Prepared remarks by the first impeachment inquiry witness indicate House Democrat leaders cherry-picked and mischaracterized texts he provided during testimony Thursday to fuel their effort to remove President Donald Trump from office.
Former U.S. special envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker provided evidence in the form of texts to show he was not trying to push Ukraine into investigating former Vice President Joe Biden.
The texts cover conversations between Volker, U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland, top U.S. diplomat to Ukraine William Taylor, and Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s private lawyer.
Democrats and the liberal mainstream media suggested the texts amounted to evidence that Volker helped Trump’s attempt to push Ukraine into probing into Biden.
That would mean Volker, a Trump appointee, provided self-incriminating evidence to House Democrat lawmakers pursuing the impeachment inquiry that would harm himself and others at the center of the investigation.
[A]t no time was I aware of or took part in an effort to urge Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Biden. As you will see from the extensive text messages I am providing, which convey a sense of real-time dialogue with several different actors, Vice President Biden was never a topic of discussion.
Volker even defended Biden against accusations of Ukraine-linked corruption, saying:
I have known former Vice President Biden for 24 years, and the suggestion that he would be influenced in his duties as Vice President by money for his son simply has no credibility to me. I know him as a man of integrity and dedication to our country.
The Democrat leaders seeking Trump’s impeachment, however, released some of the texts to support their claim that Volker helped Trump coerce Ukraine into investigating Biden.
Reps. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), Adam Schiff (D-CA), and Eliot Engel (D-NY) conceded that the texts were “only a subset of the full body of materials” they received from Volker.
House Democrats refuse to release the full transcripts of the more than eight hours of testimony provided by Volker on Thursday. Breitbart News’s requests for comment on this story and releasing the full transcripts went unanswered.
Volker’s prepared remarks suggest the Democrats mischaracterized the texts.In particular, a text about a statement Volker and Sondland were helping Ukraine draft.
Volker said Andrey Yermak requested assistance in penning a statement to express Ukraine’s commitments to combatting corruption.
Yermak is a close aide to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who was expected to issue the statement.
The ultimate aim of the statement was to convince Trump to meet with Zelensky, but the Urkainian president never delivered it.
The Democrat leaders cited a July 19 text from Volker to make it seem as if the former envoy was briefing the Ukrainian president on what to tell president Trump during the July 25 call that triggered the impeachment inquiry.
In his prepared remarks, Volker indicated that the July 19 text was about the statement they were helping Ukraine draft, not about the call.
Volker explicitly says that as of July 24, “I still did not know whether or when such a call [between Trump and Zelensky] was to be scheduled …”
The Democrats introduced the text saying, “On July 19, 2019, Ambassador Volker, Ambassador Sondland, and Mr. Taylor had the following exchange about the specific goal for the upcoming telephone call between President Trump and the Ukrainian president.”
Volker said in the text:
Good. Had breakfast with Rudy this morning — teeing up call w Yermak Monday. Must have helped. Most [important] is for Zelensky to say that he will help investigation — and address any specific personal issues — if any.
Again, Volker said he was referring to a statement Zelensky was expected to issue, but never did.
The former envoy stressed in his written testimony that the statement was never intended to mention former VP Biden.
Instead, it was expected to focus on an investigation into 2016 U.S. election meddling by local Ukrainians and the domestic energy company Burisma Holdings.
Volker emphasized that the statement was ultimately “shelved” because he wanted “Ukraine [to] do nothing that could be seen as interfering in the 2020 elections.”
In 2016, Biden pressured Ukraine to remove its top prosecutor. At the time, his son was serving on the board of Burisma — whose owner, Mykola Zlochevsky, had been under investigation by the fired prosecutor, prompting allegations of corruption.
An intelligence community “whistleblower” recently claimed that Trump attempted to pressure his Ukrainian counterpart Zelensky into investigating Trump and his son, threatening to withhold foreign aid.
The U.S. President denies the allegations. Nevertheless, the “whistleblower’s” claims have triggered the ongoing impeachment inquiry.
Republicans have accused their rivals of cherry-picking the texts they chose to release.
This unilateral and cherry-picked release by the Democrats is a desperate attempt to further their failing impeachment narrative and skew the story.
This information cannot possibly be understood without Volker’s explanations from today’s testimony. https://t.co/1WFsazEtEa
— Oversight Committee Republicans (@GOPoversight) October 4, 2019
They say Volker’s testimony failed to advance the Democrat’s impeachment agenda.
Volker resigned last week amid the impeachment investigation.