McConnell encouraged Trump to release transcript of Zelensky call: report

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGraham quips key to working with Trump: We both 'like him' The Hill's Morning Report - ObamaCare here to stay Democrats scramble to unify before election bill brawl MORE (R-Ky.) reportedly encouraged President TrumpDonald TrumpWhite House denies pausing military aid package to Ukraine Poll: 30 percent of GOP voters believe Trump will 'likely' be reinstated this year Black Secret Service agent told Trump it was offensive to hold rally in Tulsa on Juneteenth: report MORE to release the memorandum of his controversial call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. 

Two people familiar with the conversation told The Washington Post that McConnell encouraged the White House to release the reconstituted transcript to reinforce Trump’s claim that nothing improper happened during the conversation, explaining that speculation about the call had escalated too far. 


McConnell’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill.

The conversation between Trump and Zelensky is at the heart of a burgeoning scandal surrounding the president’s dealings with Ukraine.

The memorandum released this week showed that Trump pressured Zelensky to open an investigation into the son of former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenObama: Ensuring democracy 'continues to work effectively' keeps me 'up at night' New Jersey landlords prohibited from asking potential tenants about criminal records Overnight Defense: Pentagon pulling some air defense assets from Middle East | Dems introduce resolution apologizing to LGBT community for discrimination | White House denies pausing military aid package to Ukraine MORE, a top candidate running to challenge him in 2020.

A declassified whistleblower complaint also said that a future phone call or meeting between the two presidents “would depend on whether Zelensky showed willingness to ‘play ball,’” and that “multiple White House officials with direct knowledge” of the call expressed concern that Trump was using his office for his personal political gain. 

The revelations from the memorandum and the complaint helped spur Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiOvernight Energy: Lake Mead's decline points to scary water future in West | White House leads opposition to raising gas tax | Biden taps ex-New Mexico lawmaker for USDA post Trump against boycotting Beijing Olympics in 2022 House Democrats' campaign arm raises almost million in May MORE (D-Calif.) to announce the House would launch a formal impeachment investigation into Trump, with some Democrats alleging that Trump may have tied military aid to Zelensky’s compliance with his request.

McConnell went to the Senate floor earlier this week to praise the White House after it announced it would release the transcript. 

“I also want to express my appreciation for President Trump's announcement that the White House will release tomorrow the complete, fully-declassified, and unredacted transcript of [his] phone conversation with President Zelensky,” he said. “I hope this will help to refocus the conversation away from reckless speculation and back toward the facts.”