As promised, the White House released the transcript of a July 25 phone call between President Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. The document is a memorandum of the conversation and not a verbatim account, and includes a cautionary note warning that it was drawn from the notes and memories of officials in the Situation Room which “can affect the accuracy of the record.” Nevertheless, it “confirms some of our worst expectations,” according to Greg Sargent of The Washington Post.
As a previous Washington Post report points out, Trump told Zelensky to partner with the U.S. Attorney General to investigate alleged misconduct of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden in exchange for an invite to the White House. “Those statements and others in a July 25 phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky were so concerning that the intelligence community inspector general thought them a possible violation of campaign finance law,” the Washington Post reported, adding that “prosecutors concluded last week that the conduct was not criminal, according to senior Justice Department officials.”
But according to Sargent, a crime doesn’t need to be committed for impeachment to happen, and new details about the call are “very damning.”
Crucially, the call details show Trump explicitly pressing Zelensky to talk to Giuliani and Barr about Trump’s desire to see Ukraine investigate Biden, his most likely general-election opponent.
“If you could speak to [Giuliani], that would be great,” Trump tells Zelensky, before saying that “a lot of people” want to find out about the situation involving Joe Biden and the Ukraine, and asking Zelensky to “look into it.”
That’s a reference to the convoluted fabrication that Trump, Giuliani and right-wing media have pushed involving Biden, his most likely general-election opponent, and his son. For the details, see Glenn Kessler’s latest look at this narrative, which shows that it has only further imploded over time.
While Trump didn’t threaten to withhold military aid to Ukraine during the call, he had already suspended the aid and some think he was using that as leverage.
“Whether Zelensky drew a connection between those things, it is now confirmed that Trump directly pressed a foreign power to interfere in a U.S. election on his behalf. This means the extraordinarily serious misconduct that is being examined as part of the Democrats’ impeachment inquiry has now been established,” Sargent wrote.
The revelations also highlight the role of Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, who raised national security officials’ concerns that someone who was not an administration official was involved so directly in enlisting Zelensky to investigate Biden. It was reportedly Giuliani’s involvement that pushed the whistleblower to bring his/her concerns to Congress. There are also other matters the whistleblower raised that haven’t been revealed to the public. According to Sargent, Trump’s conversation with Zelensky confirms that he was directing Giuliani throughout the ordeal.
Featured image via Gage Skidmore/Flickr
Early voting to be hit by heavy rain and flooding as Hurricane Zeta barrels towards the Gulf Coast
Hurricane Zeta is expected to make landfall near Louisiana's border with Mississippi on Wednesday evening as campaigns work to get supporters to the polls and convince any undecided voters to back their candidate.
"Hurricane conditions and life-threatening storm surge are possible along portions of the northern Gulf Coast on Wednesday, and Storm Surge and Hurricane Watches are in effect," the National Hurricane Center warned.
"Between Tuesday night and Thursday, heavy rainfall is expected from portions of the central Gulf Coast into the southern Appalachians and Mid-Atlantic states near and in advance of Zeta. This rainfall will lead to flash, urban, small stream, and minor river flooding," the center explained.
Brett Kavanaugh caught lying in SCOTUS opinion against voting access during the pandemic: report
Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh on Monday voted that 2020 elections ballots in Wisconsin can only be counted if received by Election Day.
Kavanaugh issued his own concurring opinion, where he suggested that state courts should be barred from protecting voting rights.
Kavanaugh also made a mistake of fact.
Sam Levine, a voting rights reporter for the Guardian, noted Kavanaugh was inaccurate in his concurring opinion.
Lincoln Project releases harrowing new video of the future if Trump wins re-election
The Lincoln Project, the group of former top GOP strategists seeking to beat President Donald Trump in the 2020 election, released another new video on Monday evening.
Unlike other videos, the latest release did not feature Trump saying crazy things. Instead, it is more like a 60-second short film.
It features a mother listening to election night returns. She goes into her son's bedroom and lovingly awakens him.
"Hey honey, you asked me to wake you and tell you what happened in the election," she says.
"Who won?" the child asked.
"Trump," she replied. "Trump won."