CNN reporting on Biden-Zelensky call gets White House pushback: ‘Completely false’

CNN’s report Thursday that a phone call between President Biden and Ukrainian President Zelensky “did not go well” received swift pushback as spokespeople for both leaders disputed the claim. 

“We have breaking news for you in our world lead, a senior Ukrainian official tells CNN that today’s phone call between President Biden and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky ‘did not go well.’ Our source tells CNN that the two disagreed about the immediacy of a threat between a Russian attack on Ukraine,” CNN’s Jake Tapper told viewers.

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“We should note that the White House just released its own readout of that call and there was no mention of President Biden’s warnings or the two president’s disagreements,” Tapper added, citing the White House readout

Tapper turned to CNN senior international correspondent Matthew Chance, who told CNN viewers there was “definitely a disagreement” about the level of risk for Ukraine. CNN’s Chance also reported that Biden told Zelensky an invasion was “virtually certain” once the ground becomes more frozen. 

Shortly afterwards, the White House disputed CNN’s report and said anonymous sources were “leaking falsehoods” about the phone call.

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“President Biden said that there is a distinct possibility that the Russians could invade Ukraine in February. He has said this publicly and we have been warning about this for months. Reports of anything more or different than that are completely false,” National Security Council spokeswoman Emily Horne tweeted. 

A spokesperson for Zelensky also disputed CNN’s report as “completely false” and the Ukrainian president thanked Biden on Twitter. 

“Had a long phone conversation with @POTUS. Discussed recent diplomatic efforts on de-escalation and agreed on joint actions for the future. Thanked President @JoeBiden for the ongoing military assistance. Possibilities for financial support to Ukraine were also discussed,” Zelensky tweeted. 

CNN did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Its online report notes the White House disputed what it wrote.

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Critics unearthed 2019 footage of then-candidate Biden calling for the White House to release the transcript of former President Trump’s infamous call with Zelensky. “Now it’s your turn,” House Republicans tweeted

#ReleaseTheTranscript became a trending topic on Twitter.

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