President Donald Trump says he will read aloud the transcript of his call to Zelensky on live television
President Donald Trump on Thursday said that he wanted to read aloud the transcript of his July 25 call to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky during a "fireside chat on live television", APA reports citing Washington Examiner.
Trump gave an 80-minute interview with conservative site the Washington Examiner in the Oval Office, in which he remained defiant about participating in the impeachment proceedings against him, which were sparked by the contents of the call.
Speaking to editors and writers from the Examiner, Trump said he would be happy to read aloud the transcript of his conversation with Zelensky; the White House has released a summary transcript of the call.
"This is over a phone call that is a good call," Trump told the outlet. "At some point, I'm going to sit down, perhaps as a fireside chat on live television, and I will read the transcript of the call, because people have to hear it. When you read it, it's a straight call."
The call was the subject of an anonymous whistleblower complaint filed in August, which claimed Trump was "using the power of his office to solicit interference from a foreign country in the 2020 US election," in particular asking Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, in order to aid him politically.
In the days leading up to the call, Trump ordered his administration to withhold a nearly $400 million military-aid package to Ukraine. House investigators are working to determine if there was quid pro quo in regards to releasing aid money to Ukraine in exchange for investigating the Bidens.
The White House has said it will not to cooperate with the impeachment inquiry, and Trump has denied any wrongdoing calling the call "perfect."
On Thursday, the House passed a resolution formalizing the impeachment inquiry, signaling it will begin to transition into a more public phase.
Trump defended his decision not to cooperate in the proceedings, saying that taking part would set "a terrible precedent for other presidents."
"Everybody knows I did nothing wrong," he said. "Bill Clinton did things wrong; Richard Nixon did things wrong. I won't go back to [Andrew] Johnson because that was a little before my time ... but they did things wrong. I did nothing wrong."
Trump also declined to change his strategy on responding to the impeachment probe, calling the impeachment a "con job" and "a sham."
"I already have good people," he said. His attitude contrasts the Clinton White House when it was dealing with impeachment, which strictly limited discussion about the proceedings and set up a "war-room"- like rapid response team.
"Clinton was different. He was guilty," Trump told the Examiner. "This is a simpler case than his."
Over a dozen witnesses have been interviewed in the inquiry so far. On Tuesday, Lt. Col. Alexander S. Vindman, the top Ukraine expert on the White House National Security Council, testified that he twice registered concerns about Trump and his inner circle's dealings with Ukraine, which he recalled fearing would "undermine US national security."
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