Former Special Ukraine diplomat Kurt Volker, a key witness in the Trump impeachment proceedings, is directly rebutting the whistleblower’s allegation that he pressed the president’s supposed “quid pro quo” in Kyiv.
The whistleblower’s nine-page formal complaint states that Mr. Volker traveled to Kiev the day after President Trump talked by phone on July 25 with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky. The complaint says the mission was specifically to reinforce the president’s “demands” which the complaint said included a desire for Mr. Zelensky to cooperate in a probe of former Vice President Joseph R. Biden.
But Mr. Volker testified to the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, and two other committees, that the whistleblower’s account is “not accurate.”
Mr. Volker, according to a transcript released on Tuesday, said his trip was previously scheduled as a post-election meet-and-greet. He said he had no idea the Biden issue had come up in the president ’s call. His read-out said Mr. Trump congratulated Mr. Zelensky and that they talked of a possible visit to Washington.
“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,” Mr. Volker testified on Oct. 3. “That’s not accurate. I was planning on 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.”
His answer is in sharp contrast to the whistleblower’s report, which is based on second-hand sources. The whistleblower said:
“Based on multiple readouts of these meetings recounted to me by various U.S. officials, Ambassadors Volker ….reportedly provided advice to the Ukrainian leadership about how to ‘navigate’ the demands that the President had made of Mr. Zelensky.”
Mr. Volker said he did give advice on how to “navigate” a campaign to fight corruption and how to stay out of the U.S. 2020 election.
Democrats and the liberal media have vouched for the whistleblower’s accuracy.
Gordon Sondland, ambassador to the European Union, was on the Kyiv trip and backed up Mr. Volker’s version.
“I was not on that July 25th, 2019, call and I did not see a transcript of that call until September 25th, 2019, when the White House publicly released it. None of the brief and general call summaries I received contained any mention of Burisma or former Vice President Biden, nor even suggested that President Trump had made any kind of request of President Zelensky.”
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