ABC Reporter Urges Ukrainian President to Call Trump ‘Corrupt’

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Reporting live from the Ukrainian capital of Kiev on Thursday for ABC’s Good Morning America, correspondent Tom Llamas proudly touted how he repeatedly grilled the president of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, on whether President Trump was “corrupt.”

“And breaking this morning, what the president of Ukraine is telling ABC News about that phone call with President Trump,” co-host George Stepahanopoulos excitedly announced at the top of the show. Starting off his report minutes later, Llamas declared: “That’s right, we just spoke with Ukrainian president, Mr. Zelensky, just behind me her at this food mart, where he’s having a media marathon....We sat down at a dinner table with Mr. Zelensky and were able to ask him some very direct questions.”

 

 

While acknowledging that President Zelensky “said he does not feel like he was blackmailed by President Trump on that phone call,” Llamas breathlessly added: “But I asked him very directly, I said, ‘You’re somebody who campaigned on corruption. Do you think that a president is corrupt if he asks a foreign nation to investigate a political rival?’”

A clip followed of the reporter demanding: “What do you think of a president asking a foreign nation to investigate a political rival? Is that corrupt?” Zelensky dismissed the characterization: “I think that this is not corruption because it was – it was just a call...”

Llamas described how he kept pushing the topic:

Now President Zelensky says he is not corrupt because he hasn’t broken any laws. When I pressed him, “Do you think President Trump was corrupt for asking you, as many have criticized the president for, for basically doing him a political favor by investigating Burisma, the company that was connected to Hunter Biden?” He says he will not judge the President but would not answer the question.

The journalist was particularly upset that Ukraine was reopening an investigation into that energy company: “I also asked him why his new Prosecutor General, who he said was 100% his person when he spoke to President Trump, is now investigating that Ukrainian company. He really didn’t have an answer for me.”

Interesting that Llamas never thought to ask if Zelensky thought Hunter Biden serving on the board of Burisma was corrupt.

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Here is a full transcript of the October 10 report:

7:10 AM ET

ROBIN ROBERTS: President Trump’s phone call with the president of Ukraine is at the center of the ongoing impeachment inquiry. Tom Llamas traveled to Ukraine, where he just spoke with that nation’s leader. Good morning, Tom.

TOM LLAMAS: Robin, good morning to you from Kiev. That’s right, we just spoke with Ukrainian president, Mr. Zelensky, just behind me her at this food mart, where he’s having a media marathon. He says he’s going to speak to reporters for ten hours straight and we were invited to this sort of news conference with other journalists. We sat down at a dinner table with Mr. Zelensky and were able to ask him some very direct questions.

Now, he’s already made some headlines today from this news conference. He said he does not feel like he was blackmailed by President Trump on that phone call and he also said he will not blackmail the United States because of that phone call. But I asked him very directly, I said, “You’re somebody who campaigned on corruption. Do you think that a president is corrupt if he asks a foreign nation to investigate a political rival?” Here’s what he said.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Ukrainian President Speaks Out; Says There Was “No Blackmail” in Trump Phone Call]

What do you think of a president asking a foreign nation to investigate a political rival? Is that corrupt?

VOLODYMYR ZELENSKY: I think that this is not corruption because it was – it was just a call and it’s sad, you know, we have tried from any corruption things and you know –  

LLAMAS: Now President Zelensky says he is not corrupt because he hasn’t broken any laws. When I pressed him, “Do you think President Trump was corrupt for asking you, as many have criticized the president for, for basically doing him a political favor by investigating Burisma, the company that was connected to Hunter Biden?” He says he will not judge the President but would not answer the question.

I also asked him why his new Prosecutor General, who he said was 100% his person when he spoke to President Trump, is now investigating that Ukrainian company. He really didn’t have an answer for me. He says he wants to investigate all of corruption but he would not say he did that specifically for President Trump. Robin?

ROBERTS: I know you’re going to share more of your conversation with that president.

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