WASHINGTON, D.C. (CBS NEWS) – President Trump said Saturday that a transcript of another call he had with the president of Ukraine will “probably” be released on Tuesday. The call took place in April after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was elected.
Concerns about Mr. Trump’s July 25 call with Zelensky, where he asked Ukraine to investigate political rival Joe Biden, sparked the ongoing House impeachment inquiry.
Mr. Trump spoke to reporters before boarding Air Force One to travel to Alabama for the Alabama-LSU football game. He repeated his assertion that the impeachment inquiry is a “witch hunt.”
“Now they wanna have a transcript of the other call, the second call, and I’m willing to provide that, we’ll probably give it to you on Tuesday. Monday being a holiday,” he said.
“But here’s the deal. Read the transcript, you’ll see the call. Now, I’ll give you a second transcript because I actually had two calls with the President of Ukraine so you’ll read the second call and you’ll tell me if you think there’s anything wrong with it,” Mr. Trump added.
He had suggested to reporters on Friday that he would release the transcript of the April call with Zelensky.
“I had a second call with the president which actually, I believe, came before this one, and now they all want that one. And if they want it, I’ll give it to them,” Mr. Trump said on Friday, seemingly referring to House investigators.
Mr. Trump has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing in his July 25 call, where he asked Zelensky to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden. He has urged the public to read the transcript of that call that was released by the White House in September.
That document, however, is not an exact transcript, but instead a memorandum summarizing the call. Alexander Vindman, a National Security Counsel official who participated in the call, said in a closed hearing before the House Intelligence Committee that the call summary released by the White House had removed certain words and phrases.
In his testimony, Vindman said Mr. Trump commented during the July 25 call that there were “recordings” of misdeeds by former Vice President Joe Biden. According to Vindman’s recollections and his contemporaneous notes of the call, Mr. Trump’s comments that “there are recordings” were replaced in the call summary by ellipses.
In this portion of the call, Mr. Trump said, “Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution, so if you can look into it.” This is followed in the call summary by ellipses, but Vindman was saying that the next words were “There are recordings.”
Vindman also said Zelensky specifically referred in the call to Burisma, the Ukrainian gas firm with ties to Hunter Biden. But the call summary replaced that with “the company.”
He told lawmakers that the details about the edits are not just the way he remembers them. “This is what’s in my notes,” he said. These notes are “in my highly classified notebook,” Vindman said.
The House Intelligence Committee will hold the first open hearings as part of the impeachment inquiry next week. On Wednesday, Americans will hear from Bill Taylor, the U.S. special envoy to Ukraine; and George Kent, deputy assistant secretary of state