Ukraine appoints prosecutor who exposed Manafort case

FILE - In this Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2019 file photo, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy speaks to media during his press conference in Kyiv, Ukraine. Ukraine's president appears to be playing to both sides of the U.S. political divide, hedging his bets to ensure U.S. financial and military aid keeps flowing no matter who wins next year's election.

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy says there was "no blackmail" in a phone call with U.S. President Donald Trump that helped spark an impeachment inquiry.

Responding Thursday to questions from The Associated Press, Zelenskiy said that he only learned after their July 25 phone call that the U.S. had blocked hundreds of millions of dollars in military aid to Ukraine.

Trump asked Zelenskiy during the call to investigate Democratic rival Joe Biden, and Congressional Democrats believe Trump was holding up the aid to use as leverage to pressure Ukraine.

Zelenskiy said he thought the call would lead to an in-person meeting with Trump and wanted the American leader to come to Ukraine.

Zelenskiy is giving an all-day "press marathon" amid growing questions about his actions as president.

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