Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Thursday that he would “happily” have prosecutors look into whether the Ukrainian government meddled in the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign to help former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Zelensky also said during a six-hour interview in Kiev, Ukraine, that there was “no blackmail” involved in a July 25 phone call he had with President Donald Trump that is now at the center of House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry.
Trump asked Zelensky during the call to consider investigating whether former Vice President Joe Biden pressured former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to fire a prosecutor in 2016 investigating a company linked to his son, Hunter Biden. Rudy Giuliani, a lawyer for Trump, has pushed for an investigation of Joe Biden. Prosecutors indicted two Giuliani associates involved in gathering information on Joe Biden Thursday on campaign finance charges. The indictment does not appear to refer to Giuliani or the effort to investigate Joe Biden.
Democrats and liberal media pundits have dismissed Trump & Co.’s interest in Ukraine meddling as the product of conspiracy theories and a distraction from the Trump-Giuliani push to investigate Joe Biden. For his part, Zelensky said Thursday that he “didn’t care what happens” with the Biden angle.
A top diplomat to Ukraine told Congress on Oct. 3 that there might be some truth to the allegations related to election meddling.
“A different issue is whether some individual Ukrainians may have attempted to influence the 2016 election or thought they could buy influence: that is at least plausible, given Ukraine’s reputation for corruption,” Kurt Volker, who until Sept. 27 served as special envoy to Ukraine, said in an opening statement during his deposition on Oct. 3.
A Jan. 11, 2017 Politico report centered on the activities of Alexandra Chalupa, who worked as a Democratic National Committee (DNC) consultant from 2004 through July 2016.