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President Volodymyr Zelensky. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

A former adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told ABC News on Wednesday that President Trump's desire for the two leaders to discuss a possible investigation into Joe Biden was a precondition for their now-infamous July 25 phone call.

"It was clear that Trump will only have communications if they will discuss the Biden case. This issue was raised many times. I know that Ukrainian officials understood."
— Serhiy Leshchenko

Why it matters: The phone call has resulted in a formal impeachment inquiry being launched against Trump, despite the president's insistence that he did nothing wrong and that there was no "quid pro quo" involved in his request. On Wednesday, Zelensky said at the UN that he did not feel pressed by Trump and that he does not want to be involved in U.S. elections.

The big picture: The Trump-Ukraine whistleblower complaint released by the House Intelligence Committee on Thursday corroborates the underlying claim by Leshchenko, as reported by ABC News. It states:

"[M]ultiple U.S. officials told me that the Ukrainian leadership was led to believe that a meeting or phone call between the President and President Zelenskyy would depend on whether Zelenskyy showed willingness to 'play ball' on the issues that had been aired by Mr. Lutsenko and Mr. Giuliani."

Go deeper: Read the White House's summary of the phone call

Editor's note: ABC News has corrected its story to reflect that Leshchenko is no longer an adviser to Zelensky. We have updated our story accordingly.

Go deeper

2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Beto plans Texas comeback in governor's race

Former U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke speaks during the Georgetown to Austin March for Democracy rally on July 31, 2021, in Austin, Texas. Photo: Brandon Bell/Getty Images

Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke is preparing to run for governor of Texas in 2022, with an announcement expected later this year, Texas political operatives tell Axios.

Why it matters: O'Rourke's entry would give Democrats a high-profile candidate with a national fundraising network to challenge Republican Gov. Greg Abbott — and give O’Rourke, a former three-term congressman from El Paso and 2020 presidential candidate and voting rights activist, a path to a political comeback.

Texas doctor says he performed an abortion in violation of state law

Pro-choice protesters march down Congress Avenue and back to the Texas state capitol in Austin, Texas, in July 2021. Photo: Erich Schlegel/Getty Images

A Texas doctor disclosed in an op-ed in the Washington Post on Saturday that he has performed an abortion in violation of the state's restrictive new abortion law, which effectively bans the procedure after six weeks.

Why it matters: Alan Braid's op-ed is a direct disclosure that will very likely result in legal action, thereby setting it up as a potential test case for how the abortion ban will be litigated, notes the New York Times.

Mike Allen, author of AM
4 hours ago - Technology

Axios interview: Facebook to try for more transparency

Nick Clegg last year. Photo: Matthew Sobocinski/USA Today via Reuters

Nick Clegg, Facebook's vice president of global affairs, tells me the company will try to provide more data to outside researchers to scrutinize the health of activity on Facebook and Instagram, following The Wall Street Journal's brutal look at internal documents.

Driving the news: Clegg didn't say that in his public response to the series. So I called him to push for what Facebook will actually do differently given the new dangers raised by The Journal.