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Westlake Legal Group > Democratic Party (Page 23)

Trump Defends Phone Call as Impeachment Inquiry Opens: Live Updates

Here’s what you need to know:

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_161468670_ac639581-dc56-4199-8de0-af730d6f8186-articleLarge Trump Defends Phone Call as Impeachment Inquiry Opens: Live Updates Whistle-Blowers Trump, Donald J Senate Republican Party impeachment House of Representatives General Assembly (UN) Ethics and Official Misconduct Democratic Party Constitution (US) Biden, Joseph R Jr

President Trump on Wednesday played down the significance of the call he held with the president of Ukraine.CreditDoug Mills/The New York Times

President Trump released a reconstruction on Wednesday of a July 25 call he had with Volodymyr Zelensky, the president of Ukraine, in which he encouraged his Ukrainian counterpart to contact Attorney General William P. Barr about investigating a political rival. Mr. Trump has defiantly denied saying anything inappropriate on the call, but the reconstructed transcript shows he clearly referred by name to former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., a leading 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, and encouraged Mr. Zelensky to reach out to Mr. Barr.

“There’s a lot of talk about Biden’s son, that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that, so whatever you can do with the attorney general would be great.”

Call Record: Trump’s Conversation With the Ukrainian President

Sept. 25, 2019

Westlake Legal Group trump-phone-transcript-ukraine-promo-1569369870401-threeByTwoSmallAt2X-v4 Trump Defends Phone Call as Impeachment Inquiry Opens: Live Updates Whistle-Blowers Trump, Donald J Senate Republican Party impeachment House of Representatives General Assembly (UN) Ethics and Official Misconduct Democratic Party Constitution (US) Biden, Joseph R Jr

Before the release, he declared on Twitter that Democrats had fallen into his trap, and that the release of the call would exonerate him — and make them look foolish.

The reconstructed transcript’s release and content ensured a day of intense scrutiny. “Period. Full stop. That is lawless,” Representative Hakeem Jeffries of New York, the Democratic Caucus chairman, said of Mr. Trump’s request to Mr. Zelensky. “That undermines our national security. That is an abuse of power. That is unpatriotic.” Representative Jerrold Nadler of New York, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, marveled that the attorney general has now been pulled in.

Republicans stuck to their position that Mr. Trump did not offer Mr. Zelensky any inducements nor did he threaten him, so his demand for a Biden inquiry was not improper. “From a quid pro quo aspect, there’s nothing there,” said Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina.

The release did not go far enough for many Democrats, who have demanded to see the full complaint about Mr. Trump’s actions lodged by a whistle-blower, which has not been shared with Congress.

Volodymyr Zelensky, the president of Ukraine, spoke at the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday.CreditBrittainy Newman/The New York Times

White House officials were continuing to work on a deal that would allow the whistle-blower to testify before Congress about those concerns, according to people briefed on the effort. The deal could also include the release of a redacted version of the complaint, which formed the basis of a report by the inspector general for the intelligence community, people familiar with the situation said.

Mr. Trump insisted that the reconstruction of the call showed that he did not exert pressure on his counterpart to investigate a political rival.

“It was going to be the call from hell. It turned out to be a nothing call, other than a lot of people said, ‘I never knew you could be so nice,’” he said during a brief encounter with reporters in New York City as he attended a meeting of Latin American leaders to discuss Venezuela.

Mr. Trump blamed “corrupt reporting” and said that Democrats should be impeached for actions they took related to Ukraine.

“If you noticed, the stock market went up when they saw the nonsense,” he said. “All of a sudden the stock market went down substantially yesterday when they saw a charge. After they read the charge the stock market went up substantially.”

Markets actually dropped when the call script was released at 10 a.m., but regained ground quickly, with the S&P 500 up about 0.21 percent in early morning trading. On Tuesday, the S&P 500 posted its biggest one-day decline in a month.

The president bragged about the nation’s economy, saying that “we have created the greatest economy in the history of our country, the greatest economy in the world.”

He called the latest Democratic maneuver “the single greatest witch hunt in American history — probably in history, but in American history. It’s a disgraceful thing.”

Democrats were giving no ground. Representative Katherine Clark of Massachusetts, the vice chairwoman of the House Democratic Caucus, cited the reconstructed transcript and said Mr. Trump’s decision to ask the Ukrainian president for a favor amounted to a crime in and of itself.

“The crime is when you ask for that favor, when you inject politics into foreign policy,” Ms. Clark said. “The initial reading shows that not only was Rudolph Giuliani brought in, but the Department of Justice, Attorney General Barr. That is exactly the crime we were concerned about, blurring those lines between the political, our national security, and the official role of the president.”

Speaker Nancy Pelosi arriving for a Democratic caucus meeting Wednesday on Capitol Hill.CreditErin Schaff/The New York Times

House Republican leaders tried to turn attention away from the president and toward House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, accusing her of playing politics with the speakership and endangering the safety of the country by working to undermine Mr. Trump’s ability to deal with foreign leaders.

“I just watched the speaker yesterday demean the office of the speakership,” Representative Kevin McCarthy, the Republican leader, told reporters Wednesday, calling it “a dark day for the rule of law” and “a dark day for national security.”

That fit the script that the White House had provided. Talking points to congressional offices on Wednesday, entitled “What You Need to Know,” argued “what the president actually talked about” during the phone call with Mr. Zelensky was “entirely proper.”

“The real scandal here is that leaks about a secondhand account of the president’s confidential telephone call with a foreign leader triggered a media frenzy of false accusations against the president and forced the president to release the transcript,” the talking points read.

One by one at a morning news conference, the leaders echoed the White House’s words. Mr. McCarthy said Mr. Trump should not have had to release the reconstructed transcript. The leaders zipped out of the news conference, not having seen it, which was released as they spoke.

“The House Democrats have been careening from impeachment theory to impeachment theory, they’ve careened from target to target,” said Representative Liz Cheney, the No. 3 Republican. She accused Ms. Pelosi of “trying to weaken the president, trying to weaken his hand as he’s dealing with crucial issues of national security.”

Senator Mitt Romney, Republican of Utah, was one of the few exceptions. He pointedly did not suggest Ms. Pelosi had gone too far: “She’s able to do what she feels is right. That’s up to her.”

And he expressed deep concern for what he had read in the call reconstruction.

“Clearly what we’ve seen in the transcript is deeply troubling,” he told reporters on Capitol Hill.

The words released by the White House recounting Mr. Trump’s conversation with Mr. Zelensky look like a transcript, but the document is marked, Memorandum of Telephone Conversation, and it warns that it is not a verbatim account. Instead, it was “developed with assistance from voice recognition software along with experts and note takers listening.”

Because The New York Times cannot know what exactly was said, we have chosen to call the document a reconstructed transcript.

In throwing her support behind a full impeachment inquiry, Ms. Pelosi privately told fellow Democrats on Tuesday that she wanted “this to be done expeditiously — expeditiously.” And she charged six committee chairs to put together their best impeachment evidence and transmit it to the Judiciary Committee.

But on Wednesday morning in the Capitol, there were more questions than answers among Democrats about what actually comes next and how quickly.

“The process will come,” said Representative Madeleine Dean, Democrat of Pennsylvania, but other lawmakers said the House needed to urgently set its course to maintain momentum and ensure that their case against Mr. Trump does not meander off course.

“There is an understanding that all justice should be swift and sure, and that this has to happen deliberately but relatively quickly,” said Representative Jim Himes, Democrat of Connecticut.

The first challenge is that the House is scheduled to depart for a two-week recess on Friday. House leaders do not plan to cancel it, but said that the Judiciary and Intelligence Committees would remain active.

