Special envoy for Ukraine Kurt Volker told the legislators that he was not aware of any consideration when it came to US aid to Ukraine and said he was surprised that the Bidens arrived in Donald Trump's phone call with the Ukrainian president on July 25. .
Volker also accused Rudy Giuliani, the president's personal lawyer, of transferring a corruption story relating to Ukraine to President Trump and revealed that he personally told Giuliani that he did not believe it & # 39; credible & # 39; Joe Biden was involved in domestic Ukrainian affairs in favor of his son when he was vice president.
The House Intelligence Committee released its transcript of 360 pages of Volker & # 39; s testimony to lawmakers on Tuesday this month.
& # 39; I was never asked to do anything that I thought was wrong, & # 39; Volker testified of his time in the service of Trump.
Kurt Volker told lawmakers that he had no knowledge of quid pro quo in his sworn testimony
Volker accused Rudy Giuliani of transferring a story of corruption in relation to Ukraine to President Trump
In his Q&A with legislators, Volker supported some arguments from the White House of Trump – such as confirming that the Ukrainians knew nothing about withholding nearly $ 400 million in military aid until the government stopped insisting on investigating Joe and Hunter Biden.
But he was also clear that Trump & # 39; s accusation of corruption against the former vice president was not valid.
Volker told lawmakers that he had no knowledge of a consideration. Democrats investigate an allegation in which Trump has asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate indictments Joe Biden, as vice president, destroyed a Ukrainian investigation into the Ukrainian gas company Burisma, where Biden & # 39; s son Hunter was on the board from 2014 to earlier this year, and the threat of holding back US foreign aid to make that happen.
& # 39; You asked what conversations I had about that consideration, and so on. None, because I didn't know there was a consideration, & Volker told the legislators in his sworn testimony.
He also said he did not know why US financial assistance to Ukraine was being stopped.
& # 39; Assistance is suspended at different times for various reasons. That's true. In this case you had a case here where everyone I spoke with on the administration side – you know, Pentagon, military, civilian, Foreign Ministry, National Security Council – they all thought this was really important to get this help. offer, & # 39; he said.
But he said it was spacious & # 39; unusual & # 39; was because all stakeholders agreed that it was vital that the money come to Ukraine.
& # 39; Because there was a hold, I found it unusual. I didn't know the reason. There was never a reason why that was the case, & he said. & # 39; It came from OMB, so I immediately thought of budgetary issues that a deduction was set for whatever reason. & # 39;
Previous witnesses have testified that White House acting chief Mick Mulvaney has been in control of military aid – that money has finally been released and sent to the Ukrainians.
White House press secretary, Stephanie Grisham, said Volker's statement confirms that there was no consideration involved in the government's relationship with Ukraine.
& # 39; Volker's statement confirms that there could have been no consideration, because the Ukrainians at that time knew nothing about military aid. No amount of high-profile media biased headlines, clearly designed to influence the story, does not change the fact that the president has done nothing wrong, & she said in a statement.
Volker also revealed that he personally told Giuliani that it was & # 39; not credible & # 39; that the former vice president would be corrupt.
Giuliani urged Ukraine to investigate the charges against Biden and a conspiracy theory regarding the 2016 elections: that it was the Ukrainians who hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee and made it seem like it was the Russians, which would mean that Trump would win the 2016 contest without Russian interference. He's also pushed the unproven theory that the hacked e-mail server from DNC is located in Ukraine.
Volker revealed that he had personally told Rudy Giuliani that he did not believe it & # 39; credible & # 39; Joe Biden was involved in internal Ukrainian affairs in favor of his son
Volker revealed how Giuliani influenced President Trump's attitude that Ukraine was corrupt
Volker told lawmakers what he told Giuliani during a breakfast meeting at the Trump Hotel with him and Lev Parnas, a Ukrainian-American business partner of the former mayor who was arrested for campaign costs related to his work for Giuliani.
& # 39; One of the things I said in that breakfast I had with Mr. Giuliani was the only time Vice President Biden had ever spoken to me, and he repeated – he didn't accuse and he wasn't looking to an investigation – but he repeated all the things in the media that we talked about earlier, you know, dismiss the public prosecutor and his son in the company and things, & Volker said.
& # 39; And I told Rudy during that breakfast – the first time we sat down to talk – that for me it's just not credible that Joe Biden would be influenced by money or things for his vice president his son or something. I have known him for a long time, he is an honest person, and that is not credible. On the other hand, whether Ukrainians might have tried to influence our elections or to buy influence, that is entirely plausible & he said.
Parnas' lawyer told Reuters that he will collaborate with the impeachment probe. Parnas helped Giuliani to dirt on Biden, Trump's political rival.
Volker also criticized Giuliani for insisting on a negative image of Ukraine with President Trump.
