The DC Examiner has a story out today showing that Adam Schiff tried to pressure Trump’s former special envoy to Ukraine, Kurt Volker, into saying that Ukraine felt pressured by Trump to investigate Biden. The article is too long to quote, but here’s the relevant part:
Schiff began to push the quid pro quo allegation. He asked Volker whether he would agree that “no president of the United States should ever ask a foreign leader to help intervene in a U.S. election.”
“I agree with that,” said Volker.
“And that would be particularly egregious if it was done in the context of withholding foreign assistance?” Schiff continued.
Volker balked. “We’re getting now into, you know, a conflation of these things that I didn’t think was actually there.”
Schiff wanted Volker to agree that “if it’s inappropriate for a president to seek foreign help in a U.S. election, it would be doubly so if a president was doing that at a time when the United States was withholding military support from the country.”
Again, Volker did not agree. “I can’t really speak to that,” he said. “My understanding of the security assistance issue is — ”
Schiff interrupted. “Why can’t you speak to that, ambassador? You’re a career diplomat. You can understand the enormous leverage that a president would have while withholding military support from an ally at war with Russia. You can understand just how significant that would be, correct?”
Volker tried to go along without actually agreeing. “I can understand that that would be significant,” he said.
Schiff persisted. “And when that suspension of aid became known to that country, to Ukraine, it would be all the more weighty to consider what the president had asked of them, wouldn’t it?”
“So again, congressman, I don’t believe — ” Volker began.
“It’s a pretty straightforward question,” Schiff said.
“But I don’t believe the Ukrainians were aware that the assistance was being held up — ”
“They became aware of it,” Schiff said.
“They became aware later, but I don’t believe they were aware at the time, so there was no leverage implied,” Volker said.
I would have loved to hear this live. Schiff sounds quite upset that Volker won’t say exactly what he wants him to say.
The two men continued to argue about the chronology of events. By the time the Ukrainians learned about the withheld aid in late August, Volker said, all sides had dropped the idea of making a statement announcing an investigation of the Bidens and events during the 2016 election. But Schiff kept pushing the notion that once the Ukrainians did learn about the withheld aid, then they would have felt tremendous pressure from Trump.
“At the point they [the Ukrainians] learned that, wouldn’t that have given them added urgency to meet the president’s request on the Bidens?” Schiff asked.
“I don’t know the answer to that,” Volker said.
Schiff pressed Volker to agree one more time. In response, Volker tried to explain that the Ukrainians did not seem to be feeling pressure from Trump and the U.S.
“Congressman, this is why I’m trying to say the context is different, because at the time they learned that, if we assume it’s Aug. 29, they had just had a visit from the national security adviser, John Bolton. That’s a high-level meeting already. He was recommending and working on scheduling the visit of President Zelensky to Washington. We were also working on a bilateral meeting to take place in Warsaw on the margins of a commemoration on the beginning of World War II. And in that context, I think the Ukrainians felt like things are going the right direction, and they had not done anything on — they had not done anything on an investigation, they had not done anything on a statement, and things were ramping up in terms of their engagement with the administration. So I think they were actually feeling pretty good then.”
At that point, Schiff gave up. Why was Volker resisting? “Ambassador, I find it remarkable as a career diplomat that you have difficulty acknowledging that when Ukraine learned that their aid had been suspended for unknown reasons, that this wouldn’t add additional urgency to a request by the president of the United States. I find that remarkable.”
Shifty Schiff was really working hard to try and coerce Volker into admitting something that clearly didn’t happen. It just shows you how much ‘nothing’ they really have on Trump.
Volker even testified that the Ukrainians “were actually feeling pretty good” about how things were progressing between us. You know Schiff hated to hear that. LOL! It’s no wonder Schiff hasn’t released the transcript and won’t let other Republicans read it. It would destroy this narrative.
It’s time for Lindsey Graham to step up and interview Volker like he said he would.