Quote: “in which Trump is reported to have said he was not bothered by Moscow interference in the 2016 election because the US did the same kind of thing in other countries”
Trump-Ukraine scandal: US special envoy steps down as crisis widens
Kurt Volker departs as further reports emerge of White House efforts to cut access to Trump calls to Russia and Saudi Arabia
Julian Borger in Washington
Sat 28 Sep 2019
Kurt Volker, the US special envoy for Ukraine, has resigned, according to a US official, becoming the first casualty in the rapidly growing impeachment crisis surrounding Donald Trump.
Volker was due to appear before the congressional committees next week and was mentioned in the whistleblower complaint as helping Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelenskiy “navigate” Trump’s demands.
The news, first reported in an Arizona student newspaper, the State Press, emerged late on Friday, hours after Congress issued a subpoena to the US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, to hand over documents related to contacts the president and his lawyer had with the Ukrainian government.
It emerged this week that Volker had helped organise a meeting between Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, and a Ukraine presidential aide. Giuliani was trying to convince Zelenskiy’s government to investigate the son of Joe Biden, Trump’s possible opponent in next year’s elections.
Trump told Russian officials he was unconcerned about election interference – report
With impeachment proceedings against Trump under way, further reports emerged of White House efforts to limit access to transcripts of conversations with other countries. Trump’s phone calls with Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman and Russian president Vladimir Putin were also tightly restricted, according to former administration officials quoted by CNN and the New York Times.
The Washington Post reported that further restrictions were placed on details from a 2017 meeting between Trump, Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov and ambassador Sergei Kislyak, in which Trump is reported to have said he was not bothered by Moscow interference in the 2016 election because the US did the same kind of thing in other countrie. The White House limited access to the remarks to “an unusually small number of people”, the Post said, after speaking to three former officials. The president had already been accused of sharing highly sensitive information on Islamic State during the meeting.