Speed Reads

the call before the call

CNN obtains never-before-heard audio of Giuliani pressuring a Ukrainian official

CNN on Monday released never-before-heard audio from a 2019 phone call between Rudy Giuliani (who at the time was former President Donald Trump's personal lawyer), U.S. diplomat Kurt Volker, and Andriy Yermak, a senior adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. The conversation seemingly set in motion the events that led to Trump's even-more-infamous call with Zelensky, which sparked his first impeachment trial.

BuzzFeed News and Time had previously published some excerpts from the transcript of the Giuliani call, including a moment where he tells Yermak to inform Zelensky that he needed to publicly announce an investigation into possible corruption by President Biden, who was then a candidate for the Democratic nomination. Giuliani's claims about Biden stemmed from baseless conspiracy theories.

Per CNN, "the new audio demonstrates how Giuliani aggressively cajoled the Ukrainians to do Trump's bidding" and "undermines Trump's oft-repeated assertion" that he never threatened to withold U.S. aid from Ukraine if Zelensky didn't push the Biden investigation. Listen to clips from the 40-minute phone call below and read more at CNN.