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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.”

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 for Mr. Trump, who was in New York for the United Nations General Assembly. He me Mr. Zelensky there in the afternoon, and was scheduled to hold a formal news conference later on.

“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 and called on Mr. Barr to recuse himself from involvement in the formal impeachment inquiry that Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced on Tuesday.

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.

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.

How does impeachment work? We break it down.

Mr. Zelensky and Mr. Trump went before the press after a private meeting Wednesday afternoon at the United Nations, and in the glare of the camera lights, it was not a comfortable moment.

Asked about the phone conversation, Mr. Zelensky tried not to offend. “We had, I think, a good phone call. It was normal. We spoke about many things,” he was saying when Mr. Trump jumped in, “in other words, no pressure.”

“I’m sorry, but I don’t want to be involved” in the American elections, Mr. Zelensky said almost apologetically.

It was Mr. Trump who took the conversation into political territory, once again ripping into Mr. Biden and his son, Hunter, accusing them of corruption, and then veering into familiar territory to excoriate his 2016 rival, Hillary Clinton, for deleting emails.

Ms. Pelosi did not hold back in condemning Mr. Trump’s behavior as she indicated in a statement that the release of the phone call reconstruction would only fuel the impeachment inquiry:

“The release of the notes of the call by the White House confirms that the President engaged in behavior that undermines the integrity of our elections, the dignity of the office he holds and our national security. The President has tried to make lawlessness a virtue in America and now is exporting it abroad.

“I respect the responsibility of the President to engage with foreign leaders as part of his job. It is not part of his job to use taxpayer money to shake down other countries for the benefit of his campaign. Either the President does not know the weight of his words or he does not care about ethics or his constitutional responsibilities.”

She also made it clear that Mr. Barr would now be part of the multipronged House investigation that could yield articles of impeachment. “The transcript and the Justice Department’s acting in a rogue fashion in being complicit in the President’s lawlessness confirm the need for an impeachment inquiry,” she wrote. “Clearly, the Congress must act.”

Shortly after her remarks, the chairmen of the House Judiciary, Intelligence, Oversight and Foreign Affairs committees issued a joint statement:

“The record of the call released by the White House confirms our worst fears: that the President abused his office by directly and repeatedly asking a foreign country to investigate his political rival and open investigations meant to help the President politically. Not once, not twice, but more than half a dozen times during one telephone call. This was a shakedown. The President of the United States asked for a ‘favor’ after the Ukrainian President expressed his country’s need for weapons to defend against Russian aggression.”

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CreditErin Schaff/The New York Times

“Entirely appropriate.” “No quid pro quo.” “Not seeking ‘foreign interference.’”

The White House helpfully assembled talking points for congressional Republicans to use in their defense of Mr. Trump ahead of the release of the reconstructed transcript — and then emailed them to Ms. Pelosi’s office, and in effect, the world.

To make matters worse, or at least more comical, the official, Tori Q. Symonds, then sent a follow-up email saying she would “like to recall” the previous message.

Undaunted, Republicans did pick up the White House’s words. The White House had invited a dozen or so Republican lawmakers to review the document in advance and pose questions, officials familiar with the meeting said. At one point, Mr. Trump called into the meeting from the United Nations.

The group included the top leaders of the House, Representatives Kevin McCarthy of California, Steve Scalise of Louisiana and Liz Cheney of Wyoming. Several other Trump allies in the House and Senate were also on hand, including Representative Doug Collins of Georgia, the top Republican on the Judiciary Committee; Representative Matt Gaetz of Florida; Representative Jim Jordan of Ohio; and Senator Jim Risch of Idaho, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

“The House Democrats have been careening from impeachment theory to impeachment theory, they’ve careened from target to target,” Ms. Cheney went on to say. 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.”

One of the few exceptions was Senator Mitt Romney, Republican of Utah, who 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.

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

Later, at The Atlantic Magazine’s annual talk fest, he explained why he thought his party was sticking to the talking points. “I think it’s very natural for people to look at circumstances and see them in the light that’s most amenable to their maintaining power,” he said, “and doing things to preserve that power.”

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.

“We have created the greatest economy in the history of our country, the greatest economy in the world,” he said.

He called the inquiry “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, 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,” she 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.”

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CreditDoug Mills/The New York Times

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.

“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. (On Tuesday, Ms. Pelosi charged six committee chairs to put together their best impeachment evidence and transmit it to the Judiciary Committee.)

“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 of Connecticut.

One challenge: House leaders do not plan to cancel a scheduled two-week recess on Friday, but said that the Judiciary and Intelligence Committees would remain active.

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CreditMark Makela for The New York Times

There was also already some early disagreement about the breadth of the case the House should build. Ms. Pelosi’s instructions to the six committees 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.

At least two candidates used the phrase: Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and the former housing secretary Julián Castro. For his part, Mr. Biden said on Tuesday that if Mr. Trump kept stonewalling attempts by Congress to investigate his conduct, he would “leave Congress no choice but to initiate impeachment.”

The planned vote on Wednesday afternoon is on a resolution condemning the 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,” Ms. 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. Mr. Collins, 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.

How the Impeachment Process Could Play Out

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

HOUSE

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

SENATE

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.

Fewer 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

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.

HOUSE

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

SENATE

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.

Fewer 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

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.

HOUSE

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

SENATE

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.

Fewer 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, Maggie Haberman, Catie Edmondson, Sheryl Gay Stolberg and Emily Cochrane contributed reporting from Washington and Michael Crowley and Matt Stevens from New York.

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