A key impeachment witness who worked closely with Donald Trump has dramatically amended his testimony during a public hearing.
Former US special envoy to the Ukraine Kurt Volker changed his account to concede that he was aware of a link between military aid being withheld from the Ukraine and an investigation being launched into a key Trump rival.
Accusations that Trump withheld $400m in aid until Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky began a probe into rival Joe Bide’s son Hunter’s links to an Ukrainian natural gas firm are what sparked the ongoing hearing which seeks to remove him from office.
Addressing the House Intelligence Committee in Washington DC Tuesday afternoon, Volker referred to testimony he gave the Committee behind closed doors last month.
He said: ‘I learned many things that I did not know at the time of the events in question.’
He claimed that if he had known the full extent of what is said to have happened between Trump and his Ukrainian counterpart, he would have ‘raised (his) own objections.’
Joe Biden is one of the front runners for the 2020 presidential nomination, with the former Vice President likely to run against Trump for the presidency in 2020.
Trump denies wrongdoing, but Democrats say his behavior constitutes an abuse of his presidential power for his own political gain.
The diplomate insisted that he was never aware or ‘knowingly took part in an effort to urge Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Biden.’
Volker says he cringes at the use of the phrase ‘three amigos’ to describe himself, US Ambassador to the EU Gordon Sondland and Energy Secretary Rick Evans, who have been accused of working to do Trump’s bidding in Ukraine.
And Volker also defended the Bidens – who Trump has repeatedly smeared, calling Joe Biden an ‘honorable man’ who he holds in ‘the highest regard.’
Earlier on Tuesday, the US’s top National Security Council adviser to Ukraine Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman hit out at Trump’s ‘inappropriate’ call to Zelensky, and explained why he reported the president to his superiors.
Gordon Sondland – one of the other ‘three amigos’ who is accused of broaching the Biden investigation with Ukraine before the July 25 phone call is due to appear before the hearing on Wednesday.
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