White House releases record of first Trump-Zelenskiy call

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By Dareh Gregorian  with NBC News Politics
Image: Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskiy listens during a bilateral m
Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskiy listens during a bilateral meeting with President Donald Trump in New York City on Sept. 25, 2019.   -   Copyright  Jonathan Ernst Reuters

The White House released a record of President Donald Trump's first phone conversation his Ukrainian counterpart on Friday, a call in which the two chat amicably and there's no mention of the Bidens or the 2016 election.

The record of the April call was released at 9 a.m., just as day 2 of the House's public impeachment hearings stemming from Trump's July call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy was set to begin.

Trump tweeted earlier this week the April call was "the first, and therefore more important, phone call."

Rep. Devin Nunes of California, the ranking member on the House Intelligence Committee, read the call record out loud in his opening statement at the hearing.

The tone of the April 21 call between Trump and the Ukrainian then-president elect appeared warm and congratulatory, according to the call record.

"I'd like to congratulate you on a job well done, and congratulations on a fantastic election," Trump said in the call from Air Force One, referring to Zelenskiy's landslide election win.

"It's very nice to hear from you, and I appreciate the congratulations," Zelenskiy tells Trump, adding that Trump's own victory in 2016 was "a great example."

Trump, who's been portrayed by House Republicans as carrying a grudge against the Ukrainian government stemming from the 2016 election, told Zelenskiy, "I think you will do a great job. I have many friends in Ukraine who know you and like you. I have many friends from Ukraine and they think — frankly — expected you to win. And it's really an amazing thing that you've done," Trump said.

He also said that "when I owned Miss Universe, they always had great people. Ukraine was always very well represented."