Ukraine opens probe into leaked 'Biden-Poroshenko' tapes

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy speaks to the media during a news conference in Kyiv Ukraine Wednesday

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy speaks to the media during a news conference in Kyiv Ukraine Wednesday

Trump's allies, including Giuliani, have argued that Ukraine intervened in that election on Clinton's behalf, in part by targeting Trump's campaign chairman, Paul Manafort.

The recordings were seen by some observers as a political effort to help US President Donald Trump's reelection bid. "This is not a 'perfect conversation.'" But Biden's campaign said the tape is old news about a phone call he made for good reason.

"They heavily edited this, and it's still a nothingburger that landed with a thud", Biden spokesman Andrew Bates said.

Here's what we know about the tapes and the protagonists, and what we don't.

In the edited conversations, Biden apparently ties the delivery of $1bn in aid to Ukraine to Poroshenko firing Viktor Shokin, a former general prosecutor widely considered to be corrupt.

Mr Shokin, who served as Ukraine's Prosecutor General in 2015-2016, was widely accused of failing to pursue any major anti-corruption investigation, which left Ukraine's worldwide donors deeply frustrated. From the Burisma detraction, to his kid Hunter's transactions, this should not stun any kind of American that takes notice of the happening of the DemocraticParty I am absolutely happy that some lawful system is ultimately exploring the dodgy transactions of the Biden family members, also if it isn't an American court! "About 4,500 kilometers", Zelensky said during a news conference.

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The tapes, which are yet to be authenticated, were released on Tuesday by Ukrainian lawmaker Andrii Derkach, who long has aired unsubstantiated corruption accusations against Biden and his son, who used to serve on the board of Ukrainian gas company Burisma. The former Ukrainian president was repeatedly accused of corruption by Zelenskyy in the past.

Derkach met with Giuliani in Kyiv final yr whereas the previous Trump lawyer stated he was gathering proof concerning the Trump impeachment.

Poroshenko said Wednesday that the audio files were "fabricated" and released by a graduate of Moscow's "top KGB school".

According to Zelensky, the audio recordings contain information which could "qualify as high treason," but stressed that it will be up to Ukraine's law enforcement authorities to make that determination.

Bringing Ukraine back into the USA political debate poses risks for Trump.

The impeachment inquiry against President Trump was triggered by last summer's phone call with Mr Zelenskiy in which Mr Trump asked the Ukrainian leader to investigate Democratic candidate Biden and his son's work for a Ukrainian oil company in exchange for US military aid. The Democratic-led House impeached Trump, contending that he improperly withheld USA aid to force Zelenskiy's hand. In the sound, Poroshenko confesses that Shokin really did not do anything incorrect, however Biden urges he must be discharged.

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