Pence: I Don't Object To Releasing My Call Transcripts With Zelensky | Video | RealClearPolitics

Pence: I Don't Object To Releasing My Call Transcripts With Zelensky

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TRISH REGAN, FOX BUSINESS NETWORK:  You know, they're a little bit like a dog with a bone right now.  The Gordon Sondland testimony, I could ask you about that because he testified one thing and then he's effectively reversing it, now saying, well, you know, there was a quid pro quo after having said previously there was no quid pro quo.  So let me ask you about that.  You went to Warsaw, September 1, and you met with President Zelensky then.  Did you say to him the money is contingent upon you offering something up in the way of a statement, whatever it may be, on how you're handling corruption?
 
VICE PRESIDENT MIKE PENCE: Oh, of course not. 
 
REGAN:  You didn't?
 
PENCE: No.  Our focus entirely in the meeting that I took with President Zelensky after President Trump had to stay here in the states to deal with the onrushing hurricane, was entirely focused on our support for the territorial integrity and security of Ukraine.  And it was focused on President Trump's desire to see President Zelensky succeed in his agenda of moving anti-corruption legislation.  I can tell you in my conversation with President Zelensky, he had just come off great legislative elections.  And he had told me that they'd elected more than 250 members of his party and a large majority, and they'd already introduced almost as many bills to combat corruption.  He also told me that he agreed with President Trump that the European community needed to do more to support Ukraine.  And he agreed to work with us to call on the European community.  But that was the focus entirely, Trish. 
 
REGAN: So you never said, listen, you know, if you want to get this nearly 400 million dollars, you gotta do something on corruption. 
 
PENCE: Oh, of course not.  Of course not.  Other than to say that we wanted to support his efforts to deal with corruption in Ukraine, to deal with --
 
REGAN:  Which is a legitimate thing to ask for. 
 
PENCE: Well, it's not only legitimate, it's what he ran on.  President Zelinsky had an extraordinary victory in his campaign because he ran on an anti-corruption theme.  President Trump made it clear from early on that we wanted to support him in that effort.  We wanted to see him make progress in that effort.  And we wanted to see the European community come forward. 
 
REGAN:  Did Joe Biden come up? Did Hunter Biden come up in the conversation?
 
PENCE: No, he did not at all.  And I said that at the time.  But look, here's -- the point is whether it was my conversation with President Zelensky, whether it was President Trump's telephone call in July.  I mean, where the American people can read the transcript.  I just think what the people --
 
REGAN:  It would help, don't you think, to the American people to release that transcript? Because the president said, "Okay, here it is.  All these allegations you can see for yourself."
 
PENCE: I think it demonstrated this president's commitment to transparency and the fact that --
 
REGAN:  Will you do the same with your phone call?
 
PENCE: Well, I've said I have no objection at all.  We were working with White House counsel about that.  I've had a couple of telephone calls of President Zelensky, and – but all of them were focused on the same topics.  Look, we have supported Ukraine against Russian aggression.  We've provided that military assistance.  But President Trump made it clear from early on we wanted to see Ukraine make progress on corruption and we want to see the European community do more.  And after I returned from Poland, I reported to the president all the progress that Ukraine had made under President Zelensky's leadership and the support for Ukraine was released.  And the United States has a strong relationship with Ukraine.  We'll continue to stand strongly with them.  But at the end of the day, again, remember, the whistleblower was all about a telephone call.  And maybe, maybe some of the president's critics didn't expect him to release the transcript, but he did and he did readily.  And now the American people can read the transcript.  They can decide for themselves.  There was no quid pro quo.  The president did nothing wrong. 
 
REGAN: Would you do the same?
 
PENCE: The American people want to see -- the American people want to see this Congress start to focus on what's important. 
 
REGAN: Yeah, listen, I think it probably disarmed all the Democrats were thinking they had something by him doing that.  So, again, you're working on it, you're looking at it, you're thinking about it, releasing your own transcripts –
 
PENCE: Oh, I -- as I said before, I'd have no objection to releasing the transcripts of a couple of telephone calls that I have with President Zelensky.  And again, they were all about the very same issues.  It's my -- been my great honor as vice president to represent this president of the United States in meetings with world leaders over the last three years.  And when the president asked me to fill in in Poland to go with what was a commemoration of the 18th anniversary of the beginning of World War Two, he had already scheduled a meeting with President Zelensky.  President Trump had agreed to meet with President Zelensky in Poland, and he asked me to go ahead and take that meeting.  And so I carried with him that message.  We had a great conversation.  And as I said, after I returned, all the support for Ukraine --
 
REGAN:  And you can see the briefing, right? I mean, you had a transcript anyway of the 20 -- the conversation that had taken place on the 25th.  You had that in your packet.  So you were somewhat familiar. 
 
PENCE: Well, I'm -- I'm told that it was delivered to me.  But, you know, I received literally hundreds of transcripts over the time.  I don't recall ever reading it specific, but it doesn't mean that I did.  But had I read it, it wouldn't matter because the president did nothing wrong.  There was no quid pro quo.  The president brought up issues that were important to the American people.  And I think anyone who takes time to read the transcript will see just that. 



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