Former Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko said Joe Biden never asked him to close an investigation, challenging President Donald Trump’s unsubstantiated claim that Biden abused his power when he was vice president to protect his son.
“The former vice president, at least in personal conversations, didn’t raise any requests to open or close any concrete cases,” Poroshenko said in a statement to Bloomberg News published Wednesday.
Poroshenko, elected Ukraine’s leader in 2014, left office in May after Volodymyr Zelensky defeated him in the country’s presidential election.
According to a whistleblower complaint filed by a U.S. intelligence official, Trump repeatedly pressured Zelensky during a July phone call to investigate Biden, a Democratic front-runner in the 2020 presidential race, and his son, Hunter.
Trump has claimed that Biden, as vice president, called for the removal of a corrupt prosecutor in Ukraine to impede an investigation into a Ukrainian gas company that had Hunter Biden on its board. A bipartisan congressional caucus on Ukraine and other world leaders also were calling for the removal of the prosecutor at the time. Ukrainian authorities later cleared Hunter Biden of any wrongdoing.
The whistleblower complaint prompted House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) last week to announce the opening of a formal impeachment inquiry into Trump. The president has claimed his call with Zelensky was “perfect” and that he is the victim of a “witch hunt” orchestrated by the Democrats.
Poroshenko told The Los Angeles Times this week that he felt no pressure from Trump or his personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, to open a questionable investigation into Biden.
“If they asked, I would have said, sorry, there is an official channel for that,” Poroshenko said, adding that he may not have been informed if federal prosecutors working in his government had received such requests.
“Ukraine should not be involved,” Poroshenko told the LA Times of the political controversy surrounding Trump’s call with Zelensky. “I hate the idea that mistakes involved Ukraine in an internal political matter.”