Former U.S. Special Envoy for Ukraine Kurt Volker on Wednesday reportedly told impeachment investigators that he was “never asked to do anything” wrong, including by President Donald Trump.
Democrats and the mainstream media had argued that Volker was a major player in Trump’s efforts to push Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden and his son in exchange for aid even after the former envoy defended the former vice president from the corruption allegations levied against him.
Volker made an unexpected return to the Capitol on Wednesday after testifying behind closed doors in the House Democrats’ impeachment probe on October 3.
So far, House Democrats have received all depositions from impeachment probe witnesses in private.
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), the top Republican on the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, indicated that Volker went back to the Capitol Wednesday to “review” his October 3 testimony.
“I was never asked to do anything that I thought was wrong, including by the [U.S.] president,” Volker testified on Wednesday, CBS News learned from unnamed sources.
Volker, however, expressed concerns the U.S. relationship with Ukraine was “getting sucked into a domestic political debate.”
Jordan and other GOP lawmakers have said Volker’s October 3 testimony obliterates the accusation at the center of the impeachment investigation.
A “whistleblower’s” claim that Trump pressured Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate Joe Biden and his son Hunter in exchange for aid during a July 25 call is at the heart of the probe. Trump and Zelensky have denied the allegation.
Details behind Volker’s private testimony on October 3 are still pouring out.
On Wednesday, the Washington Examiner reported that Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), who is leading the Democrat’s effort to impeach Trump, pushed Volker to testify on October 3 that Ukraine felt pressured to launch a probe into the Bidens as a result of the U.S. President withholding aid.
Echoing other Republicans, the Ohio Republican, who witnessed Volkers’ deposition on October 3, has demanded that House Democrats release the transcripts of the former envoy’s testimony.
So far, Democrats have refused.
“There is no wrongdoing. Ambassador Volker was clear. Why not release the transcript so you can all see what Ambassador Volker told us? There is no wrongdoing he was completely as clear as could be: no quid pro quo,” Jordan told reporters on October 8.
Schiff this week said he would eventually release “all” the transcripts of testimony provided by impeachment probe witnesses, but refused to say when.
Releasing the transcripts would have already “exonerated” Trump, Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC), a member of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, told reporters on October 8.
During his October 3 deposition, Volker acknowledged that State Department officials were concerned about efforts in Ukraine by Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s private lawyer.
Giuliani traveled to Ukraine to convince the Eastern European country’s government to investigate its role in the 2016 elections and corruption allegations against Biden and his son, Volker conceded.
Volker told congressional investigators that it is “plausible” that “some individual Ukrainians may have attempted to influence the 2016 election or thought they could buy influence.”
Citing an unnamed source, NBC News reported that the top State Department official George Kent testified Tuesday that he warned the Obama administration that the Ukrainian company that hired Biden’s son was corrupt.
Kent’s comments came during his deposition in the ongoing impeachment probe. Based on the NBC News report, he warned that the energy company Burisma was corrupt before or during the time that Hunter Biden served on its board. The Obama administration cleared Hunter to work for Burisma.
Volker, nevertheless, testified on October 3 that corruption allegations against former Vice President Biden “have no credibility to me.”
The former envoy provided evidence on October 3 in the form of texts to show he was not trying to push Ukraine into investigating the Bidens.
He did concede that he was trying to convince Ukraine to investigate Burisma, noting that combatting corruption is a component of U.S. policy.
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 Democrats argued the complete opposite of what Volker testified. They said the texts were evidence that Volker was a major player in pushing Ukraine to investigate the Bidens even after he defended the former vice president.
The Democrat-led House Committees on Oversight and Reform, Intelligence, and Foreign Affairs are conducting the impeachment investigation.