President Trump remains scheduled to meet with his Ukraine counterpart at the United Nations General Assembly in New York next week despite a media frenzy unleashed by Friday’s report that a whistleblower complained about a “promise” the U.S. president allegedly made to the foreign leader in a July phone call.
The U.N.’s official schedule says Trump, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and 16 other world leaders will attend a General Assembly meeting Tuesday. NBC News White House correspondent Kelly O’Donnell tweeted Friday that the White House confirmed Trump will meet with Zelensky on Wednesday.
It wasn’t immediately clear if the second gathering would be a one-on-one meeting.
Zelensky will also take meetings with leaders of the Ukrainian community in the U.S., leaders of Jewish organizations based in the U.S. and representatives of the American business community, O’Donnell reported. He will also attend the Sustainable Development Summit.
A senior White House official told Axios that Trump will meet with Zelensky to congratulate him on his victory in the eastern European nation’s recent presidential election and his “energy and success” in battling corruption. The official said Trump will also voice “his concerns about predatory Chinese economic activity in Ukraine.” Trump’s itinerary also says he’ll meet with the leaders of Pakistan, Poland, New Zealand, Singapore, Egypt, South Korea, the U.K., India, Iraq and El Salvador, Axios reported.
Trump will also host a summit Monday on religious freedom. His speech will present the U.S. as an alternative to authoritarianism and underline his “commitment to upholding democracy and protecting religious freedom,” administration officials said Friday during a briefing call, according to Axios. Trump will not attend a U.N. meeting that same day that’s slated to focus on climate change.
A secret whistleblower filed a complaint with the intelligence community inspector general, Michael Atkinson, on Aug. 12, detailing a “promise” Trump reportedly made to an unnamed foreign leader. Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire so far has withheld the complaint from Congress. The Washington Post and the New York Times both reported Thursday that the complaint involved Ukraine.
The Wall Street Journal reported Friday that, in a July phone call, Trump repeatedly asked Zelensky to work with Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani on a probe into Hunter Biden. The call came a month before Trump put a hold on $250 million in military aid to Ukraine — a hold that was eventually released after objections from the Senate.
Trump called the whistleblower a partisan and dismissed the allegation as “another political hack job,” while Democrats in Congress accused the president of trying to intimidate whistleblowers and demanded the administration hand over the complaint and a transcript of the call. 2020 hopefuls used the controversy as a chance to renew calls for impeachment.
Joe Biden, now a Democratic presidential candidate, has faced scrutiny for months over his past role allegedly pressuring the country to fire its top prosecutor while he was leading a corruption investigation into a natural gas company that had ties to his son Hunter Biden. Giuliani has suggested that Biden, as VP, worked to protect the company from investigation.
Fox News’ Adam Shaw and Alex Pappas contributed to this report.