The transcript of Trump’s phone call to Ukraine’s President Zelinskyy

September 25, 2019 • 12:00 pm

It’s hard for me to make out what’s going on in the newly-released transcript between President Trump and Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky, but it’s clear that the Trumpster is asking for a foreign government to investigate a political opponent, which is unkosher and certainly worthy of an impeachment investigation, especially in conjunction with everything else.

Although I don’t see a quid pro quo in the talk (some have said that Trump was holding up an arms deal with Ukraine as a carrot in this phone call), there is this (my emphasis below). Note that this is not a direct transcript but is based on “notes and recollections of duty officers”.

The President: Good because I heard you had a prosecutor who was very good and he was shut down and that’s really unfair. A lot of people are talking about that, the way they shut your very good prosecutor down and you had some very bad people involved. Mr. Giuliani is a highly respected man. He was the mayor of New York City, a great mayor, and I would like him to call you. I will ask him to call you along with the Attorney General. Rudy very much knows what’s happening and he is a very capable guy. If you could speak to him that would be great. The former ambassador from the United States, the woman, was bad news and the people she was dealing with in the Ukraine were bad news so I just want to let you know that. The other thing, 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.

President Zelenskyy: I wanted to tell you about the prosecutor. First of all, I understand and I’m knowledgeable about the situation. Since we have won the absolute majority in our Parliament, the next prosecutor general will be 100% my person, my candidate, who will be approved, by the parliament and will start as a new prosecutor in September. He or she will look into the situation, specifically to the company that you mentioned in this issue. The issue of the investigation of the case is actually the issue of making sure to restore the honesty so we will take care of that and will work on the investigation of the case. On top of that, I would kindly ask you if you have any additional information that you can provide to us, it would be very helpful for the investigation to make sure that we administer justice in our country with regard to the Ambassador to the United States from Ukraine as far as I recall her name was Ivanovich. It was great that you were the first one. who told me that she was a bad ambassador because I agree with you 100%. Her attitude towards me was far from the best as she admired the previous President and she was on his side. She would not accept me as a new President well enough.

The President: Well, she’s going to go through some things. 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. I’m sure you will figure it out. I heard the prosecutor was treated very badly and he was a very fair prosecutor so good luck with everything. Your economy is going to get better and better I predict. You have a lot of assets. It’s a great country. I have many Ukrainian friends, their incredible people.

According to the New York Times, this is what that’s about:

Though rooting out widespread corruption in Ukraine has long been an American foreign policy goal, Mr. Trump referenced Mr. Biden, a leading Democratic candidate for president, during the call. Mr. Trump and Mr. Giuliani have long pushed for Ukrainian officials to examine whether there was any improper overlap between Mr. Biden’s dealings with Ukraine while in office and his son’s position on the board of a Ukrainian energy company.

But Mr. Trump’s suggestion that American law enforcement be directly involved and in contact with Ukraine’s government marks the first evidence that the president personally sought to harness the power of the United States government to further a politically motivated investigation.

Mr. Trump specifically asked his Ukrainian counterpart to come to the aid of the United States by looking into the unsubstantiated theory pushed by Mr. Giuliani holding that Ukrainians had some role in the emails stolen from the Democratic National Committee.

And that much is clear: Trump was asking for an investigation of a political opponent, and was going to use the Attorney General (who hadn’t heard about this call) to further that. It’s not good “optics”, but if this is the straw that started impeachment proceedings, well, it’s worth some inquiry.



153 thoughts on “The transcript of Trump’s phone call to Ukraine’s President Zelinskyy

  1. This earlier part of the call is pretty damning. Ukraine’s president asks for more military aide and Trump in response asks for a favor first. Namely investigating the DNC server hack and the Mueller investigation!

    “…I would also like to thank you for your great support in the area of defense. We are ready to continue to cooperate for the next steps specifically we are almost. ready to buy more Javelins from the United States for defense purposes.

    The President: I would like you to do us a favor though because our country has been through a lot and Ukraine knows a lot about it. I would like you to find out what happened with this whole situation with Ukraine, they say Crowdstrike… I guess you have one of your wealthy people… The server, they say Ukraine has it. There are a lot of things that went on, the whole situation. I think you’re surrounding yourself with some of the same people. I would like to have the Attorney General call you or your people and I would like you to get to the bottom of it. As you saw yesterday, that whole nonsense ended with a very poor performance by a man named Robert Mueller, an incompetent performance, but they say a lot of it started with Ukraine. Whatever you can do, it’s very important that you do it if that’s possible.”

    1. Yes, if that is not a quid pro quo then they do not exist. I need some weapons and the response is, I need some favors.

      It is obvious if you read the whole 5 pages, that Trump is playing this whole thing like a mob shakedown. The other guy is kissing ass in hopes of getting more aid. Trump also gets his personal lawyer and the justice department in the middle of this crap. If this is not impeachment, nothing is.

      1. Kissing ass to the point that he makes sure to mention that he stayed at the Trump hotel on Central Park West the last time he visited New York. 🙂

        Word gets round, I suppose, about the way to the man’s cold and shriveled heart.

      1. As jblilie noted, sales of military equipment (missiles) to a foreign country is almost certainly something the US President could obstruct or prevent if he wished.


  2. First of all, it’s not a transcript in the true meaning of the word.

    However, there is no question that it is evidence of a shake-down.

    A transcript might be even more damning.

    Mitt Romney said he found this release “deeply troubling”.

    1. I think Trump is incredibly stupid. That said, if any lawyer looked over this and said “go ahead and release it” then he is being poorly served by those who work for him, especially his legal advisors. Of course, Trump is any lawyer’s worst nightmare for a client. I’m sure that anyone dumb enough to work for him is not such a great lawyer.

      1. I think they had no choice but to release something like this, since Trump had already publicly admitted that this took place. I’m sure the actual transcript is much worse.

  3. FINALLY TRUMP GOT CAUGHT for REAL this time——he should not have been talking about the Biden’s at all, the day after the Mueller investigation was done.
    We may have just enough time to have Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman film
    “All the Presidents Men 2.

      1. OK, I WILL FIX IT



        S. DANIELS
        K. MCDOUGAL

        Written by
        A Sorkin

        Directed by
        V Putin

          1. you are a tough customer……

            ok–if Trump is actually impeached or leaves office early (and that probably wont happen) he will then pardoned by “President” Pence…….

            does Trump go right to Fox news and take over Laura’s spot or Tuckers’ spot??? or will they give him three hours a night like Alex Jones had?

            or does he Just start


            trump will never “leave” the spotlight
            if his White gig gets “canceled”,
            he will just move to a new gig……..
            and he will be bored by twitter–
            there is no camera’s,
            cheers or applause on Twitter.

        1. Nah, in a Sorkin script there’s always at least one honorable, principled Republican. Maybe one will come forward?

          So far, all we’ve got on that front is Justin Amash (who was run out of the Republican Party for his efforts) and Mitt Romney (who’s got one eye on his own political future as the potential GOP savior) sitting on the fence.

    1. I was sort of looking for the part where Trump asked Zelenskyy to fabricate evidence to discredit Biden, but could not find it. Or where Trump threatened to withhold aid or trade unless some sort of conditions were met.

      Here is what I did find:
      “If the prosecutor is not fired, you’re not getting the money.” Joe Biden, VP, on his meetings in 2014 in Ukraine.

      In 2018, Democratic senators Leahy, Memendez, and Durbin asked the Ukrainian government to investigate Trump, in a written request with a US Senate letterhead.

      Trump is not noted for his ability to converse with deep layers of subtext. He seems to say whatever he is thinking, with few if any filters. I think if he wanted to threaten Zelenskyy he would have done so.

    1. There are other rules for presidents. And yet another set of laws for Republicans, and yet another for Trump. I only believe something happens when it actually does. I find it unlikely.

      Whoever knowingly issues or publishes any counterfeit weather forecast or warning of weather conditions falsely representing such forecast or warning to have been issued or published by the Weather Bureau, United States Signal Service, or other branch of the Government service, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ninety days, or both. — Source

      1. I sometimes think when Donald is gazing out at people his primitive mind is unable to accept females as members of the human race. He might actually think of them as some kind of alien creature that’s invading his space time existence.

        It makes me laugh to think of the internal confusion and rage he has to endure when listening to someone like Pelosi.

        1. No, we’re not alien creatures, just your basic livestock.

          This is why the Christians and other conservatives love him so much. We’re livestock to them, too.


          1. Quite, Ms Calhoun / Mr Henderson.

            Less than human. That, inside that “internal
            confusion and rage” of Mr Trump’s makes
            Us Not Males … … the deHuman. He has so many
            supporters because he reflects … …
            them / their brains. This is precisely WHY
            I took Dr Coyne in October y2016, up upon HIS WAGER of THEN and before that presidential election. I believed Mr Trump would win.

            I know firsthand Dr Greer’s p279’s The Female Eunuch’s
            first sentence: “Women have very little idea
            of how much men hate them.”

            And of his AND of their brains, this as well: In Mr Trump’s first 30,000 words as the 45th US President … … = an eight – year – old.


            Personally ? I would put his elocution
            ( let alone, his discernment in re
            foreign ! or ANY OTHER policy ! ) at a far, far
            lower age than that of eight years.

            What is that latest ? Amadeus ? No. No.
            Amadumbas__, idn’t it ?


            1. I still have a faint but niggling suspicion that his twitter account is voice activated, and he can’t actually read or write.

              He just slumps onto the bed, mashes his mobile’s ‘on’ button with his little ham-hock fists and yells his tweets into the mic.

      1. Yeah, he held back. I guess she did’t upset him as much…maybe didn’t have direct contact or didn’t obstruct what he wanted directly. Trump called Chrystia Freeland (Canada’s minister of foreign affairs) a “nasty woman” during the trade talks. He really doesn’t like strong women.

        1. The former Ukrainian ambassador incurred Trump’s ire by cooperating in the investigation of Trump’s quondam campaign chairman Paul Manafort’s multifarious fuckery in the Ukraine on behalf of former Ukrainian president (and Putin-stooge) Viktor Yanukovych.

    1. It’s nicely parallel to what one of my wife’s formed (public (US) school teacher) colleagues said once:

      My wife< "Which boy was it?"

      Her colleague, "Oh, I don't know, one of those Hmong boys."

      She was completely oblivious to how racist she was. Priceless. And just like Trump.

      1. Part of me thought he could be excused simply because there probably aren’t many women that do those jobs but I think about where I work now & how it’s mostly women so the few men that I do know I know their names simply because there are so few men that I tend to notice them and remember their names.

    2. We also note the threat to her:
      “The President: Well, she’s going to go through some things.”

      I’m pretty sure the ‘things’ weren’t going to be a gift card for a month’s holiday at a Trump resort of her choice, all expenses paid.


  4. The best analysis of the timeline and the particulars of the Joe Biden/Hunter Biden situation is from Josh Kovensky at Talking Points Memo. He has been following this for a few years.

    There is nothing there. The investigator who was dismissed at the behest of Biden was let go because he WASN’T investigating anything. The timeline doesn’t add up, either.

    And, Guiliani is not a government official. He has no authority to speak for our country. He is speaking for Trump as an individual, which should be a red flag right there.


  5. If this is the best the corrupt Trumpies in government could to make him appear to be innocent, the full transcript and the complaint which revealed this mess would probably be damning. However, I think this release will be used as an excuse to prevent viewing of the really bad information. Expect a fight to get more, including testimony from the whistleblower. He/she will probably have to give up their career to appear before congress. From what I have heard, 30 Republican senators would now vote to impeach, but only if the vote was secret, so no senate vote.

    1. Actually, the release of this rough transcript is somewhat reminiscent of Richard Nixon’s release of the edited transcripts. He hoped to end the controversy, but instead fueled it, ultimately leading to the court-ordered release of all of the transcripts and Nixon’s resignation. The issue here will be the release (at least to Congress) of the whistle-blower material. Apparently that involves a series of events, not just this one phone call. And in any event, contra Lindsey Graham et al., requesting foreign help to target a political opponent AND offering the services of the US government (AG Barr) to do so is both illegal and corrupt. And BTW, the lack of an explicit “quid pro quo” is not at all surprising – go back to Michael Cohen’s testimony last spring. According to him, like a mobster, Trump lets people know what he wants with out explicitly demanding it.

      1. “The issue here will be the release (at least to Congress) of the whistle-blower material.”

        So far, illegally, the admin. is refusing. Also in spite of a unanimous resolution from the Senate that they must turn it over. And, now, an open impeachment investigation.

    2. “30 Republican senators would now vote to impeach, but only if the vote was secret, so no senate vote.”

      I would think, though, if they figured he’d be ousted, they wouldn’t mind a public vote.

  6. At the bottom of the second page of the transcript, Zelensky raises with Trump the issue of the US’s continued assistance in Ukraine’s defense, including through the sale of a US-made Javelin missile system.

    The next words out of Trump’s mouth are “I would like you to do us a favor though … [.}” He then goes on to ask for investigations, including (several times) for an investigation of Joe Biden and his son.

    That’s like Vito Corleone, after he’s granted the the request from the undertaker, Bonasara, to take vengeance on the men who attacked his daughter, telling Bonasara someday I may call upon you to do a service for me.

    Trump urges Zelensky several times to work with his personal mouthpiece, Rudy Giuliani, and implicates Attorney General William Barr (by name or title, five times) in his scheme to obtain information damaging to a political rival from the Ukraine (something which Barr, apparently, is himself denying any participation in or knowledge of).

    1. Why would anybody believe the memo when Trump and Giuliani (when he is not foaming at the mouth) argue that the phone call was totally innocent? Of course, all presidents ask foreign leaders to investigate political rivals rather than going to the FBI. Abuse of power? Nonsense. Everyone knows that Trump has dedicated his life to rooting out corruption. Cut the crap, Democrats, and stop persecuting our president, the nearest thing we have to a saint.😊

      1. Yeah, rooting out foreign corruption ranks right up there with human rights on Trump’s agenda — just ask Crown Prince Mohammed Bone Saw or Vladimir Putin or Recep Erdoğan or Rodrigo Duterte or Kim Jong-un. Chrissake, Trump spent his entire business career, and part of his presidential campaign, bitching and moaning about the unfair restrictions the US’s Foreign Corrupt Practices Act places on US businessmen doing deals overseas.

        Hell, the whole point of Trump’s pseudo-isolationism is that every country should have total control over its own internal affairs, free from interference from foreign do-gooders. He even made a point of saying so in his inauguration speech.

        Trump’s concern over Ukrainian corruption? There really is no end to his gaslighting.

        1. “There really is no end to his gaslighting”…maybe the real reason he likes the fossil fuel industry so much. 😛

  7. The White House accidentally emailed their new talking points bulletin to Congressional Dems. Then sent a follow-up email attempting to recall it.

      1. I have always wondered about the validity of the legalistic crap you get at the bottom of some emails –
        ‘This email is for intended recipients only. If you are not the intended recipient, you must not read, publish, forward or act upon any information in this email yadda yadda…’

        My instinctive response is, ‘Hey turkey, you sent it to me. Your incompetence, I’m not going to cover for you. [Promptly forwards it to the FBI, New York Times, Weekly World News as appropriate].

        Would the original sender have a case of action, I wonder?


  8. I thought every other week, “this is it! He went a step too far” and yet nothing happened. I only believe it when I see it.

    It’s also conspicuous that he looks into Biden’s son like this. A quick search turned this up, from earlier the year:

    But Ukrainian officials tell me there was one crucial piece of information that [Joe] Biden must have known but didn’t mention to his audience: The prosecutor he got fired was leading a wide-ranging corruption probe into the natural gas firm Burisma Holdings that employed Biden’s younger son, Hunter, as a board member. — Source (The Hill)

    Maybe Trump was betting that Democrats don’t want this Ukrainian connection to blow up. But maybe he’s picking Biden in a “heel”, a role he’s clearly familiar with and which worked for him before.

    1. One difference from all the other times this demented man went after someone to distract from his own behaviour, is that this time around the person he’s attacking is actually relatively popular with his demographic.

      This isn’t ‘Killary’, or Rashida Tlaib, or Don Lemon, or any of the other suspiciously female/brown/gay targets he’s gone after in the past. It’s an old white guy, who sometimes says things that are a bit politically incorrect. That’s the average Trump voter right there.

      And what’s most amusing about it is that Biden’s probably not even going to be the candidate Trump faces, so he looks like even more of a shitheel going after the kindly, noble loser of the Dem primaries.

      This is a much less convenient target for him to smear and denigrate and try and incite hatred against. It’s a piece of cake doing it to a young Muslim woman or a black, gay CNN anchor, but it won’t be quite so easy doing it against a guy who I reckon plenty of his less hardcore supporters actually quite like.

  9. Trump and his personal lunatic, aka Rudy Giuliani, are invoking the strategy of changing the topic by deflection through raising Biden’s role in the Ukraine. They attempted it during the Mueller Investigation, some would say successfully. Regardless of the outcome, the Democrats have at last shown some spine. There is little doubt that history (or more accurately, historians) will at last raise James Buchanan from being ranked the nation’s worst president.

    But, Trump need not fear. Mitch McConnell and Trump’s lapdog, Lindsey Graham, will assure that conviction in the Senate is an impossibility. My hope is that the impeachment inquiry will educate the majority of American people as to how Trump is a threat to democracy. Since Trump’s cult doesn’t care about democracy, I am not particularly sanguine. Sometimes, however, doing the right thing is more important than politics.

    1. We can expect more charges in the indictment than those that relate to the Ukraine shakedown. I’m hoping the education of American voters will be comprehensive

    2. Jesus, that couldn’t possibly be the same Lindsey Graham who acted as a prosecutor for the House of Representatives during the Bill Clinton impeachment trial, could it?

      1. A poll of presidential scholars, published in February of this year, places Harding as the fourth worst president. Trump is third worst (but I am confident he will drop to worst). Andrew Johnson is the worst, followed by James Buchanan. As I look over previous polls and their rankings, it seems to be as difficult to name the worst president as the best. For example, who is worse, Buchanan who led the name slide into Civil War or Andrew Johnson who wanted to undo the results of the war?

    3. You watch; Rudy G gonna get rolled under the bus — à la John Mitchell and John Dean and John Ehrlichman and “Bob” Haldeman.

      If somebody’s gotta take a fall, Trump will make sure others go first. Could also be AG Barr — Trump might claim he was relying on Barr’s advice that the whole Ukraine thing was kosher.

  10. This is crazy talk.

    2014 you have the change in power in Ukraine.

    In 2014, U.K. seizes Ukrainian oligarch’s 23 million dollar stash (Zolchevsky, CEO of Burisma–who had ties to prior pro-Russian regime). Ukrainian oligarch turns around and hires Hunter Biden for 50K a month while Joe Biden is the point man for U.S. Ukraine diplomacy, with zero evidence Hunter Biden ever did anything but draw a check and have the right last name.

    The U.K. and U.S. try to get cooperation from the Ukraine to justify the seizure with diplomatic threats that go unheeded, and by 2015 Zolchevsky gets his money back and there is no diplomatic consequences to Ukraine. [Does Biden have any role in this, and is there a conflict if his kid is on the Oligarch’s payroll?]

    In 2015, Shokin is made attorney general, announces an anti-corruption campaign and states he is investigating Burisma for corruption. 14 months later he is fired and Biden is on record saying the U.S. threatened to hold up loan guarantees if the prosecutor was not fired. [Note this did not happen when U.K. was seeking cooperation in seizing Zolchevsky’s stash of suspected laundered money.]

    According to MSM sources, this is because Shokin was incompetent and was not serious about prosecuting Burisma, and the U.S. wanted someone “serious” about corruption but did the new energetic prosecutor prosecute Burisma? If not, are we holding up money to get a new prosecutor? What was so special about Shokin if not the threats against Burisma. . . there seem to be no shortage of incompetent and/or compromised prosecutors in the Ukraine.

    [Note the corruption allegations go to pre-2014 which would not implicate Joe Biden or Hunter Biden, but if efforts were made after 2014 to cover up or frustrate investigations into crimes, those would be crimes, or if Burisma continued with suspected money laundering activities, etc., those would be crimes.]

    So what is the point of the above?

    Well, does it pass the smell test?

    If it doesn’t, then I don’t see how anyone who isn’t foaming at the mouth isn’t going to see asking the Ukraine to look into suspected criminal activity as illegitimate just because Biden is a political opponent, anymore than someone calling for looking into crimes committed by Nixon or Agnew was illegitimate just because they were political opponents.

    There is no quid pro quo in the transcript, so if we are going to rely on circumstantial evidence, there is plenty of circumstantial evidence that Burisma made an indirect bribe to U.S. Officials in order to get 23 million back from the U.K. and avoid a corruption probe, plus maybe some looking the other way at post-2014 money laundering.

    If the general public sees Trump’s conduct as appropriate and Biden as a crook, impeachment is going to boomerang on the Democrats. If the focus becomes possible corruption in connection with the Biden family, it will potentially drag down the reputations of other Obama era officials as well. In other words, the Democrats once again seizing defeat from the jaws of victory, polarizing and mobilizing the partisans and shifting the undecided voters away from the crooked Democrats.

    Why would you do this when you have an unpopular president, a decent political field (Biden excepted), and political issues that are popular with voters such as health care that the GOP won’t even touch?

    1. “There is no quid pro quo in the transcript”

      Transcript? What transcript?

      This is their best shot at SPIN. Like the Barr “summary” of the Mueller Report.

      Only this is MUCH worse. Trump admits asking a foreign government for a favor — a personal favor, days after holding up funding for Ukraine.

    2. There is no quid pro quo in the transcript

      Irrelevant. No explicit quid pro quo is needed to make a case against Trump. Simply asking for Ukraine’s help against his political rival is enough. Simply holding up the aid to Ukraine is enough. Put them both together, and there’s more than enough.

    3. Biden intervened (which the rest of the world agreed with) in Ukraine to get Shokin sacked because he was corrupt and would not investigate Burisma (among others). The intent was to gwt Ukraine to investigate Burisma (and many other corruption targets). Since his son was on the board (and no one except Trump and his minions has ever said Hunter Biden did anything wrong there) that made it rather uncomfortable for Biden senior to do it.

      (Trump and Guiliani are lying about this like so many other things.

      Sure, Burisma was trying to get back into the good graces of the US and the intl. community. Part of that work was hiring H. Biden — probably only for his last name.

      The corruption accusation predated H. Biden sitting on the board.

      It is a common practice to sit prominent people on the boards of all corporations in the US and abroad.

    1. “. . .still weary from the Mueller probe. . .”

      Yes, there’s that concern about the timing. Also, the election is over a year away, and faux indignation doesn’t play well over time.

  11. My observations:

    Firstly this is not a transcript, the NYT calls it a reconstruction. The document itself says this:

    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, The word “inaudible” is used to indicate portions of a conversation that the notetaker was unable to hear.

    Secondly, as I read it, there is nothing in this conversation which even alludes to a quid pro quo. I don’t know where the people who are saying that get the idea from. The full reconstruction is here:

    Can anybody point to any quote from it where Trump implies that the Ukraine will not get the aide unless it investigates Biden? I can’t see it. If this is the basis of impeachment, it’s pretty thin.

    There’s plenty of hinckey stuff in it. For example, why is Trump even mentioning his personal lawyer and the prosecutor he referred to was widely regarded as being totally corrupt. But you really are going to need more for impeachment.

    Thirdly, it seems the president of Ukraine did his utmost to crawl right up Trump’s arse.

    1. If you do not see quid pro quo then the best I can say about that is get over it. Having one or not having one is not the important issue. Did Trump go to a foreign country, a foreign leader and ask him for personal help in finding dirt on his political adversary. Involvement in our elections, you know, like 2016 with Russia.

      1. It’s all very well you saying that but there is no “quid pro quo” in that conversation. You may be able to infer one by reference to other events that have happened, and maybe the whistle blower’s report will shed more light on that.

        The problem is that many people are saying that, with this transcript we’ve got Trump. We haven’t. We need more and I don’t want to see the ball being dropped.

    2. I just watched the joint press availability that Ukraine president Zelensky did with Trump at the UN.

      Zelensky is like the class-clown who’s being picked on by the class-bully, but is doing a little shuck-and-jive to try to save a little face by not capitulating completely.

      Ukraine asked to buy a US-made Javelin missile system even before the US congress approved its quarter-billion dollar appropriation. It’s all part of a defense-assistance package to help the Ukrainians stave off Russia’s incursion into the Eastern Ukraine. Trump put a hold on the money appropriated for Ukraine — for some bullshit ginned-up “inter-agency review” reason — one week before his call to Zelensky.

      Trump engaged in an impeachable abuse of power by seeking personal political assistance from a foreign country, tout court. It’s made all the worse by Trump’s knowing — and his knowing that Zelensky knew — that Trump has a military-assistance Sword of Damocles hanging over Zelensky’s head.

      1. Do you understand that the bar for evidence necessarily has to be very high? It’s not enough to just impeach Trump, the evidence has to be so obvious that the Senate will look bad when they vote to acquit Trump. By itself, this “transcript” is not enough – IMO.

        1. Let’s watch acting Director of National Intelligence Joe McGuire’s congressional testimony today, and read the declassified whistle-blower complaint, which also will be released publicly today. (We will learn even more when the whistle-blower himself testifies, as I think he eventually will, and when the complete investigatory report done by the Intelligence Inspector General gets released, as I think it eventually will).

          I think this is going to get only deeper and uglier from here, both as to Trump’s dealings with Ukraine and as to how this issue, and the whistle-blower complaint itself, were handled — deeper and uglier both for Donald Trump personally and for “all the president’s men” involved in this situation (Giuliani, Barr, others inside the White House and Justice Department, etc.).

          We’ll see how far congressional Republicans are willing to go in continuing to defend Donald Trump, I think we’re starting to see the first, hairline fractures in that support already. Things like this tend to fall apart bit by bit at first, and then, suddenly, all at once.

          1. Yes, the already-public revelations on this make it clear that Trump has been hiding similar communications in an inappropriate, highly secret storage location.

            This is a repeated offence and involves an active coverup. I think the repeated nature is what brought out the whistle-blower complaint.

              1. And, what? Looks like he’s trying to find out who the rat is! “That dirty raaat. That dirty raaat.”

    3. Quid pro quo is strongly suggested by: In the call, Mr. Trump alluded to American aid, while not explicitly linking his request to unfreezing it, the document shows: “I will say that we do a lot for Ukraine. We spend a lot of effort and a lot of time.”

      This, and the timing of the release of funds, etc. is a strong indication. What else could the two of them be thinking at this point in the conversation?

      “Spend what? You haven’t done anything for us. I don’t know what your talking about…*wink*.

      1. If you read the conversation in isolation, there is no quid pro quo. There’s nowhere in it where Trump says “give me the investigation if you want the money”. You should know by now that Trump is a master of saying things without actually saying them.

        This reconstruction gives him enough so he can spin it as “the Democrats are witch hunting me”. Guess what, it’s working. Trump’s approval rating has gone up since the story first broke.

        1. You’re right, it isn’t explicitly stated, but I doubt if prosecutors ever get a case where the mob boss says, “I’m asking you to kill Slimy over there by 10 o’clock tonight. Dump the body in the river and report back to me for the 5 grand, which will be a payment for your service. Thanks Bugsy. I knew you’d do it for me.” No, it’s never like that. It’s more like, “Look, Bugsy…I think Slimy looks bored. Maybe you could take him for a little ride.” At least, that’s the way it is in the movies. Everybody knows what’s implied, and I think they usually get a conviction. At least in the movies.

          1. There’s a Mitchell and Webb for that

            Needlessly ambiguous terms

            Anyway, this isn’t a normal prosecution, this is a prosecution in which the jury is a bunch of partizan Republicans who would sell their grandmothers into slavery to save their jobs. The evidence put before them needs to be such that it is obvious they are acting against the best interests of the USA.

  12. Anybody here think it’s a coincidence that Trump released the funds for Ukraine two days after the Intelligence Inspector General sent his letter about the whistle-blower to the congressional intelligence committees?

    Or a coincidence that, right after the NYT reported that Trump was withholding funds from Ukraine while Giuliani was digging for Biden dirt there, Trump cancelled his trip to Poland, where he was to meet with Zelensky, supposedly so he could stay home and monitor Hurricane Dorian (even though Trump spent most of that weekend at one of his golf courses)?

    1. Even Moscow Mitch said he did not know why the 400 million in funds had been held up. No one told him. He knew they had but did not know why. Of course he probably did not want to know.

  13. What I want to know is what happens if the House passes articles of impeachment.

    In particular, is it optional for the Senate to take them up?

    It seems to me that the trial would be conducted by chief justice Roberts, and the senate would function as jury. Can the senate take a pass on that?

    I am curious because I hear people saying “if there is even a trial in the Senate,” as if it was up to Moscow Mitch. I’m not sure it is up to him. Wouldn’t Roberts have to organize a trial in the Senate?

    Help me out here, Ken et al.

    1. That’s a good question but I think, if after doing the impeachment hearings in the house, the house then votes to send the findings to the Senate, the Senate then has to have a trial. I don’t think they get to say, nah, we will pass on that. I recall in Watergate, the house judicial committee voted to send impeach so then the house was going to vote – which would have been for impeachment. However, I don’t think the whole house even voted before Nixon packed it in. Some Senators had gone to Nixon and said, you need to resign or you will be impeached.

    2. I think it is possible that McConnell could delay the Senate trial indefinitely. Who could stop him? He is the Senate Majority Leader and I doubt if there is one Republican who would buck him. Chief Justice Roberts would have no power to say when the trial would take place nor its rules. But, I don’t think Mitch would, in effect, cancel the trial because some would say he is afraid of the evidence being presented to the Senate even though there is no chance that Trump would be convicted. Instead, I think he would make the trial perfunctory, lasting no more than a day, perhaps even less than an hour. Then the vote would be taken, Trump would be acquitted, and the Republicans would crow that the Democrats tried to persecute an innocent man.

    3. The Chief Justice presides at a Senate impeachment trial, but the senate majority leader controls the senate’s schedule (is the way I understand things, anyway).

      It’s possible Moscow Mitch could pull a Judge Garland by endlessly postponing the impeachment trial, but there would be rioting in the streets (and I would be out among the rioters).

      At some point, the Rule of Law must prevail. Either that, or we pack up this little 240-year experiment in representative democratic self-governance and call it a day.

  14. Remember first that the text is not necessarily a full transcript, and second, that Trump had put a stop on Ukrainian aid prior to this. Zelinskyy would be aware of that fact. So what is the excerpt saying?

    Right off the bat Zelinskyy is talking about getting his arm purchases going, and immediately after Trump drops his, oh by the way, investigate Biden thing.

    Trump is notorious for his mob boss style of veiled allusions, never overtly ordering things. But even this except has Trump actively plugging for Biden investigation and that Giuliani would be his point man.

    Think “will no one rid me of this meddlesome priest” Henry II mode here.

    It is true though that anyone who by now is still a Trumpista has jumped off the gangplank and will be unlikely to change their mind no matter what (a big chunk of the modern shrunken GOP are creationists, though, and so have that dig their heels in won’t change their mind no matter what thing down rote).

    1. “Trump is notorious for his mob boss style of veiled allusions” — yeah, except for when he slips up and says the quiet parts out loud.

      1. You’ve hit on a fascinating feature of Trump’s personality, Ken, his absolute lack of a filter. He blurts out what he thinks, spasmodically, of course, because he’s inarticulate and increasingly rambling due to his age. (There’s also a case to be made that he’s an over-compensating dyslexic, contributing to his antipathy to reading things, but that’s another matter.)

        So it is that he plainly admitted to an intention to blame somebody else where policies go wrong. Trump was also blurtingly honest when he said how terrified the GOP was of the NRA, then slipped back into narcissistic egotist Roy Cohn deflective lying mode when he added that he wasn’t afraid of them himself. His subsequent behavior (Wayne Lapierre has Trump on speed-dial) illustrates how aware he is that the NRA and antiabortion single issue voter blocks are ones he cannot afford to buck, and in his own craven way Trump is a hyper-realist transactional thinker, who knows on which side his increasingly limited bread is buttered.

        The political fallout is more serious, though, because of the intractability of Trump’s GOP enabling network, from weather vane Lindsay Graham (formerly a Trump critic) taking an anti-impeachment stance entirely inconsistent with his 1990s rationales for impeaching Clinton, to the true believer ideologues like Nunes, Ted Cruz or Chris Christie (chanting mantras on the wickedness of Hillary and “Socialism”) whose brains will never perceive problems with Trump in the same way creationists can’t conceptualize speciation or macroevolution. And don’t forget that Trump has that creationist vote (roughly 40 percent of the US population) pretty much locked down, a demographic that overlaps nicely with the aforementioned antiabortionists and NRA. Oh, and did we mention that bunch doesn’t like climate science? Fallout, fallout, fallout.

        It’s not just that Trump needs to be removed from office (by vote or impeachment as the case may be), it’s the need to so reform and invigorate the political landscape that the enabler sorts can’t get elected either. That’s a much tougher row to hoe.

        1. Linsey is “inconsistent with his 1990s rationales for impeaching Clinton”
          But, I suspect he calculates much of his constituency that remembers that are dead.

          1. If not physically dead, then at least brain dead. That’s because the pronouncements of Graham back then haven’t been concealed, the recordings have been played repeatedly over the last months, though the insular FoxTrumpravda viewers are unlikely to have been reminded of them there.

  15. Fun fact: the White House put together a list of talking points to spin things their way and accidently sent it to Democrats:

    Of course, the main item is “NO QUID PRO QUO!!”

    Reminiscent of “NO COLLUSION!!”

    (I suspect “quid pro quo” will soon be Merriam Webster’s word of the day. Or 3 words of the day.)

    1. As Trump claimed, and as we’ve seen time and time again, he’s got the best people. At least if the metric is incompetence his people are definitely the best.

      And yet, even with own goal after own goal his approval ratings stay constant through it all within a small point spread. His supporters have the bit well and truly between their teeth and nothing will convince them to give it up.

  16. Apparently, the house and senate intel committees will get the whistleblower report soon. Heard that just a few minutes ago.

    1. Another bit of news, acting director of Intelligence says he threatened to resign if he does not get to talk to congress. I would guess he might have some good stuff to say.

    1. Fascinating article. This bit was just amazing:

      “While the Presidential Records Act requires that all paperwork touched by the President be preserved for posterity, Trump’s habit while in office has been to tear up papers when he is done with them. Not only is such a practice illegal, but it made life miserable for the Executive Office of the President’s career records management staff.

      “It was the craziest thing ever. He ripped papers into tiny pieces,” former records management analyst Solomon Larty told Politico”

      …Nothing dodgy there.

      1. We’re talkin’ about a guy here who, after his one-on-one meeting with Vladimir Putin in Helsinki (you know, the one where, at the presser immediately following, he took Putin’s word over that of his own intelligence agencies’), seized his own translator’s notes and forbade the translator from telling anyone in Trump’s own administration what had been said at the meeting.

        Totally normal, that.

    2. …ditto this:

      “The document even contains three ellipses, used to denote gaps in the record of the conversation, all at points when Trump is making requests of Zelensky. There does not appear to be any record of what Trump asked for in full.”

      This transcript is bad enough, and yet it’s clear that something’s missing from it. Releasing it just emphasises that it isn’t actually a transcript.

      Does anybody still think this fuckwit’s a political genius?

              1. That would’ve been quite an odd reference…to imply that Trump went through a breach in space-time and conversed with aliens during the Zelinskyy conversation…

                OTOH, it wouldn’t be that much madder than the fact that Trump’s president in the first place.

                The more I read the news the more I think some giant, translucent face is going to appear in the sky, reach down and press the reset button hidden under the pyramids.

  17. Cheeto Benito has been so busy tooting his own horn lately, it seems about time for his handlers to show him which orifice to place the mouthpiece against.

  18. Imagine a year from now that Trump is in the stretch run of potential dead-heat election, and he gets a call from Zelensky to let him know that he’s received a request from Trump’s opponent for the actual recordings made on the Ukraine end of all their telephone conversations.

    “But, Donald, before I make up my mind whether to turn them over, I would like you to do us a favor; send another quarter billion, willya?”

  19. The calliope tune plays on and on and on. I wonder what historians a century from now will write about these times. Hilarious that the Ukrainian comedian has been embroiled in this.

  20. I know this is serious and everything, but is no-one else offended by the incorrect use of ‘their’ at the end of the third para in the quote? Who the hell typed these notes up – Trump himself?!

  21. On Wed, Sep 25, 2019 at 1:06 PM Why Evolution Is True wrote:

    > whyevolutionistrue posted: “It’s hard for me to make out what’s going on > in the newly-released transcript between President Trump and Ukraine’s > President Volodymyr Zelensky, but it’s clear that the Trumpster is asking > for a foreign government to investigate a political opponent, whi” >

    1. And here is something we all missed in the released phone call today. I missed it but Maddow spelled it out on her show tonight. Trump asked the guy to look into Crowdstrike and other references to something the right wing has been pounding on since 2016. This is a Russian started conspiracy that the break in and hacking of the democrats was done by a group in the Ukraine. So you might ask – why would Trump be asking the guy to get something on this. It is old history and it did not happen. It is nuts. Trump will not let it go because if he can get something to somehow show this it gets Russia off the hook. Then he can get the sanctions on Russia lifted. So…Trump is still working for Putin.

  22. Republicans will stick with Trump, they don’t have the spines to turn on him. If Trump takes down Pence, we could have President Pelosi.

    1. Especially since the whistleblower appears to be just one voice. Others where direct witnesses on the call and can also be asked to testify.

