WASHINGTON – Vice President Mike Pence said on Wednesday that he has no problem with the White House releasing transcripts of his conversations with the Ukrainian president, a move he said White House lawyers are considering even as the administration has refused to turn over other documents requested by House Democrats as part of their impeachment inquiry.
"I’d have no objections to that, and we’re discussing that with White House counsel as we speak," Pence told reporters during a trip to Iowa.
He was less direct when asked five times by reporters whether he was ever aware of President Donald Trump's efforts to pressure Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate Joe Biden and his family.
Pence responded that he never discussed the Bidens with Zelensky, that Zelensky has said he was not pressured, that the summary of Trump's call with Zelensky doesn't show a quid pro quo and that the issue of military aid was "from my experience" not connected to Trump's interest in the Bidens.
"What I can tell you is, all of our discussions internally, between the president and our team, and our contacts and my office with Ukraine, were entirely focused on the broader issues of the lack of European support and corruption," Pence said.
WATCH: VP Mike Pence repeatedly dodges questions from @NBCNews' @VaughnHillyard about whether he had knowledge of Trump's Ukraine plot pic.twitter.com/xLm9D8f3Aq
— TheBeat w/Ari Melber (@TheBeatWithAri) October 10, 2019
In addition to Trump asking Zelensky to "look into" the Bidens' involvement in Ukraine, Trump also said last week that "China should start an investigation into the Bidens."
But when Pence was asked Wednesday by reporters if it's OK for Trump to ask a foreign country to investigate a political rival, the vice president denied that's what Trump has done.
"I don't believe that's the case," he said.
Text messages between U.S. diplomats released last week by House Democrats show a months-long effort to push Ukraine's newly elected president to publicly promise he would order an investigation into Biden's son and also probe a conspiracy theory about Ukraine's alleged role in the 2016 U.S. election.
In exchange, the diplomats believed, Trump would reward Zelensky with a highly sought-after meeting with Trump at the White House and the release of nearly $400 million in U.S. military aid that Trump had put on hold.