Trump authorizes release of transcript of controversial Ukraine call that mentioned Biden


President Donald Trump, facing growing calls by Democrats for his impeachment, said he has authorized the release on  Wednesday of a complete transcript of a phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Reports on that call — during which Trump talked about former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter —  have led an increasing number of House Democrats to demand impeachment proceedings against Trump because of suspicions the president tried to boost his chances of re-election by pressuring another country to probe a leading Democratic challenger.

Biden is seeking the Democratic nomination for president.

Biden is expected to say Tuesday that Trump should be impeached if he stonewalls efforts by Congress to get information about his contacts with Ukraine and other issues.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is expected to announce a formal impeachment inquiry later Tuesday, NBC News report.

Trump has been facing demands in recent weeks from Congress to release information about a complaint made by a whistleblower in the intelligence community, which is believed to relate to a call Trump had with a foreign leader this summer.

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to the media at the United Nations (U.N.) General Assembly on September 24, 2019 in New York City.

Spencer Platt | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Trump’s authorization of release of the transcript of the call with Zelensky did not immediately reduce pressure by Congress for information about his suspected linkage of military aid to Ukraine with a willingness by that country to investigate Biden.

Nor did it convince Democrats to drop their demands for information about the unidentified whistleblower.

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“We need the complaint of the whistleblower as sent to the” inspector general for the intelligence community,” said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-New York.

“It’s nice to have the transcript. We don’t even know right now if the complaint is about the transcript, in part or in whole. And without the complaint we don’t know what the IG thought was so urgent,” Schumer said.

“We do not know what the whistleblower thought was so urgent. So simply to release the transcript is not gonna come close to ending the need of the American public and the Congress to see what actually happened.”

Shortly before his call with Ukraine’s leader, Trump had ordered a hold on $400 million in military aid to that country.

Trump denies that he pressured Zelensky to investigate the Bidens during their July call.

However, Trump and his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani have elsewhere both urged Ukraine to conduct such a probe.

They have suggested that Joe Biden himself improperly pressured that country’s leaders in 2016 to fire Viktor Shokin, a prosecutor there, because of concern that Shokin was investigating Burisma Holdings, a Ukraine natural gas company whose board Hunter Biden served on.

Asked for further comment on Trump’s statement, White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham told CNBC: “No. I think his tweet said it all.”

The House is expected to vote Wednesday on a resolution condemning Trump over the Ukraine allegations, two leadership sources told NBC News.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff said Tuesday that, “We have been informed by the whistleblower’s counsel that their client would like to speak to our committee and has requested guidance from the Acting [Director of National Intelligence] as to how to do so.”

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“We’re in touch with counsel and look forward to the whistleblower’s testimony as soon as this week,” Schiff said in a tweet.

Senate Intelligence Committee Vice-Chairman Mark Warner, D-Virginia, said a lawyer for the whistleblower has reached out to the Senate Intelligence Committee to set up “a counsel meeting.”

“We’re going to take this one step at a time,” Warner said. “I think it’s terribly important to get the facts.”

Mark Zaid, a lawyer who has said he is representing the whistleblower, did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment on Schiff’s tweet.

– Additional reporting by CNBC’s Jacob Pramuk



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