Vice President Mike Pence was reportedly against the White House releasing a memo summarizing details of a potentially damaging call between Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that has now sparked an impeachment inquiry against the president.
The White House released a summarized version of the call this week, showing Trump pressing the Ukrainian president to investigate the son of former Vice President Joe Biden. The memo was seen as damaging to Trump, showing him applying pressure on another foreign leader to dig up dirt on a political rival, and a new report claims that Pence tried to stop the memo’s release.
The Wall Street Journal reported Friday that Pence privately pushed against Trump and his plans to release the memo. The White House eventually went through with releasing it, and Pence fell in line publicly with the rest of the administration by defending Trump in a Fox News appearance. The report noted that Trump was worried that Republicans were losing the messaging battle as reports of a whistleblower complaint against him were starting to spread, but the release of the memo does not appear to have helped the president’s cause. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have described the contents of the memo as troubling.
Trump claimed before the memo’s release that the call with Zelensky was “perfect.” After its release Pence said that the president was “completely vindicated,” but many within the White House are reportedly worried about how to respond to the fast-moving impeachment inquiry.
The whistleblower complaint claimed that Trump took a number of actions to press Zelensky and the Ukrainian government, including withholding more than $250 million in military aid and setting up the call with the Ukrainian president for the purpose of pressing him on the Biden investigation.
Trump has pulled Pence into the controversy as well. As The Inquisitr reported, Trump this week noted that the vice president also had phone calls with the Ukrainian president and said those should be released as well.
“I think you should ask for VP Pence’s conversation, because he had a couple of conversations also,” Trump told reporters during a press conference in New York, via Raw Story.
Trump went on to say that Pence’s calls with the Ukrainian president were “perfect,” the same word he used to describe his own July 25 call with Zelensky before the memo was released.
Trump’s purpose in drawing attention to Pence’s calls with the foreign leader is not yet clear.