Sept. 25 (UPI) — The White House released a transcript Wednesday of a phone call between President Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that’s at the center of a congressional impeachment investigation.
House Democrats are examining the call to determine whether Trump threatened to withhold aid to Ukraine in exchange for Zelensky’s government investigating the family of 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.
According to the five-page transcript, there were several references to Biden, but neither Trump nor Zelensky discussed authorized military aid payments. They did discuss Biden’s son, Hunter, who worked for a Ukraine gas company between 2014 and early this year.
“I would like to have [U.S.] Attorney General [William Barr] call you or your people and I would like you to get to the bottom of it,” Trump said in the July 25 phone call. “As you saw yesterday, that whole nonsense ended with a very poor performance by a man named Robert Mueller, an incompetent performance, but they say a lot of it started with Ukraine. Whatever you can do, it’s very important that you do it if that’s possible.”
“There’s a lot of talk about Biden’s son, that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that so whatever you can do with the attorney general would be great,” Trump added. “Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution so if you can look into it … it sounds horrible to me.
“I will have Mr. [Rudolph] Giuliani give you a call and I am also going to have Attorney General Barr call you and we will get to the bottom of it.”
Zelensky said in the call he wants to start a new level of cooperation between Washington and Kiev, and mentioned a new prosecutor will be put in place. He also mentioned he stayed at Trump Tower when he visited New York City.
“The issue of the investigation of the case is actually the issue of making sure to restore honesty so we will take care of that and will work on the investigation of the case,” Zelensky said.
“I guarantee as the president of Ukraine that all the investigations will be done openly and candidly.”
Zelensky also said one of his staff talked with Giuliani recently and the two planned to meet soon, and that he recalled Ukraine’s ambassador to the United States to replace him with a “very competent and very experiences ambassador.”
Trump, during the call, also said the United States has proved a better ally to Ukraine than Germany.
“All they do is talk and I think it’s something that you should really ask them about,” Trump told Zelensky. “When I was speaking to Angela Merkel she talks Ukraine but she doesn’t do anything … the United States has been very, very good to Ukraine.”
Zelensky mentioned Ukraine is buying U.S. oil and is “almost ready” to buy more Javelin missiles from the U.S. military for defense purposes.
Trump started the phone call by congratulating Zelensky on his win in Ukraine’s recent election, and spoke of “draining the swamp” when he took office.
“We worked a lot but I would like to confess to you that I had an opportunity to learn from you,” Zelensky said. “We used quite a few of your skills and knowledge and were able to use it as an example for our elections and yes it is true that these were unique elections.”
The pair finished the call by discussing a possible meeting in Poland.
“We can either take my plane and go to Ukraine or we can take your plane, which is probably much better than mine,” Zelensky said.