There was also already some early disagreement about the breadth of the case the House should build. Ms. Pelosi’s instructions to all six investigative committees to pull together evidence suggested that she was envisioning articles of impeachment beyond just the president’s dealings with Ukraine.

But some moderate Democrats, whose support for an inquiry was key to Tuesday’s announcement, expressed reservations. Representative Mikie Sherrill, who represents a swing district in New Jersey, said Democrats had not made its case to voters on obstruction of justice or other offenses, and should narrow the impeachment case to the Ukraine matter.

“I am worried about it getting too broad,” she said.

The House plans to vote on Wednesday afternoon on a resolution condemning the Trump administration for withholding the whistle-blower complaint and demanding that Joseph Maguire, the acting director of national intelligence, promptly furnish it.

The resolution also demands that Mr. Maguire ensure that the whistle-blower is protected from retribution and chastises the president for comments disparaging the whistle-blower in recent days.

The vote is symbolic, but Democratic leaders want to put lawmakers in both parties on record to highlight their case. Sharing the complaint with Congress is already required by law, Democrats assert.

“This is not a partisan matter; it’s about the integrity of our democracy, respect for the rule of law and defending our Constitution,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Representative Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland, her No. 2, said in a statement on Tuesday. “We hope that all members of the House — Democrats and Republicans alike — will join in upholding the rule of law and oath of office to protect and defend the Constitution as representatives of the American people.”

Even after the release of the reconstructed transcript, leading Republicans said Democrats were overreacting. Representative Doug Collins of Georgia, the ranking Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, declared that there was nothing there.

“The transcript between President Trump and Ukrainian President Zelensky reveals that Democrats have again leapt to conclusions before looking at the facts. There was no quid pro quo and nothing to justify the clamor House Democrats caused yesterday. The real danger here is that Democrats keep using baseless accusations in hopes of crippling a successful presidency.”

People at the bar in Trump Tower watched Speaker Nancy Pelosi announce an official impeachment inquiry on Tuesday.CreditDoug Mills/The New York Times

In late July, as Congress was heading off for its long summer break, the House Judiciary Committee filed an extraordinary legal brief as Democrats sought information on potential presidential malfeasance. It declared an impeachment inquiry had begun:

“The House must have access to all the relevant facts and consider whether to exercise all its full Article I powers, including a constitutional power of the utmost gravity — approval of articles of impeachment.”

So what changed when Speaker Pelosi declared on Tuesday that the House was indeed launching an impeachment inquiry? Not a lot.

Ms. Pelosi’s words gave the inquiry momentum and political potency. But the investigations that she was empowering six committees to pursue they have been pursuing for months. And unlike the impeachment processes that were initiated against Presidents Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton, the one begun against Mr. Trump — either in July or on Tuesday — was not launched by a vote in the full House. Republicans such as Mr. Collins are goading Democratic leaders to hold that vote, to put moderate Democrats representing Republican-leaning districts on record supporting the inquiry.

That could still happen. For now, however, Ms. Pelosi seems content to put her weight behind a declaration already made by her Judiciary Committee chairman nearly two months ago.

Mr. Zelensky speaking at the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday, where Mr. Trump is scheduled to meet him.CreditBrittainy Newman/The New York Times

The political fallout from revelations about Mr. Trump’s call with the Ukrainian president, Mr. Zelensky, came as the two men were scheduled to meet in person on Wednesday afternoon on the sidelines of the annual United Nations General Assembly in New York.

Mr. Zelensky, speaking before the United Nations on Wednesday morning, made no mention of Mr. Trump or American military aid. On Tuesday night, Mr. Zelensky released a statement saying he planned to invite Mr. Trump to Ukraine. “I expect us to have awesome relations with the United States,” he said in the statement.

In an interview on Tuesday with Voice of America, Mr. Zelensky said that he expected the conversation on Wednesday afternoon to be “very warm” and that he respected Mr. Trump. “We just want the U.S. to always support Ukraine and Ukraine’s course in its fight against aggression and war,” Mr. Zelensky said. “It seems to me that it is so.”

Mr. Trump will face reporters in a formal news conference Wednesday afternoon, providing a high-profile forum for questions about his role in the telephone call with Ukraine’s president that is at the center of the Democratic impeachment effort.

Presidents historically hold a formal news conference at the end of the annual meeting of the United Nations General Assembly. Often, such events are a president’s primary opportunity to shape the perception of their actions during the meetings with world leaders.

In Mr. Trump’s case, the news conference is likely to be one of many opportunities for the president to make his views known. He typically will respond to questions from reporters throughout the day, before and after bilateral discussions with world leaders. And, of course, the president started tweeting his thoughts about the Democrats first thing Wednesday morning.

How the Impeachment Process Could Play Out

Westlake Legal Group impeachment-600 Trump Defends Phone Call as Impeachment Inquiry Opens: Live Updates Whistle-Blowers Trump, Donald J Senate Republican Party impeachment House of Representatives General Assembly (UN) Ethics and Official Misconduct Democratic Party Constitution (US) Biden, Joseph R Jr

Six House committees are expected to continue investigating President Trump on impeachable offenses and to send their strongest cases to the Judiciary Committee.

The findings are determined to be insufficient evidence of wrongdoing.

The findings are determined to be sufficient.

Trump remains

in office

The House holds a floor vote on one or more articles of impeachment.

Democrats currently

control the House.

A majority of House members vote to impeach.

Less than a majority of the House votes to impeach.

Trump remains

in office

Trump is

impeached

The articles of impeachment move to the Senate, which then holds a trial.

After the trial, the Senate holds a vote to convict the president.

Republicans currently

control the Senate.

Less than two-thirds of members present vote to convict.

Two-thirds or more of members present vote to convict.

Trump remains

in office

Trump removed

from office

Westlake Legal Group impeachment-335 Trump Defends Phone Call as Impeachment Inquiry Opens: Live Updates Whistle-Blowers Trump, Donald J Senate Republican Party impeachment House of Representatives General Assembly (UN) Ethics and Official Misconduct Democratic Party Constitution (US) Biden, Joseph R Jr

Six House committees are expected to continue investigating President Trump on impeachable offenses and to send their strongest cases to the Judiciary Committee.

The findings are determined to be insufficient evidence of wrongdoing.

Trump remains

in office

The findings are determined to be sufficient.

The House holds a floor vote on one or more articles of impeachment.

Democrats currently control the House.

Less than a majority of the House votes to impeach.

A majority of House members vote to impeach.

Trump remains

in office

Trump is

impeached

The articles of impeachment move to the Senate, which then holds a trial.

After the trial, the Senate holds a vote to convict the president.

Republicans currently control the Senate.

Less than two-thirds of members present vote to convict.

Two-thirds or more of members present vote to convict.

Trump remains

in office

Trump removed

from office

Westlake Legal Group impeachment-280 Trump Defends Phone Call as Impeachment Inquiry Opens: Live Updates Whistle-Blowers Trump, Donald J Senate Republican Party impeachment House of Representatives General Assembly (UN) Ethics and Official Misconduct Democratic Party Constitution (US) Biden, Joseph R Jr

Six House committees are expected to continue investigating President Trump on impeachable offenses and to send their strongest cases to the Judiciary Committee.

The findings are determined to be insufficient evidence of wrongdoing.

Trump remains

in office

The findings are determined to be sufficient.

The House holds a floor vote on one or more articles of impeachment.

Democrats currently control the House.

Less than a majority of the House votes to impeach.

A majority of House members vote to impeach.

Trump remains

in office

Trump is

impeached

The articles of impeachment move to the Senate, which then holds a trial.

After the trial, the Senate holds a vote to convict the president.

Republicans currently control the Senate.

Less than two-thirds of members present vote to convict.

Two-thirds or more of members present vote to convict.

