According to a new report from the New York Times, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani dismissed out of hand an offer from the government of Ukraine attacking corruption while he was making overtures for harmful information on former Vice President Joe Biden.
The report states that former Ukraine envoy Kurt Volker addressed efforts made by the attorney representing President Donald Trump, adding that he interfered with negotiations as Ukraine officials were seeking the release of U.S. foreign aid.
"During testimony behind closed doors on Thursday, Kurt D. Volker, the special envoy, said Mr. Giuliani rejected a generic draft statement that Ukraine’s government had agreed to issue committing to fighting corruption generally," the Times reports. "While Mr. Giuliani’s efforts to pressure Ukraine have been known, Mr. Volker’s account provides new details about how the president’s personal lawyer inserted himself into foreign policy to benefit Mr. Trump politically."
Specifically, the report states, the Trump attorney asked that "the statement should include specific reference to ‘Burisma’ and ‘2016,’” Mr. Volker told the investigators, according to a person who has seen the testimony, adding, "There was no mention of Vice President Biden in these conversations.”
“I edited the draft statement by Mr. Yermak to include these points to see how it looked,” Volker reportedly testified, referring to Andrey Yermak, a top adviser to President Volodymyr Zelensky. “I then discussed further with Mr. Yermak. He said that for a number of reasons” that "they do not want to mention Burisma and 2016.”
Volker told congressional investigators that he agreed with that sentiment.
“I agreed,” the ex-envoy explained, “and further said that I believe it is essential that Ukraine do nothing that could be seen as interfering in 2020 elections. It is bad enough that accusations have been made about 2016 — it is essential that Ukraine not be involved in anything relating to 2020. He agreed and the idea of putting out a statement was shelved.”
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