A Department of Justice spokesperson has responded to the various media reports surrounding President Donald Trump’s July 25 conversation with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky.
On Wednesday, the Trump administration released the transcript of the president’s phone call, which showed he asked Zelensky to look into the allegation that former Vice President Joe Biden – who is running for president – pressured Ukraine into firing its prosecutor who was looking into a company that employed his son, Hunter Biden.
“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. Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution so if you can look into it … It sounds horrible to me,” Trump told Zelesky in the phone call, the transcript of which was published by CBS News.
Biden previously bragged about withholding $1 billion in U.S. loan guarantees from Ukraine if it didn’t fire the country’s top prosecutor – seen by many international officials as corrupt. That prosecutor was also investigating a company that employed Biden’s son Hunter.
Trump also told Zelensky he wanted to know what happened with “this whole situation with Ukraine” in regard to the cybersecurity company Crowdstrike, which is connected to the 2016 election interference currently being investigated by the DOJ.
Just before bringing up the Bidens, Trump suggested his attorney, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, and Attorney General William Barr would reach out to the Ukrainian president. DOJ spokesperson Kerri Kupec released two statements regarding Trump’s call. In the first statement, Kupec insisted that Barr has not spoken to Trump about the Ukraine and Biden nor has he reached out to Ukraine about the matter:
The Attorney General was first notified of the President’s conversation with Ukrainian President Zelensky several weeks after the call took place, when the Department of Justice learned of a potential referral. The President has not spoken with the Attorney General about having Ukraine investigate anything relating to former Vice President Biden or his son. The President has not asked the Attorney General to contact Ukraine – on this or any other matter. The Attorney General has not communicated with Ukraine – on this or any other subject. Nor has the Attorney General discussed this matter, or anything relating to Ukraine, with Rudy Giuliani.
A Department of Justice team led by U.S. Attorney John Durham is separately exploring the extent to which a number of countries, including Ukraine, played a role in the counterintelligence investigation directed at the Trump campaign during the 2016 election. While the Attorney General has yet to contact Ukraine in connection with this investigation, certain Ukrainians who are not members of the government have volunteered information to Mr. Durham, which he is evaluating.
Kupec released a second statement regarding the whistleblower complaint, which was lodged by someone who did not overhear the phone call between Trump and Zelensky and was determined by the intelligence community inspector general to have a “political bias” favoring “a rival candidate of the president.” Kupec expanded on the whistleblower complaint by saying the DOJ reviewed the complaint and found “no campaign finance violation” and took no further action against the president:
In August, the Department of Justice was referred a matter relating to a letter the Director of National Intelligence had received from the Inspector General for the Intelligence Community regarding a purported whistleblower complaint. The Inspector General’s letter cited a conversation between the President and Ukrainian President Zelensky as a potential violation of federal campaign finance law, while acknowledging that neither the Inspector General nor the complainant had firsthand knowledge of the conversation. Relying on established procedures set forth in the Justice Manual, the Department’s Criminal Division reviewed the official record of the call and determined, based on the facts and applicable law, that there was no campaign finance violation and that no further action was warranted. All relevant components of the Department agreed with this legal conclusion, and the Department has concluded the matter.
Before the transcript of the call or the actual whistleblower complaint were released, Democrats vowed to begin an “impeachment inquiry” into Trump, something they had already been doing through numerous investigations since taking over the House in early 2019.