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

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*Ha. Haha. Hahah. Sniff. Haha. Sniff. Ha--breaks down crying hysterically.

 

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

 

BREAKING THIS MORNING

Here it is. The transcript.:

The Trump administration released the highly anticipated transcript of President TrumpDonald John TrumpFlorida GOP lawmaker says he's 'thinking' about impeachment Democrats introduce 'THUG Act' to block funding for G-7 at Trump resort Kurdish group PKK pens open letter rebuking Trump's comparison to ISIS MORE's July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. http://bit.ly/2l7sdJZ

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. 

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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: http://bit.ly/2nbDdqm

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 knocks Romney as 'Democrat secret asset' in new video Giuliani asked State Dept. to grant visa for ex-Ukraine official at center of Biden allegations: report Perry won't comply with subpoena in impeachment inquiry MORE. Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiCummings to lie in state at the Capitol House Republicans 'demand the release of the rules' on impeachment Overnight Health Care — Presented by National Taxpayers Union —Dem wants more changes to Pelosi drug pricing bill | Ebola outbreak wanes, but funding lags | Johnson & Johnson recalls batch of baby powder after asbestos traces found 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.

 

TRUMP TO REPORTERS AFTER THE RELEASE -- A NOTHINGBURGER!:

President Trump said his call with the president of Ukraine was a "nothing call." http://bit.ly/2mIqUBo

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: http://bit.ly/2mIqUBo

  

REACTION FROM A TRUMP ALLY:

Rep. Mark MeadowsMark Randall MeadowsTestimony from GOP diplomat complicates Trump defense Obama: Cummings showed us 'the importance of checks and balances' The Hill's Morning Report - Tempers boil over at the White House 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."  http://bit.ly/2n89MoV

 

REACTION FROM A REPUBLICAN WITH A DIFFERENT VIEWPOINT: 

Sen. Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyTrump knocks Romney as 'Democrat secret asset' in new video Overnight Defense — Presented by Boeing — Trump insists Turkey wants cease-fire | Fighting continues in Syrian town | Pentagon chief headed to Mideast | Mattis responds to criticism from Trump Fighting continues in Syrian town despite cease-fire deal 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." http://bit.ly/2mFziBM

 

HOW DEMOCRATS FEEL SINCE THE TRANSCRIPT RELEASE:

"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." http://bit.ly/2l63aH4 

 

REACTION FROM THE JUSTICE DEPARTMENT:

The Justice Department said Attorney General William BarrWilliam Pelham BarrMulvaney walks back comments tying Ukraine aid to 2016 probe Mulvaney ties withheld Ukraine aid to political probe sought by Trump Matthew Shepard's parents blast Barr's LGBTQ record in anniversary of hate crime law 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. http://bit.ly/2l7sdJZ

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 GiulianiGiuliani asked State Dept. to grant visa for ex-Ukraine official at center of Biden allegations: report Overnight Energy: Trump taps deputy energy secretary to replace Perry | Praises pick Dan Brouillette as 'total professional' | Perry denies quid pro quo over Ukraine Ex-Watergate prosecutor says evidence in impeachment inquiry 'clearly' points to Trump MORE." 

Oh and: The DOJ declined to pursue an investigation in to the call: http://bit.ly/2mBoswF

 

HAPPENING AT 4 P.M. EDT (!): 

President Trump is holding a press conference. Livestream: http://bit.ly/2naRDHd

 

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 cmartel@thehill.com -- and follow along on Twitter @CateMartel and Facebook.

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TALK OF THE MORNING

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. http://bit.ly/2lFTO51

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: http://bit.ly/2n5fAzx

  

HOW PRESIDENT TRUMP IS REACTING ON TWITTER:

At 5:14 p.m. EDT yesterday: "They never even saw the transcript of the call. A total Witch Hunt!" http://bit.ly/2l2ZOVf

At 5:17 p.m. EDT yesterday: "PRESIDENTIAL HARASSMENT!" http://bit.ly/2l2MErh

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!" http://bit.ly/2l81kWi

Since the news broke: The president has also tweeted seven clips and mentions of Fox News since the news broke. For example: http://bit.ly/2l8jjvO

