US President Donald Trump answers questions from reporters during an event on "transparency in Federal guidance and enforcement" in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
WASHINGTON, Nov. 4 (Xinhua) -- US House Democrats on Monday released the first two transcripts from closed-door interviews in an impeachment inquiry into whether President Donald Trump had pressured his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky to open investigations into Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden.
The move marks a new public phase of the inquiry, which so far goes on behind doors.
The transcripts are interviews with former US Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch and top State Department official Michael McKinley, according to local media reports, which said both painted Trump in a negative light.
"As we move towards this new public phase of the impeachment inquiry, the American public will begin to see for themselves the evidence that the committees have collected," the chairs of the House Intelligence, Foreign Affairs and Oversight and Reform committees said in a joint statement.
"With each new interview, we learn more about the President's attempt to manipulate the levers of power to his personal political benefit," the statement said.
"The transcripts of interviews with Ambassadors Yovanovitch and McKinley demonstrate clearly how President Trump approved the removal of a highly respected and effective diplomat based on public falsehoods and smears against Ambassador Yovanovitch's character and her work in support of long-held US foreign policy anticorruption goals," the statement added.
Republicans have called for the immediate release of all the transcripts, instead of a select few, since the inquiry started in late September.