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Trump says he'll release the full transcript of his controversial phone call with Ukrainian president


A whistleblower's account of this phone call has pushed Democrats closer to impeachment

Spencer Platt/Getty Images

President Donald Trump announced Tuesday that he will release the "unredacted transcript" of a phone call he had with the president of Ukraine in which, a whistleblower claims, Trump pressured the foreign leader to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter BIden.

What did Trump say?

"I am currently at the United Nations representing our Country," Trump wrote in a tweet on Tuesday afternoon, "but have authorized the release tomorrow of the complete, fully declassified and unredacted transcript of my phone conversation with President Zelensky of Ukraine. You will see it was a very friendly and totally appropriate call. No pressure and, unlike Joe Biden and his son, NO quid pro quo! This is nothing more than a continuation of the Greatest and most Destructive Witch Hunt of all time!"

What phone call?

An anonymous whistleblower from within the U.S. government reported that Trump urged Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate Hunter Biden's dealings with a Ukrainian natural gas firm known as Burisma Holdings.

Joe Biden would also fall into the scope of this investigation, since he has admitted that while he was vice president he pressured the Ukrainian Parliament to remove a corrupt prosecutor who also happened to worry the oligarch who owned Burisma. The prosecutor was removed from office, and his replacement shelved the investigation into Burisma within a year.

Why does this phone conversation matter?

Democrats have cried foul at the possibility of Trump asking a foreign leader to investigate two U.S. citizens.

These accusations against Trump stemming from this whistleblower accusation have been enough to push congressional Democrats closer to impeachment. Shortly after Trump's tweet, Speaker of the House Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said that she thought that the House was "ready" to try impeaching Trump because now members of Congress "have the facts."

Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) announced that he was also endorsing impeachment, and the Democrats seem closer than ever before to having the simple majority they would need to move forward with that process.

Asked by The Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg if her caucus would stand down if, when Trump releases his transcript, it turns out to be "more benign" than Democrats had expected, Pelosi seemed unfazed. "No," she said. "It's not about that. This is about the Constitution of the United States. And we have many other, shall we say, candidates for impeachable offense under the Constitution of the United States. But this one is the most understandable by the public."

According to the Wall Street Journal, Pelosi will announce at 5 p.m. ET that she plans to launch a formal impeachment inquiry.

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