Ukraine Officials Understood That Call With Trump Was Conditioned On Biden Probe
A former adviser to Ukraine’s president told ABC News that Ukrainian officials understood an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden was a condition for speaking with President Donald Trump.
Serhiy Leshchenko is a former Parliament member and an anti-corruption advocate who was an adviser to President Volodymyr Zelensky but has recently been distanced from the administration, the news outlet reported.
Leshchenko said the precondition for speaking with Trump became clear after weeks of communication with Trump administration officials.
"It was clear that Trump will only have communications if they will discuss the Biden case," Leshchenko told ABC News. "This issue was raised many times. I know that Ukrainian officials understood."
Trump has come under fire for a July 25 phone call between the two presidents, during which he told Zelensky he had a favor to ask. That favor included investigating Biden, Trump’s potential political opponent.
Also included in the favor was an investigation into what seem baseless accusations that Democrats and their allies in Ukraine played a role in the origin of the Russia investigation that plagued Trump for the first two years of his presidency.
Trump and his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani reportedly have pressured Ukraine’s government to investigate Biden’s role in the 2016 dismissal of the country’s top prosecutor, Viktor Shokin. Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, sat on the board of a company into which Shokin had previously opened an inquiry.
But according to Ukraine officials, there is no evidence of wrongdoing by the former vice president, and world leaders have vouched for the fact that Shokin was obstructing efforts to root out corruption in his office and the country’s judicial system, ABC News reported.
Anton Gerashchenko, who was appointed Ukraine’s deputy interior minister this week, told ABC News that no formal request from the U.S. for an investigation into Biden has been filed and that, as far as he was aware, no investigation has been opened in Ukraine.
"If there will be a request from the American side, we’ll look at it," he said.