Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said during a “marathon” media session Thursday that he would be happy to investigate to see if Ukrainian officials colluded with Democrats to rig the 2016 election.
He says he does not have the answer to that question since he was not in the government then but says he will investigate to find out. He also made it a point to deny once again that President Trump did not threaten him or commit blackmail.
He says he didn’t even know that money was being delayed until well after the July 25th phone call with Trump.
Zelensky said it benefits Ukraine to definitively answer the question of whether interference in the U.S. election came from Ukraine, and the only way he can say “yes or no” to whether it happened is to investigate.
President Donald Trump asked Zelensky to look into election interference and Joe and Hunter Biden’s Ukrainian business dealings during a July 25 phone call with Zelensky that Democrats are attempting to use as grounds for impeachment.
Zelensky, however, denied any allegations that President Trump attempted to “blackmail” him to open investigations, saying he didn’t even know that hundreds of millions of dollars worth of U.S. aid had been delayed until after he spoke with Trump on July 25.
Democrats have alleged that Trump withheld the aid as a way to pressure Zelensky to investigate Biden, a potential 2020 election rival.
Zelensky told the AP he was simply hoping that the call with Trump would lead to a visit by Trump to Ukraine, and that he was hoping to persuade Trump to change the White House’s rhetoric regarding Ukraine.
“I don’t want to interfere in U.S. elections,” Zelensky said.
Zelensky said he does not intend to release the Ukrainian transcript of his phone call with President Trump. The White House released a non-verbatim transcript of the call last month, which, along with a related anonymous whistleblower complaint, sparked an impeachment inquiry by House Democrats.