Ukrainian Officials: Trump Made It Clear That He Wouldn't Even Call If Biden Wasn't The Topic
September 26th 2019
By Mark Sumner
If the “transcript” of Donald Trump’s phone call to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky often sounded like the middle of an ongoing conversation, that’s because it was. Trump drops into talking about Biden without doing any introduction of the topic, or providing any background for what he wanted Zelensky to investigate. That’s because the Ukrainian government was already very, very aware of what Trump wanted. Conversations with Rudy Giuliani book-ended the call from Trump, and Zelensky knew that if he wanted military aid, there was a toll to pay.
Serhiy Leshchenko, an anti-corruption advocate, told ABC News that before that call came through, everyone understood there were prerequisites. "It was clear that Trump will only have communications if they will discuss the Biden case," said Leshchenko. "This issue was raised many times. I know that Ukrainian officials understood."
Ukrainian officials interviewed noted that Trump had never made the one move that might have been carried out without causing an international incident—issue a request to find out if there had actually been an active investigation into Hunter Biden or his company when Joe Biden asked for the dismissal of a notoriously corrupt prosecutor who was refusing to cooperate with prosecutors from the U.K. Had Trump made such a request, the answer would have been easy. No.
Instead of making an official request, the very unofficial Rudy Giuliani ran around the country, trying to find anyone who would agree to say something bad about Biden, or cooperate with one of the other conspiracy theories that he was peddling. Giuliani’s actions inside Ukraine placed officials in “a very difficult situation” where they either had to lie, or risk offending a White House that could control their fate. In May, Giuliani found a former official willing to allege that a member of the legislature had acted illegally not only in assisting Biden, but in publishing information on Paul Manafort’s under-the-table business dealings in Ukraine. However, the former prosecutor admitted later that he had made up the tale to curry favor with Giuliani and Trump.
Ukrainian officials noted that Zelensky, both in his call and his visit to the U.S., was trying very hard to appear “neutral” and not take a position between Republicans and Democrats. Ukraine depends on the United States for support, and forcing Zelensky to act as a pawn—as Trump did again on Wednesday—places the future support of the nation at risk.
Posted with permission