“Transcript” of Ukraine Call is Bad News for Trump, GOP

UPDATE #4: Senate Republicans are apparently baffled that the White House would release a “transcript” that undermines their own claims of innocence.

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UPDATE #3: Congressman Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs) reacts in a very Lambornesque manner:

You know that old expression about “missing the forest for the trees”? Lamborn isn’t aware of the existence of a forest or trees. No conscious politician ever wants to echo Lamborn’s thoughts on anything.

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UPDATE #2: CNN’s Chris Cillizza:

“It ended up being a nothing call,” Trump said in the wake of the release of the transcript on Wednesday morning.

But what is documented, very clearly, in this kind-of, sort-of transcript is this: The American President pressuring a foreign leader to look into the frontrunner for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination. And doing it by reminding the Ukrainian President of all the US has done for his country.

The transcript is truly stunning stuff — even from a President who has moved the goalposts on “stunning” a long time ago. If Trump thought releasing this transcript would somehow make Democrats look like fools for beginning an impeachment inquiry against him, he was wrong. Very, very wrong. [Pols emphasis]

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UPDATE: Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani is not projecting a lot of confidence:

“Shut up moron. Shut up. Shut up. You don’t know what you’re talking about, idiot.”

That was Rudy Giuliani, President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, shouting down a guest on Fox News who disagreed with him about the whistleblower complaint filed against the President regarding a conversation he had in July with the President of Ukraine.

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President Trump has been promising for days that we would all see that he is totally innocent when a “transcript” was released of a phone call he held on July 25 with Ukraine’s President. That phone call is part of a whistleblower complaint alleging that Trump withheld foreign aid to Ukraine until he could ask that country’s President to investigate some sort of made-up scandal involving former Vice President Joe Biden.

On Wednesday, the White House released a “transcript” (we use quotes here because the “transcript” is not an exact word-by-word account of the July discussion) of the call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that absolutely does not exonerate Trump:

Front page of The Washington Post (9/25/19).

As the Washington Post explains:

President Trump told his Ukrainian counterpart to work with the U.S. attorney general to investigate the conduct of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and offered to meet with the foreign leader at the White House after he promised to conduct such an inquiry, according to a newly-released transcript of the call.

Those statements and others in a July 25 phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky were so concerning that the intelligence community inspector general thought them a possible violation of campaign finance law…

…The call begins with Trump congratulating Zelensky on his election victory, but quickly devolves into the president pressing for an investigation of his political rivals and endorsing an apparent conspiracy theory. He seems to suggest Hillary Clinton’s private email server is in Ukraine and asserts that special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation started with that country. He repeatedly says Zelensky should work with Attorney General William P. Barr or his personal lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani. Giuliani had separately pressed Ukrainian officials for a Biden inquiry. [Pols emphasis]

The biggest new development from the “transcript” is the degree to which Trump goes out of his way to push for Zelensky to talk further with Attorney General William Barr and Trump’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani.

The “transcript” of Trump’s call with the Ukrainian President is just a piece of what is thought to be a more detailed allegation from a whistleblower. Congress is pushing for the full whistleblower report — the White House is offering only a redacted version — and the person making the accusations may soon testify on Capitol Hill behind closed doors.

Front page of CNN.com (9/25/19)

The uncertainty surrounding the whistleblower report has many Senate Republicans treading carefully in their pre-emptive defense of Trump, as Amber Phillips writes for the Washington Post:

Maybe Trump has nothing to hide. Maybe we already known the worst of the story, and at the very least, it’s spinnable for Republicans. (We wish he didn’t bring up his reelection on a diplomatic call, but the president should have the prerogative to talk to foreign leaders how he wants, or something like that.) That seems to be the pattern for most of Trump’s scandals. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) even defended Trump after he tweeted that four minority members of Congress, all U.S. citizens, should “go back.”

But there’s also the possibility Trump did something indefensible, and that it eventually comes out. That’s the gamble most Senate Republicans are taking right now. [Pols emphasis]

That’s not a wager we’d be willing to make.

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21 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. MADCO says:

    Look at the deep state whistle blower – can't trust that person
    It's not illegal.
    Even if it was, you can't indict the presidentBesides, Obama /Biden/Clinton did it first and way worse
    Her emails.
     

     

  2. ParkHill says:

    QOTD: “Shut up moron. Shut up. Shut up. You don’t know what you’re talking about, idiot.”

    • MADCO says:

      I think what RG was trying to say was something like 
      …we got talking points and spin… and you aren't listening to any of it .. and you'r etoo stoopid to understand… stay on point, spin… and it's ok cause Biden and deep state.. and spin and talking points and this is good for the president and … and .. and listen to our awesome spin

      The infuriating part is that many people will listen or will just tune out 100%

      Meanwhile FLynn takes the 5th. Whatinhell is he hiding?
      Pizzagate already proves he was an idiot. Did any ever investigate his son?

