Ukraine was about to cave to Trump's demands. Then the public found out about the whistleblower.

Trump Zelensky President Donald Trump listens during a bilateral meeting with with Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky on the sidelines of the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York City, New York, September 25, 2019.Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was set to publicly announce the investigations President Donald Trump requested Ukraine launch into the Bidens days before the whistleblower complaint.
  • The New York Times reported that Zelensky was set to announce the investigations into Burisma Holdings, a Ukrainian energy company that had Hunter Biden on its board, and the 2016 election in a September 13 interview with CNN's Fareed Zarakia.
  • But days before, on September 9, an explosive whistleblower complaint was turned over to Congress by the Director of National Intelligence alleging that Trump was improperly leveraging military aid for the probes.
  • And on September 11, the US lifted the hold it had previously placed on the military aid package to Ukraine.
  • The whistleblower's complaint has since been corroborated by the White House's notes of the call, White House officials, and the sworn testimony of several career diplomatic and national-security officials.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was set to publicly announce the investigations President Donald Trump requested Ukraine launch into the Bidens and the 2016 election just days before the whistleblower complaint detailing Trump's communications with Ukraine, according to a new report from The New York Times.

Trump is currently facing an impeachment inquiry over anonymous whistleblower's complaint, turned over to Congress in early September, that Trump was "using the power of his office to solicit interference from a foreign country" in the 2020 US election in a series of events culminating in a July 25 phone call with Zelensky.

Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani has for months been pushing an unsubstantiated theory that former Vice President Joe Biden called for the firing of Ukrainian prosecutor Viktor Shokin over an investigation of the oil-and-gas company Burisma Holdings, where Hunter Biden served on the board from 2014 to 2019, to help his son; but US diplomats in testimony made public this week said US policy at the time to push for Shokin's removal and his office was not investigating Burisma at the time.

The complaint specifically charged that Trump's pressure on the Ukrainian government to investigate alleged corruption from the Bidens came days after he withheld a nearly $400 million military-aid package to Ukraine that Congress had already appropriated.

The White House's notes of the call confirm Trump brought up how the US does "a lot for Ukraine" and, immediately after, asked Zelensky to do him a "favor, though" by investigating Biden and a debunked conspiracy theory that Ukraine interfered in the 2016 election to benefit Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and was somehow in possession of a Democratic National Committee server.

The Times reported that Zelensky was set to announce the investigations into Burisma and the 2016 election in a September 13 interview with CNN's Fareed Zarakia. But Zelensky was spared from having to do so by a series of events in the days leading up to the interview.

On September 9, the explosive whistleblower complaint was turned over to Congress by the Director of National Intelligence. And on September 11, the US lifted the hold it had previously placed on the military aid package to Ukraine.

The Times also reported that Zelensky's aides were worried about him making the announcement on CNN, a network Trump frequently decries as "fake news."

The Wall Street Journal and other outlets have reported that Shokin was accused of being soft on corruption and hampering investigations, including the one into Burisma - in essence, Biden, and much of the international community, urged Shokin's ouster because he was ineffective. He further wasn't investigating Burisma at all when Biden and other global leaders called for his firing.

The whistleblower's complaint has since been corroborated by the White House's summary notes of the call, White House officials, and the sworn testimony of several career diplomatic and national-security officials.

Transcripts of the closed-door testimony of former US Special Envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker confirmed that Giuliani's allegations against the Bidens were baseless, saying in his testimony that Biden, in publicly calling for Shokin's firing, was "executing U.S. policy at the time and what was widely understood internationally to be the right policy."

Both Volker, US ambassador to the EU Gordon Sondland, and acting US ambassador to Ukraine Bill Taylor all testified to Congress that both Giuliani and Trump explicitly conditioned releasing the military aid on Ukraine announcing the investigation.

Sondland said he believed it was "improper" for the Trump administration and Giuliani to push Ukraine to investigate the Bidens. When a lawmaker asked whether Sondland also believed it was illegal, he replied, "I'm not a lawyer, but I assume so."

Read more:

Rudy Giuliani lawyers up as federal prosecutors investigate and the impeachment inquiry ramps up

Transcript of Bill Taylor's testimony underscores extreme lengths Trump went to in urging Ukraine to investigate Bidens

Former diplomat Kurt Volker says Rudy Giuliani was a 'direct conduit' to Ukraine and demanded they publicly announce an investigation into the Bidens

Gordon Sondland, US ambassador to the EU, is the latest witness to confirm a quid pro quo between Trump and Ukraine

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