“How long would they last in a fight with Russia?” Trump is heard asking in the audio portion of a video recording obtained by U.S. media outlets, including the Associated Press and ABC News, on January 24-25.
Someone is heard on the tape as saying, “Without us, not very long.”
“Without us,” Trump repeats.
Trump also asks whether Kyiv felt they were “going to be OK” in their conflict with Russia.
“They feel they’re going to be OK if you support them,” someone replies.
“It’s always us that has to support everyone,” says Trump, who then complains that European nations were not doing enough to share the burden.
Since 2014, Kyiv has been engaged in a war in eastern Ukraine against Russia-backed separatists in a battle that has killed more than 13,000 people. Russia also seized and annexed Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula in a move that has not been recognized by the international community.
Trump is also heard on the tape calling for the removal of U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch.
She was fired a year later following a campaign by Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, and others, including Parnas and Igor Fruman.
A video recording of an 80-minute dinner at the Trump Hotel in Washington was obtained on January 25 by the AP. Excerpts were first published a day earlier by ABC News.
The recording appears to contradict statements by Trump that he did not know Giuliani associates Parnas or Fruman — who have been indicted on campaign finance charges in 2019.
Parnas’ attorney, Joseph Bondy, has confirmed that he turned over a recording of the dinner to authorities.
On the tape, Parnas’ appears to say, “The biggest problem there, I think where we need to start is we got to get rid of the ambassador.”
He later tells Trump: “She’s basically walking around telling everybody, ‘Wait, he’s gonna get impeached. Just wait.’”
Trump responds: “Get rid of her! Get her out tomorrow. I don’t care. Get her out tomorrow. Take her out. OK? Do it.”