Kurt Volker

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Kurt Volker
Kurt Volker U.S. State Department.jpg
United States Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations
In office
July 7, 2017 – September 27, 2019
PresidentDonald Trump
Preceded byPosition established
Succeeded byVacant
United States Ambassador to NATO
In office
July 2, 2008 – May 13, 2009
PresidentGeorge W. Bush
Barack Obama
Preceded byVictoria Nuland
Succeeded byIvo Daalder
Personal details
Kurt Douglas Volker

(1964-12-27) December 27, 1964 (age 58)
Hatboro, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Spouse(s)Karen Volker (div.)
Ia Meurmishvili
(m. 2019)
EducationTemple University (BA)
George Washington University (MA)

Kurt Douglas Volker[1] (born December 27, 1964)[2] is an American diplomat who served as the U.S. Ambassador to NATO and served as executive director of the McCain Institute for International Leadership. He worked in a volunteer capacity as the U.S. Special Representative for Ukraine until his resignation on September 27, 2019.[3][4]


Kurt Volker was born in 1964 in Hatboro, Pennsylvania,[5] to Benjamin and Thelma (Rowdon) Volker.[6] After graduating from Hatboro-Horsham Senior High School, Volker graduated from Temple University with a B.A. in International Affairs in 1984. He was awarded an M.A. in International Relations from The George Washington University Elliott School of International Affairs in 1987.[7]


Public service[edit]

After a short tenure as a CIA analyst,[8] in 1988, Volker joined the United States Department of State as a Foreign Service Officer in the United States Foreign Service.[5] While in the Foreign Service, he served in various assignments overseas including London and Brussels, and the US Embassy in Budapest (1994–1997). Volker was special assistant to the United States special envoy for Bosnia negotiations, Richard Holbrooke.[9]

Volker served as a legislative fellow on the staff of Senator John McCain from 1997 to 1998. In 1998, he became first secretary of the US mission to NATO, and in 1999 he was sent to Deputy Director of NATO Secretary-General George Robertson's private office, serving in that position until 2001.[10]

He then became acting director for European and Eurasian Affairs for the National Security Council. In that capacity he was in charge of US preparations for 2004 Istanbul summit of NATO members and the 2002 Prague summit. In July 2005, Volker became the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, serving in that position until he was appointed United States Permanent Representative to NATO in July 2008 by President George W. Bush.[10] Volker served as Ambassador in that position from July 2, 2008, to May 15, 2009.[10]

Private sector[edit]

Volker went into the private sector in 2009, becoming an independent director at The Wall Street Fund Inc,[11] where he worked until 2012. He was a member of the board of directors at Capital Guardian Funds Trust[12] beginning in 2013.[13] Volker was also an independent director at Evercore Wealth Management Macro Opportunity Fund until 2012.[14]

Volker served as a senior advisor at McLarty Associates, a global consulting firm from 2010–2011.

In 2011, he joined BGR Group, a Washington-based lobbying firm and investment bank, where he currently serves as a managing director in the firm's international group.[15]

He then became executive director of Arizona State University's McCain Institute for International Leadership[16] when it was launched[17] in 2012. He resigned in 2019.[18]

He has been a Senior Fellow at the Center for Transatlantic Relations, Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies since September 2009, and a Senior Advisor at the Atlantic Council since October 2009. Volker is currently listed as a trustee at the CG Funds Trust,[19] and a member of the board of trustees at The American College of the Mediterranean (ACM), an American-style degree-granting institution in Aix-en-Provence, France. As an undergraduate, he was enrolled at ACM's study abroad institute, IAU College. He is also a member of the board of directors at The Hungary Initiatives Foundation.[20] In addition, Volker is a member of the Atlantic Partnership.[21]

Ukrainian media reported in June 2021 that Kurt Volker represents US investors that co-founded American University Kyiv in partnership with Arizona State University.[22]

Special Representative for Ukraine[edit]

2017 interview of Ambassador Volker by Voice of America

On July 7, 2017, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson appointed Ambassador Kurt Volker as the US Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations.[23][24] Volker accompanied Tillerson on his trip to Ukraine two days later. On September 27, 2019, Volker resigned from this official, yet volunteer, position.[4][25]


President Volodymyr Zelensky at his 2019 inauguration; he is shaking hands with Ambassador Volker as US Secretary of Energy Rick Perry looks on.

