The Latest: President Trump says he put ‘no pressure’ on Zelenskiy

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WASHINGTON (AP) – President Donald Trump says he placed “no pressure” on Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to investigate Democratic political rival Joe Biden.

Trump commented Wednesday during a meeting in New York with Zelenskiy on the sidelines of the annual U.N. General Assembly.

Asked about their July telephone call, Zelenskiy said it was a “good phone call” and “normal” and that he and Trump discussed “many things.”

Zelenskiy adds: “Nobody pushed me.”

A rough transcript summarizing the call that the White House released Wednesday shows Trump repeatedly prodded Zelenskiy to work with the U.S. attorney general and Trump’s personal attorney to investigate Biden, a former U.S. vice president.

The call is the subject of a whistleblower complaint against Trump and the basis for Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s decision to open an impeachment inquiry.

Four House Democratic committee chairmen are saying that a rough transcript of a phone call between President Donald Trump and Ukraine’s president “confirms our worst fears.”

The Democrats say the call was a “shakedown” because Trump asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to investigate political rival Joe Biden and his family.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Elijah Cummings and House Foreign Affairs Chairman Eliot Engel said the call was a “betrayal” and they want to speak to those knowledgeable about the efforts to secure the political help and a decision to temporarily freeze military aid to Ukraine.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi fully endorsed an impeachment investigation on Tuesday and six committees are investigating the president.

On Wednesday, U.S. Congressman Clay Higgins released this statement on the probe announcement: “I’ve reviewed the transcript. There is no quid pro quo and no evidence of Constitutionally impeachable behavior. To the surprise of no one, we’ve also learned that the whistleblower was a deep state actor with a clear political bias against President Trump. Democrats have been consumed with their hatred of President Trump since he was elected.”

12:40 p.m.

House Democratic leaders are calling President Donald Trump’s conversation with the Ukraine president a “shake down” of a foreign leader for his own reelection campaign.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi says Trump “engaged in behavior that undermines the integrity of our elections” and national security.

The Trump administration released a rough transcript of the call in which Trump asks Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to dig up dirt on Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.

Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff, the chairman of the Intelligence Committee, says Trump sounds like a “mafia boss.”

He calls it “powerful evidence” of an impeachable office.

The House has opened an impeachment inquiry over Trump’s actions and the administration’s refusal to turn over a whistleblower’s complaint.

Pelosi said, “Congress must act.”


12:05 p.m.

Utah Sen. Mitt Romney says that he has read the rough transcript of the call between President Donald Trump and the Ukrainian president and finds it “deeply troubling.”

Asked whether what he saw in the rough transcript amounted to direct quid pro quo, Romney said that “if the president of the United States asks or presses the leader of a foreign country to carry out an investigation of a political nature, that’s troubling.”

Romney was the 2012 Republican presidential candidate. He spoke Wednesday at The Atlantic Festival in Washington shortly after the White House released its rough transcript of the July call between Trump and the newly elected Ukrainian leader.

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11:05 p.m.

President Donald Trump says “there was no pressure whatsoever” when he spoke with Ukraine’s leader about working with Rudy Giuliani and the U.S. attorney general to investigate Democratic political rival Joe Biden.

The conversation between Trump and Ukraine’s president is just one piece of a whistleblower’s complaint made in mid-August. The White House released a rough transcript of the call on Wednesday.

The complaint is central to the impeachment inquiry announced Tuesday by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Trump says the impeachment inquiry is the “single greatest witch hunt in American history.” He also says of the call that it turned out to be “a nothing call.”

Trump’s comments Wednesday came as he met with world leaders in New York after addressing the U.N. General Assembly the day before.

Trump emphasized how well the economy is doing.

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