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Trump releases first phone call details with Ukrainian President

President Donald J. Trump participates in a bilateral meeting with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zalensky Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2019, at the InterContinental New York Barclay in New York City. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)
November 15, 2019

President Donald Trump on Friday released a rough summary of his April phone conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Trump’s first conversation with the newly elected Zelensky was primarily an exchange of congratulations for Zelensky’s successful presidential campaign and Trump offered the Ukrainian President a future White House visit. The four-page transcript of the conversation was compiled by interpreters and notetakers and is not a verbatim representation of the call, The Hill reported.

“I think you will do a great job. I have many friends from Ukraine and they think — frankly — expected you to win. And it’s a really amazing thing that you’ve done,” Trump told Zelensky in their April phone call.

The pleasantries of the newly released April 21 phone conversation come amid allegations Trump pressured Zelensky to launch an investigation of former-Vice President Joe Biden during a later phone call on July 25. The newly released phone call did not show Trump attached preconditions to any meetings with Zelensky. Trump is alleged to have set official Ukrainian commitments to investigate Biden as a precondition to future diplomatic meetings between him and Zelensky.

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The newly released phone call is the second instance of Trump releasing details of the conversations he has had with Zelensky. In September, Trump attempted to head off a Democrat led movement towards launching an impeachment inquiry by releasing the transcript of the controversial July 25 phone call.

In the July transcript Trump and Zelensky do talk about Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden’s connection to the Ukrainian Burisma gas company. Trump did ask Zelensky to “look into it” but no apparent quid pro quo arrangement was made and Trump did not appear to condition U.S. military aid on any commitment to investigate during that call.

 Zelensky has said, “nobody pushed me,” when asked in September if he felt pressured by Trump to investigate Biden.

“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,” White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said Friday.

The newly released transcript came ahead of the House Intelligence Committee’s second round of public witness testimony with regards to Trump’s diplomatic relations to the Ukraine and possible impeachment. Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch is expected to testify about how Trump administration officials pressured her removal from her diplomatic post.