President Trump said he is considering releasing a transcript of his call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky after reports that he allegedly tried to pressure Zelensky to investigate accusations against the Biden family.
“We’ll make a determination about how to release it, releasing it, saying what we said,” the president told reporters on Sunday. “It was an absolutely perfect conversation. The problem is, when you’re speaking to foreign leaders, you don’t want foreign leaders to feel that they shouldn’t be speaking openly and good.”
He continued: “And the same thing with an American president. You want them to be able to express themselves without knowing that every single word was going to be going out and going out all over the world.”
He said he’d “talk” about releasing details about the call, noting “you have to be a little bit shy about doing that.”
Earlier in the day, however, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said releasing details about the call would not be appropriate “except in the most extreme circumstances.”
"There’s no evidence that that would be appropriate at this point," he added.
The new details came after The Washington Post reported that Trump’s call with a foreign leader had been the subject of a whistleblower complaint. That complaint has dominated the recent news cycle and generated massive scrutiny among congressional Democrats, who have unsuccessfully pressed the Trump administration to release information about it to lawmakers.
Trump has defended the call, saying it was “perfect” and not improper and deriding the whistleblower, who has remained anonymous, as “partisan” while acknowledging he doesn’t know the person’s identity.
Speaking to reporters earlier Sunday, Trump appeared to confirm that he discussed Biden in the phone call with Zelensky but said the conversation did not involve any kind of quid pro quo. The call came at a time when the administration was reviewing military aid to Ukraine, and Democrats have questioned whether Trump had withheld the aid as part of an effort to press for the Biden investigation. (The Hill)
Important to note, however, is that the whistleblower complaint was not based on first-hand knowledge of the call.
The "whistleblower" did not have direct knowledge of the Trump/Ukraine phone call -- the account is based on hearsay. The media then offered its characterization of this hearsay. If you think that's sufficient to demand impeachment, you must have slept through the last 3 years— Michael Tracey (@mtracey) September 22, 2019
21 paragraphs in they admit:— Jack Posobiec ???? (@JackPosobiec) September 21, 2019
‘The whistleblower did not have direct knowledge of the communications’
President Trump weighed in on Twitter, saying the media are overlooking the real story.
Now the Fake News Media says I “pressured the Ukrainian President at least 8 times during my telephone call with him.” This supposedly comes from a so-called “whistleblower” who they say doesn’t even have a first hand account of what was said. More Democrat/Crooked Media con.....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 23, 2019
..Breaking News: The Ukrainian Government just said they weren’t pressured at all during the “nice” call. Sleepy Joe Biden, on the other hand, forced a tough prosecutor out from investigating his son’s company by threat of not giving big dollars to Ukraine. That’s the real story!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 23, 2019