The White House’s record of a July 25 phone call shows Trump demanding Ukraine “do us a favor” after the country’s president Volodymyr Zelensky raised the prospect of further military aid from the U.S.
According to the records released by the White House on Wednesday, Zelensky thanked the U.S. for supplying Ukraine with Javelin missiles – lethal anti-tank weaponry that the Trump administration sold Ukraine in 2018.
“We are ready to continue to cooperate for the next steps,” Zelensky said. “Specifically we are almost ready to buy more Javelins from the United States for defense purposes.”
Trump immediately replied: “I would like you to do us a favor though because our country has been through a lot and Ukraine knows a lot about it.”
“I would like you to find out about what happened with this whole situation with Ukraine.”
Trump went on to reference “Crowdstrike,” a cybersecurity firm the DNC hired to respond to Russian hacking in 2016, and asked Zelensky whether one of Ukraine’s “wealthy people” had a server. That portion of the conversation is interrupted with ellipses, making it difficult to decipher.
Trump has previously brought up publicly a conservative conspiracy theory involving Crowdstrike, which posits that the firm gave the FBI falsified information, and not the “real” server that was attacked by Russian hackers.
At least one week before the July 25 call with Zelensky, Trump had reportedly ordered that $250 million in military aid to Ukraine be withheld.
Congress had appropriated $50 million of the $250 million in aid that was being withheld at the time of the call to cover the supply of lethal weaponry to Ukraine.
The call record would appear to debunk talking points put out by the White House and obtained by TPM. That memo describes Trump offering a “‘quid pro quo’ related to military aid for Ukraine” as a “myth.”
The same talking points – the White House’s official line – go on to claim that “there was no quid pro quo for Ukraine to get US aid in exchange for looking into Biden or his son.”
According to the call record, Trump went on to tell Zelensky that he would “like to have the Attorney General [Bill Barr] call you or your people and I would like you to ·get to the bottom of it.”
“As you saw yesterday, that whole nonsense ended with a very poor performance by a man named Robert Mueller, an incompetent performance, but they say a lot of it started with Ukraine.”
The relevant portion of the transcript is below: