A former top U.S. envoy to Ukraine gave on-the-record testimony to members of Congress that contradicts the narrative regarding President Donald Trump and Ukraine that is currently being used to push for his impeachment.
In his prepared testimony for House investigators on Thursday — a copy of which was obtained by Blaze Media on Friday — former top American envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker said that efforts to get Ukrainian officials to look into corruption in the country were driven by a desire to make sure the president trusted the country and was willing to support it.
Instead of President Trump trying to leverage Russian President Volodymyr Zelensky's government to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, his son Hunter, and their relationship with the Ukrainian energy company Burisma, officials from both countries wanted to convince Trump that the former Soviet state was indeed serious about facing a long history of corruption, the prepared statement said.
"[I]n May of this year, I became concerned that a negative narrative about Ukraine, fueled by assertions made by Ukraine's departing Prosecutor General, was reaching the President of the United States, and impeding our ability to support the new Ukrainian government as robustly as I believed we should," Volker said.
Furthermore, Volker said the Ukrainians were the ones who wanted to get in touch with Rudy Giuliani, the president's personal lawyer.
"After sharing my concerns with the Ukrainian leadership, an advisor to President Zelensky asked me to connect him to the President's personal lawyer, Mayor Rudy Giuliani," Volker told Congress. "I did so. I did so solely because I understood that the new Ukrainian leadership wanted to convince those, like Mayor Giuliani, who believed such a negative narrative about Ukraine, that times have changed and that, under President Zelensky, Ukraine is worthy of U.S. support."
Volker said he "also made clear to the Ukrainians, on a number of occasions, that Mayor Giuliani is a private citizen and the President's personal lawyer, and that he does not represent the United States government."
After traveling to Ukraine as part of an official delegation, Volker said he came away convinced that Zelensky "was sincere about massive reform in Ukraine, would face significant internal opposition, and that he deserved strong U.S. support."
Trump was "very skeptical" of the government's prospects of cleaning up corruption, according to Volker.
"Given Ukraine's history of corruption, that is understandable," he added.
Also during the testimony, Volker said, "At no time was I aware of or took part in an effort to urge Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Biden."
Volker added, "I was not on the July 25 phone call" between Trump and Zelenksy at the root the current controversy. "All said it was a good, congratulatory call, that they discussed the importance of fighting corruption and promoting reform in Ukraine," he said.
"The issue of a hold placed on security assistance to Ukraine also came up during this same time I was connecting [a Zelensky aide] and Mayor Giuliani," the former envoy said elsewhere in the statement. "I did not perceive these issues to be linked in any way."
One vignette described in between Volker's testimony and text messages released by House Democrats on Thursday night illustrates the kind of triangulation that went on among Giuliani, U.S. diplomats, and Ukrainian officials.
At one point in the statement, Volker described how Giuliani tried to get Zelensky to add a reference to Burisma and the 2016 election investigation into a planned statement on how the new Ukrainian government would fight corruption.
A Zelensky aide said that the statement "would reference Burisma and 2016, in a wider context of rooting out corruption anyway," and that "there was no mention of Vice President Biden."
Indeed, according to the released texts, on Aug. 9, Volker texted U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland:
Special attention should be paid to the problem of interference in the political process of the United States especially with the alleged involvement of some Ukraine politicians. I want to declare that this in unacceptable. We intend to initiate and complete a transparent and unbiased investigation of all available facts and episodes, including those involving Burisma and the 2016 elections, which in turn will prevent a recurrence of this problem in the future.
Volker's testimony said he got a draft on Aug. 16 that he thought "looked perfectly reasonable" and did not mention either Burisma or 2016 and that he showed it to Sondland who agreed. Giuliani wanted the statement to reference them specifically, but, "Again, there was no mention of Vice President Biden in these conversations."
So, Volker testified, he edited the draft to include the discussed references and showed the draft to Zelensky's aide who said that they did not want to mention them for multiple reasons.
"I agreed — and further said that I believe it is essential that Ukraine do nothing that could be seen as interfering in 2020 elections," Volker told lawmakers. "[The aide] agreed and the idea of putting out a statement was shelved."