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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 - World

U.S: Nord Stream 2 "will not move forward" if Russia invades Ukraine

U.S. State Department spokesperson Ned Price during a press briefing at the State Department in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday. Photo: Kevin Lamarque/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. will make sure the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project between Russia and Germany won't go ahead if Russian troops invade Ukraine, State Department spokesperson Ned Price told NPR on Wednesday.

Why it matters: Germany's ambassador to the U.S. appeared to support Price's strong rhetoric on the strategically significant pipeline that would circumvent Ukrainian transit infrastructure and deliver Russian gas directly to Germany, eliminating one of the last deterrents Ukraine has against an invasion, per Axios' Zachary Basu.

Scoop: Stephanie Ruhle to replace Brian Williams on MSNBC

Photo: Nathan Congleton/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images

MSNBC will soon announce plans to move morning anchor Stephanie Ruhle to the 11 pm ET hour that Brian Williams turned into an elite destination, two sources familiar with the move tell Axios.

Details: The 9 am ET hour, currently hosted by Ruhle, will become part of MSNBC's flagship morning show, "Morning Joe," which currently runs from 6 am to 9 am ET.

Oath Keepers leader denied bail on Capitol riot sedition charge

Oath Keepers co-founder Elmer Stewart Rhodes. Photo: Susan Walsh/AP

A federal judge ordered Oath Keepers leader Stewart Rhodes to remain jailed Wednesday until trial on charges stemming from the Capitol riot.

Why it matters: The judge said the most prominent far-right figure charged in the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection had access to weapons and his alleged "continued advocacy for violence against the federal government" gave credence to prosecutors' view that, if released, Rhodes could endanger others.