The Corner

White House

The Volker Deposition

Kurt Volker, President Trump’s former envoy to Ukraine, arrives at the U.S. Capitol, October 3, 2019. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

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:

Rich Lowry is the editor of National Review. He can be reached via email: 

Most Popular


‘Epstein Didn’t Kill Himself’

It was just one more segment to fill out the hour, and thereby fill the long 24 hours of Saturday’s cable news on November 2. Or so it seemed. Navy SEAL Mike Ritland was on the Fox News program Watters World to talk to Jesse Watters about trained German shepherds like the one used in the raid that found ... Read More

A Defining Statement of Modern Conservatism

The greatest documents in American history never lose their ability to astonish. They deserve, and repay, careful study, and inevitably have contemporary resonances no matter how long ago they were written or uttered. There’s no doubt that Ronald Reagan’s “A Time for Choosing” belongs in the top ranks ... Read More
White House

The Russian Conspiracy That Won’t Die

The Mueller report accomplished nothing. Whether you thought that the two-year, $32 million investigation was warranted or not, the report promised to establish a factual record that both sides could accept, especially on the explosive charge that Donald Trump had conspired with the Russians to win the ... Read More

What Do Republican Voters Want?

The latest entry in the post-Trump conservatism sweepstakes was Marco Rubio’s speech at the Catholic University of America in early November. The Florida senator made the case for a “common-good capitalism” that looks on markets in the light of Catholic social thought. “We must remember that our nation ... Read More