Former U.S. special envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker testified to Congress on Tuesday that he was unaware of “any linkage” between the Trump administration’s hold on U.S. military aid to Ukraine and an investigation into former vice president Joe Biden.
“No one had ever said that to me — and I never conveyed such a linkage to the Ukrainians,” Volker told the House Intelligence Committee.
Volker emphasized that he was “not in the loop” as far as the administration’s alleged efforts to convince Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to publicly announce investigation into the Bidens as a condition for military assistance, saying that “at no time” did he know that the administration wanted to investigate Biden.
“I did not know about the strong concerns expressed by then-national security adviser John Bolton to members of his NSC staff regarding the discussion of investigations,” Volker said in his opening statement.
Volker also dismissed as a “conspiracy theory” Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani’s suggestion that Biden leveraged his position as vice president to benefit from his son’s lucrative position at a Ukrainian gas company.
“At the one in-person meeting I had with Mayor Giuliani on July 19, Mayor Giuliani raised, and I rejected, the conspiracy theory that Vice President Biden would have been influenced in his duties as vice president by money paid to his son,” Volker said in his opening statement.
“As I testified previously, I have known Vice President Biden for 24 years. He is an honorable man and I hold him in the highest regard,” Volker added. “It’s just not credible to me that a vice president of the United States is going to do anything other than act as how he sees best for the national interest.”
Volker originally flatly denied in closed-door testimony last month that the topic of investigations did not come up in a July 10 White House meeting with Ukrainian officials. However, he amended his public testimony to state that he now remembers U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland making “a generic comment about investigations,” that “all of us thought was inappropriate.”
Volker’s testimony comes on the second day of a week packed with impeachment hearings, which will include testimony from Sondland himself on Thursday.