Trump says he will release Ukraine phone transcript
President Donald Trump said Tuesday he will release the “unredacted transcript” of his phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky — a call which has been scrutinized in the wake of a whistleblower report which indicates that Trump pressured Zelensky to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter, according to a person familiar with the situation.
There is no evidence of wrongdoing by either Joe or Hunter Biden.
“I am currently at the United Nations representing our Country, but have authorized the release tomorrow of the complete, fully declassified and unredacted transcript of my phone conversation with President Zelensky of Ukraine,” Trump tweeted while attending the United Nations General Assembly in New York.
Trump’s pledge comes amid growing calls for impeachment. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced a formal impeachment inquiry later Tuesday.
Trump admitted Tuesday that he delayed aid to Ukraine ahead of a call to Zelensky, when he pushed the leader to look into potential rival Joe Biden and his son’s work in Ukraine, giving the excuse that he was waiting for European nations to contribute their fair share of aid and claiming there was “never any quid pro quo.”
During a news conference Tuesday afternoon, Joe Biden called for the Trump administration to “provide Congress with all the facts it need,” including a copy of the whistleblower’s complaint. He said the Zelensky call was “an abuse of power.”
“If the President does not comply with such requests to the Congress, he continues to obstruct Congress and flout the law, Donald Trump will leave Congress, in my view, no choice but to initiate impeachment,” Biden added.
The President is scheduled to meet with Zelensky at the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday. When approached by CNN on Tuesday at the UN General Assembly in New York, Zelensky would not answer if it his understanding was that the aid for Ukraine and an investigation into the Bidens was linked.
Zelensky simply responded that his conversations with the President are “private and confidential.” When asked if he wanted the transcript of the call to be released, Zelensky said, “We’ll see.”
Trump on Tuesday indicated that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had already received permission from Ukraine to release the transcript.
“Secretary of State Pompeo recieved permission from Ukraine Government to release the transcript of the telephone call I had with their President. They don’t know either what the big deal is. A total Witch Hunt Scam by the Democrats!” Trump tweeted.
Trump has remained defiant Tuesday, saying that he’s done nothing wrong and has no regrets about his behavior when it comes to Ukraine and seeking an investigation into Biden’s son’s dealings.
Trump has previously branded criticism of the call a “Ukrainian Witch Hunt” and called the whistleblower a “partisan.”
On Monday, The Washington Post first reported that the President had directed his acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney to freeze nearly $400 million of US military and security aid to Ukraine in the days before he spoke with Zelensky.
When a deadline to disclose the whistleblower report to Congress passed and the acting Director of National Intelligence, Joseph Maguire, proceeded not to send the report over, the intelligence community inspector general, Michael Atkinson, notified House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff of an “urgent concern” that DNI has overruled.
Three House committees launched subsequent investigations into the issue.
CNN’s Kevin Liptak contributed to this report.