The Ukrainian President Wants Nothing To Do With Trump’s Political Mess

KIEV, UKRAINE - OCTOBER 01: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky speaks to the media on October 1, 2019 in Kiev, Ukraine. Ukraine has been at the core of a political storm in U.S. politics since the release of a wh... KIEV, UKRAINE - OCTOBER 01: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky speaks to the media on October 1, 2019 in Kiev, Ukraine. Ukraine has been at the core of a political storm in U.S. politics since the release of a whistleblower's complaint suggesting U.S. President Donald Trump, at the expense of U.S. foreign policy, pressured Ukraine to investigate Trump's rival, Joe Biden, and Biden's son, Hunter. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images) MORE LESS
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October 1, 2019 3:56 p.m.
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The president of Ukraine has no interest in being dragged deeper into the political mess dogging President Trump.

During a press conference on Tuesday, President Volodymyr Zelensky told reporters that he has never once had contact with Trump’s attorney Rudy Giuliani, who has been hard at work drumming up bogus allegations against former Vice President Joe Biden regarding his son’s work in Ukraine.

“I’ve never met Rudy Giuliani, never, and I’ve never had any phone calls with him,” Zelensky told reporters at a press conference in Kyiv. Later, when asked by CNN if he was pressured by Trump to investigate Biden during a now-infamous call, Zelensky demurred further, parroting a talking point that Trump uttered during their first press appearance together amid the ongoing controversy last week.

“I’d like to tell you that I never feel pressure, I have lots of people who’d like to put pressure on me here and abroad,” he said. “But I’m the president of an independent Ukraine and I’d like to think, and my actions suggest, n0 one can put pressure on me.”

The recently elected president of Ukraine — a comedian-turned politician who pulled off a landslide victory against the incumbent president this past spring — may still heartily embrace a relationship with President Trump, whose unconventional path to the presidency ran parallel to parts of Zelensky’s unique rise to power.

But amid a presidential impeachment inquiry in the United States, which centers on the scandal that has emerged from his phone call with Trump, Zelensky has made pointed attempts in the past week to create distance between himself and the American president.

During that initial appearance with Trump last week in New York, Zelensky said that “nobody pushed me,” but pointed only to the White House’s record of the call as evidence that he wasn’t pressured, before saying he has no interest in being involved in the U.S. election. Trump then summed up an answer for him.

“I think you read everything. I think you read text,” Zelensky said last Wednesday. “I’m sorry, but I don’t want to be involved to democratic, open elections of U.S.A. No, you heard that we had good phone call. It was normal, we spoke about many things. I think, and you read it, that nobody pushed me.”

“In other words, no pressure,” Trump said.

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