Donald Trump said in an interview at the White House on Thursday that he may read the entire transcript of his July 25 phone call with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky live on television, according to the Washington Examiner, which conducted the interview with the president.
“At some point, I’m going to sit down, perhaps as a fireside chat on live television, and I will read the transcript of the call,” Trump told the Examiner. “People have to hear it. When you read it, it’s a straight call.”
On September 25, the White House released a partial transcript of the call. Even in the shortened version of the reportedly 30-minute call, Trump responds to Zelensky’s request for more military aid by telling the newly elected Ukraine president, “I would like you to do us a favor though.”
As the transcript revealed, Trump wanted Zelensky to perform the “favor” of investigating Democratic 2020 presidential candidate Joe Biden. The president also wanted an investigation of a supposed Democratic National Committee computer server that he believes is in the possession of a “wealthy” Ukrainian citizen.
At the time, Trump was withholding much-needed military aid from Ukraine. When the partial transcript was made public, the release baffled legal experts who said that the transcript was “worse than…people expected.”
The current impeachment inquiry against Trump centers on the July 25 call, and other events in which Trump and his associates may have pressured Ukraine to investigate Biden and the alleged DNC server, using the military aid as leverage.
In testimony earlier this week, National Security Counsel Ukraine expert Alexander Vindman, who was an authorized listener on the call, told Congress that the partial transcript omitted crucial information, according to The New York Times.
In one omitted passage, Zelensky clearly acknowledged that Trump wants an investigation of the energy company Burisma, which employed Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, according to Vindman’s testimony.
In another omitted passage, Trump supposedly told Zelensky that recordings exist of Joe Biden discussing corruption in Ukraine. Vindman testified that he attempted to reinstate those passages in the transcript, but was thwarted by White House officials.
Earlier on Thursday, the House of Representatives, in a largely party-line vote, endorsed the ongoing impeachment inquiry, saying that witness testimony would now often be public rather than behind closed doors.
But Trump told the Washington Examiner that he had no intention of cooperating with the impeachment proceedings, and would not respond to subpoenas or requests for documents.
“You are setting a terrible precedent for other presidents,” Trump told the publication.