The White House has released the details of US President Donald Trump’s phone call to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that triggered the impeachment process against him. In his telephonic conversation to his Ukrainian counterpart on 25 July, Trump had asked him to investigate his political rival and former Vice President Joe Biden.
Biden’s son Hunter Biden worked for a Ukrainian gas firm and Trump is accused of withholding US military aid to Ukraine as leverage in a bid to smear Biden. The US President has denied the allegations of blackmailing Ukraine by threatening to withhold military aid.
Hunter Biden worked as a board member on a Ukrainian gas company Burisma. The released call details show how Trump told the Ukrainian President that Biden had forced Ukraine to sack its top prosecutor, Viktor Shokin, in 2016. This was after Shokin had initiated a corruption inquiry against Hunter Biden.
Donald Trump reportedly told Zelensky in his phone call on 25 July, “The other thing, there’s a lot of talk about Biden’s son.” He went on to add, “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. Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution so if you can look into it. It sounds horrible to me.”
According to call details, Trump told the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that the US had been ‘very, very good’ to Ukraine. He said, “A lot of European countries are the same way, so I think it’s something you want to look at but the United States has been very very good to Ukraine. I wouldn’t say that it’s reciprocal necessarily because things are happening that are not good but the United States has been very, very good to Ukraine.”
To which, Zelensky told Donald Trump the US was a ‘much bigger partner’ to Ukraine than other European countries regarding sanctions on Russia. Trump then replied, “I would like you to do us a favour though because our country has been through a lot and Ukraine knows a lot about it.”
US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that Trump was not above the law. CNN quoted her as saying, “The fact is that the President of the United States, is in breach of his constitutional responsibilities, has asked a foreign government to help him in his political campaign at the expense of our national security, as well as undermining the integrity of our elections.”
Former Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton tweeted, “The president of the United States has betrayed our country. That’s not a political statement—it’s a harsh reality, and we must act. He is a clear and present danger to the things that keep us strong and free. I support impeachment.”
According to the White House, the transcript of the call comes from Voice Recognition Software. There is a disclaimer at the bottom of the document that it is ‘not a verbatim transcript of the discussion.’
More details awaited…