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Donald Trump teases release of Ukraine call transcript

President Donald Trump has teased the release of a transcript of his first call with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky, saying it is more important and 'tantalizing' than his second call with the leader.

Trump tweeted on Monday night that he would release the transcript of his first call with Zelensky at some point this week. 

'In order to continue being the most Transparent President in history, I will be releasing sometime this week the Transcript of the first, and therefore most important, phone call I had with the President of Ukraine,' Trump said.  

'I am sure you will find it tantalizing!'

It comes after Trump said last week that he was willing to release the first transcript amid the impeachment probe. 

Donald Trump tweeted on Monday night that he would release the transcript of his first call with Volodymyr Zelensky at some point this week

The impeachment investigation began in September after a whistleblower within the U.S. intelligence community brought a complaint against Trump over his July 25 call with Zelenskiy. 

In addition to promising the release the transcript, Trump went on to fume about the investigation in a series of tweets on Monday night. 

He accused Adam Schiff, the head of the Democrats' investigation of Trump, of staging a witch hunt. 

'Schiff is giving Republicans NO WITNESSES, NO LAWYER & NO DUE PROCESS! It is a totally one sided Witch Hunt. This can't be making the Democrats look good. Such a farce!' Trump tweeted. 

'Just like Schiff fabricated my phone call, he will fabricate the transcripts that he is making and releasing!'

'Schiff and the Dems have created this whole thing, they reverse engineer it. They've been vowing to impeach for three years. Why should we listen to them? Why should we want to?' 

The impeachment inquiry enters a crucial new public phase with the first on-camera hearings in the investigation set for later this week. 

It is focused on accusations that Trump improperly withheld security money as leverage to pressure Ukraine to investigate political rival Joe Biden. 

On Wednesday and Friday, U.S. diplomats William Taylor, George Kent and Marie Yovanovitch are due to detail in public their concerns, previously expressed in testimony behind closed doors, that Trump and his administration sought to tie the security aid to investigations that might benefit his 2020 re-election bid.

Trump and some of his supporters have argued that the funds - approved by the U.S. Congress to help combat Russia-backed separatists in the eastern part of Ukraine - were blocked by Trump to press Zelenskiy's government to fight corruption, not to seek an investigation of Biden and his son.  

Democrats, who control the House, have argued that Trump abused his power in pressing a vulnerable U.S. ally to carry out investigations that would benefit Trump politically. Biden is a leading contender for the Democratic nomination to face the Republican president in the 2020 election. His son Hunter Biden served on the board of a Ukrainian energy company called Burisma.

Trump has denied there was a quid pro quo - or exchanging a favor for a favor - in his dealings with Ukraine. He defended his call with Zelenskiy as 'perfect' and branded the probe a politically motivated hoax. 

The impeachment investigation began in September after a whistleblower within the U.S. intelligence community brought a complaint against Trump over his July 25 call with Zelenskiy

Trump wrote on Twitter on Monday that the inquiry should be ended and the unnamed whistleblower, the whistleblower's lawyer and 'Corrupt politician' Schiff should be investigated for fraud.

It came after the top Pentagon official overseeing U.S. policy regarding Ukraine told impeachment investigators that Trump demanded that aid slated for the country be withheld, according to her recently released testimony.  

Testimony by Laura Cooper, deputy assistant secretary of defense, was released on Monday by the congressional impeachment panel into Trump. 

Cooper's testimony was the latest to be made public that showed the internal machinations of the administration as Trump insisted that nearly $400 million in aid slated for Ukraine be withheld until its president publicly launch an investigation into one of Trump's top political rivals.  

Also on Monday, acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney withdrew a motion to join a lawsuit seeking to have a judge settle whether he can be compelled by Congress to testify in the inquiry. Instead, Mulvaney will file his own lawsuit.

The congressional panel also released testimony on Monday from Catherine Croft and Christopher Anderson, both advisers to Ambassador Kurt Volker on Ukraine policy, who described their concerns about the Trump administration's Ukraine policy. 

Volker was Trump's special representative for Ukraine negotiations until he resigned in September.     

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