Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said to reporters on Tuesday that his controversial July call with President Donald Trump had no elements of bribe, blackmail or quid pro quo, as impeachment-minded Democrats claim, Fox News informed.
Zelensky spoke at a daylong event with media inside a Kiev food market, and said he thinks the transcript revealed by the White House is precise and that he knew the U.S. had withheld $400 million in military aid due to concerns about corruption and concern for American “taxpayer money.” But the issue, he stated, was never related to Trump’s wish that Kiev rekindle a probe into an energy firm close to former Vice President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden.
“There was no blackmail,” Zelensky said. “They blocked this money and nobody asked us [for] anything,”
Zelensky also told reporters his country will “happily” investigate whether Ukrainians interfered in the United States’ 2016 elections – a topic Trump also broached with him during his July phone call with the leader.
Zelenskiy said “we can’t say yes or no” as to whether there was any interference without an investigation.
A whistleblower’s claim that Trump implied in the July 25 call that aid for Ukraine will be restored if the country reopens an investigation of Burisma Holdings and the Bidens’ involvement in the matter has resulted in Democrats in the House initiating impeachment inquiry. On Tuesday, Fox News contributor John Solomon reported that the Ukrainian government had already ordered a reopening of the investigation of Burisma Holdings months before the two presidents talked on the phone.
The military aid was then released to Ukraine, and President Trump has denied the whistleblower’s claims. The White House did not want to collaborate with what it claims is an unconstitutional impeachment effort by House Democrats.
The White House sent an eight-page letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., on Tuesday that read:
“President Trump and his administration reject your baseless, unconstitutional efforts to overturn the democratic process. Your unprecedented actions have left the president with no choice.
In order to fulfill his duties to the American people, the Constitution, the Executive Branch, and all future occupants of the Office of the Presidency, President Trump and his administration cannot participate in your partisan and unconstitutional inquiry under these circumstances.”