Former envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker appears for first official impeachment deposition
Former Special Representative to Ukraine Kurt Volker arrived on Capitol Hill Thursday morning to meet members of all three committees conducting the current impeachment inquiry. Volker will be deposed by representatives of the House Intelligence Committee, Foreign Affairs Committee, and Oversight Committee. However, unlike last week’s appearance by acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire, this hearing will be conducted behind closed doors.
Technically, this is the first deposition being taken by House members that is part of the official impeachment inquiry. How much of the information relayed by Volker will be made public, and when that information will be released, isn’t yet clear.
Volker was a career diplomat with a broad focus on European affairs. He served under George W. Bush as a special ambassador to NATO. He left government and spent several years working for the McCain Institute think tank, where he was a frequent critic of President Obama’s actions regarding Ukraine. Volker was among those Republicans who publicly blamed Obama for the Russian invasion of Crimea. He returned to the State Department in 2017, and was appointed special representative to Ukraine negotiations. However, Volker’s arrangement with the State Department makes this position a “part-time” job, allowing him to continue picking up a paycheck from the McCain Institute and to act as a lobbyist for the firm BGR—which, among other things, represents the company that makes the type of missile Ukraine was attempting to buy. So … no conflicts there.
Volker resigned his position in September, one day after the whistleblower complaint was made public. Volker is named in that complaint.
As Volker appears before the House, Rudy Giuliani is tweeting out texts supposedly exchanged between himself and Volker, with claims that Volker provided him with information on Ukrainian officials and encouraged his meetings. Those texts appear to show Volker setting up meetings both in Ukraine and in Madrid. Those same meetings were mentioned in the whistleblower report. Volker supposedly provided all his communications with Giuliani, along with other documents, to congressional staffers in advance of his appearance. It’s unclear if the tweets being sent out by Giuliani match what Volker reported to the committee.