Volker Denies Quid Pro Quo in Testimony Transcripts: ‘No Leverage Implied’

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 03: Former Special Envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker departs following a closed-door deposition led by the House Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill on October 3, 2019 in Washington, DC. Volker resigned from his position on September 27. (Photo by Zach Gibson/Getty Images)
Zach Gibson/Getty Images

Former U.S. special envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker repeatedly denied that quid pro quo took place during the July 25 call between U.S. President Donald Trump and his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodymyr Zelensky, transcripts released on Tuesday show.

“I didn’t think” a quid pro quo “was actually there,” Volker, the first impeachment inquiry witness, testified, referring to the call.

“I don’t think” Ukraine was “aware” that U.S. aid was being withheld “at the time” of the call, “so there was no leverage implied,” he added.

Volker testified that he believed that Ukraine did not become aware of the hold on U.S. aid until Politico published a story on the matter, based on leaked information, on August 28, more than a month after the July 25 call.

House Democrat impeachment investigators are trying to determine if Trump abused his power by allegedly pressuring Zelensky to investigate Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, and claims of tampering in the 2016 elections during the July 25 call.

Trump, Zelensky, Volker, and other impeachment probe witnesses have denied those claims.

House investigators asked Volker, “Did President Trump ever withhold a meeting with President Zelensky or delay a meeting with President Zelensky until the Ukrainians committed to investigate the allegations that you just described concerning the [2016] presidential election?”

“The answer to the question is no …. there was no linkage like that,” Volker said.

Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY) explicitly asked Volker, “And in no way, shape, or form in either the readouts from the United States or Ukraine did you receive any indication whatsoever for anything that resembles a quid pro quo?”

“Correct,” he replied.

Volker’s denial irked Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), the leader of the impeachment probe, who repeatedly pressured the former envoy to confirm his characterization of events suggesting a quid pro quo took place.

Schiff declared:

Ambassador, I find it remarkable as a career diplomat that you have difficulty acknowledging that when Ukraine learned that their aid had been suspended for unknown reasons, that this wouldn’t  add additional urgency to [an investigation] request by the President of the United States. I find that remarkable.

Following weeks of Republican pressure, House Democrats pursuing the impeachment inquiry released the transcript of the Volker’s October 3 deposition.

Republicans have argued that Volker’s testimony exonerates Trump of the allegations that triggered the impeachment probe.

.

Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.