JAKARTA (TheInsiderStories) – The White House released a rough transcript of President Donald Trump‘ phone call with Ukraine’ leader on Wednesday (09/25). It shows the American leader pushed Ukraine to investigate the conduct of Democratic party’ presidential candidate in 2020, Joe Biden.
On Tuesday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has announced a formal impeachment inquiry into President Trump. And after the transcript released Pelosi again said Trump is not “above the law” and promised to hold him accountable while speaking to reporters following her morning caucus meeting.
“The fact is that the President of the United States, in breach of his constitutional responsibilities, has asked a foreign government to help him in his political campaign at the expense of our national security, as well as undermining the integrity of our elections,” she said.
“That cannot stand. He will be held accountable. No one is above the law,” she adds.
While Hillary Clinton, Trump’ 2016 Democratic presidential election opponent, tweeted following the White House release of the call transcript between Trump and the Ukrainian president, calling Trump “a clear and present danger to the things that keep us strong and free. I support impeachment,” she said.
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.
White House officials said the transcript does not show the president seeking an investigation of Biden’s son in exchange for providing aid to Ukraine. When the president reminds Zelensky of how the US helps Ukraine, Zelensky responds that he appreciates the tough sanctions the US has imposed on Russia.
The call begins with Trump congratulating Zelensky on his election victory but quickly devolves into the president pressing for an investigation of his political rivals and endorsing an apparent conspiracy theory. He seems to suggest Hillary Clinton’s private email server is in Ukraine and asserts that Special Counsel Robert Mueller‘s investigation started with that country.
“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,” Trump says, according to the transcript.
He adds later: “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.”
Zelensky replied that “my candidate” for the prosecutor job “will look into the situation, specifically to the company that you mentioned in this issue.”
At the outset of the call, Trump also asks for Ukraine’s help in finding the location of the Democratic National Committee server that US officials say was hacked by Russian intelligence in the run-up to the 2016 election.
“The server, they say Ukraine has it,” Trump says according to the transcript. “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.”
The transcript, in keeping with White House practice, is a memorandum of a telephone conversation and is not a verbatim account of the conversation. The text reflects the notes and memories of officials in the Situation Room. A disclaimer in the transcript warns that a number of factors “can affect the accuracy of the record, including poor telecommunications connections and variations in accent.”
Trump ordered the transcripts released following days of mounting pressure from Congress and a new groundswell of support among Democrats who favor impeachment. The president’s decision followed reports that he pressed Zelensky, to investigate Biden, considered a leading candidate for the Democratic nomination to challenge Trump in 2020, and his son, Hunter Biden.
Trump has acknowledged publicly that he asked Zelensky to investigate Biden’s son, who served on the board of a Burisma, a Ukrainian gas company that came under scrutiny by authorities there. Trump has denied doing anything improper, but lawmakers have raised concerns about his directive to freeze nearly US$400 million in military assistance for Ukraine in the days leading up the phone call with Zelensky.
On Tuesday, Pelosi announced she was launching a formal impeachment inquiry, saying “the actions of the Trump presidency have revealed the dishonorable fact of the president’s betrayal of his oath of office, betrayal of our national security and betrayal of the integrity of our elections.”
The rapidly-escalating confrontation between the White House and Congress comes just months after Trump freed himself from the cloud of investigation led by Mueller. Now, he is back in the crosshairs of a resurgent impeachment effort over a fresh allegation of election season misconduct.
“You will see it was a very friendly and totally appropriate call,” Trump tweeted shortly before Pelosi’s announcement. “No pressure and, unlike Joe Biden and his son, NO quid pro quo! This is nothing more than a continuation of the Greatest and most Destructive Witch Hunt of all time!”
Lawmakers have demanded to see not just the transcript of Trump’s call with Zelensky, but the whistleblower complaint as well. Administration officials are discussing the possibility of providing that document to Congress in the coming days.
Written by Lexy Nantu, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org