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Trump Wanted to Hear 3 Words From Ukraine Prez

'Investigations, Biden, and Clinton,' per George Kent
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 7, 2019 4:32 PM CST
In this Oct. 15, 2019, file photo, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State George Kent leaves Capitol Hill after appearing before a joint House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Permanent Select Committee on...   (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)
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(Newser) – There were three words President Donald Trump wanted to hear from the Ukraine president: Investigations, Biden, Clinton. That's according to the transcript, released Thursday, of an impeachment inquiry interview with career State Department official George Kent, the AP reports. "Potus wanted nothing less than President Zelenskiy to go to the microphone and say investigations, Biden, and Clinton," Kent testified. "That was the message. ... Zelenskiy needed to go to a microphone and basically there needed to be three words in the message, and that was the shorthand," he said. Kent told investigators that that was his understanding of what Trump wanted Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to say in public, based on conversations relayed to him by others in the administration who were in contact with Ambassador Gordon Sondland.

Clinton, he explained, was "shorthand" for the 2016 US presidential campaign. It was a reference to Trump's view, pushed by his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani but outside of mainstream US intelligence, that Ukraine played a role interfering in the election. Kent had testified for hours in October, telling investigators that he was instructed to "lay low" on Ukraine policy as administration officials and Giuliani were taking the lead, acting outside of regular foreign policy channels. He told investigators he was uncomfortable with what he was hearing about Giuliani pushing the investigations and Trump's special envoy to Ukraine, Kurt Volker, engaging Ukrainian officials on the subject. (See more from the transcript here, including "one particularly unsettling scene.")


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