Trump says he's open to releasing memo of another Ukraine call

Trump says he's open to releasing memo of another Ukraine call
© Getty Images

President TrumpDonald John TrumpSchiff pleads to Senate GOP: 'Right matters. And the truth matters.' Anita Hill to Iowa crowd: 'Statute of limitations' for Biden apology is 'up' Sen. Van Hollen releases documents from GAO investigation MORE on Friday said he's considering releasing a rough transcript of another phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky as he faces mounting scrutiny over his push to get Ukraine to launch politically charged investigations.

In his remarks to reporters outside the White House, Trump appeared to be referring to an April call shortly after Zelensky won election.

Trump said he would release a readout of the call if Democrats demand it as part of their ongoing impeachment inquiry, which has examined Trump's July 25 call with Zelensky in which he urged the foreign leader to launch an investigation into former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenSchiff pleads to Senate GOP: 'Right matters. And the truth matters.' Anita Hill to Iowa crowd: 'Statute of limitations' for Biden apology is 'up' Sen. Van Hollen releases documents from GAO investigation MORE.

"Now they want the first call with the president of Ukraine," Trump told reporters. "If they want it I will probably give it to them, but they really want it badly. If they want it I will probably give it to them."

ADVERTISEMENT

The White House had released a memo in late September offering a rough readout of the July phone call being examined by House investigators, though it was not a verbatim transcript.

The president has insisted that the July 25 call was "perfect," though the memo released by the White House shows Trump urging Zelensky to "look into" Biden and his son Hunter, as well as a company with ties to the 2016 hack of Democratic National Committee servers.

It's unlikely that any document regarding Trump's first call with Zelensky would be a verbatim transcript, though Trump on Friday was adamant he would be fine turning it over to investigators.

"If they want it I’ll give to them," he said. "I haven’t seen it recently, but I'll give it to them.

"I’m OK with releasing it," Trump added. "It doesn’t bother me. I know what I said, it was fine."

Trump said his main reservation about handing over another rough transcript is that it could undermine confidence among other foreign leaders that their conversations remain private.

That same argument was pressed by several administration officials who previously opposed releasing the memo of the July 25 call.

The president and his allies have sought to flip the script about the call and instead use the rough transcript of the conversation as a rallying cry for supporters. The Trump campaign has produced shirts that say "Read the Transcript," and the president regularly tweets the same message.

But Democrats view the call as a key piece of evidence in the impeachment inquiry focused on whether Trump pressured foreign governments to investigate his political rivals.

Several current and former administration officials have testified in recent weeks about the Trump administration's policy in Ukraine, and public hearings are set to begin next week.

Lt. Col. Alex Vindman testified last month that the April call with Zelensky "was actually a very good call."

"Everybody was happy, high-fiving from that call because we were moving in the right direction for Ukraine," Vindman said, according to a transcript of his testimony released Friday.

Vindman testified to lawmakers that he raised concerns after listening to Trump's July 25 call with Zelensky, and that the president had improperly pressured his Ukrainian counterpart about investigations.