Shortly after being named the U.S. special representative for Ukraine negotiations in mid-2017, Kurt Volker attended an invitation-only strategy session at the Atlantic Council with a small group of foreign-policy hands.
There, he encouraged the people gathered at the downtown D.C. think tank to publicly praise President Donald Trump for his handling of Russia and Ukraine. It may have been in jest, but the thrust of Volker’s point was obvious: Flattering Trump might lead him to “do the right thing” and act in the U.S. interest, as one attendee put it.
Two years later, Volker is caught in the Ukraine-related scandal consuming Trump’s presidency and fueling an impeachment drive by House Democrats. It’s an ominous turn for the widely respected diplomat, who joined the Trump team even as dozens of veterans of past Republican administrations shunned the new president.
NBC News reports:
Volker’s role in the most recent controversy came to light as Giuliani tried to cast his efforts as fully coordinated and even prompted by the State Department. The State Department has acknowledged that it was Volker who put Giuliani “in direct contact” with Andriy Yermak, a top adviser to Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, around the same time as Zelenskiy’s call with Trump.
Aiming to bolster his argument that he acted at the government’s request, Giuliani on Thursday forwarded NBC News a text message he said he’d received on July 19 “connecting you here with Andrey Yermak, who is very close to President Zelensky.” “I suggest we schedule a call together on Monday — maybe 10am or 11am Washington time?” Volker said in the text message, according to Giuliani.
NEW: Amb. Kurt Volker has met with the Secretary of State. He has resigned from his position as Special Representative for Ukraine to the U.S. Secretary of State, according to a University spokesperson.
Story soon by @statepress
— The State Press (@statepress) September 27, 2019