Text messages provided to the House Intelligence Committee by former US Special Envoy for Ukraine Kurt Volker were released by Democrats late Thursday night—and NBC News sees them as "explicitly linking" a potential White House meeting between President Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky with a Ukraine probe into the 2016 election. As NBC puts it, Trump has "long promoted the baseless theory that Ukraine—not Russia—was responsible for 2016 election meddling." Texts after a July 25 call between Trump and Zelensky reference both the 2016 election and the company Hunter Biden worked for. Standout texts and related news:
- On July 19, less than a week before Trump and Zelensky spoke on the phone, Volker texted US Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland the following: "Had breakfast with Rudy [Giuliani] this morning—teeing up call with [Zelensky advisor Andrey] Yermak Monday. Must have helped. Most (important) is for Zelensky to say that he will help investigation—and address any specific personnel issues—if there are any." CNN's read is that it reveals "how Giuliani was pushing for the call and for Zelensky to talk up the investigation."
- The morning of the call, Volker messaged Yermak the following: "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."