The big story of the last 48 hours wasn’t President Trump’s outlandish call for China to investigate the Bidens (another instance of presidential trolling at its worst), but the release of the texts documenting some of the internal back-and-forth over Ukraine policy. They are bad news because they are a sign that this controversy won’t be limited to the four corners of the transcript of the July 25 call. The best case was that Trump was shooting from the hip on the call and nothing much came of it, a scenario that got at least a little more credence from reports that the Ukrainians didn’t know until a month later that their aid was being withheld. Now, we know that the matter was more involved than that, and also went beyond Rudy Giuliani.
But we are also dealing with text exchanges without the full context, and so, once again, we should want to know more before making big pronouncements one way or the other.
Volker’s opening statement is another piece of the puzzle, and hopefully we will get his entire deposition soon.
I think a couple of things are notable. One, he portrays fighting “corruption” as not just a code word for the Bidens, and says the same about Burisma.
Here he is on the meeting between Giuliani and President Zelensky’s aide, Andrey Yermak:
Here he is on how Yermak viewed the Burisma investigation (in the context of a draft public statement that the Ukrainians never ended up making):
Finally, Volker portrays himself as having a pretty relaxed view of the hold-up in military aid, which he opposed but correctly believed would be reversed in short order.
He states this near the beginning of the statement:
And this in describing a meeting about the suspension of aid: