Ukraine pledges cooperation on getting to the origins of Russiagate as Justice Department confirms investigation

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Image: The White House from Washington, DC 

There are many takeaways from the White House releasing the transcript of the July 25 phone conversation between President Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, but first and foremost is there was no pressure on Zelensky by Trump or any threats to withhold military aid if Joe Biden wasn’t investigated as was alleged by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi when she announced the impeachment inquiry into Trump.

The only mention of military aid was both Zelensky and Trump blasting Europe including Germany and France, for not doing more to help as the U.S. was taking the lead. Zelensky said, “It turns out that even though logically, the European Union should be our biggest partner but technically the United State is a much bigger partner…” Zelensky was thanking President Trump and the U.S., which has been providing military assistance including weapons throughout the entirety of the Trump administration.

It probably does not help Pelosi that Zelensky is affirmatively stating he was not pressured by Trump to reporters at a meeting with Trump in New York on Sept. 25: “Nobody pushed me,” Zelensky said, adding, “We had a great phone call. It was normal.”

So, with no victim, the core allegation was false. That alone is likely enough, lacking public support for removing President Trump from office, to torpedo House Democrats’ nascent attempts at impeachment, but we’ll see. The foolish push by Pelosi was more of a sign of desperation than anything else as she rushed to the microphone without the transcript or evidence to support her allegation. But without having to have the House vote on the matter, she can go back to her people and say the committees are looking into it, even if the pursuit is half-hearted. Time will tell if that satisfies the Democrats’ radical base. I tend to doubt it.

In the meantime, the substance of the phone call really was not about Biden at all, it was about the potential role Ukraine played in the Russiagate scandal, where President Trump was falsely accused prior to the 2016 election by intelligence agencies and the Justice Department that he was a Russian agent and then the Obama administration obtained top secret surveillance of the Trump campaign, and then secretly carried the investigation over into the Trump administration. The investigation carried on for almost three years, culminating in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s anti-climatic reportthat ultimately found there was no Trump conspiracy with Russia to interfere in the 2016 elections after all.

Trump asked Zelensky for cooperation on behalf of Attorney General William Barr in the phone call: “I would like you to do us a favor, though, because our country has been through a lot and Ukraine knows a lot about it. I would like you to find out what happened with this whole situation with Ukraine, they say Crowdstrike…  I guess you have one of your wealthy people…  The server, they say Ukraine has it. There are a lot of things that went on, the whole situation… I would like to have the Attorney General call you or your people and I would like you to get to the bottom of it. As you saw yesterday, that whole nonsense ended with a very poor performance by a man named Robert Mueller, an incompetent performance — but they say a lot of it started with Ukraine. Whatever you can do, it’s very important that you do it if that’s possible.”

To which, Zelensky replied, “Yes, it is very important for me and everything that you just mentioned earlier. For me as President, it is very important and we are open for any future cooperation. We are ready to open a new page on cooperation in relations between the United States and Ukraine… I also plan to surround myself with great people and in addition to that investigation, I guarantee as the President of Ukraine that all the investigations will be done openly and candidly. That I can assure you.”

Note the favor asked was on getting to the bottom of Spygate, not Biden. Which, by the way, is perfectly legal under the U.S.-Ukraine Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty of 1998, which enables partner countries to cooperate on law enforcement matters.

Here, Trump is implicating that his administration is looking directly at Crowdstrike, the firm hired by the Democratic National Committee to look into the 2015 and 2016 hacks of the DNC servers, where its emails were eventually published on Wikileaks in July 2016, and who pointed the finger at Russia.

As Special Counsel, Robert Mueller brought an indictment on July 13, 2018 of several Russians said to be GRU intelligence operatives who Mueller alleged hacked the DNC, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) and Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta and gave the emails to Wikileaks to be published.

The FBI never took possession of the server, based upon publicly available information. In testimony on Jan. 10, 2017 before the Senate Intelligence Committee, then-FBI Director James Comey stated that “Ultimately what was agreed to is the private company [Crowdstrike] would share with us what they saw… Our forensics folks would always prefer to get access to the original device or server that’s involved, so it’s the best evidence.” Here, Comey was referring to the private company analysis that was done by Crowdstrike, which the FBI deferred to for evidence of the hack.

The FBI was given a copy of the server. According to Crowdstrike in a statement to the Washington Times on July 5, 2017, “In May 2016 CrowdStrike was brought to investigate the DNC network for signs of compromise, and under their direction we fully cooperated with every U.S. government request… [The cooperation included] providing of the forensic images of the DNC systems to the FBI, along with our investigation report and findings. Those agencies reviewed and subsequently independently validated our analysis.” Meaning, the FBI never had a verifiable chain of custody of the evidence in question.

And now, Trump seems to think that Ukraine has information about this.

For its part, the Justice Department has confirmed that Ukraine does factor into its own investigation of the top secret surveillance of the Trump campaign in 2016. Justice Department spokeswoman Kerri Kupec said on Sept. 25, “A Department of Justice team led by U.S. Attorney John Durham is separately exploring the extent to which a number of countries, including Ukraine, played a role in the counterintelligence investigation directed at the Trump campaign during the 2016 election… While the Attorney General has yet to contact Ukraine in connection with this investigation, certain Ukrainians who are not members of the government have volunteered information to Mr. Durham, which he is evaluating.” As far as Biden is concerned, the Justice Department also said Attorney General Barr had not been directed by President Trump to investigate Biden or to work with Ukraine on doing so.

Now that does not necessarily mean that there is anything to what the President is requesting, whether on Crowdstrike or Biden, both referenced in the calls. But Barr is certainly allowed to and is supposed to be investigating what happened in 2016 and beyond with the surveillance on the Trump campaign and the false allegations the campaign were Russian agents, which was debunked by none other than Mueller. Trump has also given Barr declassification authority to release anything about this that he deems to be in the public interest.

And Ukraine certainly is a place to look for answers. Readers will recall that Politico reported in Jan. 2017 about Ukraine’s own role in election interference in 2016 on behalf of Hillary Clinton. It could be that we’re about to find out more about that. Or maybe not. Just because Trump requested legal assistance on those matters — there are certainly outstanding questions both on Crowdstrike, the DNC hack/leak, and Biden, and also U.S. intervention efforts in Ukraine in 2014 that preceded Russia annexing Crimea — that doesn’t necessarily mean it will turn up anything.

Seeking Ukraine’s cooperation carries a ton of risks, but those risks were also assumed by Senate Democrats in 2018 including Senators Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) and Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) when they were demanding Ukraine’s top prosecutor cooperate with the Mueller investigation to help get Trump.

But in terms of acting on a diplomatic front to diffuse the civil war in Ukraine and avoid a wider regional conflict with Russia, obtaining legal cooperation with Ukraine especially on the Spygate scandal is essential to putting this all behind us. That is certainly top of mind for Zelensky, who said in his Sept. 25 meeting with Trump, “Thank you for your support, especially now when — you know, when we have two — really, two wars in Ukraine.  The first one is with corruption, you know.  But we’ll fight — no, we’ll be [the] winner in this fight, I’m sure.  And the priority — my priority is to stop the war on Donbass and to get back our territories: Crimea, Donbass, Luhansk. Thank you for your support in this case.  Thank you very much.”

This is an area where President Trump can leave his mark. In 2016, he ran on a platform of improving U.S.-Russian relations — which appears to have in part motivated intelligence agencies to launch the bogus investigation of him — and Ukraine provides an opportunity to bridge the East and West by continuing to promote a peace agreement between Kiev and Moscow. Now is the time to take advantage of the historic opportunity that is now being presented. It looks like President Trump played his cards right. While his opponents were chasing the next shiny object, Trump was laying a foundation for improving relations in the region including with Ukraine — and avoiding war. It’s about time.

Robert Romano is the Vice President of Public Policy at Americans for Limited Government. Reproduced with permission. Original can be viewed here.

InterContinental New York Barclay
New York, New York

2:19 P.M. EDT

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Well, thank you very much, everybody.  We’re with the President of Ukraine, and he’s made me more famous, and I’ve made him more famous.  (Laughter.)  I will say he’s got a great reputation.  He’s very, very strongly looking into all sorts of corruption and some of the problems they’ve had over the years.  I think it’s one of the primary reasons he got elected.  His reputation is absolutely sterling.  And it’s an honor to be with you.

And we spoke a couple of times, as you probably remember.  And they’d like to hear every single word, and we give them every single word, and then they’ll say, “Well, about today?”  I think the press would like to stay in the meeting, but we have lots of witnesses, if you’d like to have it.

But the country of — our country is doing phenomenally well.  We are — we have the best economy we’ve ever had.  We have the best employment numbers that we’ve ever had.  We have now almost 160 million people working, which is more than we’ve ever had.  So we’re doing very well in every respect.  And I have a feeling that your country is going to do fantastically well.  And whatever we can do.  You just take care of yourself.  Thank you.

PRESIDENT ZELENSKY:  Thank you very much.  Thank you very much, Mr. President.

Thank you very much.  It’s a great pleasure to me to be here, and it’s better to be on TV than by phone, I think.

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Yeah.  (Laughter.)

PRESIDENT ZELENSKY:  And, Mr. President, thank you very much.  And I’m not the first time to stay in New York —

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Right.

PRESIDENT ZELENSKY:  — but I know that you’ve never been in Ukraine.

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  That’s right.

PRESIDENT ZELENSKY:  And your predecessor also — how do you say it in English? — didn’t find time; I mean that.  (Laughter.)

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Right.

PRESIDENT ZELENSKY:  So, can you give me a word that you will come to our great country?

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Well, I’m going to try.  (Laughter.)  And I know a lot of people — I will say this: I know a lot of people from Ukraine.  They’re great people.  And I owned something called the Miss Universe pageants years ago, and I sold it to IMG.  And when I ran for President, I thought maybe it wouldn’t be the greatest thing to own the Miss Universe and Miss USA pageants.  But it’s a great thing.  And we had a winner from Ukraine, and we’ve really had — we got to know the country very well in a lot of different ways.  But it’s a country, I think, with tremendous potential.

PRESIDENT ZELENSKY:  Yes, I know it, because I’m from this country.

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Right.  (Laughter.)

PRESIDENT ZELENSKY:  And I want to thank you for the invitation to Washington.

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Right.

PRESIDENT ZELENSKY:  You invited me.  But I think — I’m sorry, but I think you forgot to tell me the date.  (Laughter.)  But I think in the near future.

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  They’ll tell you the date.

PRESIDENT ZELENSKY:  (Laughs.)  Yes, they know before us.  And I want to thank you — to thank you, especially, Mr. President, to USA, to your government.  Like I said, I know many people, many faces, like the Second Family, after you — my Ukrainian family, we know each other.

Thank you for your support, especially now when — you know, when we have two — really, two wars in Ukraine.  The first one is with corruption, you know.  But we’ll fight — no, we’ll be winner in this fight, I’m sure.  And the priority — my priority is to stop the war on Donbass and to get back our territories: Crimea, Donbass, Luhansk.

Thank you for your support in this case.  Thank you very much.

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Well, thank you very much, Mr. President.  If you remember, you lost Crimea during a different administration, not during the Trump administration.

PRESIDENT ZELENSKY:  Yeah.  So you have chance to help us.

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  That’s right.  I do.  But that was during the Obama administration that you lost Crimea, and I didn’t think it was something that you should have.  But that was done a long time ago, and I think it was handled poorly.  But it’s just one of those things.

One of the elements that we discussed is the United States helps Ukraine, but I think that other countries should help Ukraine much more than they’re doing — Germany, France, the European Union nations.  They really should help you a lot more.  And I think maybe, together, we’ll work on that.  They have to feel a little bit guilty about it because they don’t do what they should be doing.

You’re very important to the European Union.  You’re very important — strategically, very important.  And I think they should spend a lot more in helping Ukraine.  And they know that also, and they actually tell me that, but they don’t seem to produce.  So I’m sure you’ll talk to them, and I’ll certainly be talking to them.

PRESIDENT ZELENSKY:  Thank you very much, Mr. President.  And, you know, now we need — I want to tell you that we now (inaudible) the new country.  And, I’m sorry, but we don’t need help; we need support.  Real support.  And we thank — thank everybody, thank all of the European countries; they each help us.  But we also want to have more — more.  But I understand, so only together, America and EU — only together we can stop the war.  And, you know, we are ready.  We just want to tell that we are — remember that we are the biggest country in Europe, but we want to be the richest one.  It’s true; it’s in my heart.

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Well, you know, you have great people in Ukraine, and you have very talented people —

PRESIDENT ZELENSKY:  Very smart.

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  — in terms of manufacturing, in terms of some of the things they do.  And we’ll be doing — we’re doing trading already, but we should be doing a lot more trading with Ukraine.  But you have very talented people.  They make great things.  You’re at the top of the line, really.  So that’s very important.

And the other thing is I’ve heard you actually have — over the last fairly short period of time, you’ve really made some progress with Russia.  I hear a lot of progress has been made.  And just keep it going.  It’d be nice to end that whole disaster.

PRESIDENT ZELENSKY:  First of all, I want to tell you, before — before the relations with Russia — I will prolong, just one minute — I mean, you have to know — I want world to know that now we have the new team, the new parliament, the new government.

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Right.

PRESIDENT ZELENSKY:  So now we (inaudible) about 74 laws, new laws, which help for our new reforms: land reform, big privatization.  They did the law about concessions.  Did — we (inaudible) general for security, and we launched the Service Secretary.

Is it right Service Secretary?

AIDE:  Yes.  Anti-corruption court, as well.

PRESIDENT ZELENSKY:  An anti-corruption court.  As we came, we did — we launched the anti-corruption court.  It began to work on the 5th of September.  It was — you know, it was — after five days, we had the new government.

So, we are ready.  We want to show that we — we just come.  And if somebody, if you — if you want to help us, so just let’s do businesses cases.  We have many investment cases.  We’re ready.

