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Ukraine Clearinghouse 2019.11.05 Volker Additional Texts Excerpts


Additional Text Messages Produced by Kurt Volker

In late April 2019, after Marie Yovanovitch was abruptly recalled from her post as the Ambassador to Ukraine, Ambassador Taylor relayed his conversation with Deputy Assistant Secretary of State George Kent about becoming Charge d’Affaires:

[4/29/19, 5:14:18 PM] Bill Taylor: George has asked me to go to Kyiv for a while.

[4/29/19, 5:16:52 PM] Kurt Volker: Ah.... good!!!

[4/29/19, 5:16:56 PM] Kurt Volker: You should!

[4/29/19, 5:17:39 PM] Bill Taylor: George described two snake pits, one in Kyiv and one in Washington.

[4/29/19, 5:19:15 PM] Kurt Volker: :) so what’s new?

[4/29/19, 5:23:05 PM] Bill Taylor: Yes, but he described much more than I knew. Very ugly

Nearly one month later, Ambassador Taylor continued to struggle with the decision to go to Ukraine and voiced concern about the “Guliani-Biden issue”:

[5/26/19, 2:14:39 PM] Bill Taylor: I am still struggling with the decision whether to go. Can anyone hope to succeed with the Guliani-Biden issue swirling for the next 18 months? Can S offer any reassurance on this issue?

[5/26/19, 6:25:42 PM] Bill Taylor: You mentioned that several people have asked you to go out as CDA. I think that is the answer. It wouldn’t be that long. No one knows the issues better. People will ask why isn’t Kurt going out—we already have a special envoy.

[5/26/19, 11:23:10 PM] Kurt Volker: Let’s see how it looks on Tuesday ... I don’t know if there is much to do about the Giuliani thing, but I do think the key thing is to do what we can right now since the future of the country is in play right now

On May 28, 2019, Ambassador Taylor expressed concern about a “non-normal world” in which White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney is involved with an invitation to the Ukrainian President for a White House visit, but not the National Security Council:

[5/28/19, 5:49:28 PM] Bill Taylor: Do we know for sure that there is a letter inviting Ze to visit? Fiona doesn’t think so

[5/28/19, 5:59:25 PM] Kurt Volker: I heard it from Mulvaney—so I think so

[5/28/19, 6:00:39 PM] Bill Taylor: Wouldn't it have to go through Fiona?

[5/28/19, 6:01:04 PM] Kurt Volker: I don’t know how things work over there. In a normal world, of course. But ...

[5/28/19, 6:03:31 PM] Bill Taylor: Do I want to enter this non-normal world?

[5/28/19, 6:09:01 PM] Kurt Volker: Despite everything, I feel like we have moved the ball substantially forward over the last 2 years. I think it is worth it to continue to keep pushing…

On July 7, 2019, three days before a meeting at the White House between a Ukrainian delegation and National Security Advisor John Bolton, Ambassadors Kurt Volker and Gordon Sondland discussed calling White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney:

[7/7/19, 2:34:01 PM] Kurt Volker: Gordon—maybe we can talk e Mulvaney on Monday by phone? Kurt

[7/7/19, 5:08:56 PM] Gordon Sondland: Yes, lets do that

On the morning of July 10, 2019, Ambassador Volker met with President Zelensky’s top advisor, Andrey Yermak, at the Trump Hotel before the White House meeting:

[7/8/19, 10:03:42 AM] Andrey Yermak: I will stay in Trump International Hotel

[7/8/19, 1:05:49 PM] Kurt Volker: Are you coming straight from Kyiv? That will be 10pm before you are downtown. I could do coffee Wednesday morning around 9:00am / 9:15am at trump hotel..

[7/8/19, 2:05:11 PM] Andrey Yermak: Yes. Perfect, Wednesday, 9.15 am at Trump hotel

[7/8/19, 5:14:05 PM] Kurt Volker: Great—see you there

[7/10/19, 9:08:20 AM] Kurt Volker: Hi Andrey—got here early and ordered a coffee. No rush—see you in a bit. Kurt

[7/10/19, 9:10:19 AM] Andrey Yermak: Hi Kurt. I’m 5 min

Just before he met Mr. Yermak for breakfast on July 10, 2019, Ambassador Volker highlighted an “opportunity” for Mr. Giuliani “to get you what you need,” and Mr. Giuliani responded that he had “some suggestions”:

[7/10/19, 8:01 AM]

Kurt Volker: Mr Mayor—could we meet for coffee or lunch in the next week or so? I’d like to update you on my conversations about Ukraine. I think we have an opportunity to get you what you need. Best—Kurt V

Rudy Giuliani: Yes I am so n way to Albania. I’ll text some suggestions a little later

Kurt Volker: Great—thank you!

