McCain Institute head Kurt Volker at center of Trump-Ukraine probe

By Ronald J. Hansen | Arizona Republic 

Kurt Volker@kvolker/Twitter
#TbilisiConf visit to Russian occupied territory in Georgia. @McCainInstitute

Kurt Volker, a diplomat who is the executive director of Arizona State University’s McCain Institute, is a key figure in the unfolding investigation of President Donald Trump and his efforts to spur Ukraine to investigate a political foe.

Volker is a special envoy to Ukraine for Trump and works for a law firm that lobbied on behalf of the Ukrainian government in the Trump era.

A nine-page whistleblower complaint released Thursday seems to contradict Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani’s account that Volker and others in the State Department sought his involvement in Ukraine.

Instead, the complaint suggests Trump directed Ukrainian authorities to Giuliani and, later, Volker’s diplomatic team. 

ASU’s McCain Institute for International Leadership, where he has also worked since its creation in 2012, touts him as “a leading expert in U.S. foreign and national security policy with some 30 years of experience in a variety of government, academic, and private sector capacities.”

In 2017, after then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson tapped Volker for the Ukraine envoy role, the late Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., welcomed Volker’s new assignment.

“He brings the right experience and judgment needed to represent the United States as we continue in our efforts to stop Russia’s aggressive actions in Ukraine,” McCain, who died last year, told The Arizona Republic at the time. “I am confident he will serve our nation with distinction and work tirelessly to achieve peace and stability for the people of Ukraine.”

Volker could not be reached for comment. A spokesman for the McCain Institute declined to comment.

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