Below, we’ve compiled a transcript of their interactions with the news media and added annotations to provide additional context. Clicking highlighted text will offer more information.
Trump: Thank you very much, everybody.
We’re with the president of Ukraine, and he’s made me more famous than I’ve been. I will say he’s got a great reputation. He’s very very strongly looking at all sorts of corruption and some of the problems they’ve had over the years. I think it’s one of the primary reasons he got elected. His reputation absolutely sterling.
And it’s an honor to be with you. And we spoke a couple of times, as you probably remember. They’d like to hear every single word, and we give them every single word, and then they say, well, what about today. I think the press would like to stay in the meeting, but we have lots of witnesses if you’d like to have it.
But the country of — our country is doing phenomenally well. We are. We have the best economy we’ve ever had. We have the best employment numbers that we’ve ever had. We have now almost 160 million people working which is more than we’ve ever had. So we’re doing very well in every respect, and I have a feeling that your country is going to do fantastically well. And whatever we can do.
Zelensky: Thank you very much, Mr. President. Thank you very much. It’s a great pleasure to me to be here, and it’s better to be on TV than by phone, I think.
Zelensky: Mr. President, thank you very much. And I’m not the first time to stay in New York. But I know that you’d never been in Ukraine. And your predecessor also, how to say it in English, didn’t find time. I mean that. So can you give me your word that you will come to our great country?
Trump: Well I’m going to try. And I know a lot of people — I will say this, I know a lot of people from Ukraine. They’re great people. And I owned something called the Miss Universe pageants years ago and sold it to IMG. And when I ran for president, I thought maybe it wouldn’t be the greatest thing to own the Miss Universe and Miss USA pageant, but it’s a great thing, and we had a winner from Ukraine. And we’ve really had — we got to know the country very well in a lot of different ways, but it’s a country, I think, with tremendous potential.
Zelensky: Yes, I know it. Because I’m from that country. And I want to thank you for invitation to Washington. You invited me, but I think — I’m sorry. I’m sorry. But I think you forgot to tell me the date. But I think in the near future.
Trump: They'll tell you the date.
Zelensky: Oh, yes, they know before us. And I want to thank you, to thank you especially Mr. President, to U. S. A., to your government — like I said that I know many — many people, many faces like the second family to my Ukrainian family. We know each other. Thank you for your support. Especially now when you know we have really two wars in Ukraine. The first one is with corruption, but we’ll fight — No, we’ll be winner in this fight, I’m sure. And the priority, my priority is to stop the war on Donbass and to get back our territories Crimea and Donbass, Lugansk. Thank you for your support in this case. Thank you very much.
Trump: Thank you very much, Mr. President. If you remember, you lost Crimea during a different administration, not during the Trump administration.
Zelensky: So you have chance to help us.
Trump: That’s right, I do. But that was during the Obama administration that you lost Crimea. And I didn’t think it was something that you should have. But that was done a long time ago, and I think it was handled poorly. But it’s just one of those things.
One of the elements that we discussed is the United States helps Ukraine. But I think that other countries should help Ukraine much more than they’re doing. Germany, France, the European Union nations — they really should help you a lot more. And I think maybe together we’ll work on that. They have to feel a little bit guilty about it because they don’t do what they should be doing. You’re very important to the European Union. You’re very important strategically, very important. And I think they should spend a lot more in helping Ukraine, and they know that also, and they actually tell me that, but they don’t seem to produce.
So I’m sure you’ll talk to them, and I’ll certainly be talking to them.
Zelensky: Thank you very much Mr. President. And you know, now we need. I want to tell you that we now [unclear] the new country, and I’m sorry, but we don’t need help. We need support. Real support. And now we thank, thanks everybody, thank all of the European countries which help us but we also want to have more, but I understand, so, only together America and E.U. only together we can stop the war and, you know, we are ready. We just want to tell that we are — remember, that we are the biggest country in Europe. But we want to be the richest one. It’s true. It’s in my heart.
Trump: Well, you know you have great people in Ukraine, and you have very talented people.
Zelensky: Very smart.
Trump: In terms of manufacturing. In terms of some of the things they do, and we’ll be doing — we’re doing trading already, but we should be doing a lot more trading with Ukraine. But you have very talented people. They make great things. At the top of the line really. So that’s very important. The other thing is I’ve heard you actually have, over the last fairly short period of time, you’ve really made some progress with Russia. I hear a lot of progress has been made. And just keep it going. Be nice to end that whole disaster.
