What to Expect as House Launches an Impeachment Inquiry

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.

The House plans to vote 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.

“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.”


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