0858 GMT October 15, 2019
Trump defended himself Friday against the intelligence official’s complaint, angrily declaring it came from a “partisan whistleblower,” though he also said he didn’t know who had made it. The complaint was based on a series of events, one of which was a July 25 call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, according to a two people familiar with the matter. The people were not authorized to discuss the issue by name and were granted anonymity.
Trump, in that call, urged Zelenskiy to probe the activities of potential Democratic rival Biden’s son, Hunter, who worked for a Ukrainian gas company, according to one of the people, who was briefed on the call. Trump did not raise the issue of US aid to Ukraine, indicating there was not an explicit quid pro quo, according to the person.
In an interview with Ukrainian outlet Hromadske, published Friday evening, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Vadym Prystaiko said that his country is not interested in taking sides in US politics, but that Zelenskiy has the right to keep the contents of his conversation with Trump secret. He noted, however, that US investigators have every right to uncover the information at their end.
Biden reacted strongly late Friday, saying that if the reports are true, “then there is truly no bottom to President Trump’s willingness to abuse his power and abase our country.”
He said Trump should release the transcript of his July phone conversation with Zelenskiy “so that the American people can judge for themselves.”
The government’s intelligence inspector general has described the whistleblower’s Aug. 12 complaint as “serious” and “urgent.” But Trump dismissed it all Friday, insisting “it’s nothing.” He scolded reporters for asking about it and said it was “just another political hack job.”