WASHINGTON, DC — Former U.S. Special Envoy Kurt Volker maintained during a public hearing Tuesday afternoon that he never “took part” in what Democrats have characterized as President Donald Trump’s efforts to investigate Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, in exchange for aid.
Volker’s testimony once again undermined the quid pro quo claim contained in a “whistleblower’s” complaint that triggered the impeachment inquiry launched by House Democrats.
Volker’s October 3 deposition is consistent with his public testimony on Tuesday.
The “whistleblower” complaint accused Trump of abusing his power by leveraging U.S. aid during a July 25 call to pressure Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to launch an investigation into corruption allegations against the Bidens.
Echoing his October 3 secret deposition almost verbatim on Tuesday, Volker testified alongside former top European affairs official on Trump’s National Security Council (NSC) Tim Morrison, the only two witnesses sought by the Republican minority and accepted by Democrats.
At no time was I aware of or knowingly took part in an effort to urge Ukraine to investigate former Vice president Biden. As you know, from the extensive real-time documentation I have provided, Vice President Biden was not a topic of our discussions. I was not on the July 25 phone call between President Trump and President Zelensky. I was not made aware of any reference to Vice President Biden or his son by President Trump until the transcript of that call was released [by the White House] on September .
Volker provided “real-time” evidence in the forms of texts between U.S. State Department officials and Trump’s private lawyer Rudy Giuliani.
Characterizations by Democrats and impeachment witnesses, namely White House National Security (NSC) Director of European Affairs Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, allege that Trump “demanded” that Ukraine investigate the Bidens. An unofficial transcript of the call released by the White House on September 24 shows that Trump urged Ukraine to carry out the investigation, without threatening to withhold aid if the country did not play ball.
Volker and other current and former officials who testified, including U.S. diplomat Bill Taylor, deemed a “star witness” by Democrats, acknowledged Ukraine did not even know the U.S. had frozen aid during the July 25 call, prompting Republicans to argue that a quid pro quo offer during the conversation would have been impossible at the time.
You can’t leverage an unknown to get something you want, which in this case would have been the investigations into the Bidens.
“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,” Volker proclaimed during his October 3 deposition.
The Trump administration ended up releasing the aid on September 11 without Ukraine having to launch investigations into the Bidens or possible interference in the 2016 U.S. elections or even participating in a meeting.
Despite allegations to the contrary, Zelensky testified Tuesday that the Trump-Zelensky meeting was “not conditioned” on Ukraine carrying out the so-called investigation into White House hopeful and Trump’s political rival Biden.
Trump, Zelensky, Volker, and other impeachment probe witnesses denied the existence of the quid pro quo allegations contained in the “whistleblower” complaint and alleged by some impeachment witnesses, citing hearsay.
On October 3, Volker explicitly denied that he “didn’t think” there was a quid pro quo during the July 25 call. Volker did not participate in the call and did not even know when it was going to take place.
Democrats and their mainstream media allies attempted to paint Volker as a significant player in helping Trump push for so-called political investigations in return for aid, although he denied any involvement.
On Tuesday, Volker made it clear that, unlike him, some of his colleagues did not see a distinction between an investigation into the Ukrainian company that hired Hunter Biden from 2014 to April of this year and the Bidens. Some U.S. officials and Democrats conflated the two, a move that benefited their impeachment agenda.
Volker defended former VP Biden against corruption allegations, saying he is an honorable man. His defense of Biden on Tuesday and October 3 suggested he was not pushing for any investigation of the Bidens. The Democrat-led House Committees on Oversight and Reform, Intelligence, and Foreign Affairs are leading the impeachment inquiry. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA), the chief impeachment inquisitor, is hosting the public hearings, of which more are expected this week.