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Trump told new fabricated story about phone call to Zelenskyy - CNN

Trump told new fabricated story about phone call to Zelenskyy - CNN Photo: former US President Donald Trump (Getty Images)

Former US President Donald Trump told a completely fabricated story about how he supposedly outsmarted his Democratic opponents by releasing a "recording" of a phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in 2019, which became a key factor in Trump's first impeachment, reports CNN.

Speaking at a campaign rally in Ohio on Saturday, March 16, Trump recounted a false story about how he released fake content of a phone call to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. This purportedly led Democrats to make "wilder and wilder" assessments of former President Zelenskyy's words, "and then we released the tape."

According to Trump, when then-Speaker of the House from the Democratic Party Nancy Pelosi "heard" this recording, she was furious that she had been deceived by previous "false" descriptions of the call by her allies. The former president claimed that Pelosi told "her people": "What the hell did you get me into? You hear this call? He didn’t do any of this stuff!"

Trump asserted that Pelosi said: "Let’s just pretend he did and keep going forward."

CNN fact-checked and noted that Trump's story is entirely fabricated. There was never any recording of his conversation with Zelenskyy released. Pelosi couldn't have been angered at her allies after listening to a recording of the conversation because she never heard a recording of that conversation. In reality, almost five years after the July 2019 call, there is no known American record of the conversation.

What the Trump White House actually released in September 2019 was an approximate written transcript of the conversation, which more or less confirmed rather than contradicted the main allegations made by the government whistleblower about what Trump said.

Pelosi's spokesperson Aaron Bennett stated on Sunday, March 17, that Trump's story is "fact-free nonsense."

"Presidential phone calls with foreign leaders are not typically recorded by the American side. Instead, they are inexactly memorialized in written form by a combination of software and US officials who listen in," CNN notes.

Retired Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, who was one of the officials listening in on Trump's conversation with Zelenskyy while serving as the top Ukraine expert on the White House National Security Council (and later became a key witness in the impeachment inquiry), informed the network in a text message on Sunday that "no recording" of this conversation. "He's lying," Vindman said.

Trump's new narrative echoes his false claims from his presidency.

Since late 2019, Trump has been attempting to rewrite the reality of his phone call with Zelenskyy. In it, after Zelenskyy mentioned Ukraine's desire to purchase weapons from the US, Trump pushed him to investigate Joe Biden, who was then a potential Democratic opponent to Trump in the 2020 presidential elections, as well as to explore the baseless conspiracy theory of Ukraine's alleged interference in the 2016 elections (in which Russia interfered).

The false story Trump presented at his Saturday rally was a more dramatic version of the false stories he told over four years ago, which CNN fact-checked at the time.

Trump's conversation with Zelenskyy and Trump's impeachment

On December 19, 2019, the United States House of Representatives voted on both articles of impeachment against then-President Donald Trump as part of the impeachment proceedings.

The then-Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, announced the beginning of the impeachment process against Trump after the release of the transcript of his conversation with Volodymyr Zelenskyy. During this dialogue, Trump hinted at the necessity of investigating the business dealings of his opponent Joe Biden's son in Ukraine.

Additionally, American media reported that Trump had used Vice President Mike Pence to pressure Zelenskyy.

At the end of December 2019, Trump claimed that he had been inquiring about military aid to Ukraine a month before the scandalous phone call with Volodymyr Zelenskyy.