Impeachment Transcripts Show Democrats Probing Trump Hotel, Emoluments

November 6, 2019 by Impeachment Transcripts Show Democrats Probing Trump Hotel, Emoluments November 6, 2019by Lindsey McPherson
The Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Dan McCue)

WASHINGTON — House Democratic investigators have not been solely focused on President Donald Trump allegedly pressuring Ukraine to investigate a political rival as they have questioned witnesses in the impeachment inquiry, a transcript of one of the closed-door depositions reveals.

As the Intelligence, Oversight and Foreign Affairs committees interviewed Kurt Volker, a former NATO ambassador who served the Trump administration in a volunteer capacity as a special representative to Ukraine, the questioning briefly devolved into Emoluments Clause territory.

The transcript of the Oct. 3 deposition — the first that investigators conducted as part of the impeachment inquiry — shows Daniel Noble, senior counsel for the Intelligence Committee Democrats, questioning why Volker and Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal attorney, had a breakfast meeting at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C.

The question came up as Noble was asking whether Volker knew an associate of Giuliani’s named Lev Parnas. Volker responded that Parnas is a Ukrainian American businessman that Giuliani brought to a breakfast meeting on July 19 between the two. Parnas and another Giuliani associate, Igor Fruman, were arrested Oct. 10 and indicted on charges of trying to illegally funnel foreign money into U.S. elections.

“Never met him before or since,” Volker said of Parnas, guessing that Giuliani had invited him to the meeting because he knows a lot about Ukraine since he’s from there.

Noble then questions where the three had breakfast, to which Volker responds “at the Trump Hotel.”

The answer appeared to raise alarm bells for Noble, who then probed further, with questions seemingly designed to elicit information that might further validate Democrats’ concerns that Trump has violated the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution by profiting off foreign and domestic officials who stay at and utilize his personal business properties.

“Why did you have breakfast at the Trump Hotel?” Noble asked.

“Because I was guessing that’s where Rudy was going to be staying, so that would be the easiest thing to do,” Volker responded.

Noble then referred back to a prior discussion about a meeting Volker had with Andriy Yermak, a close adviser to Ukranian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, asking where Yermak stayed while in Washington.

Volker said he believes it was at the Trump hotel but he did not know why Yermak chose that location.

“Did you ever have any conversations with the Ukrainians about currying favor with President Trump by staying at their property?” Noble asked. Volker said he did not.

The Trump hotel came up again once again later in the transcript as Noble questioned Volker about a visit some Ukrainian officials, including Yermak and Danylyuk, chairman of the Ukranian National Security and Defense Council, made to Washington in July.

Noble asked about the locations in which Volker met with those officials. He had drinks with Danylyuk at the Metropolitan Club and coffee with Yermak at the Trump hotel.

The Trump hotel has not come up in the other three depositions for which transcripts have been released so far but it’s clear Democratic investigators are interested in whether the Ukrainians sought to curry favor with Trump by staying at his hotel.

Parnas and Fruman have been subpoenaed to testify for the inquiry and initially rebuffed those efforts. But Parnas has changed his tune, saying Monday through his attorney that he would testify.

———

©2019 CQ-Roll Call, Inc., All Rights Reserved

Visit CQ Roll Call at www.rollcall.com

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

In The News

Starting Next Week, Americans Can Give IRS Deposit Info to Get Stimulus Check Faster
Economy
Starting Next Week, Americans Can Give IRS Deposit Info to Get Stimulus Check Faster

WASHINGTON — As soon as next week, Americans will be able to provide the Internal Revenue Service with direct deposit information so they can receive their stimulus checks of up to $1,200, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told House Democrats in a call Wednesday evening. Soon after... Read More

Fauci Says US Virus Deaths May Be 60,000, Half of Projections
Health
Fauci Says US Virus Deaths May Be 60,000, Half of Projections

U.S. fatalities from Covid-19 may be as low as 60,000 — far fewer than earlier projections — because of safety measures such as social distancing, the nation’s top infectious disease expert said Thursday. “The real data are telling us it is highly likely we are having... Read More

Joe Biden Proposes Expanding Medicare Eligibility and Student Debt Relief
Political News
Joe Biden Proposes Expanding Medicare Eligibility and Student Debt Relief

WASHINGTON — In a peace offering to progressives a day after Sen. Bernie Sanders quit the presidential race, Joe Biden announced support Thursday for an expansion of Medicare and education policies that move closer to his former rival’s agenda. Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, proposed... Read More

Georgia Primary Delayed Again to June 9 During Coronavirus Emergency
2020 Elections
Georgia Primary Delayed Again to June 9 During Coronavirus Emergency

ATLANTA — Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger on Thursday postponed the state’s primary election for three weeks, until June 9, as the coronavirus spreads, poll workers quit and voters worry about getting sick at precincts. The election must be rescheduled because of the health risk... Read More

Federal Judge Says Texas Providers Can Temporarily Resume Abortions
State News
Federal Judge Says Texas Providers Can Temporarily Resume Abortions

AUSTIN, Texas — Going against a recent federal appeals court ruling, a lower federal judge says Texas abortion providers can offer certain abortions while they continue fighting in court against a state order that halted most abortions. U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel on Thursday granted Texas... Read More

Trump Says Mail Voting is ‘Terrible.’ But Florida GOP Still Pushing for It
Voting
Trump Says Mail Voting is ‘Terrible.’ But Florida GOP Still Pushing for It

MIAMI — President Donald Trump, despite being among the more than 2 million mail voters in Florida, launched an attack on the voting method this week. But in his adopted home state, mail ballots have been a boon to both parties, and the GOP won’t stop... Read More

Straight From The Well
scroll top