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  And stop corruption in Ukraine, because that will really make you great.  That will make you great personally, and it’ll also be so tremendous for your nation, in terms of what you want to do and where you want to take it.

Thank you very much.  It’s a great honor.

PRESIDENT ZELENSKY:  Thank you very much, Mr. President.

Q    President Zelensky, have you felt any pressure from President Trump to investigate Joe Biden and Hunter Biden?

PRESIDENT ZELENSKY:  I think you read everything.  So I think you read text.  I’m sorry, but I don’t want to be involved to democratic, open elections — elections of USA.

No, you heard that we had, I think, good phone call.  It was normal.  We spoke about many things.  And I — so I think, and you read it, that nobody pushed — pushed me.

Yes.

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  In other words, no pressure.

Q    President Trump, would — President Trump, would you like Mr. Zelensky to —

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Because you know what?  There was no pressure.  And you know there was — and, by the way, you know there was no pressure.  All you have to do it see it, what went on on the call.  But you know that.  But you can ask a question, and I appreciate the answer.

Go ahead.

Q    Mr. President, would you like President Zelensky to do more on Joe Biden and investigate (inaudible)?

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  No.  I want him to do whatever he can.  This was not his fault; he wasn’t there.  He’s just been here recently.  But whatever he can do in terms of corruption, because the corruption is massive.

Now, when Biden’s son walks away with millions of dollars from Ukraine, and he knows nothing, and they’re paying him millions of dollars, that’s corruption.

When Biden’s son walks out of China with $1.5 billion in a fund — and the biggest funds in the world can’t get money out of China — and he’s there for one quick meeting, and he flies in on Air Force Two, I think that’s a horrible thing.  I think it’s a horrible thing.

But I’m going far beyond that.  I know the President, and I’ve read a lot about Ukraine.  I’ve read a lot about a lot of countries.  He wants to stop corruption.

He was elected — I think, number one — on the basis of stopping corruption, which unfortunately has plagued Ukraine.  And if he could do that, he’s doing, really, the whole world a big favor.  I know — and I think he’s going to be successful.

Q    Mr. President, on Rudy Giuliani, why do you think it’s appropriate for your personal attorney to get involved in government business?

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Well, you’d have to ask Rudy.  I will tell you —

Q    You mentioned it to the President here.

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  I will tell you this, that Rudy is looking to also find out where the phony witch hunt started, how it started.  You had a Russian witch hunt that turned out to be two and half years of phony nonsense.

And Rudy Giuliani is a great lawyer.  He was a great mayor.  He’s highly respected.  I’ve watched the passion that he’s had on television over the last few days.  I think it’s incredible the way he’s done.

What he’s at is he wants to find out where did this Russian witch hunt that you people really helped perpetrate — where did it start.  How come it started?  It was all nonsense.  It was a hoax.  It was a total hoax.  It was a media hoax and a Democrat hoax.  Where did it start?

And Rudy has got every right to go and find out where that started.  And other people are looking at that, too.  Where did it start?  The enablers — where did it all come from?  It was out of thin air.  And I think he’s got a very strong right to do it.  He’s a good lawyer; he knows exactly what he’s doing.  And it’s very important.

Q    Mr. President, do you believe that the emails from Hillary Clinton — do you believe that they’re in Ukraine?  Do you think this whole thing originated —

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  I think they could be.  You mean the 30,000 that she deleted?

Q    Yes.

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Yeah, I think they could very well — boy, that was a nice question.  I like that question.  (Laughter.)  Because, frankly, I think that one of the great crimes committed is Hillary Clinton deleting 33,000 emails after Congress sends her a subpoena.  Think of that.  You can’t even do that in a civil case; you can’t get rid of evidence like that.  She deleted 33,000 emails after — not before — after receiving the subpoena from the U.S. Congress.

I mean, I have never heard — now, she’s done far worse than that.  Although, I don’t know how much worse it can be.  But there were many other things she did that were wrong.  But that’s so obvious.  She gets a subpoena from the United States Congress and she deletes them.  And then she said, as I remember it, that, “Oh, well, they had to do with the wedding and yoga.”  She does a lot of yoga, right?  So they had 33,000 emails about the wedding of her daughter and yoga.  I don’t think so.

How she got away with that one is just — but it’s one of many.  And it’s corrupt government.  Because we have corruption also, Mr. President.  We have a lot of corruption in our government.  And when you see what happened with Hillary Clinton, when you see what happened with Comey, and McCabe, and all of these people — we have a lot of things going on here too.  Hopefully, it’s going to be found out very soon.  But I think that a lot of progress has been made.  A lot of progress has been made.

Q    Will the military aid continue?  Can you assure that it will continue in the future?

