- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Vice President Mike Pence said Wednesday that President Trump’s request for Ukraine to investigate Joseph R. Biden was in “no way connected” to the president withholding military aid, as far as he knew.

Pressed by reporters in Iowa whether he was “aware” that the military aid was tied to a probe of Mr. Biden, Mr. Pence responded, “That’s your question. Let me be very clear, the issue of aid and our efforts with regard to Ukraine, were from my experience no way connected to the very legitimate concern the American people have about corruption that took place, about things that happened in the 2016 election.”

Mr. Trump and his team have accused Mr. Biden, a leading Democratic candidate for president, of pressuring Ukraine in 2016 to fire a prosecutor who had been investigating a gas company that paid Mr. Biden’s son Hunter $3 million. The elder Biden was vice president at the time and played a key role in U.S policy toward Ukraine.

Mr. Pence said of his contacts with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky, “I never discussed the issue of the Bidens with President Zelensky.”

Mr. Pence also said he is discussing with the White House counsel’s office whether to release transcripts of his phone calls with Mr. Zelensky.

“I’d have no objection to that, and we’re discussing that with White House counsel as we speak,” he said. “President Trump’s focus with Ukraine from the very beginning was on enlisting more European support and supporting President Zelensky’s efforts to advance reforms that would end an era of corruption in Ukraine. I was very proud that different from the last administration, we provided military assistance to Ukraine.”

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