President Donald Trump admitted on Sunday that he and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky discussed former Vice President Joe Biden during a July phone call, an admission that raised eyebrows and sparked scrutiny as to whether the Trump was using his power in order to target a political rival, according to NBC News.
However, Trump insisted that there was nothing untoward about his conversation when addressing reporters on the White House South Lawn.
“No quid pro quo, there was nothing,” Trump said. “It was a perfect conversation.”
During the call, Trump reportedly pressured Zelensky to investigate Biden, who is currently leading polls as the Democratic favorite for the 2020 elections, and Biden’s son business dealings in Ukraine.
Reports have signaled that the call happened while Ukraine was still waiting on military aid from the U.S., sparking suspicions that Trump was attempting a quid pro quo agreement.
But Trump insisted that was not the case.
“I’m not looking to hurt Biden or even hold him to it,” Trump said on Sunday. “Now me, on the other hand, my conversation with the new president of Ukraine was perfect.”
Trump said that while Biden was mentioned, there was “absolutely nothing wrong” with the call.
“The conversation I had was largely congratulatory, with largely corruption, all of the corruption taking place and largely the fact that we don’t want our people like Vice President Biden and his son creating the corruption already in the Ukraine and Ukraine has got a lot of problems,” Trump said, according to NBC. “The new president is saying that he’s going to be able to rid the country of corruption, and I said that would be a great thing, we had a great conversation.”
Of course, the possible implications of the conversation has lit a firestorm across Washington. Biden lashed back at the President, accusing Trump of using his power to “smear” him.
In the meanwhile, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi sent out a warning, slamming the Trump administration for refusing to hand over the complaint, saying it “will be entering a grave new chapter of lawlessness” if they continue to sidestep.
Pelosi warned in her letter that if the refusals continue it would constitute a “serious possible breach of constitutional duties” by the president, which would lead Congress “into a whole new stage of investigation.”
Pelosi has given acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire until Thursday, when he is scheduled to appear at the House Intelligence Committee, to hand over the complaint.