President Donald Trump said on Sunday that he is considering publishing a transcript of his telephone conversation with his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodymyr Zelensky.
The president is responding to anonymous allegations that he pressured the Ukrainian president to investigate the son of presidential candidate Joe Biden and his business in Ukraine during a July 25 phone call, according to The Hill.
The president said on Sunday that during this conversation the issue of the former vice president’s son came up, but made it clear that he did not ask his Ukrainian counterpart to do anything.
“The conversation I had was largely congratulatory, was largely corruption, all of the corruption taking place,” Trump explained.
“It was largely the fact that we don’t want our people like Vice President Biden and his son creating to the corruption already in the Ukraine,” President Trump told reporters at the White House before departing for Houston for a rally with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi according to The Hill.
Hunter Biden was working for a Ukrainian energy company at the same time his father, Joe Biden, was vice president under Barack Obama.
Biden told foreign policy specialists at the Council on Foreign Relations in 2018 how he threatened Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in March 2016 that the Obama administration would withdraw $1 billion in U.S. loan guarantees, sending the former Soviet republic into insolvency, if they refused to fire Attorney General Viktor Shokin immediately.
At that time, the prosecutor was leading a wide-ranging corruption investigation into the natural gas company Burisma Holdings, where Biden’s son worked, and the prosecutor was in fact fired, according to The Hill.
It is in this context that Joe Biden’s campaign now calls for the publication of the transcript of the phone call between President Trump and the Ukrainian leader.
“We’ll make a determination about how to release it, releasing it, saying what we said,” the president told reporters.
“The problem is, when you’re speaking to foreign leaders, you don’t want foreign leaders to feel that they shouldn’t be speaking openly,” Trump said.
“And the same thing with an American president. You want them to be able to express themselves without knowing that every single word was going to be going out and going out all over the world.”
The president also acknowledged that he knows that when he talks on the phone there are many people listening, including an intelligence agent, but they do so with his authorization.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that publishing the contents of the call is not appropriate “except in the most extreme circumstances,” ACB reported.
“It’s the rare case. Those are private conversations between world leaders and it wouldn’t be appropriate to do so except in the most extreme circumstances. There’s no evidence that that would be appropriate here at this point,” he added.
“I do think if Vice President Biden behaved inappropriately, if he was protecting his son and intervened with the Ukrainian leadership in a way that was corrupt, I do think we need to get to the bottom of that,” Pompeo said, according to ABC.