“I have never met Rudy Giuliani. Never. And never had any phone calls with him,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said today in response to a reporter’s question.
“I want to tell you that I never feel any pressure and there are very many people in the west and in Ukraine who would like to influence me,” Zelensky said.
“But I am a president of independent Ukraine and I think that, and I hope my steps demonstrate this, that it is impossible to influence me,” he added spelling doom for Pelosi’s impeachment inquiry.
From ABC: “It is impossible to put pressure on me,” he told reporters Tuesday. “Many people try to influence me,” he said, but “I am the president of independent Ukraine.”
Zelenskiy said that in discussions with Trump, he repeatedly stressed the importance of U.S. military aid to help Ukraine battle Russian-backed separatists.
In the July call, he thanked Trump for his “great support in the area of defense” and said Ukraine was ready to “cooperate for the next steps,” according to a rough transcript released by the White House. Zelenskiy suggested Tuesday that military aid was raised in other discussions, but didn’t say when they took place.
The Pentagon announced plans in June to send $250 million in aid to Ukraine, but its delivery was delayed. A defense official said last week that the Trump administration held up the money to analyze the extent to which Ukraine was addressing long-standing U.S. concerns about corruption.
The funding was then released in September.
“It wasn’t explained to me” why the money didn’t come through earlier, Zelenskiy said.
Zelenskiy also said he has never met or spoken with Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani, who has been at the heart of Trump’s effort to investigate Biden. According to the transcript of their conversation, Trump told Zelenskiy he would have Giuliani call him about pursuing an inquiry into the role of Biden’s son, Hunter, on the board of the Ukrainian gas company Burisma.
Zelenskiy is facing a dilemma over how to handle Trump’s request in the July call for Ukraine to “look into” the Bidens.
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky: "I've never met Rudy Giuliani. Never. And never had any phone calls with him." pic.twitter.com/0pA90dUokF
— The Hill (@thehill) October 1, 2019