Sep 27, 2019

U.S. envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker resigns

Volker speaks in Kiev on July 27, 2019. Photo: Sergei Supinsky/AFP/Getty Images

U.S. envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker resigned on Friday, 1 day after the whistleblower report on President Trump and Ukraine was released, Arizona State University's student newspaper first reported and outlets including CNN confirm.

Why it matters: The whistleblower at the heart of a controversy over Trump and Ukraine said that Volker, along with U.S. Ambassador to the EU Gordon Sondland, met with Ukrainian officials a day after Trump's July phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. According to the whistleblower, Volker and Sondland provided Ukrainian officials with advice on how to "navigate" Trump's demands.

  • Volker is scheduled for a deposition on Oct.3 as part of the House impeachment inquiry and committee investigations into whether Trump jeopardized national security by pressuring Ukraine's president to investigate political rival Joe Biden.
  • Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson found the whistleblower complaint to be credible.

Volker was appointed in 2017 to help resolve the war against Russian-backed separatists in Ukraine’s east. He also directs the McCain Institute, a think tank on Arizona State’s campus.

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Ex-Ukraine envoy Kurt Volker confirms he will testify in House probe

Photo: Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Former U.S. special envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker, who resigned last week, will appear in a deposition on Thursday as part of the House Intelligence Committee's impeachment investigation, a committee official confirmed to Axios.

Why it matters: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo sent a letter to top House Democrats on Thursday claiming that the deposition dates they had scheduled for 5 former and current State Department officials were "not feasible." Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, who was scheduled to appear on Wednesday, will now be appearing on Oct. 11 with the agreement of both the committees conducting the Ukraine investigation and her counsel, per the official.

Go deeperArrowOct 1, 2019

NYT: U.S. envoys drafted statement committing Ukraine president to Biden probe

President Trump on Oct. 3 in The Villages, Florida. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Former U.S. envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker and Ambassador to the EU Gordon Sondland drafted a statement in August committing Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigating the Ukrainian energy company for which Hunter Biden previously served on the board, the New York Times reports.

Why it matters: The statement, which also included a commitment to investigate Ukraine's alleged role in interfering in the 2016 election on behalf of Hillary Clinton, appears to be documentary evidence of high-level diplomats shaping foreign policy to the tune of President Trump's political agenda, per the Times.

Go deeperArrowOct 4, 2019

Schiff slams Trump's call for China to investigate Bidens as "repugnant"

Adam Schiff and Nancy Pelosi. Photo: Tom Brenner/Getty Images

House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) told reporters Thursday that President Trump's call for China to investigate Joe and Hunter Biden is "repugnant" and "ought to be condemned by every member" of Congress.

"A president of the United States encouraging a foreign nation to interfere again to help his campaign by investigating a rival is a fundamental breach of the presidential oath."
Go deeperArrowOct 3, 2019