Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Thursday said President Trump did not try to blackmail him by withdrawing military aid in a July phone call that prompted an impeachment inquiry in the House.
Zelensky said he wasn’t even aware that nearly $400 million was being held up when he spoke to Trump on July 25.
“There was no blackmail. This was not the subject of our conversation,” Zelensky told reporters during a “media marathon” at a Kiev food court.
House Democrats claim Trump dangled the military funds during the call to coerce Zelensky into launching an investigation into Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son Hunter, who worked for a Ukrainian natural gas firm.
“We didn’t speak about this,” Zelensky said. He went on to say the call “wasn’t linked to weapons or the story with Burisma,” the company that employed Hunter.
President Trump has explained that he held up the Congress-approved military aid over concerns about corruption in the Eastern European nation, and it was released in September following an outcry from Democratic and Republican lawmakers.
A whistleblower’s report filed with the inspector general of the intelligence community first revealed the phone call, and the White House released a transcript of the conversation between the two leaders.
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