Trump remains

in office

Trump removed

from office

By The New York Times

Nicholas Fandos, Catie Edmondson, Sheryl Gay Stolberg and Emily Cochrane contributed reporting from Washington and Michael Crowley from New York.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Trump Asks Ukraine’s Leader to ‘Do Us a Favor’ and Also Urges Inquiry of Biden

WASHINGTON — President Trump urged the president of Ukraine to contact Attorney General William P. Barr about opening a potential corruption investigation connected to former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., according to a transcript of a July phone call at the center of accusations that Mr. Trump pressured a foreign leader to find dirt on a political rival.

“I would like you to do us a favor,” Mr. Trump said in response to President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine raising the prospect of acquiring military equipment from the United States. The president then also asked for another inquiry: that the Ukrainians examine an unsubstantiated theory about stolen Democratic emails.

After a whistle-blower raised concerns about Mr. Trump’s dealings with Ukraine, the director of national intelligence and the inspector general for the intelligence community each referred the complaint for a possible criminal investigation into the president’s actions, according to a Justice Department official.

The department’s criminal division reviewed the matters and concluded that there was no basis for a criminal investigation into Mr. Trump’s behavior. Law enforcement officials determined that the transcript of the call did not show that Mr. Trump had violated campaign finance laws by soliciting from a foreign national a contribution, donation or thing of value.

During the call, Mr. Trump told Mr. Zelensky that he should be in touch with both Mr. Barr and the president’s personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani, according to the transcript released by the White House on Wednesday.

“There is a lot of talk about Biden’s son, that Biden stopped the prosecution, and a lot of people want to find out about that,” Mr. Trump said to Mr. Zelensky during the call, according to the transcript. “So whatever you can do with the attorney general would be great.”

The Justice Department said Wednesday that Mr. Barr was unaware that Mr. Trump had told Mr. Zelensky that he would contact him. The department said that Mr. Barr has never spoken with Mr. Trump about working with Ukraine to investigate anything related to the Bidens and that he has never spoken with Mr. Giuliani about “anything related to Ukraine.”

Though rooting out widespread corruption in Ukraine has long been an American foreign policy goal, Mr. Trump referenced Mr. Biden during the call. Mr. Trump and Mr. Giuliani have long pushed for Ukrainian officials to examine whether there was any improper overlap between Mr. Biden’s dealings with Ukraine while in office and his son’s position on the board of a Ukrainian energy company.

But Mr. Trump’s suggestion that American law enforcement be directly involved and in contact with Ukraine’s government marks the first evidence that the president personally sought to harness the power of the United States government to further a politically motivated investigation.

Westlake Legal Group trump-phone-transcript-ukraine-promo-1569369870401-articleLarge-v2 Trump Asks Ukraine’s Leader to ‘Do Us a Favor’ and Also Urges Inquiry of Biden Zelensky, Volodymyr Whistle-Blowers United States Politics and Government Ukraine Trump, Donald J Senate Republican Party Presidential Election of 2020 impeachment House of Representatives Giuliani, Rudolph W Democratic Party Biden, Joseph R Jr Biden, Hunter

Transcript: Trump’s Call With the Ukrainian President

Trump is accused of pressing Ukraine to investigate his political rivals.

Mr. Trump specifically asked his Ukrainian counterpart to come to the aid of the United States by looking into the unsubstantiated theory pushed by Mr. Giuliani holding that Ukrainians had some role in the emails stolen from the Democratic National Committee.

“I would like to have the attorney general call you or your people and I would like you to get to the bottom of that,” Mr. Trump said on the call, also referencing Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel who investigated Russia’s election sabotage. “Whatever you can do, it’s very important that you do it, if that’s possible.”

Mr. Trump’s allies argue that he was not exerting improper pressure on Mr. Zelensky, but mentioned Mr. Barr because the Justice Department was already reviewing the origins of the inquiry into Russia’s 2016 election meddling.

The president’s mentions of Mr. Barr and Mr. Giuliani were the most striking part of a half-hour conversation in which the two men discussed a series of issues. But several times, Mr. Trump steered the conversation back to Mr. Barr, Mr. Giuliani and Mr. Biden.

There was no explicit reference to the $391 million in foreign aid that Mr. Trump had told Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, to put a hold on several days before the call took place.

The details of the call — which were first revealed by a whistle-blower who works in the intelligence community — prompted Democrats on Tuesday to formally open an impeachment inquiry, accusing Mr. Trump of betraying his country by pressuring a foreign leader to dig up dirt on Mr. Biden.

But until Wednesday, lawmakers had not yet seen the transcript, which documents the 30-minute call and includes banter about Mr. Zelensky staying at the Trump Hotel and the two men comparing which of their airplanes is better.

The July 25 call between Mr. Trump and Mr. Zelensky is at the center of a rapidly escalating political crisis for the American president, who now faces an impeachment inquiry as he prepares to run for re-election.

In the days before the transcript was released, news reports revealed that Mr. Trump used the call in July to pressure Mr. Zelensky for an investigation about Mr. Biden’s actions on behalf of his son Hunter Biden’s work with a business in Ukraine.

That followed repeated efforts over the past several months by Mr. Giuliani to urge the Ukrainians to start an investigation into Mr. Biden.

ImageWestlake Legal Group 25dc-call2-articleLarge Trump Asks Ukraine’s Leader to ‘Do Us a Favor’ and Also Urges Inquiry of Biden Zelensky, Volodymyr Whistle-Blowers United States Politics and Government Ukraine Trump, Donald J Senate Republican Party Presidential Election of 2020 impeachment House of Representatives Giuliani, Rudolph W Democratic Party Biden, Joseph R Jr Biden, Hunter

Attorney General William P. Barr at the White House last week. The Justice Department said Wednesday that Mr. Barr was unaware that Mr. Trump had told Mr. Zelensky that he would contact him.CreditDoug Mills/The New York Times

Over the weekend, Mr. Trump publicly acknowledged that he discussed the former vice president with Mr. Zelensky, even as he angrily railed against what he called another “witch hunt” and insisted that his conversation with the Ukrainian president was perfectly appropriate.

“The conversation I had was largely congratulatory,” Mr. Trump told reporters on Sunday. “It was largely corruption — all of the corruption taking place. It was largely the fact that we don’t want our people, like Vice President Biden and his son, creating to the corruption already in the Ukraine.”

Over the next several days, the president offered a series of shifting and at times contradictory explanations and justifications for his conversation with Mr. Zelensky and his decision this summer to freeze $391 million in aid to Ukraine. It was unblocked after officials at the Office of Management and Budget raised concerns that the money would be impounded, making it harder to spend in the future, and after two Republican senators — Rob Portman of Ohio and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin — raised concerns to the White House.

Mr. Trump made no direct or indirect mentions of aid to Ukraine during the July 25 call, according to the transcript. But Mr. Trump does repeatedly mention Mr. Biden, saying at one point that the former vice president had bragged about stopping a prosecution involving the company that his son worked for — a charge for which there is no public evidence.

According to the transcript, Mr. Zelensky responded that Ukraine has a good prosecutor now.

In New York for the annual United Nations General Assembly, which opened Monday, Mr. Trump at one point repeated his assertion that the conversation with Mr. Zelensky was about corruption. But he later said he had frozen the aid because European countries were not committing their fair share toward defending Ukraine against Russian aggression.

Mr. Trump and his allies inside the White House initially refused to allow the transcript of the call to be released to lawmakers or disclosed publicly. They argued that doing so would set a dangerous precedent and would discourage frank conversations between presidents and foreign leaders.

Faced with mounting demands for details of the call to be disclosed, including by Senate Republicans, Mr. Trump relented on Tuesday. He said on Twitter that he had “authorized the release tomorrow of the complete, fully declassified” information about the call and directed the administration to release it, unredacted.

But Mr. Trump’s advisers, even as the president gave in, said they believed that Democrats had gone too far and that the transcript — and the substance of the whistle-blower’s complaint — would prove not to be damaging to Mr. Trump.

Meanwhile, the president made it clear on Twitter that he planned to aggressively fight Democratic efforts to impeach him. He lashed out at the allegations of impropriety regarding the call, saying they were nothing more than “more breaking news Witch Hunt garbage.” And he denounced what he called “crazy” partisanship by his opponents.

“PRESIDENTIAL HARASSMENT,” he tweeted Tuesday evening.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

House Opens Trump Impeachment Inquiry: Live Updates

ImageWestlake Legal Group 25dc-impeach-briefing-articleLarge-v2 House Opens Trump Impeachment Inquiry: Live Updates Whistle-Blowers Trump, Donald J Senate Republican Party impeachment House of Representatives General Assembly (UN) Ethics and Official Misconduct Democratic Party Constitution (US) Biden, Joseph R Jr

Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced on Tuesday that the House would launch a formal impeachment inquiry.CreditT.J. Kirkpatrick for The New York Times

Here’s what you need to know:

Hours after Democrats began a formal impeachment inquiry on Tuesday, President Trump prepared on Wednesday morning to release the transcript of a July 25 call he had with Volodymyr Zelensky, the president of Ukraine. Mr. Trump has defiantly denied saying anything inappropriate on the call, even as he acknowledged pushing Mr. Zelensky for an investigation of former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., a leading 2020 Democratic presidential candidate and one of his chief rivals.

On Wednesday morning, he declared on Twitter that Democrats had fallen into his trap, and that the release of the transcript would exonerate him — and make them look foolish.

Still, in the face of bipartisan calls from members of Congress, Mr. Trump ordered the Wednesday release of the transcript, ensuring a day of intense scrutiny into his conversation with his Ukrainian counterpart. The decision did not go far enough for many Democrats, who have demanded to see the full complaint about Mr. Trump’s actions lodged by a whistle-blower, which has not been shared with Congress.

As a result, White House officials were continuing to work on a deal that would allow the whistle-blower to testify before Congress about those concerns, according to people briefed on the effort. The deal could also include the release of a redacted version of the complaint, which formed the basis of a report by the inspector general for the intelligence community, people familiar with the situation said.

The House plans to vote on Wednesday afternoon on a resolution condemning the Trump administration for withholding the whistle-blower complaint and demanding that Joseph Maguire, the acting director of national intelligence, promptly furnish it.

The resolution also demands that Mr. Maguire ensure that the whistle-blower is protected from retribution and chastises the president for comments disparaging the whistle-blower in recent days.

The vote is symbolic, but Democratic leaders want to put lawmakers — Democrats and Republicans — on record to highlight their case. Sharing the complaint with Congress is already required by law, Democrats assert.

“This is not a partisan matter; it’s about the integrity of our democracy, respect for the rule of law and defending our Constitution,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Representative Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland, her No. 2, said in a statement on Tuesday. “We hope that all members of the House — Democrats and Republicans alike — will join in upholding the rule of law and oath of office to protect and defend the Constitution as representatives of the American people.”

In late July, as Congress was heading off for its long summer break, the House Judiciary Committee filed an extraordinary legal brief as Democrats sought information on potential presidential malfeasance. It declared an impeachment inquiry had begun:

“The House must have access to all the relevant facts and consider whether to exercise all its full Article I powers, including a constitutional power of the utmost gravity — approval of articles of impeachment.”

So what changed when Speaker Pelosi declared on Tuesday that the House was indeed launching an impeachment inquiry? Not a lot.

Ms. Pelosi’s words gave the inquiry momentum and political potency. But the investigations that she was empowering six committees to pursue they have been pursuing for months. And unlike the impeachment processes that were initiated against Presidents Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton, the one begun against Mr. Trump — either in July or on Tuesday — was not launched by a vote in the full House. Republicans, such as Representative Doug Collins of Georgia, the ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee, are goading Democratic leaders to hold that vote, to put moderate Democrats representing Republican-leaning districts on record supporting the inquiry.

That could still happen. For now, however, Ms. Pelosi seems content to put her weight behind a declaration already made by her Judiciary Committee chairman nearly two months ago.

The political fallout from revelations about Mr. Trump’s call with the Ukrainian president, Mr. Zelensky, came as the two men were scheduled to meet in person on Wednesday afternoon on the sidelines of the annual United Nations General Assembly in New York.

Mr. Zelensky was scheduled to deliver remarks to world leaders at 9 a.m. Wednesday. And he was expected to sit down with Mr. Trump at 2:15 p.m., even as details about the July 25 call were revealed publicly.

At the center of the controversy surrounding Mr. Trump is whether he pressed Mr. Zelensky to investigate Mr. Biden and whether Mr. Trump directed the United States to withhold aid for Ukraine until Mr. Zelensky agreed to his demands.

In an interview on Tuesday with Voice of America, Mr. Zelensky said that he expected the conversation on Wednesday afternoon to be “very warm” and that he respected Mr. Trump. “We just want the U.S. to always support Ukraine and Ukraine’s course in its fight against aggression and war,” Mr. Zelensky said. “It seems to me that it is so.”

Mr. Trump will face reporters in a formal news conference Wednesday afternoon, providing a high-profile forum for questions about his role in the telephone call with Ukraine’s president that is at the center of the Democratic impeachment effort.

Presidents historically hold a formal news conference at the end of the annual meeting of the United Nations General Assembly. Often, such events are a president’s primary opportunity to shape the perception of their actions during the meetings with world leaders.

In Mr. Trump’s case, the news conference is likely to be one of many opportunities for the president to make his views known. He typically will respond to questions from reporters throughout the day, before and after bilateral discussions with world leaders. And, of course, the president started tweeting his thoughts about the Democrats first thing Wednesday morning.

How the Impeachment Process Could Play Out

Westlake Legal Group impeachment-Artboard_1 House Opens Trump Impeachment Inquiry: Live Updates Whistle-Blowers Trump, Donald J Senate Republican Party impeachment House of Representatives General Assembly (UN) Ethics and Official Misconduct Democratic Party Constitution (US) Biden, Joseph R Jr

Six House committees are expected to continue investigating President Trump on impeachable offenses and to send their strongest cases to the Judiciary Committee.

The findings are determined to be insufficient evidence of wrongdoing.

The findings are determined to be sufficient.

Trump remains

in office

The House holds a floor vote on one or more articles of impeachment.

Democrats currently

control the House.

A majority of House members vote to impeach.

Less than a majority of the House votes to impeach.

Trump remains

in office

Trump is

impeached

The articles of impeachment move to the Senate, which then holds a trial.

After the trial, the Senate holds a vote to convict the president.

Republicans currently

control the Senate.

Two-thirds of members present do not vote to convict.

Two-thirds of members present vote to convict.

Trump remains

in office

Trump removed

from office

Westlake Legal Group impeachment-Artboard_2 House Opens Trump Impeachment Inquiry: Live Updates Whistle-Blowers Trump, Donald J Senate Republican Party impeachment House of Representatives General Assembly (UN) Ethics and Official Misconduct Democratic Party Constitution (US) Biden, Joseph R Jr

Six House committees are expected to continue investigating President Trump on impeachable offenses and to send their strongest cases to the Judiciary Committee.

The findings are determined to be insufficient evidence of wrongdoing.

Trump remains

in office

The findings are determined to be sufficient.

The House holds a floor vote on one or more articles of impeachment.

Democrats currently control the House.

Less than a majority of the House votes to impeach.

A majority of House members vote to impeach.

