As the second day of public testimonies in the impeachment inquiry ramps up, the White House has released the transcript of a phone call between United States President Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy in its latest attempt to curb Democratic allegations that Trump abused his power trying to influence U.S. politics by pressuring a foreign leader.
The new account of Trump’s call with Zelenskiy differs significantly from the initial summary of the conversation that the White House released in April, the Associated Press reported.
While the first readout of the call said Trump had expressed his commitment to help Ukraine “root out corruption,” there is no mention of corruption in the rough transcript released on Friday.
The phone call, which occurred on April 21, is currently being investigated. Although a memo of the second phone call, which occurred on July 25, has been released, a full record or transcript has not yet been declassified.
The separate July 25 call between Trump and Zelenskiy has become the centre of the Democrats’ impeachment inquiry and is currently under investigation.
During the second call, Democrats have said Trump committed an impeachable offence by pressuring Zelenskiy to investigate former vice-president Joe Biden, a presidential candidate hopeful in the 2020 U.S. election.
The Democrats have accused Trump of withholding much-needed military aid to Ukraine in exchange for information, and promising Zelenskiy a White House meeting pending an announcement made about Biden. Trump has denied the accusations.
In the April 21 phone call, Trump is recorded congratulating Zelenskiy on his election win and touting the U.S. having the “most tremendous economy ever.”
Zelenskiy, who was president-elect during the time of the call, thanked the U.S. president and asked Trump if he would be interested in coming to his inauguration ceremony.
Trump told Zelenskiy he would “look into that” and invited the Ukrainian president to the White House.
“When you’re all settled in and ready, I’d like to invite you to the White House,” said Trump. “We’ll have a lot of things to talk about, but we’re with you all the way.”
Zelenskiy has yet to visit Washington, though the two men met in September in New York on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly. In the April call, the Ukrainian leader vowed to practice his English for their eventual meeting.
Trump responded with a laugh, “I could not do that in your language!” Zelenskiy repeatedly praised his country and asked Trump to come visit, even if not for the inauguration.
The released record made its way into the public testimony Friday, with Republican U.S. Sen. Devin Nunes, who read the transcript in full in his opening remarks.
“Now the American people know the very first call that President Trump had with President Zelenskiy,” he said before yielding the remainder of his time to speak.
Read the transcript in the images below:
This is a breaking news story and will be updated.
With files from The Associated Press.