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House Republicans Demand Release of Biden-Zelensky Transcript

Newsweek logo Newsweek 1/28/2022 Darragh Roche
US President Joe Biden speaks during the US Conference of Mayors 90th Annual Winter Meeting in Washington, DC, January 21, 2022. House Republicans are calling for Biden to release the transcript of his call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. © SAUL LOEB / AFP/Getty Images US President Joe Biden speaks during the US Conference of Mayors 90th Annual Winter Meeting in Washington, DC, January 21, 2022. House Republicans are calling for Biden to release the transcript of his call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Republicans in the House of Representatives are calling on President Joe Biden to release the transcript of his call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky about a possible Russian invasion of the country.

The demand comes after the White House and the Ukrainian government disputed a CNN report in which a senior Ukrainian official told the network the call "did not go well."

The House Republican Conference pointed to a video of Biden's remarks in 2019 calling on then President Donald Trump to release the transcript of a phone call he had with Zelensky.

The Twitter account for House Republicans sent a series of tweets on Thursday demanding that Biden release the transcript, as well as examples of Biden and other Democrats calling for the Trump-Zelensky transcript to be released in 2019.

"Biden MUST #ReleaseTheTranscript," House Republicans wrote, retweeting a 2019 video of Representative Adam Schiff speaking to CNN's Jake Tapper.

House Republicans also made reference to the CNN report that cited a senior Ukrainian official. The White House strongly disputed the report, saying anonymous sources were "leaking falsehoods."

The account's pinned tweet is currently a 2019 video of Biden calling for the release of the Trump-Zelensky transcript.

"I'm calling for the president to release the transcript of the call," Biden said at the time. "Let everybody hear what it is. Let the House see it, and see what he did. That's what I'm calling for."


Video: Biden holds critical call with Ukraine president as Russia tension escalates (NBC News)

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House Republicans wrote: "Now it's your turn @JoeBiden. #ReleaseTheTranscript."

The phone call between Trump and Zelensky was subject to a whistleblower complaint and led to the former president's first impeachment in 2019. The whistleblower was later revealed to be Lt. Colonel Alexander Vindman.

A transcript of the call showed that Trump had asked Zelensky to investigate Biden, who was then the former vice president and considered to be a strong contender for the Democratic presidential nomination.

CNN reported on Thursday that a senior Ukrainian official had said the call between Biden and Zelensky involved a disagreement about the "risk levels" of a Russian attack. Biden reportedly warned an attack could be "imminent," but the Ukrainian president was not sure an attack would take place.

Emily Horne, spokesperson for the National Security Council, later told CNN: "Anonymous sources are 'leaking' falsehoods."

"President Biden said that there is a distinct possibility that the Russians could invade Ukraine in February. He has said this publicly and we have been warning about this for months. Reports of anything more or different than that are completely false," Horne said.

The Ukrainian government likewise disputed CNN's report. Zelensky's spokesperson, Sergii Nykyforov, addressed the issue in a statement on Facebook.

"Some reports regarding the content of the talks between Presidents Volodymyr Zelensky and Joe Biden have appeared on social media, citing the alleged 'senior Ukrainian official'. These messages are completely false," Nykyforov said.

The White House released a brief readout of the call on Thursday. This is standard practice for the president's calls with foreign leaders and is not a transcript.

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