Trump remains

in office

Trump is

impeached

The articles of impeachment move to the Senate, which then holds a trial.

After the trial, the Senate holds a vote to convict the president.

Republicans currently control the Senate.

Two-thirds of members present do not vote to convict.

Two-thirds of members present vote to convict.

Trump remains

in office

Trump removed

from office

By The New York Times

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What to Expect as House Opens Trump Impeachment Inquiry: Live Updates

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Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced on Tuesday that the House would launch a formal impeachment inquiry.CreditAnna Moneymaker/The New York Times

Here’s what you need to know:

Hours after Democrats began a formal impeachment inquiry on Tuesday, President Trump prepared on Wednesday morning to release the transcript of a July 25 call he had with Volodymyr Zelensky, the president of Ukraine. Mr. Trump has defiantly denied saying anything inappropriate on the call, even as he acknowledged pushing Mr. Zelensky for an investigation of former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., a leading 2020 Democratic presidential candidate and one of his chief rivals.

Still, in the face of bipartisan calls from members of Congress, Mr. Trump ordered the Wednesday release of the transcript, ensuring a day of intense scrutiny into his conversation with his Ukrainian counterpart. The decision did not go far enough for many Democrats, who have demanded to see the full complaint about Mr. Trump’s actions lodged by a whistle-blower, which has not been shared with Congress.

As a result, White House officials were continuing to work on a deal that would allow the whistle-blower to testify before Congress about those concerns, according to people briefed on the effort. The deal could also include the release of a redacted version of the complaint, which formed the basis of a report by the inspector general for the intelligence community, people familiar with the situation said.

On Wednesday morning, Mr. Trump tweeted his disapproval of the Democrats, condemning a “Witch Hunt!”

The House plans to vote on Wednesday afternoon on a resolution condemning the Trump administration for withholding the whistle-blower complaint and demanding that Joseph Maguire, the acting director of national intelligence, promptly furnish it.

The resolution also demands that Mr. Maguire ensure that the whistle-blower is protected from retribution and chastises the president for comments disparaging the whistle-blower in recent days.

The vote is symbolic, but Democratic leaders want to put lawmakers — Democrats and Republicans — on record to highlight their case. Sharing the complaint with Congress is already required by law, Democrats assert.

“This is not a partisan matter; it’s about the integrity of our democracy, respect for the rule of law and defending our Constitution,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Representative Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland, her No. 2, said in a statement on Tuesday. “We hope that all members of the House — Democrats and Republicans alike — will join in upholding the rule of law and oath of office to protect and defend the Constitution as representatives of the American people.”

The political fallout from revelations about Mr. Trump’s call with the Ukrainian president, Mr. Zelensky, came as the two men were scheduled to meet in person on Wednesday afternoon on the sidelines of the annual United Nations General Assembly in New York.

Mr. Zelensky was scheduled to deliver remarks to world leaders at 9 a.m. Wednesday. And he was expected to sit down with Mr. Trump at 2:15 p.m., even as details about the July 25 call were revealed publicly.

At the center of the controversy surrounding Mr. Trump is whether he pressed Mr. Zelensky to investigate Mr. Biden and whether Mr. Trump directed the United States to withhold aid for Ukraine until Mr. Zelensky agreed to his demands.

In an interview on Tuesday with Voice of America, Mr. Zelensky said that he expected the conversation on Wednesday afternoon to be “very warm” and that he respected Mr. Trump. “We just want the U.S. to always support Ukraine and Ukraine’s course in its fight against aggression and war,” Mr. Zelensky said. “It seems to me that it is so.”

Mr. Trump will face reporters in a formal news conference Wednesday afternoon, providing a high-profile forum for questions about his role in the telephone call with Ukraine’s president that is at the center of the Democratic impeachment effort.

Presidents historically hold a formal news conference at the end of the annual meeting of the United Nations General Assembly. Often, such events are a president’s primary opportunity to shape the perception of their actions during the meetings with world leaders.

In Mr. Trump’s case, the news conference is likely to be one of many opportunities for the president to make his views known. He typically will respond to questions from reporters throughout the day, before and after bilateral discussions with world leaders. And, of course, the president started tweeting his thoughts about the Democrats first thing Wednesday morning.

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White House Seeks Deal for Whistle-Blower to Speak to Congress

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White House and intelligence officials are working out a deal to allow the whistle-blower who filed an explosive complaint about President Trump to speak with congressional investigators, as part of a broader effort by the administration to quell calls for Mr. Trump’s impeachment, two people briefed on the matter said Tuesday.

The director of national intelligence is also expected to release a redacted version of the whistle-blower’s complaint in coming days, people familiar with the situation said.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi told fellow Democrats that in a private call that she had with the president on Tuesday, he said was not responsible for the whistle-blower complaint being withheld from Congress and would like to find a way to share it, according to Democrats.

The president and his aides had initially rejected congressional requests to examine the complaint. But as pressure has built in the House to begin impeachment proceedings against Mr. Trump, administration officials concluded that holding out would put them in a politically untenable position.

The appearance that they are stonewalling Congress, in their view, could prove more damaging than the whistle-blower’s account. Mr. Trump also believes that the allegations about him are not nearly as damning as they have been portrayed and that disclosing them will clear his name, people close to the president said.

Intelligence community lawyers sent a letter to the whistle-blower’s lawyers on Tuesday, indicating that the office was trying to work out the issues that would allow the whistle-blower to speak with Congress

Andrew P. Bakaj, a lawyer for the whistle-blower, had sent a letter to the director of national intelligence earlier on Tuesday, saying that his client wanted to meet with members of Congress but needed the office’s approval.

“We applaud the decision to release the whistle-blower complaint as it establishes that, ultimately, the lawful whistle-blower disclosure process can work,” said Mr. Bakaj and I. Charles McCullough III, the lawyers for the whistle-blower.

Intelligence community lawyers have had discussions with the White House and the Justice Department officials about how the whistle-blower can share his complaint without infringing on issues like executive privilege.

A meeting with the whistle-blower could provide House Democrats with additional material as they build a case for the president’s impeachment. The precise nature of the whistle-blower’s complaint has not been made public.

Allowing the whistle-blower to meet with investigators would allow the whistle-blower to share at least some details of the complaint he filed — which relates to Mr. Trump’s efforts to get the Ukrainian government to investigate former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his son — even if the full document is not handed over to Congress.

Mr. Maguire said Tuesday that he would work with Congress and the administration to find a resolution in the standoff over congressional access to the complaint.

In a sharply worded statement, Mr. Maguire pushed back on a statement by Ms. Pelosi that he had acted illegally by withholding the whistle-blower complaint from Congress.

“In light of recent reporting on the whistle-blower complaint, I want to make clear that I have upheld my responsibility to follow the law every step of the way,” Mr. Maguire said.

Mr. Maguire also appeared to defend the whistle-blower, saying that all members of the country’s intelligence agencies “have a solemn responsibility to do what is right, which includes reporting wrongdoing.”

The administration had originally barred the whistle-blower’s complaint from being shared with Congress, arguing that it did not meet the legal definitions of a matter under the purview of office of the director of national intelligence.

But by Tuesday, the administration was working on several fronts to disclose key elements of the material sought by Congressional Democrats. Mr. Trump said as he attended meetings at the United Nations on Tuesday that he would release a transcript of his call on July 25 with Ukraine’s new president, Volodymyr Zelensky.

The decision to release a transcript of the call made seeking a compromise on the whistle-blower easier, a person familiar with the matter said. But the information in the complaint goes beyond the material in the transcript, meaning there are still potential issues of White House executive privilege that need to be resolved, the person said.

A spokeswoman for the office of the director of national intelligence declined to comment.

