Trump Only Wanted Communications With Ukraine If Biden Was Discussed, Ukrainian Adviser Claims

An adviser to the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has claimed it was understood that a condition of a phone call with President Donald Trump was that his potential rival, Democrat Joe Biden, be discussed.

Speaking with ABC News, anti-corruption advocate Serhiy Leshchenko, who until recently worked closely with Zelenskiy, said that it was clear that Trump would only have communications with his Ukrainian counterpart if they will discuss the Biden case.

"This issue was raised many times. I know that Ukrainian officials understood," he added, also telling the network that, when elected at the beginning of 2019, Zelenskiy had been keen to secure a phone call with Trump.

Trump's conversation with Zelenskiy about investigating Biden and his son Hunter, and allegations he held up aid to the Ukraine in connection with the conversation, is now the subject of a formal impeachment inquiry, as announced by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Tuesday, following mounting pressure from Democrats.

For his part, the president has denied any wrongdoing regarding his conversation with Zelenskiy. The White House released a summary of the call on Wednesday, in which Trump is quoted as discussing, among other things, "a very poor performance by a man named Robert Mueller"; the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine; and Biden. Republicans and officials have described the document as a "transcript," but the document itself states that it does not contain a verbatim transcript of the conversation.

"The former ambassador from the United States, the woman, was bad news and the people she was dealing with in the Ukraine were bad news so I just want to let you know that," Trump said.

"There's a lot of talk about Biden's son, that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that so whatever you can do with the Attorney General would be great. Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution so if you can look into it... It sounds horrible to me," he added.

The president has dismissed concern around the phone call as a "witch hunt" and suggested he was suffering from "presidential harassment."

"There has been no President in the history of our Country who has been treated so badly as I have. The Democrats are frozen with hatred and fear. They get nothing done. This should never be allowed to happen to another President. Witch Hunt!" he tweeted on Wednesday, also sharing messages that stressed there was no "quid pro quo" about aid in the conversation with the Ukrainian president.

"I have informed @GOPLeader Kevin McCarthy and all Republicans in the House that I fully support transparency on so-called whistleblower information but also insist on transparency from Joe Biden and his son Hunter, on the millions of dollars that have been quickly and easily... taken out of Ukraine and China. Additionally, I demand transparency from Democrats that went to Ukraine and attempted to force the new President to do things that they wanted under the form of political threat," he said in a series of tweets.

Trump Only Wanted Communications With Ukraine If Biden Was Discussed, Ukrainian Adviser Claims | Politics