Document Dump: The Trump-Zelensky Phone Call

Ken AshfordL'Affaire Ukraine, Trump & Administration, Trump ImpeachmentLeave a Comment

Just released by the White House. This is NOT verbatim, as the footnote in the document notes. One could argue that it is a crafty attempt to get us to overlook the ellipses by packing the actual text with completely insane and probably criminal comments.


First of all, it is so embarrassing — the way the President talks

The transcript does not include any reference, explicit or otherwise, to the aid money that Trump reportedly directed his acting chief of staff to withhold from Ukraine about a week before the call took place. Trump does mention numerous times how the U.S. spends “a lot of effort and a lot of time” assisting Ukraine.

Trump also asked Zelenksy “to do us a favor” and look into an unsubstantiated theory that Ukraine played some role in a cache of emails being stolen from the Democratic National Committee leading up to the 2016 election.

Zelensky: “I would also like to thank you for your great support in the area of defense…” (That’s the military aid.)

Trump’s next line: “I would like you to do us a favor though…”


It looks like Attorney General Barr was deeply involved in this too.

Kinda looks like the AG was helping with investigating Biden. Which brings up an interesting point:


Some reactions:

And here are the White House talking points being circulated

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And here he is himself…

Washington Post:

Washington Post again:

Trump’s closest advisers, including acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, who was ordered by Trump to suspend the aid to Ukraine, are also increasingly targets of internal finger-pointing. Mulvaney has agitated for foreign aid to be cut universally but has also stayed away from meetings with Giuliani and Trump, officials said. But the person who appears to have been more directly involved at nearly every stage of the entanglement with Ukraine is Giuliani.

“Rudy — he did all of this,” one U.S. official said. “This s—show that we’re in — it’s him injecting himself into the process.”

Several officials traced their initial concerns about the path of U.S.-Ukrainian relations to news reports and interviews granted by Giuliani in which he began to espouse views and concerns that did not appear connected to U.S. priorities or policy.

The former New York mayor appears to have seen Zelensky, a political neophyte elected president of Ukraine in April and sworn in in May, as a potential ally on two political fronts: punishing those Giuliani suspected of playing a role in exposing the Ukraine-related corruption of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, and delivering political ammunition against Biden.

And now, the President is giving a short press conference WITH ZELENSKY who is visiting the US right now. Zelensky looks like a hostage.

We started yesterday with 140 or so House Democratas in favor of impeachment. Now, the official CNN tally has 197 calling for impeachment. What a difference a day makes.

More news:

Maguire statement: “At no time have I considered resigning my position since assuming this role on Aug. 16, 2019. I have never quit anything in my life, and I am not going to start now. I am committed to leading the Intelligence Community…”

And now….

Trump is giving press conference at UN:

  • Trump says the “so-called whistleblower” “didn’t have any first-class or first-rate or second-tier information, from what I understand…you’ll have to figure that out for yourself.”
  • Trump says he didn’t THREATEN anyone (IT DOESN’T MATTER — he asked a foreign leader to investigate his political rival)
  • Trump says he will provide transparency in whistleblower matter but insists that Biden provide transparency with respect to (whatever the hell he is supposed to have done) — hey, is that a quid pro quo
  • Trump looks and sounds absolutely whipped
  • Trump now bringing up four senators who, he claims, threatened Ukraine to help investigations against Trump (not true)
  • “No push, no pressure, no nothing,” Trump says of his call with Zelensky, calling this story a “hoax.”
  • Echoes Joe McGuire’s denial about threatening denial (Washington Post story is “fake”)
  • Now blabbing about great economy, Basically just mumbling all the greatest hits because he can’t remember what he’s supposed to be talking about.
  • Goes back to prepared remarks for five minutes, and bemoaning that all the good things he did this week was overshadowed by the witch hunt, and it was “all planned” by Dems
  • Talks about his “first conversation” with Zelensky, which was “perfect”, and Pence’s conversations with Zelensky, also “perfect”. I guess he wants those to be released as well (seeing as how well it went for him today)
  • “The wall is being built” — have a drink!
  • Sir Alert: Trump says foreign leaders came up to him and said, “Sir, what you go through no president has” gone through. (When Trump has a “sir” anecdote, it is usually fictitious)
  • Still talking about wall — “many miles a week”. Mountain-climber tested.
  • Takes a couple of questions — “I’d love some questions on what we’ve accomplished here… instead of the witch hunt”
  • Asked about his reaction if Obama did what Trump did; Trump responds that Obama did do that and points to Gregg Jarrett’s book among others.
  • Says “no quid pro quo”.
  • Says that this will end up good for him, but he sure doesn’t sound happy. Trump literally sounds like he is clinically depressed. If you’re not watching, it’s really weird.
  • Says Russian “witch hunt” was a scam started in the government and was trying to get to the bottom of it
  • Turns podium over to Pompeo but maybe more questions later? CNN gets coverage and to its credit, reports that much of what Trump says is not true
  • Trump is back. Gets softball question from Fox Business noting that markets are going up.
  • Trump talking about recent victories in NC and great polls. If he’s trying to project that he is not worried, he’s failing.
  • Trump reiterating that the Zelensky call was a “very nice” call. Did not want to release because he wanted foreign people to feel free to talk to him, but decided to release the call because the “fake news” was telling lies. Said he was very nice (polite)
  • “Corey Lewandowski was fantastic the other day,” Trump says during a long answer about, well, it’s hard to remember what the question was now.
  • Trump says, “I thought it [impeachment] was dead” when Ukraine call summary was released. Sounds like when he told his incredulous staff that firing Comey would end his problems.
  • Repeats praises from Rush Limbaugh, Mark Levin, and Sean Hannity about how well he is holding up
  • He calls on a reporter from Venezuela. “How are you doing over there?” he asks. She says “bad.”
  • Uses Venezuela as the poster child for socialism, which he says cannot happen in the United States. But otherwise blows her off. “You’ll be fine”
  • And he’s done.