As Trump Takes the U.N. Stage, an Eye on Troubles Back Home

The $391 million aid package in question was approved by Congress to aid Ukraine against a Russian-backed separatist insurgency in its east that has left more than 13,000 people dead over the past five years. Mr. Trump has offered mixed messages about his interest in helping Ukraine; at one point, he shipped defensive weapons that President Barack Obama had refused to send, but he has also suggested that Russia’s continuing intervention in Ukraine was not worth isolating Moscow.

Russia was another topic that did not come up in the United Nations speech; he passed up the opportunity to talk about the Kremlin’s provocative actions in Europe and the Middle East or its crackdown on dissent at home. While he talked about China, Iran, North Korea, Venezuela, Afghanistan and other hot spots around the world, he kept mum on the former Soviet Union.

The furor over Ukraine came as Mr. Trump conducts a series of speed dating-style quick meetings with various world leaders on the sidelines of the annual United Nations General Assembly session, including with Prime Minister Boris Johnson of Britain, who was hobbled by his own domestic political problems.

But the meeting almost sure to be most watched is scheduled for Wednesday with President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine, the first in-person between the two leaders. It was Mr. Trump’s telephone call with Mr. Zelensky on July 25 congratulating him on his inauguration that has triggered the latest threat to Mr. Trump’s presidency.

By his own admission, Mr. Trump raised Mr. Biden and accused him of corruption during the call with Mr. Zelensky. Others familiar with the call said the president pressed Mr. Zelensky repeatedly to investigate Mr. Biden on unsubstantiated allegations, but added that Mr. Trump did not directly tie the frozen American aid to his request during their conversation.

Democrats and some Republicans have called on Mr. Trump to release a transcript of that call, which he has expressed reluctance to do. But on Tuesday, he seemed to suggest that he would eventually make it public.

“When you see the call, when you see the readout of the call, which I assume you’ll see at some point, you’ll understand that call was perfect,” he told reporters.