      What is Erik Prince up to?
      He is responsible for killing and raping some of my friends and has never been held accountable.
       

      • kwtreekwtree says:

        They do have “talking points and spin”….How do we know? 

        The White House just emailed their talking points to all the Democratic legislators!

        It was appreciated, though…

        I would like to thank @WhiteHouse for sending me their talking points on how best to spin the disastrous Trump/Zelensky call in Trump’s favor,” Rep. Brendan Boyle (D-Pa.) said in a tweet. “However, I will not be using their spin and will instead stick with the truth. But thanks though.”

        https://twitter.com/BillPascrell/status/1176900159227269122

        Too delicious…

        • Diogenesdemar says:

          Well, those misaddressed talking points kinda’ explain why Cardboard Corey has had nothing to say . . .  

        • RepealAndReplace says:

          Speaking of which…….

          I am watching Devin Nunes' opening statement. The depths of this guy's stupidity never ceases to amaze me.

          His delivery of his opening statement (a/k/a the White House talking points) with a straight face reminds me of those Soviet newscasters in the early 1980's who solemnly reported to the world that Brezhnev, Andropov, and Chernenko each simply had a "cold."

    • Diogenesdemar says:

      ROFL . . ,

      . . . with attorneys like Giuliani on your defense team, who needs enemies??

      My guess is that Rudy is only being kept around so that when this all shakes out — sometime between about five years from now, and never — Ttump can claim grossly incompetent counsel on appeal, and reset the clock back to zero??

    • Genghis says:

      lol

      It's possible that ol' Rudy has simply reached the Old Man Yells At Cloud stage of life, but it's more likely that 9iu11iani now knows he's the fall guy for the Ukraine stuff.

  3. ParkHill says:

    How is this necessarily bad for the Republican Party?

    Impeaching Donald Trump gives them an opportunity to throw off the cement shoes he has trapped them in. Here's the sequence:

    Impeach Trump.
    Pence becomes President and pardons Trump.
    Mitt Romney jumps into the Republican primary.
    Senators like Cory Gardner claim they were always Never Trumpers

    What I really want is for Trump lose huuuugely in the 2020 election, and then have his crimes reviewed in Court.

    • MADCO says:

      just need the investigation to take 58+  weeks and then if necessary that can happen

    • JohnInDenverJohnInDenver says:

      The "impeach Trump" step is more complicated.  Take the Nixon case as an example.

      Actual Watergate process in the House began in October 1973, immediately after the Saturday Night Massacre.  Formal House approval of the investigation came in a House Resolution in February of 1974.   Investigations, hearings with a chance for Nixon to have a response, and drafting articles occupied time until the final votes of the committee in late July, 1974 (advancing 3 articles to the House as a whole, voting against two others). Less than two weeks later, Nixon resigned, before there was a vote of the House as a whole on the impeachment resolution.

      Timelines matter — this process will not take place at blog-speed.  I'm speculating on timelines, but here's my current guess:

      • House debate on the formal Resolution to direct the Judiciary Committee to consider drafting and presenting Articles of Impeachment won't happen until November,
      • the committee won't produce specific articles for House floor debate before January. 
      • If McConnell doesn't want the Senate to gamble by not having a trial, the Senate and Chief Justice will be occupied by a trial in February or March, soaking up three or more weeks.

      It is bad for Republicans IF Democrats conduct the process more in sorrow than partisan glee, if there is a constant drip of new info coming from the process, and if the "face" of the Republican Party continues to be unhinged Trump and gaffe-prone Rudy Giuliani.

      In the unlikely outcome of Trump being convicted and removed (20 Republicans voting for that?), Pence becomes President.  Republicans then have to decide — Pence/??? for the 2020 election, or a floor fight among all seeking to be the nominee? 

    • ParkHill says:

      Statistic of the Day from Hunter at DailyKos: "A true party purge: 40% of Republican lawmakers have left Congress since Trump's inauguration.

      The GOP is screwed because the partisan skew and geography is so extreme. It's their bed and they made it… The country has a lot of deep-red districts, and MAGA fever is so strong that there is no incentive for Republicans to moderate their positions. They really need more purple-districts, i.e. districts where Republicans needed to moderate their appeal. 

      Susan Collins and Cory Gardner are interesting examples of the purple district tap-dance.

  4. bullshit!bullshit! says:

    When is President Pence gonna step in?

    • MADCO says:

      ok… so Trump leaves, Pence is elevated.
      And the House approves a VP selection.  Not wanting to elevate anyone that could you know, do anything, the D House promises a smooth confirmation for… Judge Moore, or Corey Gardner 

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