The White House on Wednesday released a transcript of President Trump’s July phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky showing him seeking a review of Biden family dealings in the country – but the document does not show Trump leveraging military aid as part of a quid-pro-quo, as Democrats have suggested in pressing forward with impeachment.
The transcript, declassified by Trump a day earlier, indicates the call – which Trump made from the White House residence — took place July 25 from 9:03 a.m. to 9:33 a.m. It begins with the president congratulating Zelensky on his election victory, before Trump eventually broaches the subject former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter.
“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 said in the phone call. “Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution so if you can look into it…It sounds horrible to me.”
That refers to Joe Biden, while vice president, urging Ukraine to fire its top prosecutor, Viktor Shokin, while Shokin was investigating the natural gas firm Burisma Holdings — where Hunter Biden was on the board. Biden has maintained that corruption concerns prompted his intervention.
Trump, in the run-up to the transcript’s release, was accused by Democrats of essentially pressuring a foreign power to investigate a political opponent, as Biden as now a top contender for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.