House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s decision to launch a formal impeachment inquiry of Donald Trump will consume the nation’s attention, grind the work of government to a halt and ultimately determine whether the president heads into re-election damaged or emboldened.

Pelosi on Tuesday threw the weight of her office behind an impeachment she’s been reluctant to embrace -- until allegations surfaced last week that Trump improperly pressured the government of Ukraine. That has set her on course for a constitutional clash with Trump, who quickly assailed the proceedings as “Witch Hunt garbage” and vowed a vigorous defense.

That defense will intensify on Wednesday, when Trump will release an unredacted transcript of his call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, which the president says will rebut claims he leaned on Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden. Adding to the moment, Trump will meet with Zelenskiy in person on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly before holding a news conference.

And according to the New York Times, the administration was preparing for the possible release of a redacted version of the whistle-blower complaint by an intelligence official that touched off the uproar over the phone call.

On Tuesday, Pelosi sought to get ahead of Trump’s defense: “The actions taken to date by the president have seriously violated the Constitution, especially when the president says Article II says I can do whatever I want.”

Trump’s decision to release the transcript of his July 25 call with Zelenskiy, despite misgivings about setting a precedent for normally confidential conversations, was a bid to preempt yet another investigation into whether he improperly solicited foreign help in an election. Trump insisted the transcript will show only “perfect” behavior.

Trump’s private attorney, Rudy Giuliani, told Fox News on Wednesday morning that the president didn’t mention military aid or any “quid pro quo” during his call with Zelenskiy. Giuliani said he hadn’t seen a transcript of the call but “let’s say it was read to me.”

The blitz of activity also allows the president to proclaim his innocence before scheduled congressional testimony Thursday by acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire, who has up to now refused to turn over the whistle-blower’s complaint.

The House plans to vote Wednesday on a resolution pressuring the intelligence community to release details of the complaint.

‘Betrayal of his Oath of Office’
Trump’s attempt to seize back the narrative comes amid a steady drumbeat of reports that have fed Democratic suspicions the White House improperly sought foreign assistance in undermining Biden, Trump’s leading Democratic rival.

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