More revelations from the Trump/Zelensky phone call
From the US being ‘very, very good to Ukraine’ to ‘Do us a favour’, Trump's intentions are clear — and the Ukrainian president seems on board
Washington — On Wednesday, the White House released a transcript of US President Donald Trump’s July 25 telephone conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Allegations that Trump pushed Zelensky to investigate Trump’s political rival Joe Biden led the Democrats to launch a formal impeachment inquiry. Biden’s son was involved with a controversial Ukraine businessman, but has not been prosecuted in Ukraine or been accused of any wrongdoing.
Here are the main extracts of the transcript, which are not verbatim:
‘Whatever you can do’
“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 [US] 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.”
Giuliani ‘knows what is happening’
“Mr Giuliani [Trump’s personal lawyer] is a highly respected man. He was the mayor of New York, 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.”
US ‘very, very good to Ukraine’
“The US has been very, very good to Ukraine. I wouldn’t say that it’s reciprocal necessarily because things are happening that are not good but the US has been very, very good to Ukraine.”
‘Do us a favour’
After Zelenksy raises the prospect of buying US military hardware, Trump pivots to ask about a hack of Democratic e-mails that helped trigger the probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 US elections:
“I would like you to do us a favour though because our country has been through a lot and Ukraine knows a lot about it.”
“I would like you to get to the bottom of it ... Whatever you can do, it’s very important that you do it if that’s possible.”
White House welcome
“Whenever you would like to come to the White House, feel free to call. Give us a date and we’ll work that out.”
Zelensky says will 'drain the swamp’
In his replies, Ukraine’s president said that Trump was “a great teacher”, and — using one of Trump’s favourite phrases — that he would “drain the swamp” in Ukraine by bringing in fresh politicians.
Zelensky also took the chance to mention he booked into a Trump hotel on his last visit to the US. “I stayed in New York near Central Park and I stayed at the Trump Tower.”