Trump Defends Call With Ukraine, Arguing It’s ‘Important’ To Talk About Corruption

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at the Treasure Island Hotel & Casino on October 8, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada
LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 08: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at the Treasure Island Hotel & Casino on October 8, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. During the rally, Trump s... LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 08: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at the Treasure Island Hotel & Casino on October 8, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. During the rally, Trump said people were giving him credit for helping force Kevin McCarthy to bow out of the race for Speaker of the House. (Photo by Isaac Brekken/Getty Images) MORE LESS
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September 23, 2019 11:59 a.m.

President Trump is attempting to paint the explosive narrative unfolding around a whistleblower complaint as another Democrat-fueled “witch hunt,” arguing that he only spoke to the president of Ukraine about corruption in order to develop an honest relationship with him.

While making remarks to reporters on Monday at the United Nations, Trump continued to harp on unsubstantiated claims surrounding Joe Biden, his son and the Chinese and Ukrainian governments. He then defended speaking to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky about corruption in a phone call this summer by saying it’s an “important” thing to do. The call apparently focused on Biden and Trump is believed to have urged the newly elected president to look into unfounded allegations against the Biden.

“Wwant honesty and if we deal with a country, we want honesty. I think with a new president, you’re going to see much more honesty in the Ukraine. And that’s what we’re looking for,” he said. “We’re supporting a country. We want to make sure that country is honest. It’s very important to talk about corruption. If you don’t talk about corruption, why would you give money to a country that you think is corrupt. One of the reasons the new president got elected is he was going to stop corruption. It’s very important that on occasion you speak to somebody about corruption. Very important.”

Trump admitted over the weekend that he spoke to Zelensky about corruption during their late July phone call. The call is believed to be at the center of a whistleblower complaint that the White House and the director of national intelligence has barred Congress from seeing. It’s believed that President Trump may have urged the government to look into Biden in exchange for funding and support from the U.S.

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