Since before the confrontation over the whistle-blower complaint became public, Mr. Maguire has been trying to broker a compromise that would allow some or all of the information to go to Congress to resolve the crisis.

Friends of Mr. Maguire has said he has felt caught between his duty to inform Congress on the one hand and his legal advisers and the Justice Department on the other. They had said he was not legally permitted to share the information.

The White House deliberations came as Democrats announced that they were moving forward with a former impeachment investigation of Mr. Trump.

Mr. Trump, according to people close to him, believes Democrats will overplay their hand and that once the transcript is released, it will not prove to be a problem for him.

But the whistle-blower’s complaint is said to extend beyond the one phone call, and Mr. Trump has had at least one other phone call with Mr. Zelensky, on April 21.

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For Joe Biden, a Long-Expected Test From Trump

In public, for the last five days, Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his campaign have been on a ferocious offensive, ripping into President Trump for allegedly abusing his powers in asking Ukraine’s leader to help hurt Mr. Biden politically, and castigating the news media for questioning his son Hunter Biden’s financial dealings there. On Tuesday, Mr. Biden made his biggest move yet, saying Congress should start an impeachment inquiry against Mr. Trump if he does not cooperate with their investigations.

In private, though, this has been an enraging and uncertain time for the Biden campaign, and for Mr. Biden himself, who associates say has been astounded both by Mr. Trump’s contact with the Ukrainian government and his obvious enthusiasm for attacking Mr. Biden’s family. He and his advisers have long feared that Hunter Biden would become a target for political opponents, according to people familiar with their thinking, and now the scrutiny of Mr. Biden’s son is bound to intensify.

And as Mr. Trump’s onslaught has pushed the House of Representatives to start an impeachment inquiry, Mr. Biden now faces a crucial political test where his standing may hinge on how he handles a wildly unpredictable confrontation with Mr. Trump.

Bryce Smith, the Democratic Party chairman in Dallas County, Iowa, said the moment showcased Mr. Biden as a candidate Mr. Trump is “genuinely worried about” and offered a reminder of the lengths Mr. Trump may go to oppose any Democratic opponent. But it also exposed Mr. Biden to risks in the leadoff caucus state, he said.

“I could see people who are already on the fence about him, maybe because of his long career in politics, his age, his ability to win this, kind of going, ‘Oh, great, we’re already starting this and he hasn’t even gotten the nomination,’” Mr. Smith said. “And others going, ‘He’s obviously being thought of as a formidable opponent, if Trump is thinking about it like this.’”

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Mr. Biden and his campaign team have encouraged the latter interpretation, trying to project an image of strength in the primary and warning the press that the Biden campaign would deliver blunt criticism about coverage it sees as unfair. At a Philadelphia fund-raising event on Monday, Mr. Biden pledged, “I’m not going to take a punch and not punch back.”

Yet allies of Mr. Biden acknowledge privately that the campaign has been girding for months for criticism of Hunter Biden, who has charted a winding career as a bank executive, lobbyist and financier, often operating in parts of the private sector that overlapped with his father’s footprint in government. They have declined to say whether they vetted Hunter Biden’s business activities as part of preparing for the 2020 presidential campaign, arguing that the political world should be solely focused on Mr. Trump’s conduct.

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President Trump in New York on Tuesday.CreditDoug Mills/The New York Times

There is no evidence that Mr. Biden, as vice president, intentionally tried to help his son in his dealings with Ukraine, but Hunter Biden’s business career has sporadically drawn attention from political rivals and the media for more than a decade. Associates say Mr. Biden is infuriated by Mr. Trump’s conduct and astonished by the president’s willingness to dismiss some of the most basic ethical lines in American politics.

In Wilmington, Del., Tuesday, Mr. Biden called the president’s actions an “abuse of power’’ that undermined national security, and said he would support impeachment if Mr. Trump did not provide information related to Congressional investigations.

In some respects, Mr. Trump’s conduct has reinforced the central message of Mr. Biden’s appeal to Democratic voters: that the country is threatened by an out-of-control presidency, and that ousting Mr. Trump is more important than any other policy goal Democrats might share.

At fund-raisers and other events, Democrats who have spoken with Mr. Biden in recent days say he has largely appeared measured, greeting old friends in his typical effusive style and keeping the focus on his concerns with Mr. Trump’s foreign policy, rather than dwelling on the challenges the moment raises for his family.

Still unclear in this moment of crisis is what conclusions Democratic voters might make about Mr. Biden as an opponent for Mr. Trump, and how a drive for impeachment in Congress might shape the Democratic primary campaign.

Former Gov. Tom Vilsack of Iowa, who saw Mr. Biden at a fund-raiser in Iowa on Saturday, said he believed that Mr. Trump’s dangerous conduct was at the forefront of Mr. Biden’s mind.

“I suspect he’s just as focused and just as concerned about that as he is about an attack on a family member, as personal as that is,” said Mr. Vilsack, who served as agriculture secretary in the Obama administration.

A memo circulated to political surrogates from the Biden campaign on Tuesday urged supporters to note that “this isn’t about Biden or his family. We all know who Trump is,” and also suggested criticizing reporters for giving undeserved coverage to Mr. Trump’s attacks on Mr. Biden and his son.

“Trump is successfully playing the same game he played in 2016 — and the press is falling for it again,” the memo stated.

This clash has come at a precarious moment for Mr. Biden’s candidacy, as he seeks to recover momentum after a largely limp summer on the campaign trail. He has slipped in the polls over the last two months and faces an increasingly formidable challenge from Senator Elizabeth Warren: Two polls released in recent days showed her slightly overtaking him in Iowa and New Hampshire, the leadoff states in the Democratic nomination process.

In the short term, at least, Mr. Trump may have effectively put Hunter Biden off limits for his father’s Democratic rivals. It is unlikely that any other candidate in Mr. Biden’s party would soon follow Mr. Trump in going after the former vice president’s son on the subject of business ethics, while Mr. Trump may face an impeachment inquiry for allegedly pressuring a foreign government to do just that.

Senator Bernie Sanders, for one, deflected a reporter’s question on Tuesday about whether he thought the sudden focus on Hunter Biden’s overseas work would weaken the Biden campaign. “You guys write very perceptive articles on these things, and I’ll let you make that judgment,” he replied.

Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont in Davenport, Iowa, on Tuesday. Mr. Sanders called on Congress to begin an impeachment inquiry.CreditHilary Swift for The New York Times

It is unclear, however, how well prepared Mr. Biden and his campaign may be to address questions about Hunter Biden’s business dealings beyond the specific case Mr. Trump has attempted to raise. Hunter Biden has operated for years in parts of the business world that intersected with his father’s career in government, including working for MBNA, a Delaware-based bank, while his father was involved in rewriting the bankruptcy code as a senator, and leading an investment fund that did business in foreign countries while his father was vice president.

Hunter Biden’s work for MBNA briefly became an issue during his father’s campaign for the vice presidency in 2008, and Obama-Biden campaign officials defended it as within the bounds of ethical propriety.

TJ Ducklo, a spokesman for Mr. Biden, said the former vice president was indeed angry that Mr. Trump was “lying about his family, and now appears to be blackmailing a foreign government into helping legitimize those lies.”

“He’s fighting back, which is what Democrats want to see in their nominee and why he will beat Donald Trump next fall,” Mr. Ducklo said, adding, “The V.P. and his family know Donald Trump plays dirty, and they can take it.

Mr. Ducklo declined to say whether the campaign had vetted Hunter Biden’s business dealings and said the media should not be asking questions like that. “We’re not going to indulge Trump’s conspiracy theories, and we’re not going to dignify his attacks with a response,” he said.

