The White House on Wednesday released a five-page transcript of the call between President Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Volodmyr Zelensky a day after House Democrats formally launched an impeachment inquiry into the president.
According to the transcript, Trump pressed Zelensky to work with his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani to “look into” former Vice President Joe Biden’s role in the firing of a Ukrainian prosecutor, according to a five-page transcript of the call released by the White House on Wednesday.
“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 tells Zelensky in the July 25 call.
“Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution so if you ·can look into it … It sounds horrible to me,” Trump says.
Biden’s name is mentioned twice on the call, according to the document, which is titled formally as a “memorandum of telephone conversation.” The document makes clear it is not a verbatim transcript of the conversation.
The White House released the transcript a day after House Democrats formally launched an impeachment inquiry against the president that was triggered by his dealings with Ukraine.
Democrats are concerned that Trump pressured a foreign government to look into a political opponent, and that he may have used U.S. military aid as leverage.
The conversation between Trump and Zelensky also sparked a whistleblower complaint within the administration. Lawmakers have yet to see that complaint.
Attorney General William Barr is also mentioned on the call, according to the transcript. Trump told Zelensky on the call that he would have Barr talk to him.
The Justice Department said it learned of a potential referral to the intelligence community inspector general after the call. It’s not clear if Trump spoke with Barr about having Ukraine investigate “anything related” to Biden or his son, but it’s likely.
William Barr released a statement thought Department of Justice Spokesperson Kerri Kupec, denying any involvement.
“The President has not asked the Attorney General to contact Ukraine – on this or any other matter. The Attorney General has not communicated with Ukraine – on this or any other subject. Nor has the Attorney General discussed this matter, or anything relating to Ukraine, with Rudy Giuliani,” Kupec said.
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