WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump's special envoy to Ukraine, Kurt VolkerResigned on Friday amid growing questions about its role in connecting Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giulianiwith Ukrainian officials.
Volker left the unpaid State Department position, according to Arizona State University President Michael Crow. Crow said Republic of Arizona, part of the USA TODAY Network, which his team discussed with Volker, who is the executive director of the McCain Institute of International Leadership at ASU.
Volker's resignation came just hours after House Democrats announced plans to interview Volker, along with four other State Department officialsAs part of his impeachment investigation into President Donald Trump's efforts to pressure Ukrainian authorities to investigate Joe Biden, a political rival.
Volker Giuliani introduced one of Ukraine's top advisers to Volodymyr Zelensky in mid-July, according to a text message. Giuliani posted on twitter. The former mayor of New York was trying to convince the Ukrainian authorities to investigate Joe Biden, one of the leading candidates in the 2020 presidential election.
"As discussed, connecting you here to Andrey Yermak, who is very close to President Zelensky," says the July 19 text message, using an alternative spelling for Yermak's first name. "I suggest we schedule a call together on Monday – maybe 10 or 11 am Washington time?"
Volker's name also appeared in the complaint, which alleges that Trump, during a telephone call on July 25, used the power of his office to pressure Zelensky for harmful information about Biden.
According to the complaint, Volker and another US ambassador, Gordon Sondland, had met with Giuliani to try to "contain the damage" his efforts were having on US national security. The complainant said Volker and Sondland also met with Ukrainian officials to help them navigate the "different messages" they were receiving through official US government channels and Giuliani's private contact.
For months, Giuliani has been pushing Ukrainians for harming information about former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden, who were on the board of a Ukrainian energy company when Biden was Obama's No. 2. Trump and Giuliani alleged irregularities by the Bidens, but they provided no evidence of impropriety.
Volker, who served in the unpaid part-time position, did not respond to an email asking for comments, nor did the State Department press office. Giuliani has not responded to a US voice and text message TODAY.
The resignation was reported by the state press, the student newspaper of Arizona State University.
Contribution: Ron Hansen