A lot has happened since then.
While the White House's notes on the call showed that Trump did not directly mention offering aid in exchange for Zelensky's assistance in investigating the Bidens, they confirmed that Trump brought up how the U.S. does "a lot for Ukraine" right before asking Zelensky to do him a "favor, though" by investigating Biden and discrediting the former special counsel Robert Mueller's Russian Federation probe.
Ahead of the 2016 election, Trump publicly called on Russian Federation to release Hillary Clinton's emails if they had obtained them by hacking _ which US intelligence agencies later determined to be the case. "This is what's wrong, when the world doesn't focus on the things that matter. and instead, you get caught up in a silly gotcha game", he said.
Vice President Mike Pence has defended Trump encouraging Ukraine to investigate the Biden family.
Trump doubled down on his comments later Thursday, saying in a tweet: "As the President of the United States, I have an absolute right, perhaps even a duty, to investigate, or have investigated, CORRUPTION, and that would include asking, or suggesting, other Countries to help us out!"
The messages were later released by Democrats.
The messages, released by House Democrats, show former U.S. special envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker writing to top Zelensky aide Andrey Yermak, promising the new Ukrainian leader a trip to Washington in exchange for the investigation.
The messages between the diplomats get increasingly fraught.
In a text from September 9, after news that the Trump administration had been withholding military assistance for Kiev, William Taylor, the USA chargé d'affaires in the Ukrainian capital, discussed the importance of the message Washington was sending to Kiev.
These requests, which critics argue are an abuse of presidential power, echo comments Trump made as a presidential candidate in 2016 for Russian Federation to release missing emails of his political opponent, Hillary Clinton.
Earlier this year, the ambassador said he was one of three people leading the charge for diplomacy with Ukraine. But spokeswoman Shaylyn Hynes says Perry was wanting Trump to speak on energy matters with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.
Pelosi has sought to avoid a vote on the impeachment probe for the same reason she resisted, for months, liberal calls to try to remove the president: It would force moderate House Democrats to make a politically risky vote. The pair now lead the pack of Democrats seeking the party's 2020 presidential nomination.
By boldly repeating the action at the heart of the impeachment inquiry, Trump nearly appeared to dare House Democrats to impeach him.
Pence's aides disputed that, blaming logistics - not Trump - for the decision.
A second whistleblower has spoken to the intelligence community's internal watchdog and has information that supports an original whistleblower's complaint about President Donald Trump's dealings with Ukraine. Democrats accused Trump of pressuring Zelensky into reopening the investigation in a July phone call, using military aid as leverage. The top USA diplomat didn't say whether he thought the contents of the call were inappropriate, or whether he believed they warranted the whistleblower complaint that triggered the impeachment probe.
Trump's actions have ensnarled the White House in an impeachment investigation by the Democratic-controlled House. And they're going to court if necessary.
Ahead of his deposition Thursday, dozens of pages of documents were delivered to the House Intelligence, Oversight and Reform and Foreign Affairs committees on behalf of Volker, two sources familiar tell CNN.
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