Donald Trump wavers on releasing transcript of phone call with Ukrainian President, Latest World News - The New Paper

Donald Trump wavers on releasing transcript of phone call with Ukrainian President

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WASHINGTON/NEW YORK: US President Donald Trump on Monday denied trying to coerce Ukraine into investigating his Democratic rival Joe Biden but wavered about whether he would release a transcript of a phone call that some Democrats say is grounds for his impeachment.

Mr Trump told reporters in New York he did not pressure Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy in a July phone call to launch a corruption investigation into the former vice-president and his son in return for US military aid.

A US whistleblower lodged a complaint about Mr Trump's conversation with Mr Zelenskiy, leading to calls from some Democrats that Mr Trump be impeached for trying to enlist a foreign power to smear a domestic opponent.

Mr Trump gave a contradictory message about whether he would release a transcript of the call with the Ukrainian leader.

"I may do it because it was a very interesting call," he said.

"It was a very nice call. I hope you get to see it and I hope you get to see it soon."

But he added: "I don't think it's a great precedent to be releasing calls with foreign countries, heads of foreign countries."


On Monday, the Washington Post reported Mr Trump ordered his acting chief of staff to withhold US$400 million (S$550 million) in military aid for Ukraine a week before the phone call with Mr Zelenskiy, citing three senior administration officials.

One official told the Post the decision to withhold the funds was based on corruption concerns and denied any link between blocking the money and pressing the Ukrainian President to investigate the Bidens.

Democratic leaders of the House of Representatives have called a caucus meeting to discuss the whistleblower complaint, a leadership aide said.

Congressional Democrats have demanded documents about the Trump team's contacts with Ukraine.

Seven Democratic lawmakers inched closer to calling for Mr Trump's impeachment, writing in a Washington Post op-ed: "If these allegations are true, we believe these actions represent an impeachable offence."

A top official in Mr Zelenskiy's administration said Ukraine wanted to stay out of the domestic political battle in Washington and any attempt by either side to take advantage of Ukraine would hurt ties. - REUTERS