WASHINGTON — House Republicans hoping to breathe fresh life into dubious “conspiracy theories” about the Biden family’s business dealings in Ukraine were undercut by their own witness at the impeachment hearing Tuesday.
Ambassador Kurt Volker, the former U.S. envoy to Ukraine, showed little interest in entertaining the GOP's Biden talking points, describing the Ukrainian source of those theories “not credible” and "self-serving.” And he said President Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani had assured him, in private, that even Giuliani knew those theories were bunk.
In fact, Volker repeatedly trashed two conspiracy theories recently floated by the House GOP members, including ranking member Devin Nunes: about former Vice President Joe Biden allegedly squashing an investigation into his son, and a debunked claim that Ukrainian operatives somehow helped hack the Democratic National Committee and framed the Russian government for it.
Asked by the Democrats’ counsel, Daniel Goldman, about why he believes that Trump’s overtures to the Ukrainian government were not in the country’s national interest, Volker criticized such conspiracy theories directly.
“I don’t think that raising 2016 elections or Vice President Biden or these things I consider to be conspiracy theories circulated by the Ukrainians… they’re not things we should be pursuing as part of our national security strategy in Ukraine,” Volker said during questioning.
Republicans on the intel committee have tried to use the public impeachment hearings to hold a de facto trial for Biden and his son Hunter, claiming that the former veep leveraged the power of his office to squash an investigation into the Ukrainian energy company Burisma, where Hunter sat on the board.
But at the outset of his appearance, Volker roundly denounced those claims, telling the committee without pause that the allegations don’t seem plausible.
“The accusation that Vice President Biden was acting inappropriately didn’t seem at all credible to me,” Volker said.
Volker also vouched for Biden’s personal character, saying in his opening statement, "I have known Vice President Biden for 24 years. He is an honorable man and I hold him in the highest regard."
Cover: Ambassador Kurt Volker, former special envoy to Ukraine, testifies before the House Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2019, during a public impeachment hearing of President Donald Trump's efforts to tie U.S. aid for Ukraine to investigations of his political opponents.(AP Photo/Susan Walsh)