Volker steps down as head of McCain Institute, citing Ukraine controversy

Volker steps down as head of McCain Institute, citing Ukraine controversy
© Greg Nash

Kurt VolkerKurt VolkerSekulow vows Bidens, Ukraine will be part of Trump impeachment defense GOP-Biden feud looms over impeachment trial GOP rejects effort to compel documents on delayed Ukraine aid MORE, the Trump administration's former special envoy to Ukraine, on Monday announced his resignation as leader of the McCain Institute for International Leadership amid the furor over his role in efforts to pressure Ukraine to investigate the Biden family.

In a statement, Volker said he felt "the recent media focus on my work as U.S. Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations risks becoming a distraction from the accomplishments and continued growth of the Institute, and therefore I am stepping down as Executive Director." 

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Volker spent the last seven years working for the institute, which is a Washington-based think tank that functions in coordination with Arizona State University.

Cindy McCain, the widow of the late Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainConservative activist wins contest to represent New Hampshire at Republican National Convention Schiff shows clip of McCain in Trump impeachment trial Martha McSally fundraises off 'liberal hack' remark to CNN reporter MORE (R-Ariz.), thanked Volker for his work at the institute and "his dedication to my husband and the entire McCain family." She said former National Counterterrorism Center Director Nick Rasmussen will take over as the acting executive director.

The New York Times reported last week that Volker was expected to step down as he emerged as a central figure in the Ukraine scandal that triggered a formal impeachment inquiry into President TrumpDonald John TrumpWarren: Dershowitz presentation 'nonsensical,' 'could not follow it' Bolton told Barr he was concerned Trump did favors for autocrats: report Dershowitz: Bolton allegations would not constitute impeachable offense MORE.

Trump urged Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on a July 25 call to "look into" Democratic presidential candidate Joe BidenJoe BidenWarren: Dershowitz presentation 'nonsensical,' 'could not follow it' Bolton told Barr he was concerned Trump did favors for autocrats: report Dershowitz: Bolton allegations would not constitute impeachable offense MORE and his son and to get in touch with his personal attorney Rudy GiulianiRudy GiulianiTrump lawyers offer defense of Giuliani on the Senate floor Giuliani: Bolton sacrificing his integrity 'to make a few bucks on a book' The Hill's Morning Report - Report of Bolton tell-all manuscript roils Trump defense MORE and Attorney General William BarrWilliam Pelham BarrBolton told Barr he was concerned Trump did favors for autocrats: report DOJ says surveillance of Trump campaign adviser Page lacked evidence Senators press DHS over visa approval for Pensacola naval base shooter MORE on the matter.

Text messages released by House Democrats last week showed that Volker had indicated to one of Zelensky's aides that a visit to the White House was contingent on Ukraine carrying out the investigations Trump sought related to the Bidens and the 2016 election.

In a deposition with House lawmakers, Volker sought to distance himself from the efforts to investigate Biden. He defended the former vice president's character and blamed Giuliani for convincing Trump that the unsubstantiated corruption allegations against the Bidens were worth pursuing.