Updated at 2:57 p.m. ET
President Trump vowed on Tuesday that he would release a transcript of his phone call from earlier this year with Ukraine’s president as Democrats appeared close to a flashpoint on impeaching him.
Trump tweeted that he would release a “complete, fully declassified and unredacted transcript of my phone conversation with President Zelensky of Ukraine.”
This will prove it was a “totally appropriate call,” he wrote. He says the transcript will be released Wednesday.
“I am currently at the United Nations representing our country, 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!”
Trump’s announcement followed a wave of condemnation from Democrats about what they called his potential abuse of office.
Democrats’ council of war
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is scheduled to meet with House Democrats on Tuesday afternoon to discuss what action to take as an increasing number of her members say they’d support impeachment proceedings against Trump.
Pelosi didn’t say what position she’ll take or what announcement she may make after that conference when she appeared on Tuesday afternoon at an Atlantic Magazine event in Washington.
She did, however, restate that she argues the kernel of the Ukraine affair is a simple one:
“You don’t ask a foreign government to interfere in our election,” Pelosi said.
Whether there might have been a ‘quid-pro-quo’ in Trump’s conversation with Zelensky is not “essential” to impeachment, Pelosi said.
Meanwhile, former Vice President Joe Biden was among the Democrats changing his tune on impeachment on Tuesday.
A campaign aide said that unless the White House releases the relevant materials connected to the matter, Biden would throw his support behind Pelosi and the House in pursuing impeachment.
Biden was expected to address the impeachment issue himself on Tuesday afternoon.
The much-anticipated transcript
Trump has acknowledged discussing Biden with Zelensky earlier this summer. That followed his decision to suspend military assistance to Ukraine. Trump has insisted that there was never a “quid pro quo” in which he said he’d agree to release aid to Ukraine in exchange for dirt on Biden or his family.
One question the transcript could answer is what, specifically, Trump said to Zelensky about investigating Biden’s son, Hunter, who once sat on the board of a Ukrainian gas company.
Trump has gone back and forth about whether he might release the transcript, saying on one hand that it might clear up the Ukraine affair but on the other hand he was worried about the precedent it might set.
Trump also has said it was a “perfect” call, mostly congratulatory about Zelensky’s election, and that it contained nothing “inappropriate,” because the president was mindful about the number of U.S. officials and others who might hear it or be briefed on its contents.
At the same time, Trump acknowledged on Tuesday that he had suspended U.S. assistance to Ukraine before the phone call. The reason the president gave in New York City on Tuesday was that he wanted European governments to give more support to Ukraine’s government.
The European Union’s mission to the United States responded on Tuesday that its governments have given more than 15 billion to Ukraine since Russia’s incursions there in 2014, which began the latest phase of support from the West for Kyiv.
American assistance then resumed earlier in September. And then House intelligence committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., learned about a whistleblower inside the intelligence community who had filed a complaint about Trump’s conversation with a foreign leader.
The Justice Department has opined that acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire doesn’t need to give that complaint to Schiff or his counterparts on the Senate intelligence committee.
Pelosi, Schiff and Democrats say there is no wiggle room in the law and that Maguire must give Congress what he has. Maguire is scheduled to appear before Schiff’s committee on Thursday and Schiff said he’s also heard from a lawyer for the whistleblower about making contact with his committee.
This is a breaking news story and will be updated.