US President Donald Trump offered to release records of previous phone calls with Ukrainian officials, taking a sarcastic jab at opponents threatening to remove him from office.
Speaking to the press at the UN headquarters in New York on Wednesday, the president laid into critics for their renewed efforts at impeachment, and called for transparency on all sides.
“When they look at the information, it’s a joke. Impeachment for that?” President Trump said, referring to the July phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky which kicked off the latest drive to impeach.
“You know, that was the second conversation; I think you should ask for the first conversation also,” he continued. “I can’t believe they haven’t.”
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Following a leak to the press from an administration insider, Trump was accused of pressuring Zelensky to reopen an investigation into the business dealings of Joe Biden and his son Hunter in Ukraine – namely Burisma Holdings, a natural gas firm in which Hunter Biden served as a director. The White House released a transcript of the phone call in question on Wednesday.
Despite stating he “hated” the precedent of sharing communications with foreign heads of state, the president joked that the media ought to demand more, and said he would be willing to provide the dirt.
“I think you should ask for VP Pence’s conversation, because he had a couple of conversations [with Zelensky] also,” Trump said. “I could save you a lot of time; they’re all perfect, nothing was mentioned of any import other than congratulations.
“You can have it anytime you need it, and also Mike Pence’s conversations,” he said.
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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced the start of an impeachment inquiry on Tuesday evening, arguing that the president broke the law by asking Zelensky to look into the Biden investigation, and did so again when the administration initially failed to share a related whistleblower complaint with Congress. The House voted to authorize the inquiry on Wednesday, which is now in its ‘investigation’ phase, after which Congress may draw up articles of impeachment. Removing the president from office would then require a majority House vote, followed by a two-thirds vote in the Senate.
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