Ukraine president says ‘no blackmail’ in phone call with Trump

epa07909508 Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky speaks with journalists during a press marathon on Kiev's Food Market venue in Kiev, Ukraine, 10 October 2019. President Zelensky answers the questions of journalists throughout the day during the press marathon. EPA-EFE/SERGEY DOLZHENKO

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told reporters Thursday his controversial July call with President Trump involved no bribe, blackmail or quid pro quo, as impeachment-minded Democrats claim.

Zelensky spoke at a daylong event with media inside a Kiev food market, and said he believes the transcript released by the White House is accurate and that he knew the U.S. had withheld $400 million in military aid due to concerns about corruption and concern for American “taxpayer money.”

But the issue, he said, was never linked to Trump’s desire Kiev rekindle an investigation into an energy company with ties to former Vice President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden.

There was no blackmail,” Zelensky said. “They blocked this money, and nobody asked us [for] anything,”

A whistleblower’s claim that Trump implied in the July 25 phone call that restoration of the aid would be conditioned on Ukraine reopening a probe of Burisma Holdings and the Bidens’ involvement in the matter has prompted Democrats in the House to launch an impeachment inquiry.

Via Fox News/ AP

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