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Well, we’re working with Ukraine.  And we want other countries to work with Ukraine.  When I saw “work,” I’m referring to money.  They should put up more money.  We put up a lot of money.  I gave you anti-tank busters that — frankly, President Obama was sending you pillows and sheets.  And I gave you anti-tank busters.  And a lot of people didn’t want to do that, but I did it.

And I really hope that Russia — because I really believe that President Putin would like to do something.  I really hope that you and President Putin get together and can solve your problem.  That would be a tremendous achievement.  And I know you’re trying to do that.

Q    President Zelensky, in the phone call, you said that you would look into Joe Biden — you would ask your prosecutor to look into the matter.  Have you had that conversation —

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Well, I think — no, I haven’t.  But I think that — I think this —

Q    I’m asking President Zelensky.

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  I think that somebody, if you look at what he did, it’s so bad — where his son he goes to China, he walks away with a billion and a half dollars.  He goes to Ukraine and he walks away with $50,000 a month and a lot of money in addition to that.  And the whole thing with the prosecutor in Ukraine.

And he’s on tape.  This isn’t like “maybe he did it, maybe he didn’t.”  He’s on tape doing this.  I saw this a while ago.  I looked at it and I said, “That’s incredible.  I’ve never seen anything like that.”  Now, either he’s dumb, or he thought he was in a room full of really good friends, or maybe it’s a combination of both, in his case.

Q    President Zelensky —

PRESIDENT ZELENSKY:  I heard your question.  Thank you very much.  Don’t cry.

I mean that we have independent country and independent general security.  I can’t push anyone, you know?  That’s it.  That is the question — that is the answer.   So I didn’t call somebody or the new general security.  I didn’t ask him.  I didn’t push him.  That’s it.

Q    Do you feel obligated to fulfill your promises to President Trump?

PRESIDENT ZELENSKY:  Just — sorry.

Q    (Speaks Ukrainian.)

PRESIDENT ZELENSKY:  (Speaks Ukrainian.)

(As interpreted.)  Obligated to do what?  (Speaks Ukrainian.)

Q    (Speaks Ukrainian.)

PRESIDENT ZELENSKY:  (Speaks Ukrainian.)

Q    (Speaks Ukrainian.)

PRESIDENT ZELENSKY:  (Speaks Ukrainian.)

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  You want to just —

PRESIDENT ZELENSKY:  I’m sorry.

(As interpreted.)  Concerning the investigation, actually, I want to underscore that Ukraine is an independent country.  We have a new prosecutor general in Ukraine — a highly professional man with a Western education and history to investigate any case he considers and deems appropriate.

While we have many more issues to care about and to tackle, we have (inaudible), we have Maidan, we have corruption cases, as President Trump rightly mentioned about that.  So we know what to do, and we know where to go and what to tackle.

Q    President Trump, is it appropriate to ask the Attorney General to be involved in this matter?

THE PRESIDENT:  Go ahead.

Q    Did you ask House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to find a way out of impeachment yesterday?

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Not at all.  No.  Look, she’s lost her way.  She’s been taken over by the radical left.  She may be a radical left herself, but she really has lost her way.  I spoke to her about guns yesterday.  She didn’t even know what I was talking about.  She’s not interested in guns.

Q    Did it even come up or no?

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  I’ll tell you what: Nancy Pelosi is not interested in guns and gun protection and gun safety.  All she is thinking about is this.  She’s been taken over by the radical left, the whole Democrat Party.  And you take a look at what’s happening in the media today.  The whole party is taken over by the left.

And thank you very much.  My poll numbers have gone up.  But I don’t want it to go up for this reason.  When they look, and when you see what’s happening, people are really angry at Democrats.  They’re really angry at the Democrat Party.

And things like, as an example, drug pricing — getting drugs down — things like gun safety, infrastructure, the Democrats can’t talk about that because they’ve been taken over by a radical group of people.  And Nancy Pelosi, as far as I’m concerned, unfortunately she’s no longer the Speaker of the House.

Thank you very much, everybody.  Thank you.  Thank you very much.

Remarks by President Trump and President Zelensky of Ukraine Before Bilateral Meeting | New York, NY

 Issued on: September 25, 2019 Whitehouse.Gov

InterContinental New York Barclay
New York, New York

2:19 P.M. EDT

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Well, thank you very much, everybody.  We’re with the President of Ukraine, and he’s made me more famous, and I’ve made him more famous.  (Laughter.)  I will say he’s got a great reputation.  He’s very, very strongly looking into all sorts of corruption and some of the problems they’ve had over the years.  I think it’s one of the primary reasons he got elected.  His reputation is absolutely sterling.  And it’s an honor to be with you.

And we spoke a couple of times, as you probably remember.  And they’d like to hear every single word, and we give them every single word, and then they’ll say, “Well, about today?”  I think the press would like to stay in the meeting, but we have lots of witnesses, if you’d like to have it.

