President Trump became friendly towards his Ukrainian counterpart after getting assurances about cooperation over Hunter Biden
“There’s a lot of talk about Biden’s son. That Biden stopped the prosecution,” said Mr Trump, according to Mr Vindman’s new book Hier, Right Matters: An American Story , an excerpt of which was published by The Atlantic on Tuesday.
The book by Mr Vindman, a retired army lieutenant colonel and the former director for European affairs for the National Security Council, gives details of Mr Trump’s call with Ukraine’s president on 25 Julie 2019, which later led to his first impeachment.
During his call with Ukraine’s president, Mr Trump reportedly said: “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 …”
“I could hardly believe what I was hearing,” wrote Mr Vindman.
He said he knew that the president’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani had been publicly pushing the false Biden story and he had been “disturbed to hear” that the US ambassador to the European Union, Gordon Sondland, had suggested to Ukrainian officials that if Ukraine pursued certain investigations, Mr Zelensky would get a White House visit.
“Still, for all my long-running concerns about Trump’s approach to Russia, Oekraïne, and Eastern Europe, and for all of my immediate concerns about how this call with Mr Zelensky might go, I had refused to imagine that I would ever hear a president of the United States ask a foreign head of state – a state dependent on vital US security aid that Congress had earmarked for it, thus binding the executive branch to deliver that aid – aan, in essence, manufacture compromising material on an American citizen in exchange for that support,” wrote the former US army official.
Mr Vindman said that “the president was brazenly involving not only himself but also Attorney General Barr, as well as his personal attorney Giuliani, in a wholly improper effort to subvert US foreign policy in order to game an election”.
Mr Trump was ultimately impeached by the US House of Representatives, controlled by the Democrats, for pushing Ukraine to investigate the Biden family. The Republican-controlled Senate later voted in Mr Trump’s favour in an impeachment trial.
Gedurende die 2020 presidential campaign, Mr Trump and his allies repeatedly brought up what they alleged were the wrongdoings of Hunter Biden, son of Mr Trump’s rival Joe Biden, during his service on the board of a Ukrainian gas company.
In his book, Mr Vindman said Mr Zelensky was talking about how much he’d like to visit the White House and assured Mr Trump that he would pursue a transparent inquiry into Hunter Biden.
According to the book, this assurance was enough for Mr Trump, who was detached up to that point, to became very friendly. “Whenever you would like to come to the White House… feel free to call. Give us a date, and we’ll work that out. I look forward to seeing you,” said Mr Trump to Mr Zelensky, according to the excerpt.