Wednesday, 13 November 2019

White House memo confirms Trump asked Ukraine to investigate Biden

OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP/Getty Images

KYIV: Donald Trump repeatedly prodded his Ukraine counterpart to probe political rival Joe Biden, according to an official memo summarising the call. But as the scandal swirls around the US president and potential impeachment, what’s the view from Ukraine?

“There is a huge discussion in Ukraine about the scandal,” says Oleksey Ryabchyn, a former Member of Parliament for Yulia Timoshenko’s Fatherland Party, now working as an International Relations professor at the Institute of Foreign Relations in Kiev.

But he says that people are too cautious to comment and would rather wait for a personal meeting between Trump and President Zelenski.

Central to the impeachment arguments in the US are allegations that Trump asked Ukrainian authorities to investigate former vice-president Joe Biden’s son Hunter for corruption.

In the transcript of a telephone conversation between Trump and Zelenski on 25 July, Trump asked the Ukrainian president to look into what had happened to the investigation of the case against Hunter Biden. “There’s a lot of talk about Biden’s son,” reads the transcript of Trump’s call to Zelensky. “That Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that. … Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution so if you can look into it… It sounds horrible to me.”

According to the transcript, Zelensky promised that the prosecutor “will look into the situation”.

“I felt that Mr. Biden really cared about helping Ukraine in the fight against corruption, establishing democratic institutions. He is a friend of Ukraine.

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