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Former envoy to Ukraine Volker: Biden 'is an honorable man'

Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on November 20, 2019 - Duration: 02:53s

Former envoy to Ukraine Volker: Biden 'is an honorable man'

The U.S. House Intelligence Committee on Tuesday heard testimony from the former U.S. special envoy to Ukraine, Kurt Volker, and Tim Morrison, a former White House aide with the National Security Council focusing on Europe and Russia policy.

Chris Dignam has more.

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Former envoy to Ukraine Volker: Biden 'is an honorable man'

For Round 2 of Tuesday's impeachment hearings against President Donald Trump, the House Intelligence Committee heard from two former Trump administration officials whose testimony was requested by Republicans.

But if they were looking for a full-throttle defense of the president, they didn't get it.

What they did get was a strong defense of former Vice President Joe Biden, which came from Kurt Volker, the onetime envoy to Ukraine, who testified that Trump should not have pursued allegations against Biden and his son, which Volker called "conspiracy theories" promoted by Trump's personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani.

(SOUND BITE) (ENGLISH) FORMER UKRAINE ENVOY KURT VOLKER, SAYING: "At the one in-person meeting I had with Mayor Giuliani on July 19th, Mayor Giuliani raised and I rejected the conspiracy theory that Vice President Biden would have been influenced in his duties as Vice President by money paid to his son.

As I previously testified, I have known Vice President Biden for 24 years, he is an honorable man and I hold him in the highest regard." Trump had frozen almost $400 million in security aid to Ukraine prior to his July 25th phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

During the call, Trump asked Zelensky to announce an investigation into Ukrainian energy firm Burisma, where Hunter Biden had served as a member of the firm's board.

Volker acknowledged Burisma had a history of corruption, but said he didn't know that Trump's request to investigate the company was effectively a request to investigate Biden - saying the attacks against the former Vice President were "not credible." (SOUND BITE) (ENGLISH) FORMER UKRAINE ENVOY KURT VOLKER, SAYING: "In retrospect, I should have seen that connection differently, and had I done so I would have raised my own objections." Former National Security Council expert Tim Morrison was asked to recall a conversation between U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland and Ukraine official Andriy Yermak, which Democrats said amounted to a quid pro quo.

(SOUND BITE) (ENGLISH) DEMOCRATS' COUNSEL DANIEL GOLDMAN, SAYING: "What did Ambassador Sondland tell you that he told Mr. Yermak?" (SOUND BITE) (ENGLISH) FORMER NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL EXPERT TIM MORRISON, SAYING: "That the Ukrainians would have to have the prosecutor general make a statement with respect to the investigations as a condition of having the aid lifted." (SOUND BITE) (ENGLISH) DEMOCRATS' COUNSEL DANIEL GOLDMAN, SAYING: "You testified that you were not comfortable with what Ambassador Sondland had told you.

Why not?" (SOUND BITE) (ENGLISH) FORMER NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL EXPERT TIM MORRISON, SAYING: "Well, I was concerned about what I saw as essentially an additional hurdle to accomplishing what I had been directed to help accomplish, which was essentially giving the president what he needed to determine that the security sector assistance could go forward." (SOUND BITE) (ENGLISH) DEMOCRATS' COUNSEL DANIEL GOLDMAN, SAYING: "Now, did you tell Ambassador Bolton about this as well." (SOUND BITE) (ENGLISH) FORMER NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL EXPERT TIM MORRISON, SAYING: "I reached out to him as well and requested his availability for a secure phone call." (SOUND BITE) (ENGLISH) DEMOCRATS' COUNSEL DANIEL GOLDMAN, SAYING: "And what was his response when you explained to him what Ambassador Sondland had said?" (SOUND BITE) (ENGLISH) FORMER NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL EXPERT TIM MORRISON, SAYING: "Tell the lawyers." Sondland, a donor to President Trump’s inauguration, is set to testify before the House Intelligence Committee on Wednesday.

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