Former U.S. Special Envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker, during his impeachment inquiry deposition last month, highlighted some inaccuracies in the “whistleblower’s” complaint that sparked the probe, according to transcripts released Tuesday.
The complaint mentions Volker five times. Asked for his reaction to those references, Volker told House impeachment investigators, “I thought that it was a fairly accurate characterization. He got some facts wrong.”
Under a subsection titled, “Ongoing Concerns,” the “whistleblower” claimed:
On 26 July, a day after the call, U.S. Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations Kurt Volker visited [the Ukraine capital] Kyiv and met with President [Volodymyr] Zelenskyy and a variety of Ukrainian political figures. Ambassador Volker was accompanied in his meetings by U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland. Based on multiple readouts of these meetings recounted to me by various U.S. officials, Ambassadors Volker and Sondland reportedly provided advice to the Ukrainian leadership about how to “navigate” the demands that the President had made of Mr. Zelenskyy.
Volker explained that his visit to Ukraine was unrelated to the call, noting that he did not even know when and if the July 25 call would take place. He also said that he had planned the meeting irrespective of the Trump-Zelensky conversation on July 25, noting:
The whistleblower report says that I was dispatched to Ukraine after the president’s phone call to meet with President Zelensky to talk about it. That’s not accurate. I was planning a visit to Ukraine to fall after the 21st of July, which is when the parliamentary election was. I did not want to show up in Ukraine during an election campaign.
Volker also suggested that the officials who provided information to the “whistleblower” did not have their facts straight.
“Helping the Ukrainians’ navigate,’ was the word that he used, ‘requests,’ I believe he said from the President, if I’m not mistaken. There are some mistakes in this,” the former U.S. State Department official added.
House investigators have been taking depositions to find out whether Trump abused his power by allegedly levering aid to Ukraine to pressure Zelensky into investigating Joe Biden and his son, Hunter.
At the heart of the impeachment inquiry is the “whistleblower” complaint that accuses Trump of pressuring Zelensky to launch a probe into the Bidens during the July 25 call.
Trump, Zelensky, Volker, and other impeachment probe witnesses have denied the “whistleblower’s” characterization that a quid pro quo offer took place during the conversation. There are signs that House Democrats pursuing the impeachment inquiry are engaged in a fishing expedition that will expand the probe far beyond Ukraine.
The “whistleblower” does not have first-hand knowledge of the call. Some news reports have linked the leaker to Democrats, including Joe Biden. Supporters of the “whistleblower,” including his lawyers, have not explicitly denied the most recent allegations, made last week.