The impeachment inquiry opened up by House Democrats last week is focusing largely on allegations that President Donald Trump placed pressure on Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky to open an investigation into Democratic candidate for president Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden.
The conversation between Trump and Zelensky, detailed in rough memo that was released last week by the White House, took place on July 25 of this year. Democrats also allege that Trump purposely withheld military aide to Ukraine in order to coerce that nation to open the investigation.
A deposition given by the former envoy to Ukraine, Kurt Volker, took place on Thursday. On Friday morning, Trump, citing a news article from the Washington Times, tweeted out his belief that Volker’s deposition produced no “red flags,” and that the case was “closed” on the matter.
The Washington Times, “Ukraine envoy blows ‘massive hole’ into Democrat accusations. Republicans at hearing find no Trump Pressure.” The Ukrainian President also strongly stated that NO pressure was put on him. Case Closed!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 4, 2019
The Times article itself, however, doesn’t actually reach that conclusion. Rather, it’s quoting a House Republican, Rep. Lee Zeldin of New York, who said he believed the deposition provided no damaging information to Trump. The deposition given by Volker “blew a massive hole in the middle of the allegations” against the president, Zeldin claimed.
Zeldin is described by the Associated Press as an “ardent” supporter of Trump’s.
In Thursday’s deposition, the testimony given by Volker appears to have provided more fodder for Democrats in their inquiry, contradicting Zeldin’s statement. Volker shared text messages expressing alarm by State Department officials that Trump was withholding military aide to Ukraine in order to get an investigation on the Bidens opened up in that country.
A text message sent to a Ukraine official, from Volker himself, seems to also demonstrate that the official line from the administration was an investigation into the Bidens was a prerequisite for any face-to-face meeting between Trump and Zelensky, according to prior reporting from HillReporter.com.
“heard from White House — assuming President Z convinces trump he will investigate / ‘get to the bottom of what happened’ in 2016, we will nail down date for visit to Washington,” that text message read.