But the country of — our country is doing phenomenally well.  We are — we have the best economy we’ve ever had.  We have the best employment numbers that we’ve ever had.  We have now almost 160 million people working, which is more than we’ve ever had.  So we’re doing very well in every respect.  And I have a feeling that your country is going to do fantastically well.  And whatever we can do.  You just take care of yourself.  Thank you.

PRESIDENT ZELENSKY:  Thank you very much.  Thank you very much, Mr. President.

Thank you very much.  It’s a great pleasure to me to be here, and it’s better to be on TV than by phone, I think.

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Yeah.  (Laughter.)

PRESIDENT ZELENSKY:  And, Mr. President, thank you very much.  And I’m not the first time to stay in New York —

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Right.

PRESIDENT ZELENSKY:  — but I know that you’ve never been in Ukraine.

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  That’s right.

PRESIDENT ZELENSKY:  And your predecessor also — how do you say it in English? — didn’t find time; I mean that.  (Laughter.)

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Right.

PRESIDENT ZELENSKY:  So, can you give me a word that you will come to our great country?

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Well, I’m going to try.  (Laughter.)  And I know a lot of people — I will say this: I know a lot of people from Ukraine.  They’re great people.  And I owned something called the Miss Universe pageants years ago, and I sold it to IMG.  And when I ran for President, I thought maybe it wouldn’t be the greatest thing to own the Miss Universe and Miss USA pageants.  But it’s a great thing.  And we had a winner from Ukraine, and we’ve really had — we got to know the country very well in a lot of different ways.  But it’s a country, I think, with tremendous potential.

PRESIDENT ZELENSKY:  Yes, I know it, because I’m from this country.

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Right.  (Laughter.)

PRESIDENT ZELENSKY:  And I want to thank you for the invitation to Washington.

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Right.

PRESIDENT ZELENSKY:  You invited me.  But I think — I’m sorry, but I think you forgot to tell me the date.  (Laughter.)  But I think in the near future.

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  They’ll tell you the date.

PRESIDENT ZELENSKY:  (Laughs.)  Yes, they know before us.  And I want to thank you — to thank you, especially, Mr. President, to USA, to your government.  Like I said, I know many people, many faces, like the Second Family, after you — my Ukrainian family, we know each other.

Thank you for your support, especially now when — you know, when we have two — really, two wars in Ukraine.  The first one is with corruption, you know.  But we’ll fight — no, we’ll be winner in this fight, I’m sure.  And the priority — my priority is to stop the war on Donbass and to get back our territories: Crimea, Donbass, Luhansk.

Thank you for your support in this case.  Thank you very much.

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Well, thank you very much, Mr. President.  If you remember, you lost Crimea during a different administration, not during the Trump administration.

PRESIDENT ZELENSKY:  Yeah.  So you have chance to help us.

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  That’s right.  I do.  But that was during the Obama administration that you lost Crimea, and I didn’t think it was something that you should have.  But that was done a long time ago, and I think it was handled poorly.  But it’s just one of those things.

One of the elements that we discussed is the United States helps Ukraine, but I think that other countries should help Ukraine much more than they’re doing — Germany, France, the European Union nations.  They really should help you a lot more.  And I think maybe, together, we’ll work on that.  They have to feel a little bit guilty about it because they don’t do what they should be doing.

You’re very important to the European Union.  You’re very important — strategically, very important.  And I think they should spend a lot more in helping Ukraine.  And they know that also, and they actually tell me that, but they don’t seem to produce.  So I’m sure you’ll talk to them, and I’ll certainly be talking to them.

PRESIDENT ZELENSKY:  Thank you very much, Mr. President.  And, you know, now we need — I want to tell you that we now (inaudible) the new country.  And, I’m sorry, but we don’t need help; we need support.  Real support.  And we thank — thank everybody, thank all of the European countries; they each help us.  But we also want to have more — more.  But I understand, so only together, America and EU — only together we can stop the war.  And, you know, we are ready.  We just want to tell that we are — remember that we are the biggest country in Europe, but we want to be the richest one.  It’s true; it’s in my heart.

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Well, you know, you have great people in Ukraine, and you have very talented people —

PRESIDENT ZELENSKY:  Very smart.

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  — in terms of manufacturing, in terms of some of the things they do.  And we’ll be doing — we’re doing trading already, but we should be doing a lot more trading with Ukraine.  But you have very talented people.  They make great things.  You’re at the top of the line, really.  So that’s very important.

And the other thing is I’ve heard you actually have — over the last fairly short period of time, you’ve really made some progress with Russia.  I hear a lot of progress has been made.  And just keep it going.  It’d be nice to end that whole disaster.

PRESIDENT ZELENSKY:  First of all, I want to tell you, before — before the relations with Russia — I will prolong, just one minute — I mean, you have to know — I want world to know that now we have the new team, the new parliament, the new government.