  

WHAT THIS MEANS FOR CONGRESS'S AGENDA:

The decision to move forward with an impeachment inquiry is threatening to derail Congress's agenda. http://bit.ly/2mH8jFO

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." http://bit.ly/2mH8jFO 

 

HOW THE SENATE IS HANDLING IT:

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. http://bit.ly/2l3r6ea

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. http://bit.ly/2l2ZPZh

  

LET'S TALK LOGISTICS -- WHAT TO EXPECT:

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. https://nyti.ms/2l8jO98

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: http://bit.ly/2Qp6sk9 

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 McConnellMcConnell: Trump's troop pull back in Syria a 'grave strategic mistake' Overnight Defense — Presented by Boeing — Trump insists Turkey wants cease-fire | Fighting continues in Syrian town | Pentagon chief headed to Mideast | Mattis responds to criticism from Trump TSA head rules himself out for top DHS job   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 GarlandSupreme Court can prove its independence — or its partisan capture The Hill's 12:30 Report: Dems seize on Ukraine transcript in impeachment fight Brett Kavanaugh debate exemplifies culture war between left and right MORE, to fill a Supreme Court vacancy in 2016." https://nyti.ms/2l8jO98

  

TIDBITS:

Republicans made a Mad Libs sign: Via Politico's Melanie Zanona, House Majority Whip Steve ScaliseStephen (Steve) Joseph ScaliseHouse Republicans 'demand the release of the rules' on impeachment Scalise, Cole introduce resolution to change rules on impeachment Republicans seek to delay effort to censure Schiff after Cummings' death MORE's (R-La.) team created and handed out impeachment Mad Libs at the GOP conference this morning. Photo: http://bit.ly/2naZDbg

Lol, this CNN chyron: "CNN source: Trump does not want to be impeached" (Via @LindsayMonaghan) Photo: http://bit.ly/2l8yg0S

Historic front pages: Here are today's front pages of The New York Times and The Washington Post. Photos: http://bit.ly/2lHMlT0

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: http://bit.ly/2lvuiQa

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: http://bit.ly/2lIM1nd

  

HOW DEMOCRATS HAVE PLUNGED INTO THE POLITICS OF IMPEACHMENT:

Via The Hill's Niall Stanagehttp://bit.ly/2lFPwe5

Op-ed: http://bit.ly/2mIW7o1

  

IN OTHER NEWS

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 WarrenHillicon Valley: GOP lawmakers offer election security measure | FTC Dem worries government is 'captured' by Big Tech | Lawmakers condemn Apple over Hong Kong censorship Sanders seeks spark from Ocasio-Cortez at Queens rally On The Money: Supreme Court takes up challenge to CFPB | Warren's surge brings scrutiny to wealth tax | Senators eye curbs on Trump emergency powers MORE's (D-Mass.) candidacy as they see her rise in the polls. http://bit.ly/2lvaQmC

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." 

 

NOTABLE TWEETS

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

The Washington Nationals clinched the wild card last night for the MLB playoffs. https://atmlb.com/2lICf4l

 

I do see it now:

  

ON TAP

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: http://bit.ly/2n3ADCy 

1 p.m. EDT: First votes in the House. The House's full schedule todayhttp://bit.ly/2luZ9ML

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 WilkieThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Dems seize on Ukraine transcript in impeachment fight The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by National Association of Manufacturers - The impeachment of President Trump has begun Overnight Defense — Presented by Huntington Ingalls Industries — Impeachment inquiry overshadows Trump at UN | Veterans push VA to follow through on reforms | Iranian leader open to changes in nuke deal 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.

 

WHAT TO WATCH

4 p.m. EDT: President Trump holds a press conference in New York City. Livestream: http://bit.ly/2naRDHd

  

NOW FOR THE FUN STUFF...

Today is National Quesadilla Day.

 

Welp, this should impact my work productivity:

Marshalls just launched an online store. Details: http://bit.ly/2mDG8Yu

 

And because it's been a long 24 hours, here is a turtle who is so close but so far: http://bit.ly/2mHQqqq