Trump call details that sparked impeachment inquiry released

The White House has released details of a phone call between President Trump and his Ukrainian counterpart that has triggered a US impeachment inquiry.

It shows Mr Trump asked Volodymyr Zelensky on July 25, to investigate Democratic candidate Joe Biden, whose son worked for a Ukrainian gas firm.

Mr Trump denies withholding US military aid to Ukraine as leverage in a bid to smear his political rival, Mr Biden.

The Trump-Ukraine phone call is part of a whistleblower’s complaint.

Mr Trump promised on Tuesday that a “complete, fully declassified and unredacted transcript” of the July 25, call would be released.

But the details disclosed by the White House on Wednesday morning were notes of the conversation taken by US officials who listened in.

Mr Trump mentions to Mr Zelensky how Joe Biden, as US vice-president, lobbied Ukraine in 2016 to fire its top prosecutor, Viktor Shokin.

Mr Shokin’s office had opened an investigation into Burisma, a natural gas company on which Hunter Biden was a board member.

Other Western officials had called for Mr Shokin to be fired because of the perception that he was soft on corruption.

Mr Trump is quoted as saying in the call: “The other thing, there’s a lot of talk about Biden’s son.

“That Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that so whatever you can do with the attorney general would be great.

“Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution so if you can look into it. It sounds horrible to me.”

During the call, the US president also asked Mr Zelensky to work with US Attorney General William Barr and Mr Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudolph Giuliani, to look into the matter, according to the notes. -BBC

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