President Donald Trump repeatedly encouraged Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to work with his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani and U.S. Attorney General William Barr to investigate Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, according to a memorandum about a July phone call between the two leaders released by the White House Wednesday morning. The memo is not verbatim.
“There’s a lot of talk about Biden’s son, that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that, so whatever you can do with the Attorney General would be great,” Trump told Zelensky. “Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution so if you can look into it… It sounds horrible to me.”
While President Trump invoked Biden’s name, it was Zelensky who brought Giuliani into the conversation. Trump later said, “Rudy very much knows what’s happening and he is a very capable guy. If you could speak to him that would be great.”
The crux of the debate surrounding Joe Biden’s conduct in Ukraine refers back to the dismissal of the country’s former prosecutor general, Viktor Shokin, in 2016. At the time, Biden was leading U.S. policy toward Ukraine with an emphasis on cracking down on corruption, and called for Shokin to be fired.
Giuliani and Trump have accused Biden of calling for his dismissal because his office was investigating Burisma, where Biden’s son, Hunter, had a seat on the board of directors.
But the assertion that Biden acted to help his son has been undercut by widespread criticism of Shokin from several high-profile international leaders, including members of the European Union and International Monetary Fund, who said Biden's recommendation was well justified.
This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.
*Original story by ABC News.