In mid-September 2019, reports began to surface suggesting that a whistleblower complaint had been submitted to Michael K. Atkinson, the Inspector General of the Intelligence Community, which he found to be credible and a matter of “urgent concern”.[26] Subsequently, claims were advanced by various chairmen of U.S. House committees that Kurt Volker, while acting in his official capacity as US Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations, had been told by the White House "to intercede with President Zelensky" about investigations regarding Joe Biden and Paul Manafort.[27] Volker met with Zelensky the day after President Trump spoke by phone with the Ukrainian president,[28] a call which would later reportedly result in a whistleblower complaint.[29] Two days after Volker's meeting, Director of National Intelligence (DNI) Dan Coats resigned, resulting in a stand-off regarding whether the new acting DNI would share the complaint with Congress.

On September 26, 2019, the United States House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence released the unclassified text of this whistleblower complaint regarding the interactions between US President Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.[30] In this document, Volker, along with US Ambassador to the European Union, Gordon Sondland, were described as having "provided advice to the Ukrainian leadership about how to 'navigate' the request that the President had made of Mr. Zelensky".[31]

That same day Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani posted on Twitter a screenshot that purported to be a text message from Volker to Giuliani, stating, "Mr. Mayor -- really enjoyed breakfast this morning. As discussed, connecting you here with Andrey Yermak [Wikidata],[32] who is very close to President Zelensky. I suggest we schedule a call together on Monday -- maybe 10am or 11am Washington time? Kurt".[33][34]

NBC News has reported, in regard to the Volker text that Giuliani allegedly received, "Whether Volker was acting on orders from Trump is unclear, and the State Department hasn't said why Volker made the introduction, other than that the Ukrainian aide requested it. But the introduction ultimately led to a meeting between Yermak and Giuliani in Spain that the whistleblower wrote was a 'direct follow-up' to Trump's call."[24]

In the White House memorandum of the July 25 telephone call between the two presidents, President Zelensky is quoted as saying, "I will personally tell you that one of my assistants spoke with Mr. Giuliani just recently and we are hoping very much that Mr. Giuliani will be able to travel to Ukraine and we will meet once he comes to Ukraine."[35] Notably, the date on the screenshot of the purported text message from Volker to Giuliani is July 19, six days earlier.[34]

On September 27, 2019, Volker resigned hours after congressional Democrats announced he would be called to provide a deposition.[4][36]

Volker was interviewed in a closed session of the House committees leading the Trump impeachment inquiry on October 3, 2019, and his prepared statement was made public on October 4, 2019.[37] The Washington Post reported that he asserted he had warned Giuliani that he (Giulani) was receiving untrustworthy information about the Bidens from Ukrainian political figures.[38][39][40][41]

External video
video icon Testimony of Volker and Tim Morrison to the House Intelligence Committee, November 19, 2019, C-SPAN

On November 19, 2019, Volker testified before the U.S. House of Representatives during a public hearing, during which he corrected or reversed statements made in his closed hearing, regarding mention of investigations, stating instead that Sondland "made a generic comment about investigations," which Volker and others found "inappropriate."[42][43] He had previously said that he was not aware of any link between investigations and a White House visit.[44] On November 21, 2019, David Holmes, who serves as head of political affairs in the US Embassy in Ukraine, described Volker, as well as Sondland and U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry as “The Three Amigos” who ran the Ukraine campaign with Trump and Giulani.[45][46][47][48]

Personal life[edit]

In June 2019, Volker married Georgian journalist for Voice of America Ia Meurmishvili.[49] He was previously married to Karen Volker, with whom he had two sons. He speaks English, Hungarian, Swedish, and French.[citation needed]


  1. ^ "PN1179 — Kurt Douglas Volker — Department of State". U.S. Congress. April 29, 2008. Retrieved September 28, 2019.
  2. ^ Chaitin, Daniel; Dunleavy, Jerry (September 27, 2019). "Trump impeachment crisis deepens as US envoy for Ukraine Kurt Volker resigns after whistleblower names him". The Washington Examiner. Retrieved October 10, 2019.
  3. ^ Howard, Andrew (September 27, 2019). "McCain Institute head Kurt Volker steps down as US diplomat". The State Press. Tempe, Arizona: Arizona State University. Retrieved September 27, 2019.
  4. ^ a b c Baker, Peter (September 27, 2019). "Kurt Volker, Trump's Envoy for Ukraine, Resigns". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved September 27, 2019.
  5. ^ a b Nominations of the 110th Congress, Second Session: Hearings Before the Committee on Foreign Relations, United States Senate, One Hundred Tenth Congress, Second Session, January 30 Through September 24, 2008. 2009. p. 130. ISBN 9780160835896.
  6. ^ "Descendants of John MacAuley Abbott, Sr". Archived from the original on April 23, 2017.
  7. ^ "GW Magazine". www2.gwu.edu. Retrieved September 28, 2019.
  8. ^ DeYoung, Karen; Gearan, Anne (September 28, 2019). "Kurt Volker, Trump's special envoy to Ukraine, resigns". The Washington Post. Retrieved October 10, 2019.
  9. ^ "Kurt Volker Set to Testify in Inquiry of Trump's Ukraine Dealings". Voice of America. October 2, 2019. Retrieved October 10, 2019.
  10. ^ a b c "Kurt Volker: Ambassador, United States Permanent Representative". US Mission to Nato.
  11. ^ "wllst_def14a.htm". www.sec.gov.
  12. ^ "Capitalguardianllc.com". capitalguardianllc.com.
  13. ^ "cgft_n1aa.htm". www.sec.gov.
  14. ^ "wallstewm_497e.htm". www.sec.gov.
  15. ^ "BGR Group | Washington DC | BGR Team Bio: Ambassador Kurt Volker". bgrdc.com. Archived from the original on February 12, 2020. Retrieved July 7, 2017.
  16. ^ "Kurt Volker". McCain Institute for International Leadership at Arizona State University. Archived from the original on September 30, 2017. Retrieved September 28, 2019.
  17. ^ Clemons, Steve (May 23, 2012). "John McCain's Institute Launches Today". The Atlantic.
  18. ^ "REPORT: Kurt Volker resigns from ASU's McCain Institute". KNXV. October 7, 2019. Retrieved October 9, 2019.
  19. ^ "CG Fund". www.cgfundstrust.com.
  20. ^ "Ambassador Kurt Volker". Retrieved September 28, 2019.
  21. ^ "AP People – Atlantic Partnership". Retrieved September 28, 2019.
  22. ^ "An American University Will Open in the Former Building of Kyiv City River Port". Retrieved June 26, 2021.
  23. ^ "Press Releases - United States Department of State". State.gov. Retrieved September 28, 2019.
  24. ^ a b Lederman, Josh; Welker, Kristen (September 26, 2019). "Whistleblower says U.S. envoy scrambled to contain Giuliani's damage to national security". NBC News. New York, NY. Retrieved September 29, 2019. Volker, by law, can only spend about one-third of his time working for the U.S. government, owing to his status as a "Special Government Employee." That category, designed to enable private sector workers with particular expertise to serve the government temporarily, limits Volker to no more than 130 days out of any 365-day period spent on his Ukraine envoy duties.
  25. ^ Herszenhorn, David. "Conflict of interest questions add to scrutiny of Trump's Ukraine envoy". Politico. Retrieved September 28, 2019.
  26. ^ Margaret Taylor (September 17, 2019). "The Mysterious Whistleblower Complaint: What Is Adam Schiff Talking About?". Lawfare. Washington DC.
  27. ^ "Zelensky defends relationship with US after Trump accused of pushing Ukraine to meddle in 2020 election". The Independent. September 18, 2019. Retrieved September 20, 2019.
  28. ^ Kyiv, U. S. Embassy (July 26, 2019). ".@SpecRepUkraine Volker and @USAmbEU Gordon Sondland met with President @ZelenskyyUa to discuss U.S.-Ukraine cooperation and to express unwavering U.S. support for Ukraine's democracy, security, and prosperity.pic.twitter.com/YvCy0Net7e". @USEmbassyKyiv. Retrieved September 20, 2019.
