The Hill's 12:30 Report: Dems seize on Ukraine transcript in impeachment fight

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The Hill's 12:30 Report: White House releases Trump-Ukraine transcript | Shows Trump pressured Ukraine to look into Biden | Trump calls it 'nothing call' | President to hold 4pm presser | Parties gear up for impeachment battle | Trump defiant | Senate GOP vows to quash impeachment | Impeachment threatens to derail Congress' agenda | Warren's rise worries Trump allies | National Quesadilla Day



Here it is. The transcript.:

The Trump administration released the highly anticipated transcript of President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump denies telling Bolton Ukraine aid was tied to investigations Former senior Senate GOP aide says Republicans should call witnesses Title, release date revealed for Bolton memoir MORE's July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

The $$ line: "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." 

How many times Biden is mentioned: Twice. 


Important note on the first page of the transcript: "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." 

Read the transcript yourself: It is five pages long:

As a refresher -- what this is important: Someone in the U.S. intelligence community filed a whistleblower complaint over President Trump's call with the president of Ukraine. President Trump then admitted to pressuring Ukraine to dig up dirt on former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenTrump denies telling Bolton Ukraine aid was tied to investigations Former senior Senate GOP aide says Republicans should call witnesses Title, release date revealed for Bolton memoir MORE. Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiFormer senior Senate GOP aide says Republicans should call witnesses Democrats step up pressure over witnesses after Bolton bombshell Texas AFL-CIO endorses Cuellar's primary challenger MORE (D-Calif.) decided yesterday that this development warranted a formal impeachment inquiry. Then this morning, the Trump administration released a transcript of the phone call in question. Keep in mind: Lawmakers have still not seen the whistleblower's complaint that started this controversy.



President Trump said his call with the president of Ukraine was a "nothing call."

Trump also said: "The letter was a great letter, meaning the letter revealing the call that was done at the insistence of myself and other people that read it. It was a friendly letter, there was no pressure. The way you had that built up, that call it was going to be the call from hell.  It turned out to be a nothing call other than a lot of people said 'I never knew you could be so nice.'" Watch Trump's full comments:



Rep. Mark MeadowsMark Randall MeadowsSunday shows preview: Lawmakers prepare for week two of impeachment trial Meadows says Trump told him he didn't threaten senators on impeachment vote Impeachment trial to enter new phase with Trump defense MORE (R-N.C.) responded to the transcript: "I've read the transcript and the Democrat spin was wrong... again

- [Ukrainian] President Zelensky initiated the [Rudy] Giuliani convo and asked the [White House] to send him to Ukraine

- ZERO discussion of foreign aid quid pro quo

That's it? THAT'S what Democrats are impeaching on?

Give me a break."



Sen. Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyDemocrats step up pressure over witnesses after Bolton bombshell Kaine: GOP senators should 'at least' treat Trump trial with seriousness of traffic court Des Moines Register endorses Elizabeth Warren as Democratic presidential nominee MORE (R-Utah) told reporters: "I did read the transcript. It remains troubling in the extreme. It's deeply troubling. Clearly what we've seen from the transcript itself is deeply troubling."



"House Democrats are seizing on the release of a partial transcript detailing President Trump's conversation with Ukraine's leader as evidence that bolsters their case for impeachment." 



The Justice Department said Attorney General William BarrWilliam Pelham Barr DOJ says surveillance of Trump campaign adviser Page lacked evidence Senators press DHS over visa approval for Pensacola naval base shooter Democrats sharpen case on second day of arguments MORE, who was mentioned during the phone conversation, was told about Trump's phone call "several weeks" after it happened. Trump on the call told Zelensky he would have Barr talk to him.

A DOJ spokesperson said in a statement: "The President has not asked the Attorney General to contact Ukraine -- on this or any other matter. The Attorney General has not communicated with Ukraine -- on this or any other subject. Nor has the Attorney General discussed this matter, or anything relating to Ukraine, with Rudy GiulianiRudy GiulianiBolton book alleges Trump tied Ukraine aid freeze to Biden investigations: NYT Trump questions why NPR exists after Pompeo clashes with reporter Cotton: Democrats are 'upset that their witnesses haven't said what they want them to say' MORE." 

Oh and: The DOJ declined to pursue an investigation in to the call:



President Trump is holding a press conference. Livestream:


It's a wild Wednesday in D.C. I'm Cate Martel with a quick recap of the morning and what's coming up. Send comments, story ideas and events for our radar to -- and follow along on Twitter @CateMartel and Facebook.

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Whoa, this is actually happening:

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) formally launched an impeachment inquiry into President Trump after rejecting calls for impeachment for more than a year.

What sparked Pelosi's decision: Trump admitted that he pressed the president of Ukraine to look into former Vice President Joe Biden after withholding aid to the country. 

The big line from Pelosi: "Our republic endures because of the wisdom of our Constitution enshrined in three co-equal branches that act as checks and balances. The president must be held accountable. No one is above the law."

Watch Pelosi's announcement:



At 5:14 p.m. EDT yesterday: "They never even saw the transcript of the call. A total Witch Hunt!"

At 5:17 p.m. EDT yesterday: "PRESIDENTIAL HARASSMENT!"

At 7:24 a.m. EDT: "There has been no President in the history of our Country who has been treated so badly as I have. The Democrats are frozen with hatred and fear. They get nothing done. This should never be allowed to happen to another President. Witch Hunt!"

