By Melissa Leon | Fox News
A top Ukrainian official on Saturday defended President Trump’s July phone call with Ukranian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, during which Trump reportedly urged authorities in Kiev to investigate dealings in the Eastern European county by the son of former Vice President Joe Biden.
“I know what the conversation was about and I think there was no pressure,” Foreign Minister Vadym Prystaiko told the Hromadske media outlet. “There was talk, conversations are different, leaders have the right to discuss any problems that exist. This conversation was long, friendly, and it touched on many questions, sometimes requiring serious answers.”
Zelenskiy’s office has not commented on the allegations. Trump and Zelenskiy are expected to meet in person at the United Nations General Assembly in New York next week.
The Wall Street Journal reported Friday that Trump had repeatedly asked Zelenskiy to investigate Hunter Biden, who had ties to a natural gas firm that was being investigated by a Ukrainian prosecutor as part of a corruption probe.
Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani has suggested that Joe Biden, the current frontrunner for the Democratic nomination, worked while he was vice president to protect his son’s company from being investigated.
“President Trump is interested, his advisor, Giuliani, newspapers, Democrats, Republicans are interested in whether pressure had been put on Ukraine,” Prystaiko said during the same interview. “I want to say that we are an independent state, we have our own secrets.”
BIDEN FACES SCRUTINY FOR DEMANDING OUSTER OF UKRAINE OFFICIAL PROBING FIRM THAT EMPLOYED HIS SON
Biden on Saturday denied he has ever spoken to Hunter about his business in Ukraine and called President Trump’s actions an “overwhelming abuse of power.”
“Trump’s doing this because he knows I’ll beat him like a drum, and he’s using the abuse of power and every element of the presidency to try to do something to smear me,” Biden told reporters in Iowa on Saturday.
NEW DETAILS ON TRUMP-UKRAINE CALL AS DEMS CLASH WITH WHITE HOUSE ON COMPLAINT
President Trump earlier on Saturday tweeted about the “Ukraine Witch Hunt,” which he says is a last-ditch effort by the “Fake News Media” to protect Biden.
“Now that the Democrats and the Fake News Media have gone ‘bust’ on every other of their Witch Hunt schemes, they are trying to start one just as ridiculous as the others, call it the Ukraine Witch Hunt, while at the same time trying to protect Sleepy Joe Biden,” Trump said. “Will fail again!”
The Fake News Media didn’t want to report that “Joe Biden [demanded] that the Ukrainian Government fire a prosecutor who was investigating his son, or they won’t get a very large amount of U.S. money,” the president had said.
“[So] they fabricate a […] story about me and a perfectly fine and routine conversation I had with the new President of the Ukraine. Nothing was said that was in any way wrong, but Biden’s demand, on the other hand, was a complete and total disaster,” Trump said.
Giuliani also chimed in on Saturday morning, tweeting: “Biden’s defense is, not I didn’t do it, but ‘no media outlet gives any credibility to the story.’ Of course they don’t. Swamp Media been covering up Biden Family blatant trading on Joe’s offices for years. Joe is part of the protected class. Why would they start now?”
Trump’s call with Zelenskiy is reportedly what sparked a whistleblower complaint that a ranking House Democrat says is being purposely withheld from Congress possibly to protect the White House.
Last week,Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, subpoenaed acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire, claiming Maguire is unlawfully withholding an “urgent” whistleblower complaint from Congress.
Maguire is slated to testify publicly before the committee on Thursday.
Fox News’ Adam Shaw and Lukas Mikelionis contributed to this report.
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