President Donald Trump says he has authorised the release of the "complete, fully declassified" transcript of his phone conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
....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!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 24, 2019
Trump promised the transcript would show that the call was "very friendly and totally appropriate," adding that there was "No pressure" involved "and, unlike Joe Biden and his son, NO quid pro quo!"
Last week, US media reported that Trump had called Zelensky earlier this summer to try to convince him to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden's son Hunter and his ties to a Ukraine-based energy company being probed for corruption. According to the Wall Street Journal, Trump asked Zelensky about the subject on over half a dozen occasions.
The Biden campaign responded to the story with a statement demanding that Trump release the transcript of the call, accusing the president of "corruption" and "abuse of power."
Biden himself has faced questioning over reports that he threatened to withhold a much-needed $1 billion loan to Ukraine unless Viktor Shokin, the Ukrainian prosecutor investigating his son Hunter Biden and the energy firm Burisma, was fired. Shokin was removed in March 2016. Hunter Biden stepped down from the board of directors of Burisma in April 2019 without any charges against him.
According to the WSJ investigation into the Trump phone call, unlike Biden, Trump did not appear to have offered Zelensky "any quid-pro-quo for his cooperation on any investigation."
However, Democratic leaders accused Trump of violating his oath of office by trying to "get dirt on" Biden, his possible opponent for the 2020 election, with House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Shiff saying impeachment may be the "only remedy."
On Monday, Congressional Democratic leaders from both houses threatened to open an investigation into the Trump-Zelensky call.
Reported efforts by Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani to lobby the Zelensky administration to restart the Hunter Biden investigation has prompted separate criticism from the Democrats, since Giuliani formally holds no government office at the moment.