Oct 7, 2019

Kurt Volker resigns as McCain Institute head over Ukraine "distraction"

Photo: Zach Gibson/Getty Images

Former Ukraine envoy Kurt Volker resigned from his position as executive director of the McCain Institute amid scrutiny over his role in President Trump's ongoing controversy of his dealings with Ukraine's government.

The big picture: CNN's Jake Tapper reported that the McCain Institute stood by Volker until his release of text messages to a group of House committees showed that he was much more involved with the Ukraine matter than he had told people.

  • In a statement, Volker wrote that the Ukraine controversy "risks becoming a distraction from the accomplishments and continued growth of the Institute," where he has worked since 2012.
  • Nick Rasmussen, who oversees the institute's national security and counterterrorism programs, will take over as acting director.
  • The organization aims to advance "character-driven leadership based on security, economic opportunity, freedom and human dignity" around the world.

Context: Volker resigned from his envoy position last month before he testified to committees overseeing the Trump impeachment inquiry that he had no knowledge of the administration's efforts to get Ukraine to investigate the Bidens.

Go deeper: Ron Johnson says Sondland told him of possible Ukraine quid pro quo

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Scoop: Kurt Volker testimony revealed depth of concerns about Giuliani

Volker leaves a closed door meeting at the Capitol. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

New details from Kurt Volker's closed-door interview indicate Bill Taylor, the acting ambassador to Ukraine, was deeply conflicted about whether to take the job because of concerns about Rudy Giuliani's shadow involvement.

Why it matters: The testimony by Volker, the former special envoy to Ukraine, earlier this month may help the president in the sense that it paints Giuliani, not President Trump, as the mastermind behind a campaign to get foreign leaders to investigate the Biden family and Burisma, according to sources with direct knowledge of his testimony.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Oct 16, 2019

Trump administration directs EU ambassador not to appear for House deposition

United States Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland. Photo by Daniel Mihailscu/AFP/Getty Images

The Trump administration directed the U.S. ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland not to appear for a scheduled deposition with House Democrats on Tuesday, according to the New York Times.

Why it matters: Democrats want to question Sondland about his role in President Trump's pressure campaign on Ukraine to open an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden and Biden's son, Hunter.

Go deeperArrowOct 8, 2019

Trump-Ukraine scandal: The key players, dates and documents

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The House's impeachment inquiry has been driven forward by new disclosures of what exactly President Trump wanted the government of Ukraine to do — revealed in 3 key documents, but nonetheless distorted and disputed along the way.

We've gathered the key players, events and disclosures of the Trump-Ukraine saga in one place to clear up what's happened so far and examine where we go from here.

Go deeperArrowOct 8, 2019