President Donald Trump authorized the release of the full transcript of a July 25 phone call he had with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky on Tuesday.
“I am currently at the United Nations representing our Country, but have authorized the release tomorrow of the complete, fully declassified and unredacted transcript of my phone conversation with President Zelensky of Ukraine,” Trump tweeted.
He continued: “You will see it was a very friendly and totally appropriate call. No pressure and, unlike Joe Biden and his son, NO quid pro quo! This is nothing more than a continuation of the Greatest and most Destructive Witch Hunt of all time!”
The move comes as Trump faces heightened scrutiny for repeatedly pressuring Zelensky to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden during the call.
The Wall Street Journal reported last week that during the phone call, Trump pressed Zelensky at least eight times to work with his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, to investigate the Bidens over their dealings in Ukraine.
The younger Biden sat on the board of Burisma Holdings, a Ukrainian gas-extraction company, from 2014 to early this year. Trump and Giuliani accused the elder Biden of trying to stymie a criminal investigation into Burisma in 2016 by pushing the Ukrainian government to fire Viktor Shokin, the prosecutor general leading the inquiry.
While Biden did seek the prosecutor’s removal, those accusations are unsubstantiated, with government officials and Ukrainian anticorruption advocates in fact saying that Shokin had hampered the investigation into Burisma long before Biden had entered the picture, according to The Journal.
Questions have also surfaced over the past several days over whether Trump deliberately slow-walked a nearly $400 million military-aid package to Ukraine while pressuring Zelensky to investigate Biden.
Politico first reported the US’s move to withhold the aid. And on Monday evening, the Washington Post reported on the timing of Trump’s decision, which came roughly a week before his July 25 phone call with Zelensky.
The Post reported that Trump told his acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, to put the brakes on approximately $400 million in military aid for Ukraine before the call.
And on Sunday, the president confirmed he discussed investigating former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, during the conversation with Zelensky. But he rejected the notion he dangled military aid over Ukraine to urge it toward investigating Biden.
But he appeared to acknowledge on Monday that the aid package was at least somewhat on his mind during the call with Zelensky.
“It’s very important to talk about corruption,” Trump said. “If you don’t talk about corruption, why would you give money to a country that you think is corrupt? It’s very important that on occasion, you speak to somebody about corruption.”