The Justice Department’s Criminal Division has cleared President Donald Trump of any wrongdoing regarding a phone call he had with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in July, despite House Democrats’ claims of a “quid pro quo” and “bribery.”
Specifically, the DoJ found that nothing about the conversation violated campaign finance laws, and that Trump did not seek assistance from Zelensky to investigate the Ukraine-related activities of former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden.
In addition, a separate division within the department also said that the administration did not break any laws by failing to quickly share a whistleblower’s complaint with Congress, noting the matter did not meet the legal definition of “urgent.”
Also, the department released a transcript of the president’s conversation with Zelensky, which did show that he mentioned the Bidens. However, the transcript does not show that the president threatened to withhold military aid from Ukraine, as the whistleblower claimed and as Democrats continue to claim.
Trump also told Zelensky that his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, and Attorney General William Barr would be reaching out to him regarding an investigation into Ukrainian corruption that could involve the Bidens.
“I will have Mr. Giuliani give you a call and I am also going to have Attorney General William Barr give you a call and we will get to the bottom of it,” Trump said, according to a review of the transcript by the Washington Times.
The president also said it would be “great” if Ukraine would reopen a previous investigation into alleged corruption involving an energy company that was paying Hunter Biden tens of thousands per month to be a board member.
“The other thing, there’s a lot of talk about Biden’s son, that [Joe] 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,” the president said, according to the transcript.
“Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution. See if you can look into it….it sounds horrible to me,” he added.
Zelensky said that a newly appointed prosecutor would “look into the situation.”
“The issue of the investigation of the case … so we will take care of that and work on the investigation of the case,” he said.
Justice Department spokeswoman Kerri Kupec told the Times that Barr was only made aware of the July phone call several weeks later.
“The attorney general has not communicated with Ukraine — on this or any other subject. Nor has the attorney general discussed this matter, or anything relating to Ukraine with Rudy Giuliani,” she added.
While the intelligence community’s inspector general said the whistleblower showed political bias in reporting the Ukraine allegations, he added that it was urgent enough to have been shared immediately with Congress and the director of national intelligence.
But the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel disagreed.
“The question is whether such a complaint falls within the statutory definition of ‘urgent concern’ that the law requires the DNI to forward to the intelligence committees. We conclude that it does not,” wrote Steven A. Engel, assistant attorney general at the OLC.