White House Officials 'Alarmed' By Trump Contacts With Ukraine

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy speaks during talks with journalists in Kyiv Ukraine Thursday Oct. 10 2019. Ukrainian President is holding an all-day “media marathon” in a Kyiv food court amid growing questions about his actions as preside

Ukraine to investigate potential 2016 US election interference

He said that the military aid that the Trump administration froze as it reviewed the funds over concerns of corruption in Ukraine was never linked to Trump's requests to probe Crowdstrike, a firm that investigated a breach into the Democratic National Committee's computer systems, former Vice President Joe Biden, and Biden's son, Hunter Biden.

Recently disclosed text messages showed Bill Taylor, the acting U.S. ambassador in Ukraine, asking U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland, "Are we now saying that security assistance and [a White House] meeting are conditioned on investigations?" In a subsequent message, Taylor added, "I think it's insane to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign".

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has denied there was "blackmail" during his phone call with President Donald Trump that helped spark an impeachment inquiry.

Trump and Giuliani have accused Biden of calling for the dismissal of Ukraine's former prosecutor general, Viktor Shokin, back in 2016 because Shokin's office was investigating Burisma, where Biden's son had a seat on the board of directors. "This was not the subject of our conversation", Zelensky told reporters during a "media marathon" at a Kiev food court.

Zelenskiy said Thursday that Ukraine would investigate the theory because otherwise we "can't say yes or no" as to whether there was any such interference. He said it's in Ukraine's interest to determine what happened.

Asked what Ukraine did to persuade the United States to release the aid, Zelenskiy said: 'We have many diplomatic contacts.

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.

The nature and timing of the previously undisclosed discussions with National Security Council legal adviser John Eisenberg indicate that officials were delivering warnings through official White House channels earlier than previously understood - including before the call that precipitated a whistleblower complaint and the impeachment inquiry of the president. "And in case we need to find a solution to questions of this level, questions about our country's security, we use all our powerful possibilities".

The July call is central to the impeachment inquiry, and it embarrassed Zelensky because it showed him as eager to please Mr. Trump and critical of European partners whose support he needs to strengthen Ukraine's economy and to end the conflict with Russian Federation. Zelensky is trying to save his reputation and distance himself from the US political drama.

A TV and film comedian, Zelenskiy overwhelmingly won the presidency in April on promises to fight corruption and end the five-year conflict with Moscow-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine.

Zelensky has repeatedly emphasized that he felt no pressure during the call but in new remarks seemed to go further, specifically saying on October 10, "There was no blackmail". He's treading carefully to ensure continued support from the US while trying to make peace with powerful neighbor Russian Federation.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy speaks during his long time talks with journalists in Kyiv, Ukraine, Thursday, Oct. 10, 2019. -Ukrainian relations in the future, "but if there is, we'll learn about it on Twitter".

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