Official White House Photo by Joyce N. Boghosian(WASHINGTON) — President Donald Trump told reporters on Saturday morning to expect a transcript of his second phone call with Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelenskiy to be released next week.
“Now they want to have a transcript of the other call, the second call, and I’m willing to provide that,” Trump said, likely speaking of an April phone call just after Zelenskiy took office. “We’ll probably give it to you on Tuesday.”
“But,” the president added, “we have another transcript coming out which is very important. They asked for it. And I’ll gladly give it. There’s never been a president who’s been so transparent.”
Trump spoke briefly before boarding Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews in Washington, on his way to Tuscaloosa, Alabama to attend the Louisiana State University vs. Alabama college football game.
The White House released a rough first transcript of a July phone call with Zelenskiy on Sept. 25 after word got out of a complaint from a whistleblower within the intelligence community. The White House transcript included cautionary language saying it was not a verbatim account of the discussion between the two leaders, as some Intelligence Community officials said releasing a full transcript could “undermine” national security.
“The text in this document records the notes and recollections of Situation Room duty officers and [National Security Council] policy staff assigned to listen and memorialize the conversation in written form as the conversation takes place,” the White House memo said.
Portions of the memo were redacted, but Zelenskiy asserted that there was “no blackmail” in the July call that led the House to open a formal impeachment inquiry into the president.
“There was no blackmail. It was not the subject of our conversation,” he said. “The call could have no impact on our relations with America.”
Notes from the whistleblower complaint said the opposite, citing a White House official who listened in to the phone call and described it as “crazy” and “frightening” and was “visibly shaken.”
Despite Zelenskiy’s claim that there was no quid pro quo on the phone call, government officials were subpoenaed to appear before the House Oversight, Foreign Affairs and Intelligence committees in a series of closed-door depositions as part of the formal impeachment inquiry.
One by one, current and formal officials met before Congress to give their account of the phone call and the Trump administration’s relationship with Ukraine — including the business dealings of Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani.
“I was concerned by the call,” said Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, the director of European affairs at the National Security Council. “I did not think it was proper to demand that a foreign government investigate a U.S. citizen, and I was worried about the implications for the U.S. government’s support of Ukraine.”
Trump continues to defend his call with Zelenskiy as “perfect,” and has made negative comments about the inquiry, calling it a “hoax.”
Public testimonies with the witnesses are also scheduled to begin next week, as the House announced on Nov. 6.
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