White House releases transcript of Trump’s first call to Zelensky
In a major power move, The White House decided to release the transcript of Donald Trump’s April call made to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky this morning, just before the second round of impeachment hearings were to begin.
The call’s contents show an innocuous conversation between the two leaders. Trump offered his congratulations to Zelensky for his election victory. They go on to exchange pleasantries about the merits of each others’ countries.
The call took place on April 21, 2019, the day that Zelensky was elected, and lasted for 16 minutes. Trump also notably invited Zelensky to the White House during the call, saying, “when you’re settled and ready, I’d like to invite you to the White House … We’ll have lots of things to talk about, but we’re with you all the way.”
Zelensky replied “well, thank you for the invitation. We accept the invitation and look forward to the visit.”
It is noted that the call is not a verbatim transcript of the conversation, rather it is based on notes that were taken by national security council aides listening in on the exchange, however, there is no mention of aid, corruption, or any other political issues in the notes.
The release of this transcript confirms the establishment of a cordial and civil relationship between the Ukrainian leader and Donald Trump from the very beginning of Zelensky’s presidency.
Democrats are attempting to build the case that Donald Trump tried to threaten Zelensky for information on his 2020 election opponent, Joe Biden, but it’s hard to argue that Trump and Zelensky were not on friendly terms months prior to the July 2019 call that has been pointed to as evidence of “quid pro quo.”
Read the full transcript here.