Former U.S. Special Envoy for Ukraine Kurt Volker made an unexpected return to the Capitol on Wednesday after testifying in the House Democrats’ impeachment probe early this month.
Volker’s visit took some Republicans by surprise. Rep. Jim Jordan from Ohio, the top Republican on the Democrat-led House Committee on Oversight and Reform, told reporters:
I was not aware he would show up for additional testimony and I don’t know that that’s the case. … He maybe here to review his transcript. If he is coming back for additional testimony, that seems a little out of the ordinary, so I would be surprised if that’s the case, but we’ll see.
Volker is reportedly talking to congressional investigators behind closed doors at the same time that Michael McKinley, who served as the senior adviser to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo before he abruptly resigned last week, is giving his scheduled private deposition in the impeachment probe.
The Daily Kos noted:
Some sources have suggested that Volker’s appearance is part of a continued effort to review the transcript and release portions of his testimony that seem exculpatory for Trump. But his appearance at the same time as McKinley is scheduled to testify is definitely creating an impression that there may be more going on than just skimming through some recorded text.
On October 3, Volker gave a deposition in the House Democrats’ impeachment probe that GOP lawmakers say obliterates the Ukraine-linked quid pro quo allegation at the center of the investigation.
An intelligence community “whistleblower” accused U.S. President Donald Trump of leveraging aid to Ukraine in exchange for it investigating Joe Biden and his son, Hunter.
The allegation, denied by Trump and Ukraine, triggered the ongoing impeachment probe.
Republican lawmakers have demanded that House Democrats release the transcripts of Volker’s October 3 testimony, to no avail.
Lindsey Graham (R-SC), the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, last week threatened to call Volker to testify before his panel if the Democrats fail to release the full transcript.
On Monday, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) said Democrats will eventually release “all” the transcripts of testimony provided by impeachment inquiry witnesses, but would not say when.
So far, House Democrats are conducting the impeachment probe behind closed doors, prompting criticism from Republicans.
GOP lawmakers have accused Democrats of cherry-picking and mischaracterizing bits and pieces of testimony and evidence leaked to the press.
In written testimony leaked to the press, Volker clearly said the Trump administration was not trying to pressure Ukraine into investigating Biden and his son.
To support his claim, Volker released text messages of communications between him, other Trump administration officials, and Rudy Giuliani, the president’s private lawyer.
House Democrat leaders, however, released what they described as a “subset” of the texts to argue the complete opposite, saying Volker did play a role in pushing Ukraine to investigate the Bidens.
Breitbart News found that House Democrats mischaracterized at least one text to fuel their impeachment agenda.
Volker explicitly told lawmakers in written testimony that he wanted “Ukraine [to] do nothing that could be seen as interfering in the 2020 elections.”
The Democrat-led House Committees on Oversight and Reform, Intelligence, and Foreign Affairs are conducting the impeachment investigation.