A transcript of the July 25 phone call between President Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy shows the two leaders did talk during their brief conversation about an investigation involving Joe Biden and his son.
Neither man, however, mentioned military aid to Ukraine that might hang in the balance.
The White House released the complete official transcript less than a day after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., announced an official impeachment inquiry, based largely on the suspicion that Trump had threatened to withhold military assistance from Ukraine unless it looked into the dropping of an investigation of the then-vice president’s son, Hunter Biden.
Trump acknowledged Sunday that the two leaders spoke about the Biden case.
The younger Biden sat on the board of a Ukrainian natural gas company for several years, reportedly making $50,000 a month. The elder Biden, vice president under President Barack Obama from January 2009 until January 2017, boasted on camera that he was responsible for the firing of the state prosecutor investigating the company.
Both leaders referred to “Biden” in the call, but didn’t use the first names Joe or Hunter.
Beyond fodder, or lack thereof, for House Democrats’ impeachment effort against Trump, the transcript also reveals the two leaders’ unflattering comments on Germany, the European Union, and Russia.
Here are six highlights from the call two months ago, according to the transcript released by the White House. (Punctuation is as it is in the five-page transcript.)
1. Zelenskyy First Broached Biden Probe
Ukraine’s new president didn’t mention Biden’s name, but was first to bring up that an aide spoke with one of Trump’s personal lawyers, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani.
Giuliani first said in May that he would meet with Ukraine officials about the Biden case. The former vice president later criticized the former New York mayor for this, and Giuliani canceled the trip.
But Giuliani did speak with a Ukrainian official before the July phone conversation between Trump and Zelenskyy. And he met with a Ukrainian official in early August, shortly after the call, to discuss the Biden case.
“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,” Zelenskyy said to Trump.
“I just wanted to assure you once again that you have nobody but friends around us,” the Ukrainian president said. “I will make sure that I surround myself with the best and most experienced people.”
Later on in the conversation, after Trump explicitly mentioned Biden, Zelenskyy said: “I wanted to tell you about the prosecutor.” read the rest