While critics allege that President Trump threatened to withhold nearly $400 in U.S. military aid if Ukraine didn’t investigate potential corruption involving Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden, the timeline on that thesis is hardly crystal clear.
The $400 million in aid was disbursed on September 11th – the administration initially planned on disbursing the aid in February, but did not. White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney had told reporters in mid-July, a week before Trump’s phone call with Zelensky, that aid to Ukraine was being withheld due to concerns over its necessity.
During an interview with Japan’s Kyodo News on Saturday, Zelensky said:
“I was never pressured and there were no conditions being imposed” to realize a summit with Trump or agree to arms sales in return.
Ukrainian prosecutors will deal with any requests from their U.S. counterparts to cooperate in investigations “in accordance with our laws,” if they are made based on “international law,” Zelenskyy said.
Zelensky previously denied these newfound claims of collusion during a joint-presser with Trump.
Zelensky told Kyodo News he was merely stating that if U.S. investigators want help on the matter and take the necessary steps, then Ukraine could oblige by setting up a joint investigative committee. He also added the following:
— As a new president, he wanted to dispel the negative impression that Ukraine is riddled with corruption when he had talks with Trump in September.
— He believes each camp or institution is releasing information for its self-interest ahead of next year’s U.S. presidential election.
— Ukraine must not be embroiled in scandals associated with the election, and it does not want to be involved in them.
— He had no discussions on an investigation into former U.S. Vice President and current 2020 presidential candidate Joe Biden with the U.S. special envoy for Ukraine, Kurt Volker, as a condition for his visit to the United States.
— He would also never accept such a condition.
— The United States set no conditions, and its sale of anti-tank missiles to Ukraine was not in return for an investigation into Biden.
— The United States cannot pressure him, president of an independent country.
And lastly, Zelensky additionally pointed out that Ukraine’s Constitution prevents the President from having the power to compel their prosecutor-general or investigative authorities to investigate a particular inquiry.
If there was someone to pressure, it wouldn’t have been him.