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

Former U.S. Special Representative for Ukraine Kurt VolkerKurt VolkerGOP chairmen seek interview with Obama officials as part of Biden-Ukraine probe Push to investigate Bidens sets up potential for Senate turf war Senate confirms Brouillette to replace Perry as Energy secretary MORE told Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky before his July call with President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump's newest Russia adviser, Andrew Peek, leaves post: report Hawley expects McConnell's final impeachment resolution to give White House defense ability to motion to dismiss Trump rips New York City sea wall: 'Costly, foolish' and 'environmentally unfriendly idea' 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.

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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 GiulianiDemocrats file brief against Trump, 'the Framers' worst nightmare' Trump lawyers attack House impeachment as 'brazen and unlawful' effort to overturn 2016 results Sunday shows preview: Lawmakers gear up for Senate impeachment trial 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 alleges Sanders campaign 'doctored video' to attack him on Social Security record Sanders campaign responds to Biden doctored video claims: Biden should 'stop trying to doctor' public record Capt. "Sully" Sullenberger pens op-ed in defense of Biden: 'I stuttered once, too. I dare you to mock me' 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.