& # 39; The negative story about Ukraine that Mr. Giuliani promoted was the problem. In my vjew, it hampered our ability to build the relationship as we should, & he said.
Volker told about a meeting in May with President Trump, EU ambassador Gordon Sondland and energy secretary Rick Perry, where the three spoke with the president about the importance of an Oval Office meeting with Zelensky.
& # 39; We strongly encouraged him to talk to this new president because he is committed to fighting all those things that President Trump was complaining about, & he said.
And he described Trump's reaction: & He just didn't believe it. He was skeptical. And he also said, that's not what I hear. I hear, you know, he's got some terrible people around him. And he referred to what he said of Mr. Giuliani belongs as part of that. & # 39;
& # 39; He said I don't hear that. I hear a lot of other things. And I don't know how he put it with Rudy, but it was – I think he said, not as an instruction but as a comment, talk to Rudy, you know. He knows all these things and they have some bad people around him. And that was the nature of it, & he added.
Volker was not on Trump's July 25 phone call with Zelensky – a conversation that eventually led to the investigation into charges – but said he & # 39; surprised & # 39; was when he read the transcript called the Biden.
& # 39; I was surprised. I had not heard anything about Biden – Hunter Biden or Joe Biden – this entire time. And I had been very active, as you can see. I have been very active in communicating with people, trying to solve some of these problems, trying to get the White House together, phone calls. And to have that happened and not knowing my [sic], that was quite a surprise, & he said.
He also said that he had difficulty with the fact that they were the subject of the conversation between the two presidents.
& # 39; It is again creating a problem where all the things we are trying to do to foster bilateral relations, strengthen our support for Ukraine, strengthen positioning against Russia, are now being sucked into a domestic political debate in the US, domestic political story that overshadows that. And I think that is extremely unfortunate for our policy with Ukraine & # 39 ;, he said.
Kurt Volker testified behind closed doors for legislators earlier this month
Volker testified that he was surprised that the Bidens came in Trump & # 39; s call of 25 July with Ukrainian President Zelensky – the two are seen together in September during the UN week in New York
Volker also said that one of Zelensky's best assistants, Andriy Yermak, who had previously met Giuliani, would have been on the phone and would know what Trump was referring to when he mentioned the Bidens.
One of the legislators asked Volker: “So Andriy Yermak knows that the President of the United States wants Joe Biden and his son to be investigated and that the President has so far been unwilling to make an appointment for a [White House] meeting. & # 39;
& # 39; Yes, & # 39; said Volker.
He also argued that for the Ukraine & # 39; explosive & # 39; would have been to cooperate with Attorney General Bill Barr's investigation into the launch of the original Russian probe.
Volker said that he asked Zelensky to collaborate and look at this with the Attorney General, you can see, as it has happened now, this is going to be explosive in our domestic politics & # 39 ;.
Volker also testified that he advised the Ukrainians to drop a proposed statement on the Bidens investigation – the statement allegedly wanted by the administration in exchange for military assistance and the Oval Office meeting – after he learned that DoJ did not investigate Burisma or the 2016 elections.
He said that Giuliani had insisted on the inclusion of the Bidens and Burisma in the statement and said that without it & # 39; credible & # 39; would be.
& # 39; Rudy says: Well, if it doesn't say Burisma and if it doesn't say 2016, what does it mean? You know, it's not credible. You know, they hide something. And so we talked and I said: So what you're saying is just at the end of the same statement, just insert Burisma and 2016, do you think that would be more credible? & # 39 ;, Volker said.
& # 39; We started to see a pace of engagement with Ukraine, we first felt that Rudy would not be convinced that it meant anything and therefore convey a positive message to the president if it did not say Burisma and 2016 . I agreed with the Ukrainians that they should not do it, and in fact she told you to just drop it, wait until your own prosecutor is in place. Let's work on substantive issues such as this, security support and the like. Let's just do that. So we dropped it, & Volker commented.
He also supported the White House's assertion that the Ukrainians did not know about holding the aid – testifying that they had learned it at the end of August long after Trump's phone call with Zelensky.
& # 39; As far as I know, the news about an interruption of security assistance did not reach the Ukrainian government circles until the end of August, such as the current Foreign Minister, then diplomatic adviser, & # 39; said Volker. & # 39; And by the time we had that, we had dropped the idea of even looking at an explanation. & # 39;
Volker also revealed that he told Zelensky that Giuliani was reinforcing a negative story about the Ukraine.
& # 39; I explained that I thought there was a negative story about Ukraine that counteracts all the good things he does, and that we officially communicate with each other and that this is reinforced by Rudy Giuliani. So this is a negative factor for the image of Ukraine in the United States and our ability to promote bilateral relations, "he said.