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House Democrats say memo of Trump call bolsters impeachment case

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 White House on Wednesday released a five-page partial transcript of the call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on July 25, which comes as more than three-quarters of the Democratic caucus is now in favor of starting impeachment process.

{mosads}The move comes after Trump admitted that he had brought up a request for Zelensky to investigate allegations of corruption against one of his political rivals, former Vice President Joe Biden, and his son. According to the partial transcript, Trump asks Zelensky to get in touch with Attorney General William Barr and his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, about the matter. 

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said in a statement that the memo “confirms that the president engaged in behavior that undermines the integrity of our elections, the dignity of the office he holds and our national security.”

“The transcript and the Justice Department’s acting in a rogue fashion in being complicit in the president’s lawlessness confirm the need for an impeachment inquiry. Clearly, the Congress must act,” Pelosi said.

Moments after the release, Democrats supporting impeachment pounced on the contents of the White House memo.

“Nearly every line describes a shocking abuse of power,” tweeted Rep. Val Demings (D-Fla.), a member of the House Judiciary Committee. 

“This is far worse than I imagined. I can’t believe they released the transcript given what’s in it,” tweeted Rep. Brendan Boyle (D-Pa.).

Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.), the head of Democrats’ messaging arm and a Judiciary Committee member, went further.

“So even a ‘transcript’ produced by this White House says Trump asked Ukraine to smear Joe Biden?” Cicilline tweeted. “Ok. It’s time to impeach.”

According to the memo, which is based on notes from national security staffers and not a verbatim transcript, Trump told Zelensky: “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.”

Trump and Giuliani have been pushing for an investigation of whether Biden pressured Ukraine to fire a prosecutor who oversaw a probe into the owner of a Ukrainian energy company, of which Biden’s son, Hunter, was a board member. Biden has denied any wrongdoing.

Trump later added, “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.”

While Democrats say the partial transcript helps their case, they are still trying to obtain other documents. They are also pursuing a copy of the whistleblower complaint that acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire has to date withheld from Congress.

Maguire is slated to testify before the House Intelligence Committee in what’s expected to be a pivotal hearing on Thursday morning. Democrats are also working to allow the whistleblower to testify before Congress.

{mossecondads}Trump has denied that he withheld financial aid from Ukraine to pressure the country’s government to look into the Bidens. And Republicans sought to defend Trump by highlighting that he didn’t bring up the aid during the call with Zelensky.

“After reviewing the transcript of the call between President Trump and Ukrainian President Zelensky, it is clear that there was absolutely no quid pro quo, and no laws broken on the call. Speaker Pelosi, who pledged that the President broke the law, owes the American people an apology for her calls to begin impeachment proceedings when there is no basis for that reckless decision,” House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) said.

Meanwhile, Rep. Justin Amash (I-Mich.), who left the GOP this summer after he called for Trump’s impeachment, said the call was a “devastating indictment of the president.”

Some Democrats said that there doesn’t necessarily need to be evidence of a “quid pro quo” with the military aid for Ukraine to argue that Trump’s actions asking a foreign government to dig up dirt on a political opponent are wrong.

“This is about the president admitting publicly that he raised those issues to a foreign power, he withheld aid that Congress appropriated and he asked that foreign power to manufacture evidence against his political opponent. There doesn’t need to be a quid pro quo to be a crime. Just the fact that he did those things is sufficient,” said Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), a Progressive Caucus leader and member of the Judiciary Committee. 

Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-N.J.), who represents a swing district, said the memo released Tuesday confirms that Trump urged a foreign leader to dig up dirt on a political opponent.

“This confirms exactly what’s been reported. He urged the president of Ukraine to investigate his political opponent,” Malinowski said.

 
Tags David Cicilline Donald Trump Impeachment impeachment inquiry Joe Biden Justin Amash Nancy Pelosi Pramila Jayapal Rudy Giuliani Steve Scalise Tom Malinowski Trump impeachment inquiry Val Demings William Barr

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