President Trump late Wednesday claimed that he was urging Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to help the United States when he asked if the foreign leader could "do us a favor" on a July 25 phone call.
The comments appeared to mark the first time Trump has sought to clarify his remarks in the conversation, which has been at the center of the House impeachment inquiry into his dealings with Ukraine. Trump made the claim on Twitter after the inquiry entered its second phase, with a hearing in the House Judiciary Committee.
"When I said, in my phone call to the President of Ukraine, 'I would like you to do US a favor though because our country has been through a lot and Ukraine knows a lot about it. With the word 'us' I am referring to the United States, our Country," Trump said.
He added in a separate tweet that he "went on to say that I would like to have the Attorney General (of the United States) call you or your people. This, based on what I have seen, is their big point - and it is no point at all (except for a big win for me!)."
"The Democrats should apologize to the American people!" he continued.
According to a White House memorandum of the July 25 phone call, Trump asked the Ukrainian president for a "favor" after Zelensky talked about buying U.S. anti-tank missiles.
"I would like you to do us a favor though because our country has been through a lot and Ukraine knows a lot about it," Trump said, before calling on Zelensky to work with his personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, and Attorney General William Barr to investigate 2020 presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden, over unfounded corruption allegations.
Trump also urged Zelensky to look into a conspiracy theory that casts doubt on Russia's role in interfering in the 2016 election.
House investigators have centered the impeachment inquiry around Trump's request for politically beneficial investigations and whether he conditioned a White House visit and military aid to Ukraine announcing the probes.
The House Intelligence Committee on Tuesday released a 300-page report accusing Trump of abusing the power of his office in his dealings with Ukraine. House Republicans have meanwhile argued that the president's decision to withhold aid was "entirely prudent" because he was concerned about corruption.
Trump has repeatedly lashed out at House Democrats over the handling of the impeachment inquiry, and he has often described his July 25 phone call with Zelensky as "perfect."