WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump's special envoy for Ukraine, Kurt Volker, resigned on Friday amid growing questions about his role in connecting Trump's personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, with Ukrainian officials.
Volker quit the unpaid position with the State Department, according to Arizona State University President Michael Crow. Crow told The Arizona Republic, part of the USA TODAY Network, that his staff discussed the matter with Volker, who is the executive director of the McCain Institute for International Leadership at ASU.
Volker's resignation came just hours after House Democrats announced plans to interview Volker, along with four other State Department officials, as part of their impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump's efforts to pressure Ukrainian officials to investigate Joe Biden, a political rival.
Volker introduced Giuliani to a top adviser to Ukrainian Volodymyr Zelensky as in mid-July, according to a text message Giuliani posted on Twitter. The former New York mayor was trying to get Ukrainian officials to investigate Joe Biden, a leading candidate for the 2020 presidential election.
“As discussed, connecting you here with Andrey Yermak, who is very close to President Zelensky,” the July 19 text message reads, using an alternative spelling for Yermak's first name. “I suggest we schedule a call together on Monday – maybe 10 am or 11 am Washington time?”
Volker's name also appeared in the whistleblower complaint, which alleges that Trump, during a July 25 phone call, used the power of his office to press Zelensky for damaging information about Biden.
According to the whistleblower complaint, Volker and another U.S. ambassador, Gordon Sondland, had met with Giuliani to try to "contain the damage" his efforts were having on U.S. national security. The whistleblower said Volker and Sondland also met with Ukrainian officials to help them navigate the "differing messages" they were getting through official U.S. government channels and Giuliani's private outreach.
For months, Giuliani has been pressing the Ukrainians for damaging information on former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden, whose sat on the board of a Ukrainian energy company when Biden was Obama’s No. 2. Trump and Giuliani have alleged wrongdoing by the Bidens, but they have not produced any evidence of impropriety.
Volker, who served in the unpaid position on a part-time basis, did not respond to an email seeking comment, nor did the State Department’s press office. Giuliani did not respond to a voicemail and text messages from USA TODAY.
The resignation was first reported by the State Press, the student newspaper at Arizona State University.
Contributing: Ron Hansen
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Trump envoy for Ukraine Kurt Volker resigns after Giuliani revelations