This week, House impeachment investigators continued full speed ahead with their inquiry, no matter the continuous pace of President Donald Trump’s complaining. On Tuesday, they hosted a public hearing with former U.S. Special Envoy Kurt Volker, who — as if just to add insult to injury for Republicans struggling to come up with a fact-based defense — confirmed yet another occasion on which the Trump team pressed Ukraine for an investigation of the Bidens. Although Volker has claimed personal ignorance of the effort, the Trump team is documented to have sought to exchange already approved military aid for that investigation.
Now, in his Tuesday afternoon opening statement, Volker admitted to Congress that in a July 10 meeting including then-National Security Adviser John Bolton, Ukraine’s then-National Security and Defense Chief Alex Danylyuk, and others, Trump donor turned E.U. Ambassador Gordon Sondland had, in fact, mentioned the investigation of the Bidens that President Donald Trump has been documented to have hoped for.
‘I remember, the meeting was essentially over when Ambassador Sondland made a generic comment about investigation. I think all of us thought it was inappropriate; the conversation did not continue.’
The confirmation was a revision to his previous testimony. Privately, Volker had told Congressional investigators that Sondland had actually not mentioned investigating the Bidens during that meeting. The Week notes that in that private hearing — a transcript of which is now publicly available — Volker “didn’t even let the questioner finish before answering “no” three times in a row” when asked.
Now, he’s adjusted his story significantly. Volker, ironically enough, is one of the witnesses that House Republicans requested, although that request came after he’d already testified privately. Still, his insistence that he personally didn’t know of a link between getting Ukraine to investigate the Bidens and them getting their military aid may have sparked Republicans thinking he’d help their case, but he hasn’t.
Besides the above, Volker even actively defended former Vice President Joe Biden himself. In response to the still baseless suggestion that while in office, he pressured Ukraine to fire a top prosecutor because he’d been investigating a company his son worked for, Volker insisted:
‘I have known former Vice President Biden for 24 years, and the suggestion that he would be influenced in his duties as Vice President by money for his son simply has no credibility for me. I know him as a man of integrity and dedication to our country.’
That’s certainly not the same that could be said about President Trump, who continues to make money off the presidency while in office. Every time he goes to one of his golf courses or a political ally seeking to curry favor with him does, his business earns income thanks to either government or otherwise political money. He even tried to host next year’s G20 summit of world leaders at his personal Miami-area resort.
In other words — Republican allies of Trump have just got nothing. Following the testimony this Tuesday from Volker and others, impeachment investigators will be hosting more witnesses this week including Sondland himself on Wednesday.