U.S. President Donald Trump says he is in favour of “transparency” when it comes to a whistleblower’s report on his alleged conduct, through he is dismissing abuse of power allegations related to a phone call with Ukraine’s president as “all a big hoax.”
Though his administration previously opposed the release of the complaint, Trump told reporters Wednesday that he has informed House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy as well as other Republicans that he “fully support(s) transparency on the so-called whistleblower information.”
Trump’s comments come hours after his administration released a memorandum detailing a summer phone conversation with Ukaraine’s Volodymyr Zelenskiy that, along with the thus-far-unreleased complaint, are at the heart of a formal impeachment inquiry launched by the Democrats.
The report has been viewed by members of the House Intelligence Committee.
The phone call memorandum reveals that Trump asked Zelenskiy for information on Democratic presidential candidate and former vice-president Joe Biden in July.
He also raised unsubstantiated allegations that Biden sought to interfere with a Ukrainian prosecutor’s investigation of his son, Hunter.
“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,” the phone call summary states.
“Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution so if you can look into it… It sounds horrible to me.”
In a joint press conference with Trump earlier on Wednesday, Zelenskiy denied he faced pressure.
Hunter Biden served on the board of a Ukrainian gas company as his father led diplomatic dealings with Kyiv during the Obama administration. Though the timing raised concerns among anti-corruption advocates, there has been no evidence of wrongdoing by either the former vice-president or his son.
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Trump said he wanted transparency from the Bidens on business dealings, and claimed money had been “removed” from China and Ukraine.
Trump indicated he’d be willing to release information on his first phone call with the Ukrainian president, but also remarked he didn’t like the precedent set by making phone calls with world leaders public.
On Tuesday, Democrats announced they would launch an impeachment inquiry into the allegations against Trump.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Wednesday that the memo demonstrates that Trump engaged in behaviour “that undermines the integrity of our elections, the dignity of the office he holds and our national security.”
— With files from Hannah Jackson and The Associated Press