Trump says he discussed 'corruption' with Ukraine's president
US President Donald Trump says he spoke to Ukraine's new president about his summer election and the fact that "we don't want our people, like Vice President Biden and his son" contributing to corruption already happening in the Eastern European nation.
Mr Trump appeared to stop just short of acknowledging that he discussed potential Democratic presidential rival Joe Biden and Mr Biden's son, Hunter, with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, during a July 25 telephone conversation that is now the basis of a whistleblower complaint against the president.
"The conversation I had was largely congratulatory, was largely corruption, all of the corruption taking place," Mr Trump said before departing on a trip to Texas and Ohio.
"Was largely the fact that we don't want our people, like Vice President Biden and his son, creating to the corruption already in the Ukraine."
"Ukraine's got a lot of problems," he added.
"The new president is saying that he's going to be able to rid the country of corruption and I said that would be a great thing.
"We had a great conversation. We had a conversation on many things."
A person familiar with the matter has told The Associated Press that Mr Trump urged Mr Zelenskiy to investigate Hunter Biden, who worked for a Ukrainian gas company.
The person wasn't authorised to discuss the issue publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.
Mr Trump insisted anew Sunday that he said "absolutely nothing wrong" to Mr Zelenskiy, describing the conversation as "absolutely a 10" and "perfect".
He did not answer directly when asked if he would release a transcript of the conversation to the public.
The president also seemed to suggest that his assurances that he behaved appropriately during the call should be enough to satisfy critics.
The White House did not immediately respond to a request to clarify the president's comments referencing the Bidens.
Mr Trump and Mr Zelenskiy plan to meet on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly later this week.
The president has described the whistleblower as a "partisan" but has acknowledged not knowing the identity of the intelligence official who lodged a formal complaint against him with the inspector general for the intelligence community.
What the call was allegedly about
The complaint was based on a series of events, including the July 25 call between Mr Trump and Mr Zelenskiy, according to two people familiar with the matter.
They were not authorised to discuss the issue by name and were granted anonymity.
According to one of the people, who was briefed on the call, Mr Trump urged Mr Zelenskiy to probe the activities of Hunter Biden.
Mr Trump did not raise the issue of US aid to Ukraine, indicating there was not an explicit quid pro quo, according to the person.
Mr Biden said in Iowa yesterday that "Trump deserves to be investigated" for "trying to intimidate a foreign leader, if that's what happened".
Mr Biden said Mr Trump was motivated by politics "because he knows I'll beat him like a drum".
There has been no evidence yet of wrongdoing by Mr Biden or Hunter Biden regarding Ukraine.
How some are reacting to the whistleblower's claims
Michael Atkinson, the US government's intelligence inspector general, has described the whistleblower's August 12 complaint as "serious" and "urgent", but he has not been allowed to turn over the complaint to Congress, a move that he created a fresh clash between the government's executive and legislative branches.
It also has raised questions about whether Joseph Maguire, the acting director of national intelligence and Mr Atkinson's superior, is working with the Justice Department to protect the president.
Mr Maguire has refused to discuss details of the whistleblower complaint, but he has been subpoenaed and is expected to testify publicly on Thursday.
Mr Maguire and Mr Atkinson also are expected to appear before the Senate Intelligence Committee this week.
Democrats say the administration is legally required to give Congress access to the complaint.
The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Rep Adam Schiff, D-Calif., has said he will go to court in an effort to get it if necessary.
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