US President Donald Trump repeatedly urged his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate his 2020 political rival, Joe Biden, and his son, Hunter, during a phone call, on July 25, according to a transcript of the conversation released by the White House on Wednesday (local time).
Trump also asked the Ukrainian leader to work with his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, and US Attorney General William Barr on the issue, the transcript divulged.
“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,” Trump said, as mentioned in the document.
The release of the transcript that shows the US President repeatedly pressing his counterpart to investigate the issue comes a day after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi declared that Trump had betrayed his oath of office and announced of opening a formal impeachment inquiry.
The transcript, which a senior White House official said was developed with assistance from voice recognition software along with note-takers and experts listening, will likely amplify the Democratic impeachment effort, CNN reported.
“The fact is that the President of the United States, in breach of his constitutional responsibilities, has asked a foreign government to help him in his political campaign at the expense of our national security, as well as undermining the integrity of our elections,” Pelosi was quoted as saying after the transcript was released yesterday.
“That cannot stand. He will be held accountable. No one is above the law,” she added.
The July 25 telephonic conversation between Trump and Zelensky took place a day after former special counsel Robert Mueller testified before the US Congress regarding the Russian interference in 2016 US presidential elections.
During the call, Trump suggested four times that Barr will call Zelensky and repeatedly mentions Giuliani, the Trump ally and former New York City mayor.
Giuliani had long lobbied Ukraine to investigate Biden’s call in 2016 to remove the country’s top prosecutor, who at one point had been investigating a Ukrainian natural gas company connected to Hunter Biden.
There is no evidence of wrongdoing by either Joe or Hunter Biden.
Trump on Wednesday insisted there was “no pressure whatsoever” in his phone call with Zelensky.
But on the call, Zelensky agreed to the President’s request.
“Since we have won the absolute majority in our Parliament, the next prosecutor general will be 100 per cent my person, my candidate,” the Ukrainian president said.
He later added, “He or she will look into the situation specifically to the company that you mentioned in this issue. The issue of the investigation of the case is actually the issue of making sure to restore the honesty so we will take care of that and will work on the investigation of the case.”