Since the news broke: The president has also tweeted seven clips and mentions of Fox News since the news broke. For example:



The decision to move forward with an impeachment inquiry is threatening to derail Congress's agenda.

Keep in mind: Congress is set to leave town on Thursday for a two-week recess. 

When Congress returns: Besides funding the government, "they also have a looming end-of-the-year fight on surveillance reforms, negotiations over potential prescription drug legislation and Republicans are growing increasingly antsy about the chances of passing Trump's trade deal with Mexico and Canada." 



Senate GOP is vowing to quash the effort: Senate Republicans are quickly arguing that there are no grounds to impeach and say it will backfire on Democrats.

Senate Democrats are being cautious: Senate Dems are divided. Some senators back an impeachment inquiry while others are dodging or saying more time is needed.



What exactly is impeachment?: Being impeached is basically the same as being indicted. The House impeaches; the Senate holds a trial to decide whether to convict. The chief justice of the Supreme Court oversees the trial.

How many House Democrats back impeachment?: 186 House Democrats. That is more than three-quarters of the House Democratic caucus. The House will need 218 votes to impeach him. Here's the whip list of where each member stands: 

This is fascinating -- If the House impeaches, is the Senate required to hold a trial?: From The New York Times's Charlie Savage: "The Constitution clearly envisions that if the House impeaches a federal official, the next step is for the Senate to hold a trial. But there is no obvious enforcement mechanism if Senator Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellFormer senior Senate GOP aide says Republicans should call witnesses Democrats step up pressure over witnesses after Bolton bombshell Bolton book alleges Trump tied Ukraine aid freeze to Biden investigations: NYT MORE, Republican of Kentucky and the majority leader, were to simply refuse to convene one -- just as he refused to permit a confirmation hearing and vote on Mr. Obama's nominee, Judge Merrick GarlandMerrick Brian GarlandMitch McConnell may win the impeachment and lose the Senate The Trumpification of the federal courts Juan Williams: GOP are hypocrites on impeachment MORE, to fill a Supreme Court vacancy in 2016."



Republicans made a Mad Libs sign: Via Politico's Melanie Zanona, House Majority Whip Steve ScaliseStephen (Steve) Joseph ScaliseThe Hill's Morning Report - Trump trial begins with clashes, concessions Cheney's decision not to run for Senate sparks Speaker chatter Trump welcomes LSU to the White House: 'Go Tigers' MORE's (R-La.) team created and handed out impeachment Mad Libs at the GOP conference this morning. Photo:

Lol, this CNN chyron: "CNN source: Trump does not want to be impeached" (Via @LindsayMonaghan) Photo:

Historic front pages: Here are today's front pages of The New York Times and The Washington Post. Photos:

This is an odd headline: Buzzfeed's headline yesterday for the impeachment news was "Hot Girl Summer Is Out, Impeachment Fever Fall Is In." The photo to prove it:

Capitol Hill was madness yesterday: "Prob 120 reporters/camera folks in Capitol basement outside House Dems meeting on impeachment." (Via The Hill's Scott WongPhoto from the Capitol basement:



Via The Hill's Niall Stanage




So how else was the play, Mrs. Lincoln?

Don't warren, be happy

Via The Hill's Jonathan Easley, Trump insiders are starting to worry about Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenPoll: Sanders leads Biden by 9 points in Iowa Poll: Biden leads in Iowa ahead of caucuses The Memo: Impeachment dominates final Iowa sprint MORE's (D-Mass.) candidacy as they see her rise in the polls.

How so: "The Hill interviewed more than a half-dozen current or former advisers to Trump, and about half viewed Warren as the most formidable nominee in a head-to-head match-up against Trump, while the other half described former Vice President Joe Biden as the tougher general election foe." 

Why those Trump allies think Warren is a threat: "The Trump allies who view Warren as the strongest general election Democrat described her as a 'movement' candidate with crossover appeal between the left and the center." 



Getting traction -- this looks like a lot of fun:

The Washington Nationals clinched the wild card last night for the MLB playoffs.


I do see it now:



The House and Senate are in. President Trump is in New York City. Vice President Pence is in Washington, D.C.

12:15 p.m. EDT: The Senate holds a roll call vote. The Senate's full schedule today: 

1 p.m. EDT: First votes in the House. The House's full schedule today

2:15 p.m. EDT: President Trump meets with the president of Ukraine.

3:15 p.m. EDT: President Trump meets with the president of El Salvador.

3:45 p.m. EDT: Vice President Pence meets with Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert WilkieRobert Leon WilkieVA leader must demonstrate commitment to ending harassment The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump says Dems shouldn't hold public hearings Overnight Defense: Pentagon says Syrian oil revenue going to Kurdish forces | GOP chair accuses Dems of using Space Force as leverage in wall fight | Dems drop plans to seek Bolton testimony MORE

5 p.m. EDT: Last votes in the House. 

7:40 p.m. EDT: President Trump speaks at a joint fundraising committee dinner in New York City.



4 p.m. EDT: President Trump holds a press conference in New York City. Livestream:



Today is National Quesadilla Day.


Welp, this should impact my work productivity:

Marshalls just launched an online store. Details:


And because it's been a long 24 hours, here is a turtle who is so close but so far: