Donald Trump has dismissed talk of impeachment over a whistle-blower allegation that reportedly involved a plea from the U.S. president to his Ukrainian counterpart to investigate a political rival.
Asked how seriously he was taking the threat of impeachment by Congress, Trump told reporters on September 23 on arrival at the UN headquarters in New York: "Not at all seriously."
U.S. media have reported that an intelligence community whistle-blower had filed a complaint in August after becoming alarmed at Trump's alleged attempt to pressure Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy in a phone call.
On September 22, Trump confirmed he had raised the subject of former Vice President Joe Biden and his son in a July 25 call with Zelenskiy.
He said he had told Zelenskiy that "we don't want our people, like Vice President [Joe] Biden and his son," contributing to corruption already happening in Ukraine.
He denied pressuring Ukraine to investigate Biden, one of the leading Democratic contenders seeking to oppose Trump, a Republican, in next year's election.
Trump's admission about the phone call stoked calls for Democrats to launch impeachment proceedings in Congress.
"We had a perfect phone call," the president said on September 23. "Everybody knows it's just a Democrat witch-hunt."
During a photo session with Polish President Andrzej Duda later in the day, Trump was asked if he was going to release a transcript of the call.
"I may do it," he answered, adding that he was concerned about the precedent of releasing transcripts of presidential phone calls with foreign leaders.
The scandal emerged ahead of a planned meeting between Trump and Zelenskiy on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York this week.
Oleksandr Danylyuk, a top official in the Ukrainian president's administration, told Reuters on September 23 that Kyiv's main objective was to have support and trusting relations with the United States.
"Understanding the importance of Ukraine's support in the context of everything that's going on in our region, any attempts to use Ukraine by one party or the other is clearly detrimental to our relations," said Danylyuk, secretary of Ukraine's National Security and Defense Council.