A new audio recording shows that Kurt Volker set up and was on a phone call in which Giuliani badgered Zelensky’s aide Yermak to “announce investigations into possible corruption by Biden in Ukraine, and into claims that Ukraine meddled in the 2016 election to hurt Trump.” There clearly was a quid pro quo, despite Trump’s denials and disinformation. The audio recording was never heard during the impeachment.
Never-before-heard audio, obtained exclusively by CNN, shows how former President Donald Trump’s longtime adviser Rudy Giuliani relentlessly pressured and coaxed the Ukrainian government in 2019 to investigate baseless conspiracies about then-candidate Joe Biden.The audio is of a July 2019 phone call between Giuliani, US diplomat Kurt Volker, and Andriy Yermak, a senior adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. The call was a precursor to Trump’s infamous call with Zelensky, and both conversations later became a central part of Trump’s first impeachment, where he was accused of soliciting Ukrainian help for his campaign.During the roughly 40-minute call, Giuliani repeatedly told Yermak that Zelensky should publicly announce investigations into possible corruption by Biden in Ukraine, and into claims that Ukraine meddled in the 2016 election to hurt Trump. (These separate claims are both untrue.)
“All we need from the President [Zelensky] is to say, I’m gonna put an honest prosecutor in charge, he’s gonna investigate and dig up the evidence, that presently exists and is there any other evidence about involvement of the 2016 election, and then the Biden thing has to be run out,” Giuliani said, according to the audio. “… Somebody in Ukraine’s gotta take that seriously.”
“Giuliani even said the US-Ukraine diplomatic relationship would improve if Zelensky launched the probes. Giuliani and Volker suggested during the call that a public announcement could clear the way for Zelensky’s much-desired visit to the US”
Minor twist in Biden-Zelensky saga: Ukrainian readout of today's call initially said Biden backed a NATO Membership Action Plan for Ukraine. White House denied, Ukraine amended the record. With @jonathanvswan.https://t.co/DNhiRODVBg
— Dave Lawler (@DavidLawler10) June 8, 2021