(CN) – Two top U.S. diplomats asked Ukraine’s new president in August to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his family in exchange for a visit to meet President Donald Trump in Washington, according to a trove of emails released late Thursday.
Kurt Volker, who resigned last week as former U.S. special envoy to Ukraine, spent 10 hours Thursday answering questions by House investigators. California Rep. Adam Schiff, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, released the emails Thursday evening.
According to the texts, Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union worked on fashioning a statement with Volker and the president’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. The statement would have committed the Ukrainian government to investigating Joe Biden and his son Hunter.
On the day of a planned July 25 phone call with Trump and Zelensky, Volker wrote in a text message: “Heard from 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.”
The texts also included conversations between the two diplomats and Andriy Yermak, an aide to Zelensky, that showed President Trump would not meet with the Ukrainian president until he made a public commitment to investigating Biden and his family.
In his testimony to the House investigators, Volker said Giuliani helped craft specific language for the statement, ordering that it include references to the 2016 election and Burisma, a Ukrainian energy company that had Joe Biden’s son Hunter on its board.
According to Volker, the Ukrainians could not agree to the language Giuliani wanted them to use. It’s unknown if Zelensky read the statement, but it was never released.