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Volker: I 'cringe' when I hear 'three amigos'

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, former special envoy to Ukraine, dismissed the “three amigos” term that’s been used to describe him, Energy Secretary Rick PerryRick PerryThe Memo: Texas could deliver political earthquake The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by Facebook - Trump, Biden blitz battleground states Texas Republicans sound post-2020 alarm bells MORE and U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon SondlandGordon SondlandGOP chairman vows to protect whistleblowers following Vindman retirement over 'bullying' Top Democrat slams Trump's new EU envoy: Not 'a political donor's part-time job' Trump names new EU envoy, filling post left vacant by impeachment witness Sondland MORE in reference to dealings with Ukraine. 

Instead, the former diplomat says that when he hears the expression, he thinks of another trio in American politics. 

“I’ve never used that term and frankly cringe when I hear it because to me ‘three amigos’ will always refer to Sen. [John] McCain [R-Ariz.], Sen. [Joe] Lieberman [I-Conn.] and Sen. [Lindsey] Graham [R-S.C.] in reference to their work to support the surge in Iraq,” Volker said during his opening statement Tuesday as part of his public testimony at the impeachment hearing.

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“Moreover I was never aware of any designation by President TrumpDonald John TrumpStephen Miller: Trump to further crackdown on illegal immigration if he wins US records 97,000 new COVID-19 cases, shattering daily record Biden leads Trump by 8 points nationally: poll MORE or anyone else putting Ambassador Sondland or the three of us as a group in charge of Ukraine policy,” he added. 

Volker said it was his understanding that each official continued to work in his “own respective official capacity” after attending Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky's inauguration “to push for greater U.S. support for Ukraine.”

“Leading the diplomacy around Ukraine negotiations had long been my official responsibility, but I welcomed the added support and influence of a Cabinet member and EU ambassador,” Volker said.

Sondland is set to testify Wednesday as part of the ongoing probe into President Trump’s communications with Ukraine.