On the same afternoon as the meeting between John Bolton and the Ukrainian delegation, on July 10, 2019, Mr. Yermak sent a text message to Ambassador Volker noting that Mr. Giuliani was “the key for many things”:

[7/10/19, 4:06:30 PM] Andrey Yermak: Thank you for meeting and your clear and very logical position. Will be great meet with you before my departure and discuss. I feel that the key for many things is Rudi and I ready to talk with him at any time. Please, let me know when you can meet. Andrey

On the evening of July 10, 2019, Ambassador Volker provided an update on meetings at the White House with the Ukrainian delegation, saying it was “not good”:

[7/10/19, 2:26:06 PM] Bill Taylor: Eager to hear if your meeting with Danyliuk and Bolton resulted in a decision on a call.

[7/10/19, 10:26:13 PM] Bill Taylor: How did the meeting go?

[7/10/19, 10:29:44 PM] Kurt Volker: Not good—lets talk—kv

On July 22, 2019, Ambassador Volker and Mr. Yermak discussed a potential call between President Trump and President Zelensky and the importance of speaking with Mr. Giuliani first:

[7/22/19, 8:35:35 AM] Andrey Yermak: One question. I have information about phone call from President Trump to President Zelenskiy at 6 pm Kyiv time today. Can you confirm it?

[7/22/19, 8:36:07 AM] Kurt Volker: I will check—maybe yes [7/22/19, 8:38:07 AM] Andrey Yermak: Its very good that our conversation with Mr. Mayor will be before it

[7/22/19, 8:47:51 AM] Kurt Volker: Yes—and I checked—call will not be today but White House will call Danylyuk to re-schedule it

[7/22/19, 10:44:16 AM] Kurt Volker: I think that was very useful—hope it all keeps moving. Suggest you send a text to follow up and get Madrid dates—best - Kurt

[7/22/19 11:24:54 AM] Andrey Yermak: Missed voice call

[7/22/19 11:25:25 AM] Andrey Yermak: When you will be in Kiev?

[7/22/19 11:26:23 AM] Andrey Yermak: And thank you for conversation and your help!

On August 7, 2019, Ambassador Volker exchanged the following text with Mr. Giuliani after he met with Mr. Yermak in Spain on August 2, 2019:

[8/7/19, 12:52 PM] Kurt Volker: Hi Rudy—hope you made it back safely. Let’s meet if you are coming to DC. And would be good if you convey results of your meeting in Madrid to the boss so we can get a firm date for a visit. Best—Kurt

On August 11, 2019, Ambassador Volker contacted Mr. Giuliani about a “statement” from President Zelensky:

[8/11/19, 10:28 AM] Kurt Volker: Hi Rudy—we have heard bCk from Andrey again— they are writing the statement now and will send to us. Can you talk for 5 min before noon today?

Rudy Giuliani: Yes just call

On August 12, 2019, Mr. Yermak sent a draft statement to Ambassador Volker announcing an “investigation,” without mentioning Burisma or the 2016 elections:

[8/12/19 8:31:25 PM] Andrey Yermak: Отдельного внимания заслуживает проблема вмешательства в политические процессы Соединенных Штатов, в том числе при возможном участии некоторых украинских политиков. Хочу заявить о недопустимости подобной практики/ Мынамерены обеспечить и довести до конца прозрачное и непредвзятое расследование всех имеющихсяфактов и эпизодов, что в свою очередь предотвратит повторение данной проблемы в будущем.

Special attention should be paid to the problem of interference in the political processes of the United States, especially with the alleged involvement of some Ukrainian politicians. I want to declare that this is unacceptable. We intend to initiate and complete a transparent and unbiased investigation of all available facts and episodes, which in turn will prevent the recurrence of this problem in the future.

On August 13, 2019, Ambassadors Volker and Sondland proposed to Mr. Yermak that the statement also include “2 key items”—“Burisma and the 2016 U.S. elections”:

[8/13/19, 10:19:20 AM] Andrey Yermak: Hi Kurt

[8/13/19, 10:19:50 AM] Gordon Sondland: I can talk now

[8/13/19, 10:20:54 AM] Andrey Yermak: I’m in Israel

[8/13/19, 10:21:20 AM] Gordon Sondland: Important. Do you have 5 mins

[8/13/19, 10:21:21 AM] Andrey Yermak: I can speak in 10-15 min

[8/13/19, 10:22:55 AM] Gordon Sondland: Ok I will have our operator dial us in at 4:35 Brussels time

[8/13/19, 10:23:14 AM] Kurt Volker: Can we do this one on what’s App?

[8/13/19, 10:23:31 AM] Gordon Sondland: Ok, fine. Can you initiate?

[8/13/19, 10:23:41 AM] Kurt Volker: Yes—will do

[8/13/19, 10:24:17 AM] Andrey Yermak: Ok

[8/13/19, 12:11:15 PM] Kurt Volker: Hi Andrey—good talking—following is text with insert at the end for the 2 key items. We will work on official request

[8/13/19, 12:11:19 PM] Kurt Volker: Special attention should be paid to the problem of interference in the political processes of the United States, especially with the alleged involvement of some Ukrainian politicians. I want to declare that this is unacceptable. We intend to initiate and complete a transparent and unbiased investigation of all available facts and episodes, including those involving Burisma and the 2016 U.S. elections, which in turn will prevent the recurrence of this problem in the future.