The United States special envoy for Ukraine, Kurt Volker, resigned late on Friday, The New York Times reported. Volker first told Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that he was resigning. The resignation comes amid a whistleblower’s complaint to the US Congress that President Donald Trump pushed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden.
Trump had released a memo of his conversation with Zelenskiy earlier this week. “There’s a lot of talk about Biden’s son, that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that, so whatever you can do with the attorney general would be great,” Trump said, according to the transcript of the call. However, the US president had denied saying anything inappropriate on the call.
Volker did not state the reason for his resignation. An unidentified official told The New York Times that Volker felt it was impossible to be effective in his assignment given recent developments.
Volker had helped organise a meeting between Trump’s lawyer, Rudy Guiliani, and a Ukraine presidential aide, The Guardian reported. Giuliani was trying to convince Zelenskiy’s government to investigate Hunter Biden. Joe Biden is in the race for the 2020 presidential elections.
On Tuesday, House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi had announced a formal impeachment inquiry against Trump. In a new complaint on Thursday, the whistleblower alleged that senior White House officials tried to “lock down” details of the phone call.
Earlier on Friday, three House of Representatives committees wrote to Pompeo, asking him for documents as part of their investigation into “the extent to which President Trump jeopardised national security by pressing Ukraine to interfere with our 2020 election and by withholding security assistance provided by Congress to help Ukraine counter Russian aggression”.
The chairpersons of the intelligence, foreign affairs and oversight committees also warned Pompeo that if he refused to provide the documents, it would be considered an obstruction of the impeachment inquiry against Trump. The panels also sent a note to Pompeo with details of a rapid schedule of depositions they intend to hold with five state department officials who had contacts with Ukraine. The depositions will begin on October 2.
On Friday, Trump, in a closed-door meeting, wondered who provided information to the whistleblower. “Who’s the person that gave the whistleblower the information?” the US president asked. “Because that’s close to a spy. You know what we used to do in the old days when we were smart, right? With spies and treason, right? We used to handle it a little differently than we do now.”
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