Zelensky: First of all, I want to tell you before that relations with Russia, I will prolong [unclear] one minute. I mean, that, you have to know, and I want the world to know that now we have the new team. The new parliament. The new government.
Zelensky: So now we voted about 74 laws, new laws which help for a one-year reforms. Land reform. [unclear] The law about concessions. We reload the general prosecutor and we launched the service secretary. Is that right? Service secretary. An anti-corruption court. As we came, we needed — we launched the anti-corruption court. It began to work on the 5th of September. It was, you know, it was after five days, we had the new [unclear].
So we are ready. We want to show that we just come and if somebody, if you, you want to help us, so just let’s do business cases. We have many investment cases. We’re ready.
Trump: And stop corruption in Ukraine because that will really make you great. That will make you great personally, and it will also be so tremendous for your nation in terms of what you want to do and where you want to take it. Thank you very much. It's a great honor.
Zelensky: Thank you very much, Mr. President.
Reporter: President Zelensky, have you felt any pressure from President Trump to investigate Joe Biden and Hunter Biden?
Zelensky: I think you read everything. So, I think you read text. I — I’m sorry but I don’t want to be involved, to democratic, open elections of U.S.A. No, you heard that we had, I think, good phone call. It was normal. We spoke about many things, and I think, and you read it, that nobody push it. Push me.
Trump: In other words, no pressure.
Reporter: Mr. President —
Trump: Because you know what? There was no pressure. And you know, there was — and by the way, you know there was no pressure. All you have to do is see it, what went on on the call. But you know that. But you could ask the question, and I appreciate the answer. Go ahead.
Reporter: Would you like President Zelensky to do more on Joe Biden and the investigation?
Trump: No, I want him to do whatever he can. This was not his fault. He wasn’t there. He’s just been here recently. But whatever he can do in terms of corruption because the corruption is massive. Now when Biden’s son walks away with millions of dollars from Ukraine and he knows nothing, and they’re paying him millions of dollars, that’s corruption.
When Biden’s son walks out of China with $1.5 billion in a fund and the biggest funds in the world can’t get money out of China. And he’s there for one quick meeting and then he flies in on Air Force Two. I think that’s a horrible thing. I think it’s a horrible thing but I’m going far beyond that.
I know the president, and I’ve read a lot about Ukraine, I’ve read a lot about a lot of countries, he wants to stop corruption. He was elected I think number one on the basis of stopping corruption, which unfortunately has plagued Ukraine. And if he could do that, he’s doing really the whole world a big favor. I know. And I think he’s going to be successful.
Reporter: Mr. President, on Rudy Giuliani, why do you think it's appropriate for your personal attorney to get involved in government business?
Trump: Well you'd have to ask Rudy.
Reporter: You mentioned it to the president here.
Trump: I will tell you this, that Rudy's looking to also find out where the phony witch hunt started, how it started. You had a Russian witch hunt that turned out to be two-and-a-half years of phony nonsense.
And Rudy Giuliani is a great lawyer. He was a great mayor, he’s highly respected. I’ve watched the passion that he’s had on television over the last few days. I think it’s incredible the way he’s done. What he’s out is he wants to find out where did this Russian witch hunt that you people really helped perpetrate, where did it start? How come it started? It was all nonsense. It was a hoax. It was a total hoax. It was a media hoax and a Democrat hoax. Where did it start? And Rudy’s got every right to go and find out where that started and other people are looking at that, too. Where did it start? The enablers. Where did it all come from? It was out of thin air. And I think he’s got a very strong right to do it. He’s a good lawyer. He knows exactly what he’s doing. And it’s very important.
Reporter: President Zelensky —
Reporter: President Zelensky, do you believe that the emails from Hillary Clinton, do you believe that they’re in Ukraine? Do you think this whole thing originated in Ukraine?
Trump: I think they could be. You mean the 30,000 that she deleted?
Trump: Yeah, I think they could very well — boy, that was a nice question. I like that question. Because, frankly, I think that one of the great crimes committed is Hillary Clinton deleting 33,000 emails after Congress sends her a subpoena. Think of that. You can’t even do that in a civil case. You can’t get rid of evidence like that. She deleted 33,000 emails after, not before, after receiving a subpoena from the U.S. Congress. I mean I’ve never heard that. She’s done far worse than that, although I don’t know how much worse it can be. But there were many other things she did that were wrong, but that’s so obvious.
