Text messages released on Thursday between US diplomats and a senior Ukrainian aide show how a potential Ukrainian investigation into the 2016 election was linked to a desired meeting between Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and US President Donald Trump.
The text messages, which were released by the House Intelligence Committee, underscore how Trump’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, was closely connected to US policy on Ukraine and was involved in setting up the July 25 phone call between Trump and Zelensky, in which Trump also urged an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden.
They show how cognizant the Ukrainians were about the importance of the election investigation to Trump and Giuliani’s role.
On the morning of the call, in an exchange with a key adviser to the Ukrainian President, then-US Special Envoy for Ukraine Kurt Volker made clear that it was important to the White House that Zelensky convince Trump that an investigation into the 2016 election would happen.
“Heard from the White House — assuming President Z convinces trump he will investigate/’get to the bottom of what happened’ in 2016, we will nail down date for visit to Washington,” Volker said via text to the Ukrainian adviser on the morning of July 25….
In August, it was publicly revealed that the Trump administration was holding up foreign aid to Ukraine, although the whistleblower complaint had not yet been made public.
Behind the scenes, concerns were being raised by a senior US diplomat in Ukraine, Bill Taylor, that the aid had been held up.
“Are we now saying that security assistance and WH meeting are conditioned on investigations?” Taylor texted Sondland on September 1.
“Call me,” Sondland responded. The context of Taylor’s text message is not clear from the messages released by the committee.