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Good morning, NBC News readers.
The impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump is moving fast. Here's what we know this morning.
The whistleblower complaint against Trump has been declassified, we may see it today
The complaint, which the administration initially withheld from Congress, is at the heart of the weeks-long standoff between the White House and House Democrats that led to the official impeachment inquiry.
It was declassified with what were described as minimal redactions, the sources said, and may be released as soon as Thursday.
Some Republicans who viewed the document also raised concerns.
"Republicans ought not to be rushing to circle the wagons to say 'there’s no there there,' when there’s obviously lots that’s very troubling there," said Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., a former Trump critic who was recently endorsed by the president.
The complaint was filed last month and was supposed to be turned over to Congress within a week, but acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire refused to do so on the advice of the Justice Department.
Maguire is scheduled to testify in an open hearing before the House Intelligence Committee at 9 a.m. ET Thursday. Watch live coverage of his testimony on MSNBC and NBCNews.com.
Trump pushed Ukraine to investigate Biden during call, White House notes show
Trump urged Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to open an investigation tied to former Vice President Joe Biden and his son during a conversation in July, according to the official White House notes from the phone call.
There was no explicit quid-pro-quo or mention of the millions in U.S. aid to Ukraine that Trump had put on hold at the time in the notes on the call.
But, shortly after Zelenskiy thanked the president for previous U.S. financial aid and mentioned his country was close to buying more Javelin anti-tank weapons from the U.S., Trump turned to the issue of the Biden investigation, saying, "I would like you to do us a favor though."
Trump, speaking to reporters at the United Nations Wednesday, said he applied "no pressure whatsoever" in his phone call. He described it as "friendly" and said that the media built it up to be the "call from hell" and it turned out to be “nothing.”
Democrats disagreed with the president's assessment, with House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., saying the call "reads like a classic mob shakedown."
Trump allies voice concerns about Giuliani's role in Ukraine affair
Even as they publicly insist Trump did nothing wrong during his call with Ukraine's president, his allies are privately acknowledging serious concerns about the role of the president's personal attorney in the scandal.
"It’s Giuliani who’s really dragged the president into something that’s a legal matter and a political matter and will be part of impeachment," one former senior White House official said. "What Giuliani did, there's no argument that it was a legitimate, government, law enforcement endeavor."
Another person coming under the microscope is Ambassador Kurt Volker, Trump’s part-time envoy for Ukraine, who served as a facilitator for Giuliani's talks with Ukrainian officials.
And then there is Attorney General Barr. Trump's call with Ukraine's leader raises questions about whether he thinks the attorney general's job includes advocating for him personally.
Barr has denied any involvement in the Ukraine affair through Justice Department spokeswoman Kerri Kupec.
"The president has not asked the attorney general to contact Ukraine — on this or any other matter," Kupec said. She also said, "The president has not spoken with the attorney general about having Ukraine investigate anything relating to former Vice President Biden or his son."
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- Israel's president tapped Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to form a new government. Now he's got 42 days to try to cobble it together.
- Jacques Chirac, the two-term French president who was the first leader to acknowledge France's role in the Holocaust and defiantly opposed the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, has died at age 86.
- Vaping illnesses have climbed to more than 1,000, but scientists and medical professionals still haven't found what's causing the lung condition that has led to 10 deaths around the country.
- A grizzly bear attacked another hunter in Montana, not far from where others were attacked days ago.
- Mattel has launched a new line of gender-nonconforming dolls.
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