Sep 25, 2019

Ukraine president's efforts to flatter Trump on display in July phone call

Dave Lawler, author of World

Zelensky waits to address the UN General Assembly. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

A summary of a July call between President Trump and Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky released by the White House Wednesday reveals Zelensky’s efforts to flatter and ingratiate himself with his American counterpart.

What he's saying: Zelensky, a newcomer to politics who took office in May, said some credit for his landslide victory was due to "skills and knowledge" he had picked up from observing Trump. Zelensky also called Trump a "great teacher" for his own efforts to "drain the swamp" in Ukraine. He also made a point to note he had stayed at Trump Tower on a recent visit to New York.

Why it matters: U.S. support is crucial to Ukraine, which has relied on American military aid in its war with Russian-backed separatists. Trump froze that aid in advance of his call with Zelensky, from whom he made multiple requests in the call. One of those requests involved investigating Trump and Rudy Giuliani's unsupported claims that Joe Biden "stopped the prosecution" of a Ukrainian case that involved his son, Hunter.

Worth noting: The contents of the memo may raise an eyebrow or two in Europe. When Trump said the U.S. was helping Ukraine far more than Germany and the EU help, Zelensky replied: "You are absolutely right. Not only 100%, but actually 1000%."

What to watch: The two presidents are set to meet this afternoon at the UN

Go deeper

Biden formally secures Democratic presidential nomination

Joe Biden speaks at Delaware State University's student cente on June 5. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

Former Vice President Joe Biden became the formal Democratic presidential nominee on Friday evening, per AP.

The big picture: Biden has been the presumptive frontrunner to take on President Trump since Sen. Bernie Sanders suspended his campaign in early April.

Updated 8 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 6,724.516 — Total deaths: 394,018 — Total recoveries — 2,996,832Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 1,894,753 — Total deaths: 109,042 — Total recoveries: 491,706 — Total tested: 19,231,444Map.
  3. Public health: WHCA president says White House violated social-distancing guidelines to make reporters "a prop" — Jailing practices contribute to spread.
  4. Sports: How coronavirus could reshuffle the sports calendar.
  5. Jobs: Better-than-expected jobs report boosts stock market.
  6. Media: The Athletic lays off 8% of staff, implements company-wide pay cut.

Scoop: German foreign minister to travel to Israel with warning on annexation

Heiko Maas. Photo: Michael Kappeler/picture alliance via Getty Images

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas is expected to travel to Israel next week to warn that there will be consequences if Israeli leaders move forward with plans to annex parts of the West Bank, Israeli officials and European diplomats tell me.

Why it matters: Israeli and European officials agree that if Israel goes ahead with unilateral annexation, the EU will respond with sanctions.