National Security

Pence open to releasing transcripts of call with Ukraine

Vice President Pence said Wednesday he would not object to the release of transcripts of his conversations with Ukraine and said it’s under consideration at the White House.

“I’d have no objection to that and we’re discussing that with White House counsel as we speak,” Pence told reporters in Waukee, Iowa, where he was visiting to discuss trade.

Pence also denied ever discussing former Vice President Joe Biden with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and insisted that conversations between his office and Trump and with Ukraine were “entirely focused” on the issue of European support for Ukraine and corruption.{mosads}

“President Trump’s focus with Ukraine from the very beginning was on enlisting more European support and supporting President Zelensky’s efforts to advance reforms that would end an era of corruption in Ukraine,” Pence told reporters, criticizing the Obama administration for not providing aid to Ukraine.

The White House has already released a partial transcript of Trump’s July 25 call with Zelesnky showing that Trump asked Ukraine to investigate 2016 election interference and unsubstantiated corruption allegations against the Biden family.

The call triggered an intelligence community whistleblower complaint alleging Trump solicited foreign interference in an election and is now at the center of House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry.

Trump has insisted the call was “perfect” and not improper and that it had nothing to do with politics; Biden, a 2020 Democratic front-runner, has dismissed the accusations and accused Trump of trying to smear him.

Pence also denied that Trump’s efforts to have Ukraine pursue the investigations had anything to do with decisions on releasing security aid to Ukraine — something Democrats are investigating.

“Let me be very clear, the issue of aid and our efforts with regard to Ukraine, were from my experience no way connected to the very legitimate concern the American people have about corruption that took place, about things that happened in the 2016 election,” Pence said.

Pence repeatedly sidestepped questions about whether he was aware of Trump’s efforts to encourage Ukraine to investigate the Bidens.

Finally, he told reporters: “What I can tell you is, all of our discussions internally, between the president and our team, and our contacts and my office with Ukraine, were entirely focused on the broader issues of the lack of European support and corruption.”

Pence also echoed Trump in insisting that the president did not pressure Ukraine’s leader and that Democrats had misrepresented the rough transcript of the call.

“The American people should read the transcript and they’d do well to do that since the chairman of the intelligence committee manufactured a version of the transcript and read it into the record before the committee,” Pence said, referring to House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), who Trump has criticized for exaggerating the call during a public congressional hearing. 

Tags Adam Schiff Donald Trump Joe Biden Mike Pence

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