Two of Three Amigos: Volker/Sondland transcripts from House depositions

The Gordon Sondland and Kurt Volker transcripts from House depositions are available:

(CNN) House Democrats on Tuesday released excerpts of the transcripts of their closed-door depositions with former US Special Envoy for Ukraine Kurt Volker and US Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland.
The House Intelligence, Foreign Affairs and Oversight committees are expected to release the full transcripts for Sondland and Volker later Tuesday, which would mean the panels will have released four of the 13 deposition transcripts ahead of public hearings in the impeachment inquiry, which Democrats say could happen later this month.
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As part of his cooperation, Volker gave Congress copies of text messages he had exchanged with Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani and senior State Department diplomats. He denied participating in any effort to dig up political dirt on former Vice President Joe Biden, but the texts revealed that he had talked to Ukrainian officials about launching politically charged investigations.

Note that Gordon Sondland’s memory got “refreshed” and had to be amended.

WASHINGTON – The House committees overseeing the impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump are scheduled to hear from more witnesses on Tuesday and plan to release transcripts from two of the investigation’s most prominent witnesses.

The House Intelligence, Oversight and Foreign Affairs committees plan to release transcripts from testimony by Kurt Volker, the former U.S. special envoy for Ukraine, and Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union. Both are key witnesses in the investigation and were questioned about requests for political investigations and the delay of military aid to Ukraine.

The committees also are expected to hear from two additional witnesses: Wells Griffith, a special assistant to the president and senior director for international energy and environment at the National Security Council, and Michael Duffey, associate director for national security programs at the White House Office of Management and Budget.

OMB Director Russ Vought has already said on Twitter that Duffey, who could hold information on the delay of military aid, won’t cooperate. It’s unclear whether Griffith will show up. He could provide information about Energy Secretary Rick Perry’s involvement in the controversy.

www.usatoday.com/…

Excerpts include confirming Trump / Giuliani demand for Burisma investigations.

WASHINGTON (CN) – Lawmakers spearheading President Donald Trump’s impeachment inquiry released a trove of text messages late Thursday they say outline the administration’s pressure campaign on Ukraine to investigate political opponents of Trump in exchange for U.S. military aid.

The messages, according to a letter from the Democratic chairmen of the House Intelligence, Foreign Affairs and Oversight committees, are among the clearest pieces of evidence yet showing State Department officials – at Trump’s direction – were willing to exchange a meeting between Ukraine’s President Volodomyr Zelensky and Trump for Kiev’s willingness to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden.

Spanning from July 19 to Sept. 9, the messages were first provided to Congress Thursday by Kurt Volker, the former special envoy to Ukraine who resigned last week.

Thursday’s letter from the chairmen says the text messages made it abundantly clear why Secretary of State Mike Pompeo wished to block testimony from ambassadors implicated in the scandal like Volker, who testified behind closed doors for several hours Thursday.

The texts are exchanges between Volker; William Taylor, the U.S. chargé d’affaires in Kiev; Gordon Sondland, the ambassador to the European Union; Ukrainian adviser Andrey Yermak; and President Trump’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani.

“Heard from the White House – assuming President Z convinces Trump he will investigate/ “get to the bottom of what happened” in 2016, we will nail down a date for visit to Washington,” Volker wrote to Ukraine adviser Yermak on July 25, the morning of Trump’s call with Zelensky.

The July 25 call prompted a U.S. intelligence official to submit the whistleblower complaint that ultimately triggered the president’s impeachment inquiry.

Throughout the texts, Volker and Sondland emphasized Ukraine should be unequivocal in its support of an investigation into Joe Biden and Burisma Holdings, the energy company that had the former vice president’s son, Hunter Biden, sitting on its board of directors.

One text message from August revealed Volker proposing to Sondland that the U.S. give Zelensky a statement to read during a news conference.

“Special attention should be paid to the problem of interference in the political processes of the United States especially with the alleged involvement of some Ukrainian politicians,” Volker wrote on August 13. “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.”

www.courthousenews.com/…

links

  • The testimony of former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie “Masha” Yovanovitch from October 11, 2019 can be found here. Key excerpts from Yovanovitch’s testimony can be found here.
  • The testimony of former Senior Advisor to the Secretary of State Ambassador P. Michael McKinley from October 16, 2019 can be found here. Key excerpts from McKinley’s testimony can be found here.

intelligence.house.gov/…

more links