President Donald Trump denied Monday that he withheld $250 million in aid for Ukraine as leverage to force Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to churn up dirt on Hunter Biden and, by extension, former Vice President Joe Biden.
“I did not make a statement that you have to do this or I won’t give you aid,” Trump said, according to pool reports. “I didn’t put any pressure on them whatsoever … Joe Biden and his son are corrupt.”
Reporter: Did you tell the Ukrainian leader that they would have the aid only if they investigated Joe Biden and his family?
Trump: No I didn't. https://t.co/J6qHTqBPHI pic.twitter.com/hJ9P6ybnr1
— CBS News (@CBSNews) September 23, 2019
It has been confirmed that Trump spoke on the phone with Zelensky about Biden, and that the aid was held up around the same time, but not yet that the two are connected. Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani said Monday that he couldn’t say “100 percent” that Trump didn’t threaten to withhold the money on a phone call between the two leaders in late July.
Trump has been giving lip service to wanting the transcript from the call released. But he told the assembled reporters Monday that it wouldn’t set a “great precedent” to release the transcript.