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Here's What Trump Said to Ukraine's President

White House has released a 5-page memo summarizing the call
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 25, 2019 9:27 AM CDT
Updated Sep 25, 2019 10:28 AM CDT

(Newser) – The White House on Wednesday released a five-page memo summarizing the July 25 call between President Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. The AP shies away from using the word "transcript," and the Washington Post explains that what was released "is a memorandum of a telephone conversation and is not a verbatim account of the conversation" in keeping with White House practice; it pulls from the notes and recollections of those who were in the Situation Room. You can read the document in full here, which reflects what CNBC reports was a 30-minute call. It begins with Trump congratulating the newly elected Zelensky on his "great victory" and "terrific job." Trump then goes on to bring up Rudy Giuliani, Attorney General Barr, and Joe Biden. Here's his explicit mention of Biden:

  • "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."
  • Background here: After taking the lead for the US in the country during the Obama administration, Joe Biden in 2016 called for Ukraine's general prosecutor to be booted in favor of someone more aggressive. Trump and Giuliani have claimed he was trying to stop an investigation into Burisma Group, which Hunter Biden was on the board of.
  • Zelensky replies to Trump by saying the new prosecutor he appoints "will look into the situation, specifically to the company that you mentioned in this issue."

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  • Trump then said, "I will have Mr. Giuliani give you a call and I am also going to have Attorney General Barr call and we will get to the bottom of it. I'm sure you will figure it out. I heard the prosecutor was treated very badly and he was a very fair prosecutor so good luck with everything. Your economy is going to get better and better I predict. You have a lot of assets. It's a great country. I have many Ukrainian friends, their [sic] incredible people."
  • CNN reports DOJ rep Kerri Kupec has stated that at no time following the call did Trump talk to Barr "about having Ukraine investigate anything relating to former Vice President Biden or his son." She continued, "The President has not asked the Attorney General to contact Ukraine—on this or any other matter. The Attorney General has not communicated with Ukraine—on this or any other subject. Nor has the Attorney General discussed this matter, or anything relating to Ukraine, with Rudy Giuliani."
  • The Wall Street Journal notes that early on in the call Trump emphasized how good the US has been to Ukraine, unlike European countries. "We spend a lot of effort and a lot of time," he said.
  • But the Journal and Politico report the memo shows Trump made no reference, implied or explicit, to the US aid he had put on hold a week prior.
  • Hillary Clinton responded to the release with a tweet in favor of impeachment: "The president of the United States has betrayed our country. That's not a political statement—it's a harsh reality, and we must act. He is a clear and present danger to the things that keep us strong and free. I support impeachment."
  • And from Trump himself on Twitter: "Will the Democrats apologize after seeing what was said on the call with the Ukrainian President? They should, a perfect call - got them by surprise!"
(Read more President Trump stories.)

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