Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Former Special Envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker departs following a closed-door deposition led by the House Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill on October 3, 2019 in Washington, D.C. Volker resigned from his position on September 27. (Photo: Zach Gibson/Getty Images)

Former US Envoy Kurt Volker Details Attempts to Steer Giuliani and Trump Away From Pressure Campaign Targeting Ukraine

"The most remarkable thing about this Volker testimony is just how much he and seemingly other U.S. officials were working to try and undo whatever Rudy Giuliani was doing."

Julia Conley

The prepared testimony of former U.S. envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker, published Friday, provides new details about the involvement of Rudy Giuliani, President Donald Trump's lawyer, in pressuring Ukrainian officials to commit to an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden.

According to Volker's testimony, Giuliani rejected a draft statement put forward by the Ukrainian government saying it would fight corruption in the country generally. President Donald Trump has claimed combating corruption in Ukraine was the focus of his phone call with President Volodymyr Zelensky in July, and as Common Dreams reported Friday, U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland insisted in a text message provided to House Democrats that Trump was "only trying to evaluate whether Ukraine is truly going to adopt the transparency and reforms" it had promised.

But according to Volker, Giuliani "said that in his view, the statement should include specific reference to 'Burisma' and '2016,'" referring to the Ukrainian gas company where Biden's son Hunter was a board member and the 2016 election.

In his prepared remarks to the House Oversight, Intelligence, and Foreign Affairs Committees—which were made behind closed doors Thursday and released Friday—Volker said "Vice President [Biden] was never a topic of discussion" in text messages between State Department officials, in an apparent attempt to distance himself from Trump's efforts to gain information from Ukraine about Burisma and Hunter Biden.

Volker also testified that he attempted to steer Giuliani away from the notion that Biden was influenced by his son's position at Burisma while serving as vice president.

"It is not credible to me that former Vice President Biden would have been influenced in any way by financial or personal motives in carrying out his duties as vice president," Volker said. "The accusation that Vice President Biden acted inappropriately did not seem at all credible to me."

Political observers on social media noted that based on his testimony in the closed-door session with the committees, Volker appeared intent on convincing lawmakers that he had attempted to stop Giuliani and Trump from moving forward with their efforts to pressure Ukrainian officials.

Read Volker's opening testimony below:


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

EPA Urged to 'Finish the Job' After Latest Move to Protect Bristol Bay From Pebble Mine

"Local residents, scientists, and the broader public all agree that this is quite simply a bad place for a mine, and it is past time for the EPA to take Pebble off the table permanently," said one activist in Alaska.

Jessica Corbett ·


'Zero Tolerance for Corruption': Grijalva, Porter Demand Answers on Alleged Trump Pardon Bribery Scheme

The Democrats believe a real estate developer donated to a Trump-aligned super PAC in exchange for the pardons of two other men.

Julia Conley ·


Millions of Americans Lack Adequate Health Coverage, But the Pentagon Has a New Nuclear Bomber to Flaunt

"This ominous death machine, with its price tag of $750 million a pop, brings huge profits to Northrop Grumman but takes our society one more step down the road of spiritual death," peace activist Medea Benjamin said of the new B-21 Raider.

Brett Wilkins ·


Betrayal of Railway Workers Ignites Working-Class Fury Toward Biden and Democrats

"Politicians are happy to voice platitudes and heap praise upon us for our heroism throughout the pandemic," said one rail leader. "Yet when the steel hits the rail, they back the powerful and wealthy Class 1 rail carriers every time."

Jessica Corbett ·


With GOP House Control Looming, Pascrell Calls for Swift Release of Trump Tax Records

"Donald Trump tried to hide his tax returns from our oversight but after 1,329 days we have finally obtained the documents," said the New Jersey Democrat. "We should review and release them."

Kenny Stancil ·

Common Dreams Logo