Kurt D. Volker resigned Friday as the Trump administration’s special envoy for Ukraine, according to a person with knowledge of the event. He is the first casualty of Congress’s impeachment inquiry into President Trump’s conduct with that country.
Volker, a former career diplomat who heads the McCain Institute and worked at the Ukraine job part time for the past two years, tendered his resignation to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, just as Democratic committee chairmen in the House scheduled an interview with the envoy next Thursday.
Neither he nor Pompeo made any statement.
The committees are investigating charges, first made in a whistleblower complaint lodged with the inspector general of the intelligence community, that Trump withheld aid to Ukraine unless it helped find damaging evidence against presidential candidate Joe Biden.
Volker, according to the complaint, helped facilitate pursuit of that goal by Rudolph W. Giuliani, Trump’s personal attorney. He traveled to Kiev the day after Trump’s July 25 call to Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky to help the Ukrainian government “navigate” Trump’s demands, the complaint says.
After a brief stint as a CIA analyst, Volker joined the State Department in 1988 and worked largely on European issues. He rose to become European director at the National Security Council under President George W. Bush, whom he served for less than a year as U.S. ambassador to NATO before being replaced after Barack Obama’s election.
Volker kept his job as executive director of the McCain Institute, dedicated to developing “character-driven leaders” in memory of the late senator John McCain (R-Ariz.), after he was tapped in 2017 as Ukraine envoy by then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.