Democratic Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy told CNN’s Anderson Cooper on Thursday that Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky “did not make any connection” between the then-cut off U.S. military aid and investigative requests he was receiving from Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani.
Murphy visited Zelensky earlier this month, reportedly telling the Ukrainian president that complying with requests to investigate the son of former Vice President Joe Biden could result in dwindling Democratic support for his country.
“So Senator Chris Murphy literally threatened the president of Ukraine that if he doesn’t do things right they won’t have Democrat support in Congress,” President Donald Trump said Wednesday in a clip played by the CNN host on Thursday night’s “Anderson Cooper 360.”
“Senator Murphy, the idea that you literally threatened the president of Ukraine, how do you respond?” asked Cooper.
Accusing Trump of being “backed into a corner” and “making things up,” Murphy confirmed his meeting with Zelensky when he was in Ukraine with Republican Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson.
However, the Democratic senator expressed his belief that Zelensky “did not make any connection between the aid that had been cut off and the requests that he was getting from Giuliani.”
“What I told Zelensky was pretty simple,” he said. “It was common sense. I said, ‘listen, don’t get involved in the 2020 election. When you’re dealing with the United States of America, deal with the State Department. Talk to our ambassador. Don’t talk to the president’s personal political representatives.'”
Cooper asked the Democratic senator if there was any confusion from Ukrainian officials about “who they should listen to” or how to “deal with the U.S.?”
Acknowledging that he knew both about “Giuliani’s overtures” as well as the fact that Trump had had phone conversations with Zelensky, Murphy said the government “certainly through multiple channels was expressing their confusion about who they should listen to.” (RELATED: Biden Says He Never Discussed Hunter Biden’s Ukraine Deal. Hunter Says He Did)
On Saturday, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Vadym Prystaiko said that his boss did not feel any pressure from President Trump resulting from their telephone call. Zelensky himself acknowledged as much on Thursday.