US president Donald Trump told Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to work with the US Attorney General William Barr to investigate the conduct of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden, who sat on the board of a Ukrainian natural gas company, and offered to meet with the president at the White House after he promised to conduct the inquiry, according to a transcript released by the Trump administration.
The transcript of their conversation was released on Wednesday (25 September) by the Trump administration after the US president tweeted on Tuesday that he had authorised publishing the transcript. The justice department released the transcript but clarified that it is not a verbatim transcript. The text, according to the document released by the administration, is the record of the notes and recollections of the officers and National Security Council policy staff "assigned to listen and memorialize the conversation in written form."
The transcript text is right around 2,000 words, and the call took exactly 30 min — that's about 66 words per minute.
That's quite slow — roughly half normal speaking rate. (Zelensky is fluent in English.)
Could suggest how much text isn't included. https://t.co/xoU7r6bxgr
— Joshua Benton (@jbenton) September 25, 2019
Trump's 25 July phone call with Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelensky
Unclassified09.2019.pdf by Devparna Acharya on Scribd
The Justice Department, Guardian reports, has released a statement asserting that Barr has not spoken with Trump about urging Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden. According to the transcript of his call with the Ukrainian president, Trump repeatedly encouraged Zelensky to work with Barr and Giuliani on an investigation.
"There’s a lot of talk about Biden’s son, that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that so whatever you can do with the Attorney General would be great. Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution so if you can look into it. … It sounds horrible to me."
The call begins with Trump congratulating Zelensky on his poll victory, but quickly devolves into the US president pushing for an investigation of his political rivals and endorsing an apparent conspiracy theory. Trump 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.
Meanwhile, Trump took to Twitter to rap Democrats in the most Trumpian style. The president even said that Democrats would "apologize" after seeing the transcript.
Will the Democrats apologize after seeing what was said on the call with the Ukrainian President? They should, a perfect call - got them by surprise!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 25, 2019
According to Washington Post, the Trump administration’s disclosures underscore how the president's phone call has consumed the federal government in recent days, and how the White House is now scrambling to defuse the situation by offering more details of what the president said.
The 2,000-word-long document shows that Trump wanted to find out what happened with "this whole situation with Ukraine" and he said his personal lawyer, Giuliani will be travelling to Ukraine. Zelensky said he will meet with Giuliani when he visited.
Speaking in New York, Trump appeared to stick to his argument that the memorandum of the Ukraine call reflected very well upon him. On how people were reacting to the memo, Trump said, "A lot of people said, 'I never knew you could be so nice.'"
He blamed coverage of the memo, which clearly shows that Trump brought up an investigation of Joe Biden with the Ukrainian president in a conversation about military aid to the country, on “corrupt” journalists.
Republican lawmakers are surprised that the White House chose to release this memorandum of the Ukraine call, particularly after Trump insisted it would exonerate him.
Several Senate Republicans I've spoken with in the last hour are stunned that the WH is releasing this transcript. They do not think it helps the president's cause. And they expect today's Senate GOP lunch to be quite the get-together.
— Robert Costa (@costareports) September 25, 2019
Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren, meanwhile, reacted to the drama and said the transcript of Trump’s call with the Ukrainian president is, in and of itself, a “smoking gun.”
This "transcript" itself is a smoking gun. If this is the version of events the president's team thinks is most favorable, he is in very deep jeopardy. We need to see the full whistleblower complaint and the administration needs to follow the law. Now. https://t.co/b56nLZZpRi
— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) September 25, 2019
Senator Bob Casey said, “The recent revelation that President Trump pressured a foreign government to investigate his political opponents is a textbook case of abuse of power which demands action. In order to hold President Trump fully accountable, I support a formal impeachment inquiry in the House of Representatives.”
Meanwhile, Eliot Engel of the foreign affairs committee slammed the abuse of power by Trump. "A President pressing a foreign government to investigate a political opponent is a severe abuse of power. Our country strongly rejected Trump’s pressure on Russia to dig up dirt on his opponent in 2016. For him to do it again, shows a complete disregard for the American people," he tweeted.
The president of the United States has betrayed our country.
That’s not a political statement—it’s a harsh reality, and we must act.
He is a clear and present danger to the things that keep us strong and free.
I support impeachment.
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) September 25, 2019
Speaker Nancy Pelosi assembled her leadership team again just a little while ago to discuss the impeachment inquiry and begin to more clearly agree on a path forward.
There have been lots of questions last night and today from Dems who feel the timeline and scope are unclear
— Nicholas Fandos (@npfandos) September 25, 2019
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Updated Date: Sep 26, 2019 00:08:13 IST