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Right.

PRESIDENT ZELENSKY:  So now we (inaudible) about 74 laws, new laws, which help for our new reforms: land reform, big privatization.  They did the law about concessions.  Did — we (inaudible) general for security, and we launched the Service Secretary.

Is it right Service Secretary?

AIDE:  Yes.  Anti-corruption court, as well.

PRESIDENT ZELENSKY:  An anti-corruption court.  As we came, we did — we launched the anti-corruption court.  It began to work on the 5th of September.  It was — you know, it was — after five days, we had the new government.

So, we are ready.  We want to show that we — we just come.  And if somebody, if you — if you want to help us, so just let’s do businesses cases.  We have many investment cases.  We’re ready.

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  And stop corruption in Ukraine, because that will really make you great.  That will make you great personally, and it’ll also be so tremendous for your nation, in terms of what you want to do and where you want to take it.

Thank you very much.  It’s a great honor.

PRESIDENT ZELENSKY:  Thank you very much, Mr. President.

Q    President Zelensky, have you felt any pressure from President Trump to investigate Joe Biden and Hunter Biden?

PRESIDENT ZELENSKY:  I think you read everything.  So I think you read text.  I’m sorry, but I don’t want to be involved to democratic, open elections — elections of USA.

No, you heard that we had, I think, good phone call.  It was normal.  We spoke about many things.  And I — so I think, and you read it, that nobody pushed — pushed me.

Yes.

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  In other words, no pressure.

Q    President Trump, would — President Trump, would you like Mr. Zelensky to —

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Because you know what?  There was no pressure.  And you know there was — and, by the way, you know there was no pressure.  All you have to do it see it, what went on on the call.  But you know that.  But you can ask a question, and I appreciate the answer.

Go ahead.

Q    Mr. President, would you like President Zelensky to do more on Joe Biden and investigate (inaudible)?

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  No.  I want him to do whatever he can.  This was not his fault; he wasn’t there.  He’s just been here recently.  But whatever he can do in terms of corruption, because the corruption is massive.

Now, when Biden’s son walks away with millions of dollars from Ukraine, and he knows nothing, and they’re paying him millions of dollars, that’s corruption.

When Biden’s son walks out of China with $1.5 billion in a fund — and the biggest funds in the world can’t get money out of China — and he’s there for one quick meeting, and he flies in on Air Force Two, I think that’s a horrible thing.  I think it’s a horrible thing.

But I’m going far beyond that.  I know the President, and I’ve read a lot about Ukraine.  I’ve read a lot about a lot of countries.  He wants to stop corruption.

He was elected — I think, number one — on the basis of stopping corruption, which unfortunately has plagued Ukraine.  And if he could do that, he’s doing, really, the whole world a big favor.  I know — and I think he’s going to be successful.

Q    Mr. President, on Rudy Giuliani, why do you think it’s appropriate for your personal attorney to get involved in government business?

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Well, you’d have to ask Rudy.  I will tell you —

Q    You mentioned it to the President here.

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  I will tell you this, that Rudy is looking to also find out where the phony witch hunt started, how it started.  You had a Russian witch hunt that turned out to be two and half years of phony nonsense.

And Rudy Giuliani is a great lawyer.  He was a great mayor.  He’s highly respected.  I’ve watched the passion that he’s had on television over the last few days.  I think it’s incredible the way he’s done.

What he’s at is he wants to find out where did this Russian witch hunt that you people really helped perpetrate — where did it start.  How come it started?  It was all nonsense.  It was a hoax.  It was a total hoax.  It was a media hoax and a Democrat hoax.  Where did it start?

And Rudy has got every right to go and find out where that started.  And other people are looking at that, too.  Where did it start?  The enablers — where did it all come from?  It was out of thin air.  And I think he’s got a very strong right to do it.  He’s a good lawyer; he knows exactly what he’s doing.  And it’s very important.

Q    Mr. President, do you believe that the emails from Hillary Clinton — do you believe that they’re in Ukraine?  Do you think this whole thing originated —

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  I think they could be.  You mean the 30,000 that she deleted?

Q    Yes.

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Yeah, I think they could very well — boy, that was a nice question.  I like that question.  (Laughter.)  Because, frankly, I think that one of the great crimes committed is Hillary Clinton deleting 33,000 emails after Congress sends her a subpoena.  Think of that.  You can’t even do that in a civil case; you can’t get rid of evidence like that.  She deleted 33,000 emails after — not before — after receiving the subpoena from the U.S. Congress.

