In a rare statement on a private conversation with the president, Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff on Monday said that President Trump never asked the vice president to raise the issue of former Vice President Joe Biden’s family or their connections with the natural gas company Burisma in conversations with the president of Ukraine last year.
“As matter of policy we don’t typically share or discuss conversations between the President and Vice President, but given the journalistic fury over alleged conversations, the President has given me permission to set the record straight,” Marc Short, Pence’s chief of staff, said in a statement.
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Short added: “At no time did I hear him tie aid to Ukraine to investigations into the Biden family or Burisma. As White House Counsel presented today, based upon testimony provided by Democrat witnesses in the House hearings, these were the only issues that the Vice President discussed with Ukrainian officials.”
Burisma is a Ukrainian gas company, and Joe Biden’s son Hunter had been on the board of that company.
Short said Pence only discussed corruption in Ukraine and burden-sharing with other nations of aid to Ukraine — “because that’s what the President asked him to raise.”
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“In every conversation with the President and the Vice President in preparation for our trip to Poland, the President consistently expressed his frustration that the United States was bearing the lion’s share of responsibility for aide to Ukraine and that European nations weren’t doing their part,” Short said. “The President also expressed concerns about corruption in Ukraine.”
The statement came as Pam Bondi, the former Florida attorney general and a member of Trump’s legal team, was speaking on the Senate floor in defense of the president at his impeachment trial in the Senate.
Fox News’ John Roberts and The Associated Press contributed to this report.