Donald Trump Says He Could 'Very Easily' Release Ukraine Call Transcript, but He'd 'Rather Not'

The scandal around President Donald Trump's suspect phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky continues to swirl. The commander-in-chief is under growing pressure to release the transcript of the conversation to clarify whether he abused his power by asking Zelensky to investigate 2020 presidential candidate Joe Biden for alleged corruption.

The president discussed the affair on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly on Monday, mixing denials with scathing attacks on Biden and the "fake news" reports alleging wrongdoing. Trump said that while he could release the transcript of the call, he would rather not, CBS News reported.

Last week, The Washington Post reported that a concerned intelligence official filed a formal complaint after overhearing Trump make a "promise" while on a call with a foreign leader in July.

It later emerged that the call was with Zelensky. Multiple reports then alleged that Trump requested that his counterpart investigate Biden and his son Hunter for supposed corruption while Biden was vice president in 2016, offering military aid in return.

Trump has since confirmed that he spoke with Zelensky and that he discussed the Bidens and corruption in Ukraine, describing the the call as a "nice conversation." However, he has denied pressuring Zelensky to open any investigation into Biden or offering military aid in return for such a probe.

The president spoke with reporters Monday after meeting Polish President Andrzej Duda. Asked whether he would authorize the release of the transcript, Trump replied, "I can do it very easily, but I'd rather not do it from the standpoint of all the other conversations I have."

He added, "I may do it because it was a very innocent call on both his part and mine."

On Sunday, Trump told reporters that he was "going to talk about" releasing the transcript, adding cryptically, "I would love to do it but you have to be a little bit shy about doing it."

Trump is under pressure from Democrats to release the transcript of the phone call with Zelensky, with party leaders even considering whether the alleged offense would be worthy of impeachment.

But prominent Republicans are also now calling for greater transparency around the conversation. On Sunday, Republican Senator Mitt Romney called the allegations "troubling in the extreme," adding it was "critical for the facts to come out."

Long-time Trump ally Senator Lindsey Graham also called for clarity, urging the president Monday "to continue to be as transparent as possible and tell us as much as he can without compromising executive privilege, so that we can understand what happened."

The South Carolina senator added that he believes Trump "is going to blow you away with his willingness to disclose and be transparent about this phone call, because I think he did nothing wrong and he has nothing to hide."

Trump has remained characteristically belligerent over the phone call, seeking to portray the story as an attack from what he termed "crooked as hell" journalists.

He has also refused to temper his offensive against Biden, suggesting Monday that "if a Republican ever did what Joe Biden did ... they'd be getting the electric chair right now."

Donald Trump, Ukraine, Joe Biden, transcript
President Donald Trump speaks in the Oval Office while meeting with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on September 20, 2019 in Washington, D.C. Win McNamee/Getty Images/Getty