There seems to be no threat from Trump to Zelensky and no talk of a quid pro quo involving foreign aid in exchange for an investigation of Joe Biden, as Pelosi claimed 24 hours earlier.
Donald Trump’s administration has released details of a phone call he made in July that has triggered the opposition political party, the Democrats, to hold an impeachment inquiry against the US President.
According to a summary of the call, Donald Trump asked the Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky to look into corruption claims involving Hunter Biden, the son of Joe Biden, Mr Trump’s possible rival in next year’s presidential election. Trump asked the Ukrainian leader to work with his personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, and Attorney General William Barr on the claims.
There seems to be no threat from Trump to Zelensky and no talk of a quid pro quo involving foreign aid in exchange for an investigation of Joe Biden. It appears the Washington Post and New York Times’ promise of a smoking gun was a false promise.
Under the US constitution, a president can be impeached for “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanours” and if proven can lead to removal from office.
To read the full summary, click here
The transcript does not demonstrate that Trump leveraged military aid to Ukraine to obtain a “promise” on a Biden investigation, as reported in The Washington Post.
Trump speaking at United Nations in New York, defended his actions and lambasted the Democrats.
“It’s the single greatest witch hunt in American history. Probably in history, but in American history. It’s a disgraceful thing,” Trump said. “The letter was a great letter, meaning the letter revealing the call.”
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 26, 2019
Jay Sekulow, an attorney for Trump, told CNN that there was no “quid pro quo” when it came to the July call: “On the issue of what we have on the transcript, I think it is important to understand we do not have a quid pro quo. In other words, I will do this, you do this. That is absent.”
Trump called attention to a little-discussed CNN report from May, which described how Democratic Senators Robert Menendez, Dick Durbin and Patrick Leahy pushed Ukraine’s top prosecutor not to close four investigations perceived as critical to then-Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe and, if the Democrats’ current thinking is applied, seemingly implied that their support for US aid to Ukraine was at stake.
The Democratic senators wrote in a letter to Ukraine’s leader at the time: “In four short years, Ukraine has made significant progress in building (democratic) institutions despite ongoing military, economic, and political pressure from Moscow. We have supported (the) capacity-building process and are disappointed that some in Kyiv appear to have cast aside these (democratic) principles to avoid the ire of President Trump.”
The senators called for the top prosecutor to “reverse course and halt any efforts to impede cooperation with this important investigation.”
The New York Post‘s Marc Thiessen initially flagged the letter on Tuesday, calling it evidence of a “double standard” among Democrats.
The complaint by a whistleblower that sparked the impeachment inquiry was hand-delivered to Capitol Hill for lawmakers to review. Utah Republican in the House of Representatives Chris Stewart announced on social media that the whistleblower complaint concerning Trump’s July call has been declassified and doesn’t contain any damning information.
“I encourage you all to read it,” Stewart tweeted. The complaint was not immediately available to the public.
“It’s been declassified and it’s been released,” Stewart told Fox News. “So it should be available for everyone to go and look at, and I encourage everyone to go and look at it.” Stewart added that he is “much more confident than I was this morning that this is going to go nowhere … there are just no surprises there.”
“The entirety of it is focused on this one thing, and that’s the transcript of one phone call, the transcript that was released this morning,” said Stewart.
Nancy Pelosi may have made a terrible political mistake or played the Trump card. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
“Nancy Pelosi (Democratic Speaker of the House of Representatives) plunged the country into a nightmare by surrendering to the most radical members of her party and the Trump-hating left-wing press. Political mistakes don’t get much bigger or more consequential,” wrote Michael Goodwin in the New York Post.
“Impeachment is now what next year’s election will be about. Not immigration, or health care, or the economy or national security or anything that really matters to the working people across the country. Those who get up and go to work in offices and stores, build the bridges, plow the fields, care for the children and keep us safe are officially now an afterthought to Pelosi’s foolish decision.
“To be sure, the release of the transcript set off reactions in spades, with each side reading into it what they wanted to find. But there is no equivalency between the competing views.
“Impeachment is a yes or no vote on whether a president has committed “high crimes and misdemeanours” that render him unfit for office. While there is no legal test for what constitutes an impeachable offence, there is a common-sense test, which is why the draconian option has been used only sparingly.
“This case doesn’t come close to meeting any rational standard. The left can spin itself dizzy but it is impossible to believe a majority of all Americans will conclude that the president’s words in the transcript justify removing him from office.”
They admit it: Trump pressured the Ukrainian president to work with the U.S. Attorney General to investigate a political opponent. He must be impeached. pic.twitter.com/JCjTbaQI8w
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) September 25, 2019
Pelosi said that the phone call showed Trump’s “betrayal of his oath of office, betrayal of our national security and betrayal of the integrity of our elections” and the Democrats have the numbers to start an impeachment proceeding.
The times have found us. pic.twitter.com/iVNe9nqzx9
— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) September 25, 2019
From the summary that looks like a long shot but there may possibly be more in a complete transcript of the phone call.
No US president has ever been impeached. Two US presidents Andrew Johnson in 1868 and Bill Clinton in 1998 have been impeached by the House of Representatives, and both were acquitted in the subsequent Senate vote because the two-thirds majority vote wasn’t reached.