So the White House has released, not exactly a transcript, but a memo that purports to quote the parties in Trump’s conversation with the Ukrainian president.
It starts, as any extortion attempt would, with Trump reminding the Ukrainian leader of all the good things the United States does for Ukraine:
But could you do us a favor?
He starts the favor requests, not with Biden, but with CrowdStrike:
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.
Here is the screenshot:
This part of the call will be initially overlooked but may end up being significant. CrowdStrike was hired by the DNC to investigate the hacking of its servers and concluded that the hacking was the work of the Russians. James Comey testified in 2017: “Leading private cyber security firms including Crowdstrike, Mandiant and ThreatConnect reviewed the evidence of the hack and concluded with high certainty that it was the work of APT 28 and APT 29 who are known to be Russian intelligence services.” Conservatives have made much of the apparent fact that the FBI did not examine the hacked server, and thus intelligence services had to rely on the CrowdStrike analysis.
Was Trump trying to get Ukraine to second-guess CrowdStrike’s conclusion, thereby letting Russia off the hook for the hacking? That’s how it looks to me.
Now we get to the part about Biden. Trump asks Zelensky to take a call from Bug Eyes Rudy, who as we know was all about pressuring Ukraine over Biden. Trump mentions Biden and Biden’s son by name and asks “if you can look into it”:
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 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.
Here are the screenshots.
The prosecutor, Viktor Shokin, was actually anything but a good prosecutor. He was thought to be soft on corruption by pretty much the entire West. The world wanted him gone.
This call is exactly what I thought it would be.
And it’s impeachable.
Trump will never be removed from office before the 2020 election. The hack Republicans in the Senate have already made that very clear.
But he may, and should, be impeached.
[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]