Democrat House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff reportedly pressed U.S. special representative to Ukraine Kurt Volker in a secret meeting on October 3 to say that President Donald Trump pressured Ukrainian officials to investigate former Vice President and current Democrat presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden.
“Volker denied that was the case, noting that Ukrainian leaders did not even know the aid was being withheld, and that they believed their relationship with the United States was moving along satisfactorily, without them having done anything Trump mentioned in his notorious July 25 phone conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky,” The Washington Examiner reported. “When Volker repeatedly declined to agree to Schiff’s characterization of events, Schiff said, ‘Ambassador, you’re making this much more complicated than it has to be.'”
The central allegation that Democrats are claiming that Trump is guilty of is engaging in a quid pro quo with Ukraine, instructing them to investigate Biden in exchange for U.S. military support.
“Part of the other context is vital military support is being withheld from the Ukraine during this period, right?” Schiff asked, according to the Examiner.
“That was not part of the context at the time,” Volker said. “At least to my knowledge, they [Ukrainian leaders] were not aware of that.”
It was at this point that Schiff reportedly began to press Volker. According to the Examiner, Schiff and Volker engaged in the following back and forth dialogue:
[Schiff] asked Volker whether he would agree that “no President of the United States should ever ask a foreign leader to help intervene in a U.S. election.”
“I agree with that,” said Volker.
“And that would be particularly egregious if it was done in the context of withholding foreign assistance?” Schiff continued.
Volker balked. “We’re getting now into, you know, a conflation of these things that I didn’t think was actually there.”
Schiff wanted Volker to agree that “if it’s inappropriate for a president to seek foreign help in a U.S. election, it would be doubly so if a president was doing that at a time when the United States was withholding military support from the country.”
Again, Volker did not agree. “I can’t really speak to that,” he said. “My understanding of the security assistance issue is — ”
Schiff interrupted. “Why can’t you speak to that, ambassador? You’re a career diplomat. You can understand the enormous leverage that a president would have while withholding military support from an ally at war with Russia. You can understand just how significant that would be, correct?”
Volker tried to go along without actually agreeing. “I can understand that that would be significant,” he said.
Schiff persisted. “And when that suspension of aid became known to that country, to Ukraine, it would be all the more weighty to consider what the president had asked of them, wouldn’t it?”
“So again, congressman, I don’t believe — ” Volker began.
“It’s a pretty straightforward question,” Schiff said.
“But I don’t believe the Ukrainians were aware that the assistance was being held up — ”
“They became aware of it,” Schiff said.
“They became aware later, but I don’t believe they were aware at the time, so there was no leverage implied,” Volker said.
Schiff has come under intense fire over the way that he has handled the House Democrats’ attempt to impeach Trump.
During a congressional hearing in late September, Schiff made up quotes from Trump’s phone call with Ukraine, quotes that did not exist in the transcript of the call.
Schiff’s move garnered intense national criticism from top lawmakers and political commentators.
Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY) tweeted: “When you don’t have facts on your side some just make it up. The opening statement by their ring leader was #FullofSchiff. House Dems blatantly lying to justify their impeachment inquiry is horribly timed, poorly written and badly intentioned.”
Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) tweeted: “It is disturbing and outrageous that Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee Adam Schiff opens up a hearing of this importance with improvised fake dialogue between President Trump and President Zelenskyy. We should focus on the facts.”
Fox News analyst Brit Hume tweeted: “If the conversation were as damning as Schiff et al would like, he would have simply read directly from it, instead of making up dialogue. Probably not surprising in light of the extravagant collusion claims he made for 2 years.”
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) tweeted: “We now have both the transcript and the complaint. Anyone who reads them will see they prove what we already knew: @RepAdamSchiff and his cronies will peddle conspiracy theories and distort the truth to attack our President. It’s wrong.”
Schiff also came under intense fire after it was revealed that his staff had contact with the whistleblower before the whistleblower actually filed an official complaint form.
In a separate report, the Examiner revealed that the whistleblower, a registered Democrat who had worked with Biden in the Obama White House, had also previously worked with two of Schiff’s current aides.