President Trump on Sunday said his July call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was “largely congratulatory,” adding that 2020 presidential candidate Joe Biden has “lied again” about the contents of the call.
“The conversation was absolutely perfect,” Mr. Trump told White House reporters as he departed for campaign events in Texas and Ohio. “That call was a great call. It was a perfect call. What wasn’t perfect is the horrible thing that Joe Biden said, and now he made a lie when he said he never spoke to his son. I mean, give me a break.”
Trump said the media should be asking the former vice president about his actions, dismissing Biden’s claim that he never talked with his son about business dealings in Ukraine. “He did speak to his son, he lied again,” Trump said.
“I’m not looking to hurt Biden … but he said a very bad thing. He said a very foolish thing,” Trump added.
In his July 25 phone call, Trump reportedly urged Zelensky “about eight times” to cooperate with his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani on an investigation into Biden’s son, Hunter, who worked with a natural gas company owned by a Ukrainian oligarch. Joe Biden in 2016 reportedly called for the dismissal of a Ukrainian prosecutor who had reportedly been investigating allegations about Hunter. There are also allegations that Biden, while vice president, threatened to withhold U.S. aid unless the prosecutor was fired.
A whistleblower has reportedly called into question Trump’s interaction with Zelensky, but Trump said that unnamed official has caused a “false alarm.”
“This whistleblower or whoever it was — because it sounds like it’s not a whistleblower — you can’t have that happen to a president of the United States,” Trump said in his comments before his departure for campaign stops in Texas and Ohio. “The conversation, by the way, was absolutely perfect. It was a beautiful, warm, nice conversation.”
“It was put out last night also by Ukraine, but you can’t have people doing this,” he said. “You can’t have people doing false alarms like this, and you know when the president speaks to the head of another country, he has to be able to speak to those people, and those people don’t want to know that they’re being recorded or that you have a stenographer working, you don’t want to have to hear that. You can’t do that to a president and you can’t do that to other countries. But with all of that being said we had a very great conversation, very straight, very honest conversation. I hope they can put it out.”
Biden has denied allegations of wrongdoing in Ukraine. “Not one single credible outlet has given any credibility to his assertions — not one single one. And so I have no comment, except the president should start to be president,” Biden said Friday. On Saturday, he said: “I have never spoken to my son about his overseas business dealings. Here’s what I know. Trump should be investigated.”
But Trump said, “More importantly, what he said about the billions of dollars that he wouldn’t give them unless they fired the prosecutor and then he bragged about how they fired the prosecutor and they got the money.”
CNN reported Friday that the alleged whistleblower may not have been one of those people on the call. “The alleged whistleblower didn’t have direct knowledge of the communications that partly prompted the complaint to the inspector general, an official briefed on the matter told CNN on Thursday.”
The Democrat-controlled House Intelligence Committee has demanded access to the whistleblower’s complaint, but acting Director of National Security Joseph Maguire has decided against providing the complaint to the committee after consulting with the Justice Department.
Trump on Sunday took to Twitter, writing “The real story involves Hunter Biden going around the world and collecting large payments from foreign governments and foreign oligarchs.” He also cited Fox New host Laura Ingraham, saying “Hunter made a fortune in Ukraine and in China. He knew nothing about Energy, or anything else.”