    1. Yes, tRump and the WH Press people keep spouting that it is an “unredacted transcript” which is BS, because it is notes/memo — with clear ellipses.

      And the verbatim transcript (specifically referred to in the WB complaint) is deep-sixed in a highly secret storage.

  23. For any who are subscribed to this post, I read this in the LA Times. Fucking unbelievable.

    Trump also referred to Biden as “Sleepy Joe” and said he was “dumb as a rock” and denounced “press scum.” He expressed confidence about his chances in 2020 and beyond: “We’re looking good for another four years and then if we want to, another four and another four,” he said, drawing laughter from some of those in the room.

    1. Chilling in a way if he thinks he can stay beyond the two terms but perhaps he doesn’t know how the US Constitution works.

    1. I love how he always prefaces these types of comments with “what we used to do in the old days”. He prefaced in a similar way when talking about people being rowdy in a crowd.

    2. The Team Orange narrative that “this is going to help Trump get re-elected” doesn’t align well with talk of shooting those that triggered the investigation.

    3. That statement has some historical significance as well. In the 50’s, Roy Cohn, then the U.S. Justice Department prosecutor sent the Rosenbergs to the electric chair for spying. And the wife actually only transcribed and wasn’t accused of actually “spying”. This same Roy Cohn was a henchmen for Senator McCarthy during his communist witch hunt. In the 70’s, when Trump and his dad were being sued for not allowing colored people to rent any of their apartments, the Trumps hired Roy Cohn to represent them. He taught Trump a lot of the attack tactics he uses today- like accusing others of wrongdoing you’re committing (projecting), or BIG LIES and deflection. Trump has infamously whined when under attack by Mueller with a recused AG: “Where’s my Roy Cohn?!?” Yep, that’s our “president”.

      1. That Roy Cohn connection is an albatross that ought to be hung around Trump’s neck in all public pushbacks against him, Mark. It’s a matter of history, one which not all of Trump’s current opposition may be properly aware of, so it’s up to those of us who know those facts to remind them of it.

        While his lawyer, Cohn tutored Trump in the nasty art of hitting back with the Bigger Lie: when accused of something, you accuse your accusers of the same but three times worse. Whatever the outcome, you lie about it, claiming you won a lawsuit you lost, for example, as he did with that discrimination suit he settled out of court to avoid the public guilty verdict. And Trump has followed that course reliably and corrosively ever since.

        Which is why whenever Trump goes into bullshit mode (pretty much every time he opens his mouth), responses should be along the line of (echoing Ronald Reagan, ironically), “there you go again, Donald, going Roy Cohn on us …” At no point should people not be reminded of the nature of Trump’s lying, how it fits into that Roy Cohn pattern.

        I have been taking to adding a #RoyCohn hashtag in tweets and social media when referring to Trump’s lying, and certainly by the time of any debate with Trump next near (assuming he hasn’t been removed from office, unlikely but a tad more possible since the Ukraine affair surfaced), the Democratic candidate ought to be on the mark in letting the audience know that too.

        Trump is by nature a nasty (but gobsmackingly ignorant) bully, prone to name-calling. #RoyCohn is a name we get to call back, honestly and fairly so.

        1. Yeah, I agree that this connection needs to be brought into the light. Coincidentally, a documentary came out last week: “Where’s My Roy Cohn”. I haven’t seen it, but mean to. I just googled it…decent reviews: 75% rotten tomatoes, 3/4 Ebert, 91% viewers “liked”. The google images all showed a young Trump with Cohn by his side. Yes, whoever the candidate-‘D’ is, needs to get some ad-material from this doc.

  24. I posted a prediction here on time stamped 9/24/19 10:16PM US Eastern that there is a good chance that Trump will be removed from office.

    I would like to double down on that prediction. Two caveats.

    1) If Trump resigns I’ll consider the prediction true. Though I expect him to fight to the bitter end, he could cut a deal.

    2) I need 20 Republican senators to vote to convict for removal (100% correct prediction). If roughly 12 or more vote to convict, I’ll consider my prediction partially true. Less then 10, I’ll concede a false prediction.

    My thoughts:

    1) Impeachment by the house is a foregone conclusion at this point. Yes, they need to do a good job crossing their Ts and dotting their Is.

    2) There are two indicators to follow:

    A) Senate Republicans

    B) The Polls

    3) Per a David Frum Tweet today, a plurality of people support an impeachment inquiry.

    4) The key is Republican Senators. Yes, it’s helpful if other Republican politicians support the cause (Two North Eastern governors support the *inquiry* at this moment). It’s the Senators who will vote.

    5) Romney and Sasse have already sounded the alarm.

    6) Upwards of 7+ Republican Senators have claimed to have not read the WB report, basically ducking.

    7) The phone transcript released by Trump corroborates the Whistle Blower’s report (!)

    8) Read #7 again.

    9) If Trump is the clinical narcissist I believe him to be, his behavior will deteriorate. Evidenced by his calling the WB a ‘near spy’ jut today.

    10) Trump has run afoul of the Intelligence Community.

    11) Guiliani has become a liability for him. That was a bonkers interview he did on CNN last week.

    12) Trump has a checked past. Manafort is in jail. Cohen is in jail. I could go on.

    1. 11) Guiliani has become a liability for him. That was a bonkers interview he did on CNN last week.

      Indeed, Rudy is going bonkers. Word is Trump’s inner circle is blaming this whole mess on Rudy. Plus Rudy is facing criminal exposure. He’s getting truly desperate:

      “If I get killed now, you won’t get the rest of the story.”


Leave a Reply