Trump says he would be willing to do ‘fireside chat’ reading the Zelensky transcript

President Trump denied any wrongdoing in his dealings with Ukraine, maintaining that a phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was “a good call.” The July 25 conversation between the two leaders is at the heart of an impeachment inquiry launched by House Democrats last month. 

To prove claims that the substance of the call was not cause for alarm, the president remarked on Thursday that he would be willing to do a “fireside chat,” broadcasted on television, to read the correspondence transcript. 

“This is over a phone call that is a good call,” Trump said in an interview with the Washington Examiner. “At some point, I’m going to sit down, perhaps as a fireside chat on live television, and I will read the transcript of the call, because people have to hear it. When you read it, it’s a straight call.”

{mosads}Trump signaled he has no intention of cooperating with House Democrats in their impeachment inquiry, saying, “You are setting a terrible precedent for other presidents.”

The comments come as Trump faces a deluge of accusations from Democrats that he sought to tie $400 million in military aid to Ukraine in exchange for a Ukrainian investigation into his political rivals. 

The allegations against him have been bolstered after William Taylor, who serves as the top U.S. diplomat to Ukraine, testified Tuesday that he believed Trump withheld the money until he secured a commitment from Ukraine that they would launch probes into former Vice President Biden and the 2016 presidential election.

Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, a top Ukraine expert on the White House National Security Council, also testified that he expressed alarm Tuesday about the July conversation with Zelensky, saying he twice raised objections to his superiors about Trump’s interactions with Ukraine.

“I did not think it was proper to demand that a foreign government investigate a U.S. citizen, and I was worried about the implications for the U.S. government’s support of Ukraine,” Vindman said in his testimony. “I realized that if Ukraine pursued an investigation into the Bidens and Burisma it would likely be interpreted as a partisan play which would undoubtedly result in Ukraine losing the bipartisan support it has thus far maintained.” 

However, Trump maintained he did nothing wrong, comparing the impeachment investigation to efforts to oust former Presidents Clinton and Nixon.

“Everybody knows I did nothing wrong,” he said. “Bill Clinton did things wrong; Richard Nixon did things wrong. I won’t go back to [Andrew] Johnson because that was a little before my time,” he said. “But they did things wrong. I did nothing wrong.” 

The transcript of the July conversation is at the heart of the House’s impeachment investigation. The White House released a memorandum of the conversation that showed Trump repeatedly requested Zelensky investigate Biden.

Tags Bill Clinton Donald Trump Joe Biden

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