Volker pressed Zelensky to convince Trump he would launch investigations before call: Report

Former U.S. Special Representative for Ukraine Kurt VolkerKurt VolkerGOP senators request details on Hunter Biden's travel for probe Yovanovitch retires from State Department: reports Live coverage: Senators enter second day of questions in impeachment trial MORE told Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky before his July call with President TrumpDonald John TrumpMinneapolis erupts for third night, as protests spread, Trump vows retaliation Stocks open mixed ahead of Trump briefing on China The island that can save America MORE that it was vital he convince Trump he was prepared to investigate the 2016 U.S. election, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Volker pulled Zelensky aside at a Toronto conference in early July and advised him to signal to Trump that he was committed to investigating both general corruption and his suspicions of interference in the 2016 election, according to the Journal. The newspaper cited a source familiar with testimony to House committees overseeing the impeachment inquiry.


Volker told Zelensky that making such an assurance would act as a counterweight to the negative information about Ukraine that Trump’s personal attorney Rudy GiulianiRudy GiulianiSunday shows preview: States begin to reopen even as some areas in US see case counts increase Moussaoui says he now renounces terrorism, bin Laden Democrats launch probe into Trump's firing of State Department watchdog, Pompeo MORE was providing him with, according to the report.

The diplomat also suggested Zelensky at least appear to entertain some of Giuliani’s premises, such as his unfounded conspiracy theory that Ukraine hacked the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and that the DNC’s server is located in the country currently.

Volker testified that he did not mention former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden campaign cancels fundraiser with Mueller prosecutor Twitter joins Democrats to boost mail-in voting — here's why The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - George Floyd's death sparks protests, National Guard activation MORE by name in his conversation with Zelensky, nor did he recommend Zelensky engage directly with Giuliani, according to the newspaper.

At the time of the Toronto conversation, the July 25 call had not yet been scheduled, although during the call Zelensky emphasized his willingness to meet with Giuliani.

“We are hoping very much that Mr. Giuliani will be able to travel to Ukraine and we will meet once he comes to Ukraine,” a summary from the White House quotes Zelensky as saying. “I guarantee as the President of Ukraine that all the investigations will be done openly and candidly.”

A few weeks later, on July 19, Volker texted Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland and acting Ambassador to Ukraine William Taylor “Had breakfast with Rudy this morning—teeing up call w [Zelensky aide Andrei] Yermak Monday. Must have helped. Most impt is for Zelensky to say that he will help investigation—and address any specific personnel issues—if there are any."

The Hill has reached out to Giuliani and the White House for comment.