This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.
U.S. President Donald Trump has said he will by the end of the week release the transcript of his first phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, which took place on April 21, after the former comedian and political novice was elected.
“In order to continue being the most Transparent President in history, I will be releasing sometime this week the Transcript of the first, and therefore most important, phone call I had with the President of Ukraine,” Trump tweeted on November 11. “I am sure you will find it tantalizing!”
In order to continue being the most Transparent President in history, I will be releasing sometime this week the Transcript of the first, and therefore most important, phone call I had with the President of Ukraine. I am sure you will find it tantalizing!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 11, 2019
The announcement came as the Democrat-led congressional impeachment inquiry into Trump switches to public hearings that begin on November 13.
A July 25 phone call between Trump and Zelenskiy is at the nexus of the investigation that is determining whether the U.S. president prodded his counterpart into probing a political rival whom he might face in next year’s presidential election.
During the call, Trump, a Republican, asked the Ukrainian president to look into 2020 candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter, who had been a hired board member of a controversial Ukrainian energy company.
While asking for the “favor,” according to a rough transcript of the call made public, Trump was withholding some $400 million in military aid to Kyiv.
A National Security Council official assigned to the White House, Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman, has testified that the first Trump-Zelenskiy call on April 21 “was actually a very good call.”
“It was exactly what we had — we were hoping for,” said Vindman, who is the director for European affairs at the National Security Council. “I do recall reviewing that transcript…. Everybody was happy, high-fiving from that call because were moving in the right direction for Ukraine.”