Mr. Biden is said to have limited patience for discussing Hunter Biden’s apparent political vulnerabilities, even in private. Some of Mr. Biden’s close advisers have argued in private settings that going after any member of Mr. Biden’s family — including Hunter Biden — would ultimately backfire on an opponent, because of Mr. Biden’s stature and the sympathetic feelings much of the public has for him and his family.

For Mr. Biden, the matter of his son is deeply sensitive for reasons that have nothing to do with politics: While the whole Biden family endorsed his choice to enter the 2020 race, friends of Mr. Biden said consistently throughout his deliberations that his deepest anxiety was the impact of a campaign on a family still grappling with profound loss after the death of Mr. Biden’s elder son, Beau Biden, in 2015, from brain cancer.

“I know that he worked through that, he did a lot of contemplation about how it would affect the family,” said the Rev. Joseph Darby, an influential South Carolina-based pastor who has known Mr. Biden for years.

Earlier this year, Hunter Biden spoke in detail to The New Yorker magazine about the crippling grief he experienced after his brother’s death, and his long-running struggles with drug addiction. The magazine story also detailed a number of potential ethical conflicts in Hunter Biden’s business activities and described the vice president as having dealt “with Hunter’s activities by largely ignoring them.”

Maggie Astor and Sydney Ember contributed reporting.

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Why an Impeachment Inquiry Now? Democrats Cite the Clarity of the Case

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WASHINGTON — For months, dozens of House Democrats anxiously avoided even the mention of impeaching President Trump — right up until the moment that they demanded it.

The sudden embrace of an impeachment inquiry by previously reluctant House Democrats — most notably Speaker Nancy Pelosi — is attributable to one fundamental fact: They believe the new accusations against Mr. Trump are simple and serious enough to be grasped by a public overwhelmed by the constant din of complex charges and countercharges that has become the norm in today’s Washington.

In contrast to the murkiness of the special counsel’s report on Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible obstruction of justice by Mr. Trump, Democrats see the current allegations as damningly clear-cut. His refusal so far to provide Congress with an intelligence official’s whistle-blower complaint as required by law, coupled with the possibility that Mr. Trump dangled American military aid as a bargaining chip to win investigation of a political rival by a foreign government, strikes them as a stark case of presidential wrongdoing. They consider it egregious enough that they expect many Americans who had been cool to the idea of moving to oust the president to recognize the imperative for the House to act.

“It has shifted the ground,” Representative Peter Welch, Democrat of Vermont and a member of the Intelligence Committee, said about the new allegations against the president, as party support for an impeachment inquiry solidified. “It makes the brazenness of the conduct and the simplicity of the misconduct easy for everybody to understand.”

A second factor was also at work. The national security implications of the president pressuring an embattled ally for political help threw open the door for more moderate Democrats — many of them products of the military and intelligence communities, rather than lifelong politicians — to justify their decision to pursue an impeachment case against the president despite his relative popularity in their districts. In Tuesday’s outpouring of new demands for an inquiry, national security loomed large as a rationale.

“Make no mistake, these recent allegations are certainly dire,” Representatives Steven Horsford and Susie Lee, two Nevada Democrats who had resisted impeachment, said in a joint statement. “They point to a direct abuse of power at the expense of our national security.”

Ms. Pelosi’s reversal was a head-snapping change. Since early in Mr. Trump’s tenure, the speaker had been the leading voice for restraint on impeachment, recognizing the political danger to her hard-won majority as well as the potential for a backlash that could hand Mr. Trump a second term in the White House. Despite her own deep disregard for the president, Ms. Pelosi did not believe the public was behind a formal impeachment inquiry that she considered nationally divisive. She preferred that various committees pursue Mr. Trump on a range of issues before next year’s election without forcing formal impeachment action.

That all changed with the disclosure of the whistle-blower complaint against the president.

Like her colleagues, Ms. Pelosi said that while the latest allegation against the president is but one candidate for an article of impeachment, “this is the most understandable by the public.”

“We don’t ask foreign governments to help us in our elections,” Ms. Pelosi said Tuesday at a forum sponsored by The Atlantic.

The initiation of a formal impeachment inquiry carries grave political risks for Democrats, allowing Mr. Trump and congressional Republicans to argue that Democrats are unfairly tormenting the president for partisan gain with an election just more than a year away. “PRESIDENTIAL HARASSMENT!” Mr. Trump tweeted from New York, where he was attending meetings at the United Nations, as Democrats announced that they were opening a formal impeachment inquiry.

Republicans paid a steep political price for moving to impeach Bill Clinton in 1998, and some analysts believe this episode could backfire on Democrats as well.

But with the party clamor growing for action against the president after the Ukrainian revelations, Ms. Pelosi and others who had been holding back faced the prospect that failing to move forward on demands to hold the president accountable could cost them more with their own party than pursuing impeachment might hurt them with Republicans and independents. Long a progressive hero, Ms. Pelosi had already drawn fire from the left for failing to act.

Even as momentum rapidly built, worries surfaced among Democrats that the drive could fizzle with the release of a transcript of the telephone call between Mr. Trump and the Ukrainian president if it proved less explosive than anticipated — an outcome Republicans predicted. But the speaker and others said that such an outcome would not deter them and that they wanted to hear all of the whistle-blower’s account of what led to the complaint against Mr. Trump, which is believed to include more than the call.

The decision to back the inquiry was not easy for Democrats who had been hesitant to get on board.

“I certainly didn’t run for Congress to be part of an impeachment inquiry,” said Representative Haley Stevens, Democrat of Michigan, who called the phone call an abuse of power. “It’s heartbreaking to look something like impeachment in the face,” she added. “No matter who the president is, we want them to succeed. At the same time, I have to maintain the rule of law and checks and balances.”

While the revelation of the whistle-blower complaint broke the logjam on impeachment, Democrats were becoming increasingly incensed at the proud defiance of the House by the president and his allies, essentially thumbing their noses at a coequal branch of government empowered to oversee the conduct of the administration. The Trump strategy had been effective as recently as a few days ago, when Democrats seemed stymied in their pursuit of the president with the prospect of a formal impeachment inquiry flagging.

To many of them, the fact that Mr. Trump had so far escaped any reckoning had only emboldened him to encourage the Ukrainian government to open a corruption investigation into former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., a potential 2020 opponent, and his son Hunter Biden.

Now, Democrats who had been hesitant to open an inquiry are all in.

“These actions, which the president has admitted, represent a gross abuse of power and an abuse of the trust we the people have placed in the office of the president,” Representative Lizzie Fletcher, a Democrat from Houston who flipped a Republican seat last year and will face a challenge in holding on to it, said in a statement. She said the “House of Representatives should act swiftly to investigate and should be prepared to use the remedy exclusively in its power: impeachment.”

For months, it appeared that Ms. Pelosi’s calculus and the deep reservations of Democrats in swing districts would keep the House from moving forward on impeachment. The speaker told fellow Democrats in a private conference call in August that the House would not move to impeach unless the president gave them no choice.

In the eyes of Democrats, that is exactly what happened.

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White House Working on Deal to Let Whistle-Blower Speak to Congress

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White House and intelligence officials are working on a deal to allow the whistle blower who filed an explosive complaint about President Trump to meet with Congressional investigators, as part of a broader effort by the administration to quell calls for Mr. Trump’s impeachment.

The meeting could give Democrats a stream of evidence as they consider whether to impeach the president. Such a meeting would allow the whistle-blower to share at least some details of the complaint he filed — which relates to Mr. Trump’s efforts to get the Ukrainian government to investigate former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his son — even if the actual document is not handed over to Congress.

The administration had originally barred the whistle-blower’s complaint from being shared with Congress, arguing that it did not meet the legal definitions of a matter under the purview of office of the director of national intelligence.

But on Monday, amid building political pressure from both Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill, the administration began the process of reversing that decision.

