House Democrats moved rapidly forward with their impeachment inquiry into President Trump Wednesday, after the White House released a rough transcript of a phone call showing the U.S. president repeatedly pressured Ukraine’s leader to launch a corruption probe into Trump’s campaign rival Joe Biden. In the five-page transcript, dated July 25, President Trump alludes to $400 million in military aid to Ukraine that he ordered cut off just days prior to the phone call, before telling Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, “[T]he United States has been very very good to Ukraine. I wouldn’t say that it’s reciprocal necessarily.” President Zelensky responds by praising past U.S. aid to Ukraine, saying he’s interested in purchasing more Javelin anti-tank missiles, which Ukraine has used in its fight against Russian-backed separatists. Trump responds, “I would like you to do us a favor though.” He goes on to urge Zelensky to work with Attorney General William Barr and Trump’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, to open a corruption investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, who served on the board of one of Ukraine’s largest natural gas companies. “Whatever you can do, it’s very important that you do it if that’s possible,” Trump says in the transcript, and President Zelensky promises to launch an investigation into the Bidens. The transcript’s release prompted Democratic leaders to charge the president with blatantly impeachable offenses. Many lawmakers are also calling for the impeachment of Attorney General William Barr. This is California Democratic Congressmember Adam Schiff, chair of the House Intelligence Committee.
Rep. Adam Schiff: “Like any mafia boss, the president didn’t need to say, ’That’s a nice country you have. It’d be a shame if something happened to it,’ because that was clear from the conversation. There is no quid pro quo necessary to betray your country or your oath of office, even though many read this as a quid pro quo.”