Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said he doesn’t recall any conversations with President Donald Trump about the Ukraine phone call ― contrary to the president’s claim that McConnell had said the call was completely “innocent.”
“The president has said that you told him that his phone call with Ukrainian president was ‘perfect’ and ‘innocent,’” a reporter said to McConnell during a Capitol Hill press briefing Tuesday. “Do you believe that the president has handled this Ukrainian situation perfectly?”
“We’ve not had any conversations on that subject,” McConnell responded. When asked if that indicated the president was lying about that claim, McConnell said “you’ll have to ask him. I don’t recall any conversations with the president about that phone call.”
While speaking to reporters on the South Lawn on Oct. 3, Trump said that he and McConnell had spoken directly about the phone call, according to the official White House transcript of Trump’s remarks.
“He put out a statement that said that was the most innocent phone call he’s read. And I spoke to him about it, too,” the president said.
“He said, ‘That was the most innocent phone call that I’ve read.’ I mean, give me a break. Anybody that reads it says the same thing,” Trump added.
McConnell had previously urged the White House to release the transcript of Trump’s July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenksy, according to two internal sources cited by The Washington Post.
The call summary released by the White House was the catalyst for an impeachment inquiry looking at whether Trump withheld nearly $400 million in foreign aid to Ukraine unless Ukrainian officials investigated his potential 2020 presidential rival Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden. It is illegal to solicit foreign involvement in U.S. elections, and investigations have yielded no evidence of wrongdoing by the Bidens.