Transcript of Trump-Zelensky call released, impeachment now likely
With the release this morning of the unredacted transcript[i] of President Trump’s July 25 call to Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky, the bait has been set in a trap, and the House Democrats are very likely to vote to begin impeachment proceedings for President Trump. President Trump and his advisors hastened to release it because they now want impeachment.
There is no quid pro quo offer or demand in the call and no mention of military aid, but there is plenty of expression of Trump’s desire to have the affair investigated.
Trump began his expression of interest in Ukrainian cooperation with an apparent reference to the leaks from Ukrainian sources of material used to drive Paul Manafort out of his campaign:
I would like you to do us a favor though because our country has been through a lot and Ukraine knows a lot about it. I would like you to find out what happened with this whole situation with Ukraine, they say Crowdstrike ... I guess you have one of your wealthy people... The server, they say Ukraine has.it There are a lot. of things that went on, the whole situation .. I think you’re _surrounding yourself with some of the same people. I would like to have the Attorney General call you or your people and I would like you to ·get to the bottom of it. As you said yesterday, that whole nonsetise ended with a very poor performance by a man named Robert Mueller, an incompetent performance, but they say a lot of it started with Ukraine. Whatever you can do, it's very important that· you. do it if that's possible.
President Zelensky’s reply indicated that he already was interested in pursuing corruption in his predecessors’ regimes, including corruption affecting the United States:
I wanted to tell you about the prosecutor. First of all, I understand arid I'm knowledgeable about the situation. Since we have won· the absolute majority in our Parliament, the next prosecutor general will be 100% my person, my candidate, who will be approved, by the parliament and will start as a new prosecutor in September. He or she will look. into the situation, specifically to the company that you mentioned in this issue. The issue of the investigation of the case is actually the issue of making sure to restore the honesty so we will take care of that and wi1l work on the investigation of the case. On top of that, I would kindly ask you if you have any additional information that you can provide to µs, it would be very helpful for the investigation to make sure that we administer justice in our country with regard to the Ambassador to the United States from Ukraine as far as I recall her name was Ivanovicli. It was great that you were the first one. who told me that she was a bad ambassador because I agree with you 100%. Her attitude towards me was far from the best as she admired the previous President and she was on his side. [emphasis added]
The text in italics seems to indicate that President Zelensky already had investigation plans, and wanted US cooperation. This is the opposite of Trump demanding or coercing cooperation with a threat to withhold military aid or supply any positive or negative incentive.
Trump’s response indicated his desire to cooperate with Zelensky’s initiative:
Well, she' s going to go through some things. I will. have Mr. Giuliani give you a call and I am. also going to have Attorney General Barr call and we will get to the bottom of it. I'm sure you will figure it out. I heard the prosecutor was treated very badly and he was a very fair prosecutor so good luck with everything. Your economy is going to get better and better I predict. You have a lot· of assets. It's a great country. I have many Ukrainian friends, their [sic] incredible people.
This will be enough for Democrats, I predict.
Rudy Giuliani told Democrats last night that they are walking into a trap, and stated that he has evidence about spectacular corruption involving Joe Biden, his son, and Obama administration officials.
Democrats should be careful what they wish for. On the other hand, maybe Trump should, too.
[i] a combination of notes taken of the call by several officials. The transcript bears this warning:
CAUTION: A Memorandum of a Telephone Conversation.· (TELCON) is not a verbatim transcript of a discussion. The text in this document records the notes and recollections of Situation Room Duty "Officers and-NSC policy staff assigned to listen and memorialize the conversation in written form as the conversation takes place. A number of factors can affect the accuracy of the record, including poor telecommunications connections and variations in accent and/or interpretation. The word "inaudible" is used to indicate portions of a conversation that the notetaker was unable to hear.