On Wednesday evening, ABC News reported that an advisor to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy told the network that Zelenskiy and President Donald Trump’s July 25 phone call was preconditioned on Trump discussing a possible investigation into presidential contender and former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden.
“Ukrainian officials understood discussion of Biden probe was a condition for any phone call between Pres. Trump and Ukrainian Pres. Zelenskiy, an adviser to Zelenskiy tells [ABC] News,” the outlet reported.
Ukrainian officials understood discussion of Biden probe was a condition for any phone call between Pres. Trump and Ukrainian Pres. Zelenskiy, an adviser to Zelenskiy tells @ABC News. https://t.co/p5P4AriDWC
— ABC News (@ABC) September 26, 2019
Serhiy Leshchenko, whom they described as a current advisor to President Zelenskiy, told the outlet, “Ukrainian officials were asking for a meeting with Trump for along time. As I remember, it was a clear fact that Trump wants to meet only if Biden case will be included. This issue was raised many times. I know that Ukrainian officials understood.”
The ABC report added: “Asked if it had been understood as a condition, Leshchenko said, ‘Yes.'”
However, after the report permeated the news cycle, it was revealed that ABC’s source is no longer an advisor to Zelenskiy, nor was he during the July 25 call.
“Setting record straight: [Leshchenko] confirmed to me what those of us in Kyiv already knew—he is NOT currently an advisor to Ukraine’s Zelenskiy & wasn’t at time of July 25 call,” said Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty correspondent Christopher Miller, who specifically covers Ukraine, Russia, and Belarus.
Miller also said that Leshchenko “said he DID NOT tell ABC insistence for leaders to discuss Biden probe was precondition for call.”
Setting record straight: @Leshchenkos confirmed to me what those of us in Kyiv already knew—he is NOT currently an advisor to Ukraine's Zelenskiy & wasn't at time of July 25 call. He said he DID NOT tell ABC insistence for leaders to discuss Biden probe was precondition for call. https://t.co/fNh5sMYj9i
— Christopher Miller (@ChristopherJM) September 26, 2019
Moreover, BBC correspondent Jonah Fisher said Leshchenko told him he only had knowledge of an alleged “quid pro quo” from “media reports.”
“Leshchenko is no longer a Zelensky adviser or Ukrainian official. Rudy Giuliani forced him out of the president[‘]s inner circle. I spoke to him yesterday – he said something similar re ‘quid pro quo’ but said he’d learnt it only from media reports,” Fisher posted.
Leshchenko is no longer a Zelensky adviser or Ukrainian official. Rudy Giuliani forced him out of the presidents inner circle.
I spoke to him yesterday – he said something similar re “quid pro quo” but said he’d learnt it only from media reports. https://t.co/N6rzVPjmRX
— Jonah Fisher (@JonahFisherBBC) September 26, 2019
ABC News has since offered a “correction” to clarify that Leshchenko is no longer an advisor to the Ukrainian president:
An earlier version of this article incorrectly described Serhiy Leshchenko as a current advisor to Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelenskiy. Leshchenko advised Zelenskiy’s transition team following his election in April but has since been distanced by the administration. He is no longer advising Zelenskiy.
Notably, the correction does not specify that Leshchenko was not an advisor during the time of the call. Nor has the outlet included conflicting reporting on their source’s knowledge, namely having inside information as opposed to merely learning about the alleged quid pro quo from media reports.
As previously noted by The Daily Wire, transcript from the leaders’ phone call, which was released by the White House on Tuesday, shows that Trump asked Zelensky to “look into” Biden and his son, though there was no direct quid pro quo offered by the president, as suggested by Democrats.
“There’s a lot of talk about Biden’s son, that 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,” Trump told Zelesky during the call, the transcript revealed. “Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution so if you can look into it … It sounds horrible to me.”