She gets a subpoena from the United States Congress, and she deletes them. And then she said, as I remember it, that oh, well, they had to do with the wedding and yoga. She does a lot of yoga, right? So they have 33,000 emails about the wedding of her daughter and yoga. I don’t think so. How she got away with that one is just — but it’s one of many. And it’s corrupt government because we have corruption also, Mr. President. We have a lot of corruption in our government. And when you see what happened with Hillary Clinton when you see what happened with Comey and McCabe and all of these people, we have a lot of things going on here, too. Hopefully it’s going to be found out very soon. But I think that a lot of progress has been made. A lot of progress has been made.
Reporter: Will the military aid continue? Can you ensure that it will continue in the future?
Trump: Well, we’re working with Ukraine, and we want other countries to work with Ukraine. When I say work, I’m referring to money. They should put up more money. We’ve put up a lot of money. I gave you antitank busters that, frankly, President Obama was sending you pillows and sheets, and I gave you antitank busters, and a lot of people didn’t want to do that. But I did it, and I really hope that Russia, because I really believe that President Putin would like to do something, I really hope that you and President Putin get together and can solve your problem. That would be a tremendous achievement. And I know you’re trying to do that.
Reporter: Mr. President, did you ask the House speaker to find a —.
Reporter: Mr. President, in the phone call you said that he was looking into Joe Biden, that you would ask your prosecutor to look into the matter. Have you had that conversation?
Trump: Well, I think — No, I haven't. But I think that — I think this.
Reporter: No, I'm asking President Zelensky.
Trump: I think that somebody, if you look at what he did, it's so bad, where his son, he goes to China, he walks away with $1.5 billion? He goes to Ukraine and he walks away with $50,000 a month and a lot of money in addition to that? And the whole thing with the prosecutor in Ukraine? And he's on tape! This isn't like maybe he did it, maybe he didn't. He's on tape doing this.
I saw this a while ago I looked at, and I said, that’s incredible. I’ve never seen anything like that. Now either he’s dumb or he thought he was in a roomful of really good friends. Or maybe it’s a combination of both in this case.
Reporter: President Zelensky —
Zelensky: I heard your question, thank you very much. Don’t cry. I mean that, we have independent country and independent general prosecutor. I can’t push anyone, you know? That’s it. That’s the question. That is the answer. So, I didn’t call somebody or the new general prosecutor. I didn’t ask him. I didn’t push him. That’s it.
Reporter: Do you feel obligated to fulfill your promises to President Trump?
Zelensky: Sorry. [speaks foreign language]
Translator: Obligated to do what?
Reporter: [speaks foreign language]
Zelensky: [speaks foreign language]
Trump: You want to just —.
Zelensky: I’m sorry [speaks foreign language].
Translator: The investigation, actually, I want to underscore that Ukraine is an independent country. We have a new prosecutor general in Ukraine, a highly professional man with a Western education and history to investigate any case he considers and deems appropriate.
While we have many more issues to care about and to tackle. We have [unclear]. We have Maidan. We have corruption cases as President Trump rightly mentioned about that. So we know what to do. And we know where to go and what to tackle.
Reporter: President Trump, was it appropriate to ask the attorney general to be involved in this matter?
Trump: Go ahead.
Reporter: Did you ask House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to find a way out impeachment yesterday?
Trump: Not at all, no. Look, she’s — she’s lost her way. She has been taken over by the radical left. She may be radical left herself, but she really has lost her way. I spoke to her about guns yesterday, she didn’t even know what I was talking about, she’s not interested in guns.
Reporter: Did impeachment come up or no?
Trump: I’ll tell you what, Nancy Pelosi is not interested in guns and gun protection and gun safety. All she’s thinking about is this. She’s been taken over by the radical left, the whole Democrat Party, and you take a look at what’s happening in the media today. The whole party is taken over by the left. And thank you very much. My poll numbers have gone up, but I don’t want it to go up for this reason.
When they look and when you see what’s happening, people are really angry at Democrats. They’re really angry at the Democrat Party, and things like, as an example, drug pricing, getting drugs down, things like gun safety, infrastructure. The Democrats can’t talk about that because they’ve been taken over by a radical group of people. And Nancy Pelosi, as far as I’m concerned, unfortunately she’s no longer the speaker of the House.
Thank you very much, everybody.