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Biden on September 17, 2019. Photo: Bastiaan Slabbers/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Former Vice President Joe Biden called for President Trump to release a transcript of his July phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Friday, amid reports that Ukraine is at the center of a whistleblower's complaint over Trump's contacts with a foreign leader.

"If these reports are true, then ... It means that he [Trump] used the power and resources of the United States to pressure a sovereign nation—a partner that is still under direct assault from Russia—pushing Ukraine to subvert the rule of law in the express hope of extracting a political favor."
— Biden's statement on Friday

Catch up quick: Three House committees — Foreign Affairs, Intelligence, and Oversight and Reform — are investigating whether Trump and his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, "were misappropriating the American foreign policy apparatus for political gain," the New York Times reports.

  • These investigations are in response to reports that the Trump administration "delayed a package of military assistance to the new government in Ukraine," as reported by the NYT.
  • The committees say they will investigate whether that lack of military aid is part of an alleged effort by Trump "to coerce the Ukrainian government into pursuing politically-motivated investigations, including of former Vice President Joe Biden and his family."

What else Biden is saying:

"Such clear-cut corruption damages and diminishes our institutions of government by making them tools of a personal political vendetta. At minimum, Donald Trump should immediately release the transcript of the call in question, so that the American people can judge for themselves, and direct the Office of the Director of National Intelligence to stop stonewalling and release the whistleblower notification to the Congress."

Go deeper:

Go deeper

NYT: Khashoggi's killers had paramilitary training in U.S.

A vigil for journalist Jamal Khashoggi outside the Saudi Arabia consulate in Istanbul, following his killing in 2018 in Turkey. Photo: Chris McGrath/Getty Images

Several Saudis who took part in the killing of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi had paramilitary training in the U.S. under a State Department contract a year before his 2018 death, the New York Times reported Tuesday.

Why it matters: While there's no evidence the department knew that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman sanctioned Saudi officials to detain, kidnap and torture dissidents in 2017, the approval of such training underscores how "intensely intertwined" the U.S. has become with a nation known for human rights abuses, per the NYT.

U.S. attorney finalist trashes Labor secretary

Rachael Rollins and Marty Walsh. Photos: Jessica Rinaldi/The Boston Globe via Getty Images (Rollins); Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call Inc. via Getty Images (Walsh)

A finalist for U.S. attorney in Boston is publicly trashing the city's former mayor — Labor Secretary Marty Walsh.

Why it matters: Rachael Rollins’ approach is perpetuating scrutiny of a troubled Cabinet secretary and fellow Democrat — and hints at the independence she may exhibit if tapped for top federal prosecutor for the eastern half of Massachusetts.

Parties pounce on China as midterm issue

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Democrats and Republicans in purple states are already leaning into U.S. competition with China as a key issue in the fight to control the Senate in 2022.

Why it matters: American voters hold increasingly negative feelings toward the Chinese government, particularly around bilateral economic relations and following the nation’s handling of the COVID-19 outbreak.