Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelensky said during a "marathon" media session Thursday that he would "happily" investigate potential interference by Ukrainian and Democratic officials in the 2016 U.S. election, according to the Associated Press.
Zelensky said it benefits Ukraine to definitively answer the question of whether interference in the U.S. election came from Ukraine, and the only way he can say "yes or no" to whether it happened is to investigate.
President Donald Trump asked Zelensky to look into election interference and Joe and Hunter Biden's Ukrainian business dealings during a July 25 phone call with Zelensky that Democrats are attempting to use as grounds for impeachment.
Zelensky, however, denied any allegations that President Trump attempted to "blackmail" him to open investigations, saying he didn't even know that hundreds of millions of dollars worth of U.S. aid had been delayed until after he spoke with Trump on July 25.
Democrats have alleged that Trump withheld the aid as a way to pressure Zelensky to investigate Biden, a potential 2020 election rival.
Zelensky told the AP he was simply hoping that the call with Trump would lead to a visit by Trump to Ukraine, and that he was hoping to persuade Trump to change the White House's rhetoric regarding Ukraine.
"I don't want to interfere in U.S. elections," Zelensky said.
Zelensky said he does not intend to release the Ukrainian transcript of his phone call with President Trump. The White House released a non-verbatim transcript of the call last month, which, along with a related anonymous whistleblower complaint, sparked an impeachment inquiry by House Democrats.
Zelensky has made himself available literally all day to reporters, meeting with a different group of seven to 10 reporters every half hour Thursday. According to the Washington Post, 300 journalists have signed up for sessions. Questions are not screened in advance, and all participants are allowed to ask questions.
"I wanted to have an informal meeting," Zelensky said of the media marathon. "I've never seen one like this."