Trump encouraged Biden investigation, memo confirms

25 September 2019, 15:32

Trump encouraged the Ukrainian President to investigate a Democratic candidate
Trump encouraged the Ukrainian President to investigate a Democratic candidate. Picture: PA
Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

The White House released details of US President Donald Trump asking Ukraine's Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate Democratic candidate Joe Biden.

A rough transcript of the phone call between the two men revealed Mr Trump repeatedly asked the Ukrainian President to help investigate Democratic political rival Joe Biden.

The US President also asked Mr Zelensky to work with Rudy Giuliani and the US Attorney General during the investigation.

During the call Mr Trump raised unsubstantiated allegations against Mr Biden, saying he planned to interfere with a Ukrainian prosecutor's investigation of the former vice president's son Hunter.

"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," said Mr Trump.

It comes as US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi launched a formal impeachment inquiry following a whistleblower's complaint about the call that took place on 25 July.

Nancy Pelosi launched a formal impeachment inquiry on Tuesday
Nancy Pelosi launched a formal impeachment inquiry on Tuesday. Picture: PA

However, Mr Trump said accusations against him and impeachment attempts were "nonsense" and "witch hunt garbage".

He said: "There's never been a thing like this before. It's nonsense and when you see the call, when you see the read-out of the call, which I assume you'll see at some point, you'll understand that call was perfect."

Mr Trump also denied withholding military aid to Ukraine as leverage in a bid to smear Mr Biden.

On Tuesday he promised to release a "complete, fully declassified and unredacted transcript" of the now controversial phone call.

The details disclosed by the White House on Wednesday were taken down as notes by those listening into the conversation.

The US President was quoted as saying: "I heard you had a prosecutor who was very good and he was shut down and that's really unfair. A lot of people are talking about that.

"There was 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."

Mr Trump asked the Ukrainian President to investigate Joe Biden
Mr Trump asked the Ukrainian President to investigate Joe Biden. Picture: PA

Mr Zelensky responded: "We will take care of that and we will work on the investigation of the case.

"On top of that, I would kindly ask you if you have any additional information you can provide us, it would be very helpful."

Mr Trump allegedly mentioned Joe Biden lobbying Ukraine in 2016 to fire its top prosecutor, Victor Shokin, whose office opened an investigation into Burisma

Hunter Biden was a board member for Burisma, a natural gas company, and other Western officials called for Mr Shokin to be fired because he was perceived to be soft on corruption.

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