s private lawyer, with a top presidential adviser. Giuliani has conceded himself he frequently met with Volker.
Roll Call notes:
House Republicans on Thursday criticized Intelligence Chairman Adam B. Schiff’s handling of the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump while defending the man the committee’s staff questioned behind closed doors in connection to the probe.
As Volker testified, Congressman Jordan reportedly criticized Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) for attempting to block some members from participating in the former official’s interview.
Schiff, who is leading the Democrats’ impeachment effort, serves as the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.
Jordan, the founding member of the House Freedom Caucus, also accused Schiff of preventing State Department lawyers from playing a role in the closed briefing, Roll Call points out.
“If this is how Mr. Schiff is going to conduct these types of interviews in the future, that’s a concern,” Jordan said.
The impeachment inquiry centers around allegations by an intelligence community “whistleblower” that Trump used his position to pressure Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter’s links to a suspected criminal, allegedly threatening to withhold foreign aid.