Intelligence community lawyers sent a letter to the whistle-blower on Monday, indicating that the office was trying to work out the issues that would allow the whistle-blower to speak with Congress, according to a person briefed on the matter. Andrew P. Bakaj, a lawyer for the whistle-blower, had sent a letter to the director of national intelligence on Monday, saying that his client wanted to meet with members of Congress but needed the office’s approval.

Intelligence community lawyers have had discussions with the White House and the Justice Department officials about how the whistle-blower can share his complaint without infringing on issues like executive privilege.

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White House Drops Objection to Whistle-Blower Speaking to Congress

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The White House has determined that it will most likely have to allow the whistle-blower who filed an explosive complaint about President Trump to meet with congressional investigators, two people briefed on the matter said Tuesday.

The meeting could give Democrats a stream of evidence as they consider whether to impeach the president. Such a meeting would allow the whistle-blower to share at least some details of the complaint he filed — which relates to Mr. Trump’s efforts to get the Ukrainian government to investigate former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his son — even if the actual document is not handed over to Congress.

The administration had originally barred the whistle-blower’s complaint from being shared with Congress, arguing that it did not meet the legal definitions of a matter under the purview of office of the director of national intelligence.

But on Monday, amid building political pressure from both Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill, the administration began the process of reversing that decision.

Intelligence community lawyers sent a letter to the whistle-blower on Monday, indicating that the office was trying to work out the issues that would allow the whistle-blower to speak with Congress, according to a person briefed on the matter. Andrew P. Bakaj, a lawyer for the whistle-blower, had sent a letter to the director of national intelligence on Monday, saying that his client wanted to meet with members of Congress but needed the office’s approval.

Intelligence community lawyers have had discussions with the White House and the Justice Department officials about how the whistle-blower can share his complaint without infringing on issues like executive privilege.

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Nancy Pelosi Announces Formal Impeachment Inquiry of Trump

WASHINGTON — Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced on Tuesday that the House would begin a formal impeachment inquiry of President Trump, saying that he had betrayed his oath of office and the nation’s security in seeking to enlist a foreign power for his own political gain.

“The actions taken to date by the president have seriously violated the Constitution,” she said after emerging from a meeting of House Democrats in the basement of the Capitol. Mr. Trump, she said, “must be held accountable — no one is above the law.”

Read the Transcript
Nancy Pelosi’s Statement on Impeachment: ‘The President Must Be Held Accountable’

Sept. 24, 2019

The announcement was a stunning development that unfolded after months of caution by House Democrats, who have been divided over using the ultimate remedy to address what they have called flagrant misconduct by the president. It ushered in the beginning of a remarkable new chapter in American political life, with the potential to cleave an already divided nation, reshape Mr. Trump’s presidency and the country’s politics, and create heavy risks both for him and for the Democrats who have decided to weigh his removal. And it could result in Mr. Trump becoming only the third president in modern history to be impeached, after Bill Clinton and Richard M. Nixon, who resigned in the middle of the process.

In this case, with an avalanche of Democrats — including many who had resisted the move — now demanding it, Ms. Pelosi said that Mr. Trump’s reported actions, and his administration’s refusal to share details about the matter with Congress, have left the House no alternative outside of impeachment.

At issue are allegations that Mr. Trump pressured the president of Ukraine to open a corruption investigation of former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., a leading contender for the Democratic presidential nomination, and his son. The conversation is said to be part of a whistle-blower complaint that the Trump administration has withheld from Congress.

Mr. Trump said on Tuesday that he would authorize the release of a transcript of the conversation, practically daring Democrats to try to find an impeachable offense in a conversation that he has called “perfect.” But Democrats, after months of holding back, demanded the full whistle-blower complaint, even as they pushed toward an expansive impeachment inquiry that could encompass unrelated charges.

“The actions of the Trump presidency revealed dishonorable facts of the president’s betrayal of his oath of office, betrayal of our national security and betrayal of the integrity of our elections,” Ms. Pelosi said.

The president, in New York for several days of international diplomacy at the United Nations, issued a defiant response on Twitter, in a series of fuming posts that culminated with a simple phrase: “PRESIDENTIAL HARASSMENT!”

“Such an important day at the United Nations, so much work and so much success, and the Democrats purposely had to ruin and demean it with more breaking news Witch Hunt garbage,” Mr. Trump wrote. “So bad for our Country!

Ms. Pelosi said she had directed the chairmen of the six committees that have been investigating Mr. Trump to “proceed under that umbrella of impeachment inquiry.” In a closed-door meeting earlier in the day, she said the panels would put together their best cases on potentially impeachable offenses by the president and send them to the Judiciary Committee, according to two officials familiar with the conversation. That could potentially lay the groundwork for articles of impeachment based on the findings.

The decision to begin a formal impeachment inquiry does not necessarily mean that the House will ultimately vote to charge Mr. Trump with high crimes and misdemeanors — much less that the Republican-controlled Senate will vote to remove him. But Ms. Pelosi and her leadership would not initiate the process unless they were prepared to reach that outcome.

Ms. Pelosi met privately on Tuesday with the leaders of the six key committees involved in investigations of Mr. Trump, and later huddled with the full Democratic caucus. Her announcement came amid a groundswell in favor of impeachment among Democrats that has intensified since late last week, with lawmakers from every corner of her caucus lining up in favor of using the House’s unique power to charge Mr. Trump if the allegations are proved true, or if his administration continues to stonewall attempts by Congress to investigate them.

Westlake Legal Group trump-impeachment-congress-promo-1559334647091-articleLarge-v38 Nancy Pelosi Announces Formal Impeachment Inquiry of Trump Whistle-Blowers United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Senate Pelosi, Nancy Office of the Director of National Intelligence impeachment House of Representatives Espionage and Intelligence Services Elections, House of Representatives Democratic Party Biden, Joseph R Jr

Complete List: Who Supports an Impeachment Inquiry Against Trump?

More than two-thirds of House Democrats and one Independent have said they now support impeachment proceedings.

The House Judiciary Committee has been conducting its own impeachment investigation focused on the findings of the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, as well as allegations that Mr. Trump may be illegally profiting from spending by state and foreign governments and other matters. But that inquiry has never gotten the imprimatur of a full House vote or the full rhetorical backing of the speaker, as Democrats remained divided about the wisdom and political implications of impeaching a president without broader public support.

Now, after the revelation of a conversations between Mr. Trump and President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine in which Mr. Trump pressed the foreign leader to investigate the Bidens, a cascading flood of Democrats has come out in favor of a formal impeachment proceeding.

The shift in outlook among Democratic lawmakers has been rapid, and could yet still turn away from impeachment if exculpatory evidence comes to light. The developments that have turned the tide began less that two weeks ago, when Representative Adam B. Schiff of California, the Intelligence Committee chairman, first revealed the existence of a secret whistle-blower complaint that the intelligence community’s internal watchdog had deemed “urgent” and credible but that the Trump administration had refused to share with Congress.

Democrats have given Joseph Maguire, the acting director of national intelligence, until Thursday to turn over the whistle-blower complaint or risk reprisal. And they have threatened to subpoena the Trump administration for a copy of the transcript of the president’s call with Mr. Zelensky and other relevant documents after Thursday if they are not shared voluntarily.

There were also indications the whistle-blower might not wait around for the complaint to be disclosed. Democrats said on Tuesday that a lawyer for the whistle-blower had informed the committee his client wanted to speak with the House and Senate intelligence panels, and had requested directions from the office of the director of national intelligence on how to do so.

Though it has attracted much less fanfare, the Senate Intelligence Committee intends to meet privately with the inspector general and Mr. Maguire this week to discuss the whistle-blower complaint.

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Jonathan Martin contributed reporting from Los Angeles.

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