The White House released a transcript Friday of President Trump’s first phone call with the president of Ukraine, a brief congratulatory chat about the Ukrainian’s election lacking any of the controversies of their later call that led to an impeachment inquiry. [Read Full Transcript Below]
The first phone call between Mr. Trump and Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky took place on April 21, with Mr. Trump aboard Air Force One. He began by congratulating the Ukraine leader “on a job well done” and on “a fantastic election.”
Mr. Zelensky replied, “Good to hear from you. Thank you so very much. It’s very nice to hear from you, and I appreciate your congratulations.”
Mr. Trump said, “That was an incredible election.”
Mr. Zelensky replied, “Again, thank you so very much. As you can see, we tried very hard to do our best. We had you as a great example.”
Mr. Trump said, “I think you will do a great job. I have many friends in Ukraine who you know and like you. I have many friends from Ukraine and they think — frankly — expected you to win. And it’s really an amazing thing that you’ve done.”
The conversation lasted six minutes, according to the White House.
Their second call, on July 25, included Mr. Trump asking Mr. Zelensky to do a “favor” of investigating a company that had probed hacking of the Democratic National Committee prior to the 2016 election that was tied to Russia.
He also asked the Ukraine leader to investigate Democrat Joseph R. Biden and his son Hunter, who held a lucrative post with a Ukrainian gas company. Democrats say Mr. Trump abused his power by withholding military aid to Ukraine, although the aid was later delivered without Ukraine conducting an investigation of Mr. Biden.
White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said the president “took the unprecedented steps to declassify and release the transcripts of both of his phone calls with President Zelensky so that every American can see he did nothing wrong.”
The transcript was read in full by Devin Nunes, the ranking Republican on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, at the start of the second public impeachment hearing on Friday.
Committee Chairman Adam B. Schiff said he was “grateful” the transcript was released, but quickly turned to demand the Trump administration release the rest of the documents Congress requested throughout the inquiry.
In the April call, Mr. Trump told the newly elected Ukrainian leader, “When you’re settled in and ready, I’d like to invite you to the White House. We’ll have a lot of things to talk about, but we’re with you all the way.”
Mr. Zelensky replied: “Well, thank you for the invitation. We accept the invitation and look forward to the visit. Thank you again. The whole team and I are looking forward to the visit.”
Mr. Zelensky also invited Mr. Trump to attend his inauguration. Mr. Trump said he would consider it, but said “at a very minimum, we’ll have a great representative. Or more than one from the United States will be with you on that great day.”
“So, we will have somebody, at a minimum, at a very, very high level, and they will be with you,” Mr. Trump said. “Really, an incredible day for an incredible achievement.”
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