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Ukrainian president on Trump phone call: ‘Nobody pushed me’


'In other words, no pressure'

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

Amid the ongoing firestorm of Washington, D.C.'s latest impeachment drama, the president of Ukraine says that he hasn't felt pressured by U.S. President Donald Trump to investigate Joe Biden and his son Hunter.

At an appearance with President Trump in New York on Wednesday, President Zelensky was asked by a reporter whether or not he felt any pressure from Trump to investigate Joe Biden and Hunter Biden.

Zelensky responded, "I think you read everything," referring to the recently released transcript of a July phone conversation between the two world leaders during which the two discussed the Biden issue.

"I'm sorry but I don't want to be involved to Democratic open elections of [the] USA," the Ukrainian leader said. "We had, I think, [a] good phone call. It was normal; we spoke about many things. And you read it that nobody pushed me."

"In other words, no pressure," President Trump added.

Hunter Biden's past relationship with Ukrainian natural gas company Burisma — which employed him as a board member — is at the center of a recent media firestorm over a call between U.S. President Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in which Trump reportedly urged Zelensky to look into a probe of the company and Hunter Biden.

At a 2018 Council on Foreign Relations event, Biden said that he — while still vice president — pressured then-Ukranain president Petro Poroshenko to fire then-Ukrainian Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin, while Shokin was leading an investigation into the company by threatening to withhold $1billion in U.S. loan guarantees.

Shokin was fired, though Shokin's replacement told The Hill earlier this year that some evidence in the Burisma case might interest U.S. authorities and that he would like to present that information to U.S. Attorney General William Barr.

During their July phone call, according to the transcript released Wednesday, President Trump asked Zelensky to look into the Biden/Burisma matter, but did not at any point say that there would be any kind of quid pro quo for doing so. Zelensky responded that he was already planning on putting a prosecutor on the case and told Trump "if you have any additional information that you can provide to us, it would be very helpful for the investigation."

Before the White House even released the transcripts, however, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced an "official impeachment inquiry" in response to the matter and said that Trump's actions "have seriously violated the Constitution."

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