President Donald Trump pressed Ukraine’s leader to investigate Democratic presidential front-runner Joe Biden, according to a summary of a telephone call released by the Trump administration on Wednesday.
The official account of the half-hour phone call with President Volodymyr Zelenskiy laid bare an astonishing exchange of requests, pledges and ingratiation, including some unrelated to Biden.
According to the summary, Trump told Zelenskiy that Attorney General William Barr, the top U.S. law enforcement official, and Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani would speak to him about reopening a Ukrainian investigation into a Ukrainian gas company for which Biden’s son Hunter had served as director.
“The other thing, 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,” Trump said, referring to Barr.
Trump has repeatedly suggested wrongdoing by Biden and his son but has offered no evidence to back up the assertion.
Senior White House officials tried to “lock down” all details of a phone call between Donald Trump and the Ukrainian president, according to a whistleblower complaint against President Trump.
The whistleblower’s complaint accuses Mr Trump of “using the power of his office to solicit interference from a foreign country in the US 2020 election”.
The now unclassified document says: “This interference includes, among other things pressuring a foreign country to investigate one of the president’s main domestic political rivals.”
The summary was released a day after U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the Democratic-led chamber was launching an official impeachment inquiry, setting up a political showdown that threatens Trump’s presidency as he campaigns for re-election.
The inquiry could lead to articles of impeachment in the House that could trigger a trial in the Senate on whether to remove Trump from office.