McConnell denies telling Trump his Ukraine call was “innocent”

McConnell denies telling Trump his Ukraine call was “innocent”

Washington — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell denied telling President Trump his July phone call with the Ukrainian president was “innocent,” as the president had indicated earlier this month.

Asked on Tuesday whether he believes the president has handled the U.S. relationship with Ukraine “perfectly,” McConnell told CBS News he had not spoken to the president about the July 25 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that’s now at the center of the impeachment inquiry.

On October 3, Mr. Trump told reporters at the White House that he had spoken to McConnell about the call. The president referenced a statement from McConnell reacting to the White House summary of the call with Zelensky, in which McConnell said Democrats had “overplayed their hand” by launching the impeachment inquiry.

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“I read Mitch McConnell’s statement yesterday, and he read my phone call. And, as you know, he put out a statement that said that was the most innocent phone call he’s read. And I spoke to him about it, too,” Mr. Trump said at the time. “He read my phone call with the president of Ukraine. Mitch McConnell, he said, ‘That was the most innocent phone call that I’ve read.’ I mean, give me a break.”

On his call with Zelensky, the president urged him to investigate supposed Ukrainian interference in the 2016 election and an energy company that had employed former Vice President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter.

When CBS News asked on Tuesday if the president was lying about the supposed interaction, McConnell replied, “You’d have to ask him. I don’t recall any conversations with the president about that phone call.”

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