Kurt Volker told lawmakers that he drew a “sharp distinction” between Burisma and Biden, but admits that he was wrong to view them separately.
“In hindsight, I now understand that others saw the idea of investigating possible corruption involving the Ukrainian company, “Burisma,” as equivalent to investigating former Vice President Biden. I saw them as very different. The former being appropriate and unremarkable, the latter being unacceptable,” Volker said in his opening statement. “In retrospect, I should have seen that connection differently, and had I done so, I would have raised my own objections.”
Volker said he has learned many things he did not know in the last few weeks. Before the testimony provided by other individuals as part of the impeachment inquiry, Volker did not understand their belief that an investigation into Burisma was “tantamount” to investigating Biden.
With regard to the efforts he was undertaking at the time, Volker believed that encouraging Ukrainians to make a statement on Burisma did not mean Biden.
“At no time was I aware of or knowingly took part in an effort to urge Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Biden,” Volker said.
Remember: Volker was not on the July 25 call between Trump and Zelensky, and says he did not know Biden or his son were mentioned on that call until the rough transcript was made public.
Volker did engage in discussions with Ukrainians about putting out a statement on investigations. Giuliani told Volker and Sondland that the Ukrainians needed to reference 2016 and Burisma in the statement “in order to be convincing.” Volker added those specific references to an initial copy that the Ukrainians put together. But the Ukrainians they did not want to put out a statement on investigations that specifically referenced 2016 and Burisma. At that point, Volker said the idea of a statement was “shelved.”