  29. ^ Barnes, Julian E.; Fandos, Nicholas; Schmidt, Michael S.; Rosenberg, Matthew (September 19, 2019). "Whistle-Blower Complaint Sets Off a Battle Involving Trump". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved September 20, 2019.
  30. ^ Declassified Whistleblower Complaint (PDF) (Report). Washington DC: US House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. September 26, 2019. p. 4. Retrieved September 26, 2019.
  31. ^ "Full Document: The Whistle-Blower Complaint (annotated version, including cover letter of the Inspector General)". The New York Times. September 26, 2019. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved September 26, 2019.
  32. ^ "Andrey Yermak, Producer". IMDb. Retrieved September 29, 2019. Andrey Yermak is a Ukrainian film and TV Producer, International Law Expert, owner of the production company Garnet International Media Group (GIMG).
  33. ^ Hansen, Ronald J. "Giuliani says McCain Institute head Kurt Volker wanted him involved in Ukraine". azcentral.
  34. ^ a b Giuliani, Rudy. "Why does this text and date render the hearsay so-called whistleblower useless and not credible". Twitter. @RudyGiuliani. Retrieved September 26, 2019.
  35. ^ Notetakers: The White House Situation Room (July 25, 2019). Memorandum of Telephone Conversation with President Zelenskyy of Ukraine (PDF) (Report). Washington DC: The White House. p. 4. Retrieved September 28, 2019.{{cite report}}: CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  36. ^ Fandos, Nicholas; Stolberg, Sheryl Gay (September 27, 2019). "House Democrats Issue First Subpoena in Impeachment Inquiry". The New York Times.
  37. ^ Kurt Volker (October 4, 2019). Full Statement from U.S. Ukraine Envoy Ambassador Kurt Volker on October 3, 2019 (Report). Scribd.com uploaded by The Federalist. Retrieved October 4, 2019.{{cite report}}: CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  38. ^ "Former U.S. special envoy to Ukraine testifies in impeachment inquiry". washingtonpost.com. October 3, 2019. Retrieved October 3, 2019.
  39. ^ Fandos, Nicholas; Barnes, Julian E. (October 3, 2019). "Top Ukraine Diplomat Referenced 'Crazy' Plan to Withhold Aid for Political Gain". The New York Times.
  40. ^ "'Crazy to withhold security' aid to Ukraine for political campaign: Top US diplomat". ABC News.
  41. ^ "Volker provided evidence Giuliani ran 'shadow shakedown' in Ukraine, Democrat says". NBC News.
  42. ^ Relman, Eliza. "Kurt Volker completely reverses his previous impeachment testimony and now says he thought discussions about political investigations were 'inappropriate'". Retrieved November 20, 2019.
  43. ^ Blake, Aaron (November 19, 2019). "7 takeaways from Tuesday's impeachment hearings". The Washington Post. Retrieved November 21, 2019.
  44. ^ Ryan Teague Beckwith, Billy House (November 18, 2019). "Impeachment Probe Turns to Trump Ally at Heart of Ukraine Storm". Bloomberg. Retrieved November 20, 2019.
  45. ^ "WATCH: Witness David Holmes expresses concerns about Giuliani's role in Ukraine". PBS NewsHour. Associated Press. November 21, 2019. Retrieved November 21, 2019.
  46. ^ "David Holmes made clear how pressure was applied to Ukraine — and how that pressure continues - The Washington Post". The Washington Post.
  47. ^ "Who is David Holmes and why does his public testimony matter? - The Washington Post". The Washington Post.
  48. ^ "READ: David Holmes' opening remarks at impeachment hearing". Archived from the original on April 4, 2021. Retrieved November 21, 2019.
  49. ^ "Kurt Volker marries Georgian journalist Ia Meurmishvili". Georgian Journal. June 17, 2019. Retrieved September 27, 2019.

External links[edit]

Diplomatic posts
Preceded by United States Ambassador to NATO
Succeeded by
New office United States Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations