Trump associates offered US visit to Ukraine's ex-president for investigation: Report

Sputnik News Agency Washington Nov 09, 2019, 04.08 PM(IST)

File photo: US President Donald Trump Photograph:( AFP )

Story highlights

Trump’s attempts to solicit Poroshenko’s successor, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, to launch an investigation into the Bidens is now the centre of his impeachment enquiry

Former President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko considered opening an investigation into a political rival of US President Donald Trump in exchange for a meeting in Washington, The Wall Street Journal reported citing unnamed sources close to the matter.

Trump associates Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, arrested last month in the US on charges of campaign finance violations, reportedly met with Poroshenko in February 2019 and offered a meeting with the US president in exchange for an investigation into former US Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter.

The prospective investigation was an attempt to dig up dirt on Biden, a Democratic frontrunner for the White House, whose son was a board member at Ukrainian oil company Burisma. A probe into alleged Ukrainian interference into the 2016 US presidential election was also part of the request.

Trump’s attempts to solicit Poroshenko’s successor, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, to launch an investigation into the Bidens are now at the centre of an impeachment enquiry into the US president.

As one of Wall Street Journal’s sources noted, Poroshenko was ready to consider the proposal because, at the time, he was running for reelection and saw a photo op with the US president as an opportunity to boost domestic ratings. The source said that Poroshenko had asked the Ukrainian embassy to make necessary preparations for an official visit between the first and second rounds of the election.

The meeting never came to fruition as there was no official invitation from the White House, according to the publication, since Poroshenko was unlikely to win the election.

House Democrats last September launched an impeachment enquiry into Trump’s activity after a whistleblower report highlighted a telephone conversation with Zelenskyy. The enquiry is held on grounds of abusing presidential powers, withholding military aid from Ukraine in exchange for the investigation thereby inviting a foreign power to interfere in US elections. Trump denies the charges, saying his phone call with Zelenksyy was "perfect."