The readout of the July 25 call between President Trump and Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky was released this morning, following Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi announcing a formal impeachment inquiry Tuesday afternoon.
The memorandum, comprised of contemporaneous recollections of note takers in the White House Situation Room, is not a verbatim transcript of the 30 minute phone conversation.
The document includes the caveat: 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….”
While President Trump said on Twitter that the transcript of the “perfect call” got the Democrats “by surprise”, Nancy Pelosi told ABC News that the president “will be held accountable. No one is above the law”. Adam Schiff, House Intelligence Committee Chairman, tweeted that the readout sounds like a mob shakedown.
The readout reveals that when Zelensky brought up the fact that Ukraine would like to purchase Javelins from the US, Trump followed up by asking for a favor. He asked Zelensky to look into Crowdstrike, the cybersecurity firm employed by the DNC to investigate the 2016 hack into their computers. Trump then brought up Hunter Biden, Joe Biden’s son, and asked Zelensky to look in to it because “Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution into it”, continuing, “it sounds horrible to me”.
The reaction by Republicans to the contents of the memo was mostly predictable.
Kevin McCarthy, House Minority Leader, expressed doubt in Nancy Pelosi’s leadership abilities during a press conference.
Representative Doug Collins likened the impeachment inquiry to the game “Plinko“.
Mitt Romney offered a repeat of his previous concern with the reports that the president extorted Zelensky to start an investigation into Trump’s political rival, calling the accusations “deeply troubling”.
Justin Amash, who left the GOP in July after announcing his support of impeachment hearings in May, called the memo “a devastating indictment of the president”.
Ted Cruz called the Democrats’ impeachment inquiry a “lynch mob” that doesn’t “let “facts” or “evidence” stand in the way” prior to the publication of the readout, but has not made a further statement about the issue nor has Mike Lee or Ben Sasse.
In the midst of the early response to the newly announced impeachment inquiry, the Republicans accidentally emailed their talking points about the readout to the Democrats, which were quickly published on Twitter.
The president, now officially locked in an impeachment battle with the Democrats, spent his morning tweeting. He tweeted or retweeted several quotes and clips from Fox News, a correspondent from CNN, which he frequently calls “Fake News”, a clip of Nancy Pelosi opposing the articles of impeachment against Bill Clinton, the House Republican Leadership press conference, eight House GOP members, and his own son, Eric Trump, in addition to several other people.