Politics News

White House Ukraine Expert Sought to Correct Transcript of Trump Call

The note-takers and voice recognition software used during the July 25 call had missed Mr. Zelensky saying the word “Burisma,” according to people briefed on the matter, but the reconstructed transcript does refer to “the company,” and suggests that the Ukrainian president is aware that it is of great interest to Mr. Trump.

Ukraine’s prosecutor general, Mr. Zelensky said, according to the document, “will look into the situation, specifically to the company that you mentioned in this issue.”

The rough transcript also contains ellipses at three points where Mr. Trump is speaking. Colonel Vindman told investigators that at the point of the transcript where the third set of ellipses appears, Mr. Trump said there were tapes of Mr. Biden.

Mr. Trump’s mention of tapes is an apparent reference to Mr. Biden’s comments at a January 2018 event about his effort to get Ukraine to force out its prosecutor general, Viktor Shokin. Supporters of Mr. Biden have said Mr. Shokin was widely criticized for his lax anti-corruption efforts. Republicans charge, without evidence, that Mr. Biden was trying to stop an investigation into his son.

Colonel Vindman told House investigators Tuesday that he twice registered internal objections about how Mr. Trump and his inner circle were pressuring Ukraine to undertake inquiries beneficial to the president, including of Mr. Biden. After the July 25 call, the colonel reported what happened to a superior, explaining that “I did not think it was proper to demand that a foreign government investigate a U.S. citizen, and I was worried about the implications for the U.S. government’s support of Ukraine,” according to his opening remarks. He added, “This would all undermine U.S. national security.”

He also described confronting Gordon D. Sondland, the United States ambassador to the European Union, after the envoy pressed Ukrainian officials to help the Trump administration by investigating the Biden family. The colonel said he acted out of a “sense of duty,” and emphasized his military service in his remarks. “I am a patriot,” he said, “and it is my sacred duty and honor to advance and defend our country irrespective of party or politics.”

As he spoke, House leaders were preparing for what was expected to be significant new private testimony from current and former White House officials in the coming days. On Wednesday, they will hear from two Ukraine experts who advised Kurt D. Volker, the former United States special envoy to the country. On Thursday, Timothy Morrison, the National Security Council’s Russia and Europe director, is scheduled to testify. And on Friday, investigators have called Robert Blair, a top national security adviser to Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff.

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