White House Releases Unredacted Memo of Trump's Call with Ukraine's President
Does this memo make you support President Trump's impeachment?
The White House on Wednesday released the unredacted text of the July 25, 2019, telephone conversation between President Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that is reportedly at the center of a controversial whistleblower complaint and prompted Democrats to launch a formal impeachment probe.
The five-page memorandum of the 30-minute phone call, while not a verbatim transcript, was compiled by Situation Room Duty Officers and National Security Council policy staff who are “assigned to listen and memorialize the conversation in written form as the conversation takes place.” It includes a caution that variations in accents or interpretations, or poor call quality can affect the accuracy of the record, and that inaudible portions are denoted (although no such notations appear), while ellipses indicate the speaker was trailing off or there was a pause for translation.
It begins with Trump congratulating Zelensky on his electoral victory and the pair of presidents discussing their countries’ strong relationship. Trump tells Zelensky that the U.S. gives more aid to Ukraine than the European Union and that the EU should give more, but doesn’t make any reference to providing Ukraine an additional aid package.
After Zelensky explains that the EU is preparing to give Ukraine more aid and that they’re collaborating on sanctions against Russia, Zelensky says “we are almost ready to buy more Javelins from the United States for defense purposes.”
Trump then asks Zelensky to do the U.S. a favor by looking into a cybersecurity firm called Crowdstrike, which was contracted by the Democratic National Committee after its servers were hacked by Russia during the 2016 election:
“I would like you to do us a favor though because our country has been through a lot and Ukraine knows a lot about it. I would like you to find out what happened with this whole situation with Ukraine, they say Crowdstrike… I guess you have one of your wealthy people… The server, they say Ukraine has it. I would like to have the Attorney General call you or your people and I would like you to get to the bottom of it. As you saw yesterday, that whole nonsense ended with a very poor performance, but they say a lot of it started with Ukraine. Whatever you can do, it’s very important that you do it if that’s possible.”
Zelensky agreed that it was important, and the conversation turned to Ukraine recalling and replacing its ambassador to the U.S. with a “very competent and very experienced ambassador” that will mark a new page in U.S.-Ukraine relations. Zelensky’s suggestion of a future aid package involving Javelin anti-tank missiles wasn’t directly addressed by Trump or Zelensky after the Ukrainian president mentioned it.
After Zelensky guaranteed Trump that, while he is president of Ukraine, “all the investigations will be done openly and candidly”, Trump replied:
“Good because I heard you had a prosecutor who was very good and he was shut down and that’s really unfair. A lot of people are talking about that, the way they shut your very good prosecutor down and you had some very bad people involved. Mr. Giuliani is a highly respected man. He was the mayor of New York City, a great mayor, and I would like him to call you. I will ask him to call you along with the Attorney General. Rudy very much knows what’s happening and he is a very capable guy. If you could speak to him that would be great. The former ambassador from the United States, she was bad news and the people she was dealing with in Ukraine were bad news so I just want to let you know that. The other thing, there’s a lot of talk about Biden’s son, that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that so whatever you can do with the Attorney General would be great. Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution so if you can look into it… It sounds horrible to me.”
Zelensky replied that he understood and is knowledgeable about the situation, and noted that he will be appointing a new prosecutor general in September: “He or she will look into this situation, specifically to the company that you mentioned in this issue.”
Zelensky then returned to the issue of the former Ukrainian ambassador to the U.S., and asked the U.S. for assistance in his government’s investigation. Trump and Zelensky then discussed getting their respective officials in touch with each other, exchanged compliments (including Zelensky noting he stayed at Trump Tower the last time he was in New York), and future opportunities for meetings or cooperation before concluding the call.
What about the Biden allegations?
The corruption allegations Trump referenced involve Hunter Biden, the son of 2020 Democratic presidential contender and former Vice President Joe Biden. Hunter Biden was paid $50,000 a month to serve on the board of directors of a Ukrainian natural gas company in Crimea called Burisma Holdings while his father was vice president beginning in 2014. The Ukrainian prosecutor at the time was looking into corruption allegations involving the company, and the Obama administration along with other Western nations threatened to withhold military aid unless the prosecutor was fired as part of an anti-corruption effort.
No wrongdoing has been proven on Hunter Biden’s part and he left Burisma’s board earlier this year, but in 2018, Joe Biden bragged about his role in the prosecutor’s firing: "I said, 'You're not getting the [$1 billion]. I'm leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor is not fired, you're not getting the money.' Well, son of a b****. He got fired."
Read the full five-page memo embedded below or click here.
— Eric Revell
(Photo Credit: iStock.com / tupungato)
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