Published: Sat, October 12, 2019

Officials Warned of Trump's Ukraine Policy before Zelensky Call

Officials Warned of Trump's Ukraine Policy before Zelensky Call

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky said yesterday that US President Donald Trump did not seek to blackmail him during a phone call in July or a meeting last month.

Trump asked Zelenskiy during the call to investigate Democratic rival Joe Biden, and Congressional Democrats believe Trump was holding up the aid to use as leverage to pressure Ukraine.

Mr Zelensky said he had not known that USA military aid to Ukraine had been blocked at the time of the call.

While Mr Zelensky was speaking, prosecutors in the United States said two of Mr Giuliani's associates had been arrested in a scheme to illegally funnel money to a pro-Trump election committee and other U.S. political candidates.

Zelensky told reporters Thursday in response to the White House's release of the phone's transcript.

The 41-year-old president reacted with surprise, saying he was a "modest" person and averse to celebrations.

Mr Zelenskiy said he had no desire to interfere in the United States election next year but added that he was prepared to do a joint investigation into Burisma.

Volodymyr Zelensky, a popular comedian before he was elected president of Ukraine this spring, promised to bring a fresh kind of politics to the ex-Soviet nation.

"I don't want to be pulled into this because I understand that my words could impact the elections of the American people", he said.

Mr. Zelensky - tieless in a dark grey suit - said he would be willing to open a "joint investigation" into Burisma, the Ukrainian energy company that in 2014 hired Hunter Biden onto its board of directors.

The Ukrainian reporters present were more focused on domestic issues, including Mr. Zelensky's ties to oligarch Ihor Kolomoisky, who owns the TV channel that helped propel Mr. Zelensky to countrywide fame ahead of his May election win with a show calledServant of the People, on which he played a fictional President of Ukraine. He said it's in Ukraine's interest to determine what happened. However, their contemporaneous alarm over Trump's conduct on the call would undermine the relevance of questioning the 18-day gap between the call and the whistleblower complaint by the president's defenders.

Trump tweeted Thursday that Zelenskiy's comment that there was no blackmail during the July call "should immediately end the talk of impeachment!"

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