‘#ReleaseTheTranscript’ Calls Grow as White House, Ukraine Dispute CNN Rumors on Biden-Zelensky Phone Call

US President Joe Biden speaks on the phone to his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, DC, on December 9, 2021.
NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP via Getty Images

The White House on Thursday contradicted CNN’s reporting about President Biden’s phone conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

The confusion regarding Thursday night’s conversation caused “#ReleaseTheTranscripts” to trend on Twitter, a hashtag originally pushed by the left to call for the release of the transcript of a similar phone call between Zelensky and then-President Donald Trump in 2019.

Democrats alleged that Trump had committed impeachable behavior on the call, which Trump described as “perfect.” Zelensky largely abstained from participating in the scandal.

CNN, citing an anonymous source in Ukraine, originally reported that Biden told Zelensky on Thursday afternoon the Ukrainian capital would be “sacked” and occupied by Russia in February after the ground froze. The report also claimed that Biden said he would send no further aid in the form of U.S. military personnel or advanced military equipment if Russia attacked – echoing Biden’s published statement claiming that the U.S. would not help in the event of a “minor incursion” last week.

In addition, CNN initially claimed the meeting between the two presidents went poorly and that Zelensky allegedly told Biden to “calm down” after Biden maintained a Russian invasion was “imminent.” The Ukrainian government, and Zelensky personally, have repeatedly stated in public they have no reason to believe this is true. Zelensky also told the Ukrainian public to “calm down” in a speech last week after Biden’s “minor incursion” comment.

After CNN’s initial report, the CNN reporter covering the phone call deleted her tweet detailing the Biden/Zelensky conversation. Just before the tweet was deleted, White House National Security spokeswoman Emily Horne issued a statement indicating CNN’s report was “not true.”

“President Biden said that there is a distinct possibility that the Russians could invade Ukraine in February,” she said. “Reports of anything more or different than that are completely false.” The White House further told CNN that the alleged Ukrainian anonymous source was “leaking falsehoods.”

The Ukrainian readout of the call between the presidents said Biden would provide assistance to Ukraine in the form of “lethal defensive weapons,” contradicting CNN. The White House’s readout from the call omits Biden’s alleged promise to provide advanced military equipment to Ukraine.

The discrepancy between what Biden promised or did not promise caused “#ReleaseTheTranscripts” to trend on Twitter. Users on Twitter noted that Democrats demanded Trump release the transcript of his call with Zelensky in 2019.

Follow Wendell Husebø on Twitter and Gettr @WendellHusebø

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