US President Donald Trump on Saturday said he was going to release the transcript of the second call with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky this week in his battle against the ongoing impeachment inquiry that enters a new phase of public hearings that will be aired live.
“Now I’ll give you a second transcript, because I actually had two calls with the President of Ukraine,” Trump told reporters. “So you’ll read the second call and you’ll tell me if you think there’s anything wrong with it.” He said it will “probably” be released on Tuesday.
Trump was referring to the first of his two calls with Zelensky, which he made in April.
The US president’s troubles arose from the second call, which took place on July 25, as mentioned in a whistleblower’s complaint of “urgent concern” over the Trump administration.
This complaint pressured Ukraine to investigate former Vice-President Joe Biden, a potential opponent for the 2020 White House race, and his son Hunter Biden, and this investigation led to the start of an impeachment inquiry of Trump by the Democratic-led House of Representatives.
President Trump has repeatedly claimed his call was “perfect” and has cited as proof a “transcript” of it that was made public subsequently. However, what he presented was a summary of the conversation and not a transcript.
A White House official dealing with Ukraine, Alexander Vindman, who had listened in on the both the calls, told impeachment investigators that the transcript of the July call left out some words and phrases that he had suggested.
He has also described the two calls as “significantly different” in tone, according to a transcript of his October 29 testimony. “I’m struggling to remember the words, but it was not a positive call (the July call). It was dour. If I think about it some more, I could probably come up with some other adjectives, but it was just… the difference between the calls was apparent.”
There was no doubt that if the second call showed Trump was pressuring Zelensky to investigate his political rivals in a quid pro quo, he said in response to a question.
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