In his opening statement today, Deputy White House counsel Mike Purpura aimed to make the case that President Trump did not engage in a quid pro quo because the Ukrainians got what they wanted without ever announcing an investigation into the 2016 election or the Bidens.
Purpura argued "a presidential meeting took place on September 25 without the Ukrainian government announcing any investigations."
Facts First: This is misleading. While an announcement of investigations never took place, it was planned and discussed between representatives of both the US and Ukraine. The plan was only halted after the withheld aid was released.
In November, the New York Times reported that Ukrainian President Zelensky had planned to announce an investigation into Trump’s political rivals during a September interview on CNN. The Ukrainians cancelled the interview and announcement once Trump released the promised security aid on September 12.
During the July 25 call, Trump also suggested his personal attorney, former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani, be a point of contact, given that Giuliani had previously lobbied Ukraine to investigate Biden’s call in 2016 to remove the country’s top prosecutor.
More on the call: During the conversation, Zelensky appeared to agree with the President’s request. Zelensky said, “The issue of the investigation of the case is actually the issue of making sure to restore the honesty so we will take care of that and will work on the investigation of the case.”
The July 25 call was also not the first the Ukrainians had picked up on Trump's desire for investigations.
Two weeks after Zelensky and Trump spoke for the first time in April, Zelensky and his team discussed the pressure they were already feeling from the Trump administration and Giuliani to publicly launch investigations that would benefit the US leader, according to a source familiar with discussions at the meeting.