Trump says he will consider releasing transcript of Ukraine call

President Trump told reporters on Sunday that he would consider releasing a transcript of his call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, which is said to be the subject of an intelligence community whistleblower complaint.

“We’ll make a determination about how to release it, releasing it, saying what we said,” Trump said in Houston, defending his conversation with Zelensky as “perfect.” His remarks came hours after the president suggested that he had discussed Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden during the call.

{mosads}“The problem is, when you’re speaking to foreign leaders, you don’t want foreign leaders to feel that they shouldn’t be speaking openly,” Trump added. “And the same thing with an American president. You want them to be able to express themselves without knowing that every single word was going to be going out and going out all over the world.”

Trump reiterated that he would “talk” about releasing details from the call, adding, “But you have to be a little bit shy about doing that.” Trump went on to say he knows a lot of people are listening to his phone calls, including “intelligence people,” but that he gives them permission to do so.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on ABC’s “This Week” earlier Sunday that releasing the contents of the call would not be appropriate “except in the most extreme circumstances.”

Multiple outlets reported Friday that Trump pressed the Ukrainian leader multiple times to investigate Biden’s son during the July 25 call.

The new details came after The Washington Post reported that Trump’s call with a foreign leader had been the subject of a whistleblower complaint. That complaint has dominated the recent news cycle and generated massive scrutiny among congressional Democrats, who have unsuccessfully pressed the Trump administration to release information about it to lawmakers.

Trump has defended the call, saying it was “perfect” and not improper and deriding the whistleblower, who has remained anonymous, as “partisan” while acknowledging he doesn’t know the person’s identity.

Speaking to reporters earlier Sunday, Trump appeared to confirm that he discussed Biden in the phone call with Zelensky but said the conversation did not involve any kind of quid pro quo. The call came at a time when the administration was reviewing military aid to Ukraine, and Democrats have questioned whether Trump had withheld the aid as part of an effort to press for the Biden investigation.

“The conversation I had was largely congratulatory, was largely corruption, all of the corruption taking place. It was largely the fact that we don’t want our people like Vice President Biden and his son creating to the corruption already in the Ukraine,” Trump told reporters at the White House before departing for Houston for a rally with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Trump and his allies have sought to turn the focus on Biden, suggesting he engaged in wrongdoing. Biden, meanwhile, has dismissed allegations of impropriety involving his son and accused Trump of abusing his office to smear him. Biden has also called for the release of the transcript of the call in question.

“I’m not looking to hurt him because he’s got his own difficulties, but what he said was wrong,” Trump told reporters in Houston.

Biden’s son Hunter Biden worked with Burisma Holdings, a Ukrainian energy company. In 2016, Joe Biden pressed for the dismissal of a Ukrainian prosecutor who had been accused of ignoring corruption.

Trump’s attorney Rudy Giuliani has alleged Joe Biden did so in order to protect the energy company from investigation; however, there has been no evidence produced backing up the allegations.

Giuliani acknowledged in a CNN interview last week that he had asked Ukraine to investigate Hunter Biden.

Trump is scheduled to meet with Zelensky on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday, a meeting that is sure to capture massive attention in light of the new revelations.

Tags Donald Trump Joe Biden Mike Pompeo Rudy Giuliani Ukraine
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