National security officials complained to a White House lawyer about US President Donald Trump's dealings with Ukraine both before his phone call with President Volodymyr Zelensky and immediately after it, The Washington Post reported Thursday.
The US House of Representatives has launched an impeachment inquiry against Mr Trump, focused on whether he used congressionally approved aid to Ukraine as leverage to pressure Mr Zelenskiy to investigate former Vice-President Joe Biden, one of Mr Trump's main Democratic rivals as he seeks re-election in 2020. "When I did find out, I raised it with [Vice President Mike] Pence at a meeting in Warsaw", he added.
And he encouraged USA and Ukrainian prosecutors to discuss investigating a gas company linked to the son of Trump's Democratic rival, Joe Biden, although no one has produced evidence of criminal wrongdoing by the former US vice president or his son. Trump's claims that Ukraine allied with the Democrats in a plot to derail his 2016 presidential campaign, though no evidence of such a plot has emerged.
Asked whether the Ukrainian version matched up to the United States one, Mr Zelensky said: "I didn't even check, but I think that it matches completely".
"There was no blackmail".
Zelenskiy told the October 10 news conference that he didn't think there were any conditions attached to him meeting Trump, including launching an investigation involving the Bidens. Mr. Zelensky, who says he spoke in Ukrainian during the call, said the White House transcript inaccurately reflected his statement that the new prosecutor would be "a 100-per-cent honest man".
Zelenskiy said the USA has not provided any details of such interference.
He said he thought the July call would lead to an in-person meeting with Trump, and wanted the American leader to come to Ukraine. "I said that we are not corrupt [regarding the Burisma investigation], that we are open to investigating all cases, and we we'll do it according to the law".
When asked how he persuaded the U.S.to release the aid, Zelensky said: "We have many diplomatic contacts".
The July call embarrassed Zelenskiy because it showed him as eager to please Trump and critical of European partners whose support he needs to strengthen Ukraine's economy and to end the conflict with Russian Federation.