I mean, I have never heard — now, she’s done far worse than that.  Although, I don’t know how much worse it can be.  But there were many other things she did that were wrong.  But that’s so obvious.  She gets a subpoena from the United States Congress and she deletes them.  And then she said, as I remember it, that, “Oh, well, they had to do with the wedding and yoga.”  She does a lot of yoga, right?  So they had 33,000 emails about the wedding of her daughter and yoga.  I don’t think so.

How she got away with that one is just — but it’s one of many.  And it’s corrupt government.  Because we have corruption also, Mr. President.  We have a lot of corruption in our government.  And when you see what happened with Hillary Clinton, when you see what happened with Comey, and McCabe, and all of these people — we have a lot of things going on here too.  Hopefully, it’s going to be found out very soon.  But I think that a lot of progress has been made.  A lot of progress has been made.

Q    Will the military aid continue?  Can you assure that it will continue in the future?

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Well, we’re working with Ukraine.  And we want other countries to work with Ukraine.  When I saw “work,” I’m referring to money.  They should put up more money.  We put up a lot of money.  I gave you anti-tank busters that — frankly, President Obama was sending you pillows and sheets.  And I gave you anti-tank busters.  And a lot of people didn’t want to do that, but I did it.

And I really hope that Russia — because I really believe that President Putin would like to do something.  I really hope that you and President Putin get together and can solve your problem.  That would be a tremendous achievement.  And I know you’re trying to do that.

Q    President Zelensky, in the phone call, you said that you would look into Joe Biden — you would ask your prosecutor to look into the matter.  Have you had that conversation —

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Well, I think — no, I haven’t.  But I think that — I think this —

Q    I’m asking President Zelensky.

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  I think that somebody, if you look at what he did, it’s so bad — where his son he goes to China, he walks away with a billion and a half dollars.  He goes to Ukraine and he walks away with $50,000 a month and a lot of money in addition to that.  And the whole thing with the prosecutor in Ukraine.

And he’s on tape.  This isn’t like “maybe he did it, maybe he didn’t.”  He’s on tape doing this.  I saw this a while ago.  I looked at it and I said, “That’s incredible.  I’ve never seen anything like that.”  Now, either he’s dumb, or he thought he was in a room full of really good friends, or maybe it’s a combination of both, in his case.

Q    President Zelensky —

PRESIDENT ZELENSKY:  I heard your question.  Thank you very much.  Don’t cry.

I mean that we have independent country and independent general security.  I can’t push anyone, you know?  That’s it.  That is the question — that is the answer.   So I didn’t call somebody or the new general security.  I didn’t ask him.  I didn’t push him.  That’s it.

Q    Do you feel obligated to fulfill your promises to President Trump?

PRESIDENT ZELENSKY:  Just — sorry.

Q    (Speaks Ukrainian.)

PRESIDENT ZELENSKY:  (Speaks Ukrainian.)

(As interpreted.)  Obligated to do what?  (Speaks Ukrainian.)

Q    (Speaks Ukrainian.)

PRESIDENT ZELENSKY:  (Speaks Ukrainian.)

Q    (Speaks Ukrainian.)

PRESIDENT ZELENSKY:  (Speaks Ukrainian.)

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  You want to just —

PRESIDENT ZELENSKY:  I’m sorry.

(As interpreted.)  Concerning the investigation, actually, I want to underscore that Ukraine is an independent country.  We have a new prosecutor general in Ukraine — a highly professional man with a Western education and history to investigate any case he considers and deems appropriate.

While we have many more issues to care about and to tackle, we have (inaudible), we have Maidan, we have corruption cases, as President Trump rightly mentioned about that.  So we know what to do, and we know where to go and what to tackle.

Q    President Trump, is it appropriate to ask the Attorney General to be involved in this matter?

THE PRESIDENT:  Go ahead.

Q    Did you ask House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to find a way out of impeachment yesterday?

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Not at all.  No.  Look, she’s lost her way.  She’s been taken over by the radical left.  She may be a radical left herself, but she really has lost her way.  I spoke to her about guns yesterday.  She didn’t even know what I was talking about.  She’s not interested in guns.

Q    Did it even come up or no?

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  I’ll tell you what: Nancy Pelosi is not interested in guns and gun protection and gun safety.  All she is thinking about is this.  She’s been taken over by the radical left, the whole Democrat Party.  And you take a look at what’s happening in the media today.  The whole party is taken over by the left.

And thank you very much.  My poll numbers have gone up.  But I don’t want it to go up for this reason.  When they look, and when you see what’s happening, people are really angry at Democrats.  They’re really angry at the Democrat Party.

And things like, as an example, drug pricing — getting drugs down — things like gun safety, infrastructure, the Democrats can’t talk about that because they’ve been taken over by a radical group of people.  And Nancy Pelosi, as far as I’m concerned, unfortunately she’s no longer the Speaker of the House.

Thank you very much, everybody.  Thank you.  Thank you very much.

END

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