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

Kurt VolkerKurt VolkerPush to investigate Bidens sets up potential for Senate turf war Senate confirms Brouillette to replace Perry as Energy secretary How Democrats' missing witnesses could fill in the Ukraine story MORE, former special envoy to Ukraine, dismissed the “three amigos” term that’s been used to describe him, Energy Secretary Rick PerryRick PerryNew Energy secretary cancels Paris trip amid mass strikes against Macron proposal Mellman: The 'lane theory' is the wrong lane to be in Overnight Energy: Critics call EPA air guidance 'an industry dream' | New Energy secretary says Trump wants to boost coal | EPA looks to speed approval of disputed industry pollution permits MORE and U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon SondlandGordon SondlandThe Memo: Will impeachment hurt Democrats or Trump? Trump vs. 130 years of civil service What Congress can't get, the people can: Trump documents are damning and there are more to come 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 TrumpTrumps light 97th annual National Christmas Tree Trump to hold campaign rally in Michigan 'Don't mess with Mama': Pelosi's daughter tweets support following press conference comments 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.