‘You’re making this much more complicated than it has to be…’
(Claire Russel, Liberty Headlines) House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff pressured Kurt Volker, President Trump’s former special representative to Ukraine, to tell Congress that Trump had pressured Ukraine President Volodomyr Zelensky to dig up dirt on Joe Biden in exchange for foreign aid.
In a secret meeting on Oct. 3, right after the House launched a formal impeachment inquiry into President Trump, Schiff tried to convince Volker to push a quid pro quo narrative.
But Volker refused, arguing Ukrainian leaders were not aware foreign aid was at stake because it had never come up in Trump’s phone call with Zelensky.
Nonetheless Schiff continued to pressure Volker, according to the Washington Examiner.
“Ambassador, you’re making this much more complicated than it has to be,” Schiff reportedly admonished the reticent diplomat.
“[The Ukrainians] didn’t want to be drawn into investigating a Democratic candidate for president, which would mean only peril for Ukraine, is that fair to say?” Schiff then asked Volker.
“That may be true,” Volker said. “But they didn’t express that to me.”
Schiff continued: “Part of the other context is vital military support is being withheld from the Ukraine during this period, right?” Schiff asked.
Volker continued to refute Schiff’s story: “That was not part of the context at the time,” he said. “At least to my knowledge, they [Ukrainian leaders] were not aware of that.”
The Examiner reported that Schiff continued to push Volker toward a quid pro quo allegation, asking Volker whether he agreed that “no president of the U.S. should ever ask a foreign leader to help intervene in a U.S. election.”
When Volker agreed with that characterization, Schiff then asked whether such an action would be “particularly egregious if it was done in the context of withholding foreign assistance?”
“We’re getting now into, you know, a conflation of these things that I didn’t think was actually there,” Volker maintained.
Schiff and Volker continued to go back and forth with Schiff becoming visibly agitated, according to sources who witnessed the testimony.