Trump Asked Ukraine President To Help With DOJ Probe Of 2016 Election Interference

President Donald Trump talks on the phone aboard Air Force One during a flight to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to address a joint gathering of House and Senate Republicans, Thursday, January 26, 2017. This was the President’s first trip aboard Air Force One. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)Editorial

President Donald Trump talks on the phone aboard Air Force One during a flight to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to address a joint gathering of House and Senate Republicans, Thursday, January 26, 2017. This was the President’s first Trip aboard Air Force One. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

On July 25, President Trump spoke to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on the phone- something that a large part of media and Democrats misrepresented as an abuse of office, causing them to open a formal impeachment inquiry on Tuesday, September 24. On Wednesday the transcript of the phone call was released, and instead of containing thirty minutes of pressuring Mr. Zelensky to dig up dirt on former Vice President Joe Biden, it was, instead, largely about attempting to get to the bottom of foreign interference in U.S. elections.

A Phone Call

A phone transcript, released on Wednesday, contained a conversation between two world leaders.

Trump, congratulates Mr. Zelensky on his party’s win in recent elections, the two presidents discuss ways to come together and work on energy independence, how to up the European Unions support of Ukraine, and how to restrain Russia via sanctions.

On Tuesday, the day before the official transcripts of the call were released [1], an official impeachment inquiry was formed- after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi claimed that the phone call was a violation of the law.

On September 25, Trump authorized the release of the transcripts to the public, fully declassified.

Whistleblower Complaint

One month after Trump placed a call with Mr. Zelensky in July of 2019, an anonymous member of the intelligence community filed a whistleblower complaint.

The complaint itself was centered around a phone call that Trump had made to the Ukranian President. After reading the complaint, the intelligence community inspector general determined that it was of “urgent concern” and required congressional notification under federal law; however, when the acting director of national intelligence discussed the complaint with the Justice Department and the White House, they came to a different conclusion- refusing to provide the claim to congressional committees.

Impeachment Inquiry

After the administration announced that it would not hand over the complaint, Pelosi stated that the House of Representatives would begin to move forward with an official impeachment inquiry, saying that it “undermine[s] both our national security and our intelligence” to not hand over the complaint. [2]

“This week, the president has admitted to asking the president of Ukraine to take actions which would benefit him politically,” Pelosi said. “The actions of the Trump presidency revealed dishonorable facts of the president’s betrayal of his oath of office, betrayal of national security and betrayal of the integrity of our elections.” [3]

“The conversation I had was largely congratulatory,” Mr. Trump told reporters on Sunday. “It was largely corruption — all of the corruption taking place. 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.”

The Official Transcripts

In the transcripts, it reveals Trump asking Mr. Zelensky to assist the U.S. in its investigation of interference in the 2016 election. “I would like you to do us a favor though because our country has been through a lot and Ukraine knows a lot about it. I would like you to find out what happened with this whole situation with Ukraine, they say Crowdstrike … I guess you have one of your wealthy people … The server, they say Ukraine has it.” Trump said. “I would like to have the attorney general call you or your people and I would like you to get to the bottom of it.”

Crowdstrike is a cybersecurity company which helped investigate Russian interference in the 2016 election. [4]

Biden and his son, Hunter, were only mentioned once in the entirety of the phone call- when Trump said that Biden had “stopped the prosecution” which involved a Ukranian company paying Hunter Biden $50,000 monthly for him to sit on their board.

While anonymous reports have suggested that Trump pressured the Ukranian President, or tied taxpayer funds to a personal favor, a quick review of the transcript shows that the opposite is true. The United States is a “bigger partner than the European Union … especially when we are talking about sanctions against the Russia Federation,” Zelensky told Trump, showing gratitude towards the U.S.’ support of the Ukrainian economy.

2016 Elections

Already the Department of Justice confirmed the role the Ukrain played in the 2016 elections is being investigated for any unlawful meddling.

“A Department of Justice team led by U.S. Attorney John Durham is separately exploring the extent to which a number of countries, including Ukraine, played a role in the counterintelligence investigation directed at the Trump campaign during the 2016 election,” DOJ spokeswoman Kerri Kupec said in a statement. “While the Attorney General has yet to contact Ukraine in connection with this investigation, certain Ukrainians who are not members of the government have volunteered information to Mr. Durham, which he is evaluating.”


Notes:

  1. ^Unclassified09.2019.pdf.” Google Docs, 25 Sept. 2019, drive.google.com/file/d/1uyWKAGgHIqDEORgjOyo0uq7JOXzhxOQf/view. (go back↩)
  2. ^Pelosi on Trump: ‘He Does Not Care About Ethics’ — Live Updates.” N. Y. Times, 25 Sept. 2019, www.nytimes.com/2019/09/25/us/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry.html. (go back↩)
  3. ^Trump Asks Ukraine’s Leader to ‘Do Us a Favor’ and Also Urges Inquiry of Biden.” N. Y. Times, 25 Sept. 2019, www.nytimes.com/2019/09/25/us/politics/ukraine-transcript-trump.html. (go back↩)
  4. ^Trump Asked Ukraine President To Help With DOJ Probe Of 2016 Election Interference.” Federalist, 25 Sept. 2019, thefederalist.com/2019/09/25/trump-asked-ukraine-president-to-help-with-doj-probe-of-2016-election-interference. (go back↩)

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