Kurt Volker, Gordon Sondland Transcripts Released by House Democrats

Ruben Fields
November 6, 2019

House investigators have released the deposition given behind closed doors by former Ambassador Kurt Volker, who served as a special USA envoy to Ukraine for its peace negotiations.

"I now recall speaking individually with Mr Yermak, where I said that resumption of USA aid would likely not occur until Ukraine provided the public anti-corruption statement that we had been discussing for many weeks".

In a statement issued to House impeachment investigators overnight, Mr Sondland said his memory was refreshed by two other key witnesses.

"Your failure or refusal to appear at the deposition, including at the direction or behest of the president, shall constitute further evidence of obstruction of the House's impeachment inquiry and may be used as an adverse inference against you and the President".

Previously disclosed text messages show Volker, Sondland and diplomat Bill Taylor navigating the interests of Trump and Giuliani outside the normal State Department processes, including discussing offering the Ukrainian leader a White House visit in exchange for Zelensky giving a public statement committing to investigate baseless allegations that Ukraine meddled in the the 2016 us presidential election and into Burisma, a gas company that employed Biden's son, Hunter. In a call over the summer, Trump had linked that request to investigating Joe Biden and the Democrats.

The release of Sondland and Volker's testimony follows the Monday release of testimony given by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's former senior adviser Michael McKinley and former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says US President Donald Trump is unlikely to be convicted and removed from office in the event of an impeachment trial, at least based on what is known now.

"I let the others work on it and I went back and worked on other things, because Volker and Perry were the ones who reached out to Giuliani", he said as Goldman persisted.

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The original 10-hour October 17 deposition by Sondland, a donor to President Trump, came under intense scrutiny in recent weeks as other impeachment witnesses offered testimony that seemed to conflict with what Sondland said under oath last month.

"I pulled the two of them aside at the end and explained the Giuliani factor..."

Fiona Hill, Morrison's predecessor on the National Security Council, reportedly testified that Sondland said the demand came from acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney.

Regarding military aid, Sondland wrote in his revised testimony that he had assumed the aid was being held up in connection with the anti-corruption investigations urged by Trump and Giuliani. The letter was released Tuesday along with hundreds of pages of transcripts of testimony to the inquiry.

The White House has instructed its officials not to comply with the impeachment inquiry being led by House Democrats.

The request for Mulvaney's deposition comes amid the House's formal impeachment inquiry into the president.

One of the men at the centre of the Trump impeachment inquiry has backflipped on his testimony in a way that strengthens the case against the president.

But when news of Rudy's attempts to dig up political dirt on Trump's behalf collided with the revelation that he was also acting as an unofficial emissary of sorts to the Ukrainian government, the former New York Mayor sought to distance himself from the mess.

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