Trump Envoys Drafted Statement For Ukraine Committing Investigation Into Biden & 2016 Election
Late Thursday, House democrats released a text message conversation between Kurt Volker, a former special envoy to Ukraine, Gordon Sondland, the ambassador to the European Union, and and Andriy Yermak, a top aide to Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky.
According to the New York Times, the texts showed the men discussing language for the proposed statement and that all three understood that Trump would grant the Ukrainian president an Oval Office meeting after he publicly committed to investigating Biden.
In the hours before the July 25 phone call between Trump and Zelensky, Volker texted Yermak that he had “Heard from White House” that “we will nail down date” for an official Oval Office meeting, “assuming President Z convinces trump he will investigate” the claims that Ukraine tried to interfere in Trump’s 2016 campaign.
Volker texted Sondland language he wanted added to the statement on Aug. 13.
“We intend to initiate and complete a transparent and unbiased investigation of all available facts and episodes, including those involving Burisma and the 2016 U.S. elections, which in turn will prevent the recurrence of this problem in the future,” wrote Volker.
Sondland replied, “Perfect,” and said that they should send it to one of the Ukrainian president’s advisors.
The texts were released hours after Volker was questioned by House investigators as part of the Democrats’ impeachment inquiry into Trump.
Volker told the House investigators that the Ukrainians had earlier proposed language promising a statement on fighting corruption without mentioning the 2016 election and Burisma Holdings, the Ukrainian gas company Biden’s son worked for.
Volker told the House that when Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal lawyer, was shown Ukraine’s proposed broad statement, he insisted that Ukraine specify committing to investigating the 2016 election and Burisma.
A few days earlier on Aug.10, Yermak had been willing to “mention all these things,” in exchange for “guarantees for future visit” to Washington.
“Once we have a date, will call for a press briefing, announcing upcoming visit and outlining vision for the reboot of US-UKRAINE relationship, including among other things Burisma and election meddling in investigations,” Mr. Yermak texted.
Volker replied, “Sounds great!”
Yermak later told Volker that Ukraine could not agree to specifying Burisma and 2016 in the statement. The idea for the statement was then dropped after Volker conceded.
No version of the statement was ever publicly released by Zelensky.