The White House on Friday released a memorandum of the first conversation between President Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Multiple witnesses in the House impeachment inquiry have described this first conversation between Trump and Zelensky as more cordial than their second one, in which Trump pressed the Ukrainian leader to pursue investigations that would benefit Trump’s reelection campaign.
The first call took place in April, after Zelensky’s presidential election, and the second was in July, after Zelensky’s party won a majority in parliament.
The memorandum of the first call is shorter and more surface-level: Zelensky invites Trump to visit Ukraine multiple times, to which Trump deflects and promises that “at very minimum, we’ll have a great representative” attend the the Ukrainian’s inauguration. (Energy Secretary Rick Perry ultimately led the delegation in May.)
Trump brags about his work as president and praises Ukraine after Zelensky pitches his country: “When I owned Miss Universe, they always had great people. Ukraine was always very well represented,” Trump says.
He also invites Zelensky to the White House, and Zelensky quickly accepts. Ukraine’s desire for a face-to-face meeting between the two presidents would become a major leverage point for U.S. officials pressing Ukrainian officials to pursue the politicized investigations Trump wanted.
Ultimately, after Trump’s pressure campaign was revealed publicly, he and Zelensky met face-to-face on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly, on Sept. 25.
Notably, the read-out of the call that the White House released in April doesn’t line up with the memo of the call it released Friday.
At the time, the White House said in a summary of the conversation that Trump and Zelensky discussed the electoral process and Ukraine’s territorial integrity, among other things.
The President, the White House said at the time, noted to Zelensky the peaceful election, U.S. support for Ukraine, and Trump’s commitment to work with Zelensky on “reforms that strengthen democracy, increase prosperity, and root out corruption.”
The memorandum does not contain references to those topics.
As with the White House memorandum of the July conversation between the two leaders, the call memorandum released Friday warns in small print that it “is not a verbatim transcript of the discussion.”
Read the call memorandum below:
This post has been updated.
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