Politics

Trump asked Ukraine leader in phone call to look into why investigation of Biden's son ended, transcript shows

Pete Williams and Adam Edelman
President Donald Trump looks on during a bilateral meeting with India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the sidelines of the annual United Nations General Assembly in New York City, New York, U.S., September 24, 2019.
Jonathan Ernst | Reuters

President Donald Trump, in a midsummer phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, asked him to look into why that country's top prosecutor apparently had ended an investigation of the business dealings of Joe Biden's son, who served on the board of a Ukrainian gas company.

"(Then-Vice President Joe) Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution, so if you can look into it, It sounds horrible to me," Trump told Zelenskiy during the 30-minute July 25th phone call.

A transcript of the call was made public Wednesday by the Trump administration under pressure from Democrats who have launched a formal impeachment inquiry to determine whether the president sought the help of a foreign leader to boost his campaign.

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The president's phone call — made from the White House residence to Zelenskiy — lasted for 30 minutes and began with Trump congratulating Zelenskiy on his election victory.

Later, Trump veers into the Biden issue.

"I heard you had a prosecutor who was very good and he was shut down, which is really unfair," Trump says on the call, according to the transcript.

Trump then says, "There's a lot of talk about Biden's son, what 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."

"Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution, so if you can look into it, It sounds horrible to me," Trump said on the call, according to the transcript.

That is the only mention in the call about Biden. The call transcript is five pages.

Zelenskiy replies that he's appointing a new prosecutor who will "look into the situation."

This is a breaking news story, please check back for updates.

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Key Points
  • President Trump asked Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky to "look into" former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter, during a phone call in July.
  • The call lasted about 30 minutes, according to a White House memorandum released Wednesday.
  • The conversation is reportedly a central part of the whistleblower complaint that spurred House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to support an impeachment inquiry against Trump.