The phone call that could get Trump impeached

The phone call that could get Trump impeached

October 27, 2019 100 By Kailee Schamberger


It started out like a typical phone call between
two world leaders: “Congratulations on a great victory.” Earlier in the year, Volodymyr Zelensky defeated
the incumbent to become President of Ukraine. And now, his political party had won a majority
in parliament. “We all watched from the United States and
you did a terrific job.” “I would like to confess to you that I had
an opportunity to learn from you. We used quite a few of your skills and knowledge…” But minutes later, this conversation took
a turn with a single line from Trump. “I would like you to do us a favor, though…” What Trump said next — according to a rough
transcript released by the White House — forms the core of the impeachment proceedings against
him. It could end his presidency. Let’s back up a month before the call. Congress had approved $391 million in military
aid to Ukraine to help defend against Russia. But Trump told his staff to withhold that
money… he wanted to talk with Zelensky first. After sharing pleasantries, Trump quickly
changed the subject. He alluded to the billions of dollars in military
aid the US has given Ukraine in the last few years “… the United States has been very very
good to Ukraine. I wouldn’t say that it’s reciprocal necessarily
because things are happening that are not good but, the United States has been very
very good to Ukraine.” I wouldn’t say it’s reciprocal. In other words, Ukraine owed him something. “Yes you are absolutely right.” Zelensky then told Trump… he’s ready to
cooperate. “I would also like to thank you for your great
support in the area of defense. We are ready to continue to cooperate for
the next steps…” “I would like you to do us a favor though
….” Trump ran through a few requests — and then
he got to this one. “There’s a lot of talk about Biden’s son,
Let’s pause here. At the time of this call,
Joe Biden was the leading candidate to run against Trump in 2020. Polls from just before the call showed voters
preferred Biden to Trump by a wide margin. When he picked up the phone to call Zelensky,
Joe Biden was a huge threat to Trump’s re-election. That’s why what he said next is so important:
whatever you can do with the Attorney General would be great …
if you can look into it … it sounds horrible to me. Trump has this theory about Joe Biden, and
it has to do with his son, Hunter. Back in 2014, Hunter took a cushy job at a
Ukrainian gas company, Burisma. As it turns out, the British were investigating
the owner of this same company for money laundering. And they asked Ukraine’s top prosecutor, Victor
Shokin, to pursue this case. Because investigating corruption… was his
job. But Shokin ignored them. And Burisma’s owner was never prosecuted. It wasn’t the first time Shokin had failed
to investigate corruption. And people in Ukraine were fed up. “Activists, MPs, and ordinary citizens have
come together to demand the resignation of the Prosecutor General, Viktor Shokin.” We don’t even believe that this prosecution
can be reformed because it doesn’t exist!” They weren’t alone. Around the same time as the protests, eight
Senators, including three Republicans, signed a letter calling for “urgent reforms in
the Prosecutor General’s office.” Basically, a bunch of people were pushing
for Shokin to go. Including the Obama administration, who sent
Biden to deal with it: “I went over, I guess, the 12th, 13th time
to Kiev. And I was supposed to announce that there
was another billion-dollar loan guarantee. I looked at them and said: I’m leaving in
six hours. If the prosecutor is not fired, you’re not
getting the money. Well, son of a bitch. (Laughter.) He got fired.” “Ukraine’s embattled prosecutor general
is no longer in office.” But in the call with the Ukrainian President,
Trump hinted that Shokin was fired for a different reason. “I heard you had a prosecutor who was very
good and he was shut down and that’s really unfair. ”
Then Trump explained why he thought Joe Biden might’ve been behind Shokin’s dismissal. “There’s a lot of talk about Biden’s son,
that Biden stopped the prosecution…Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution
so if you can look into it… It sounds horrible to me.” Alright, so what’s the favor Trump is asking
for here? It looks like he’s asking Zelensky for some
proof that Joe Biden pushed to get Shokin fired to protect Hunter. Which doesn’t even make sense, because Shokin
was fired in part for not investigating Burisma. But if Zeleksky could help Trump make it look
like Biden had done something shady, it could help Trump win re-election. Zelensky agreed. He promised his next prosecutor would look
into this situation. “Thank you Mr. President. Bye-bye.” Several staffers listened in on this phone
call and wrote down what was said. That’s normal. What’s not normal is what happened next. Instead of putting the records of the call
in the normal archive, where more people within the U.S. government would have been able to
see it… Trump’s staffers hid the transcript in a
computer system reserved for classified material, even though this call had no reason to be
classified. Multiple White House officials were worried
the president had crossed a line — and they told a C.I.A. officer, who wrote to Congress: “I have received information from multiple
U.S. Government officials that the President of
the United States is using the power of his office to solicit interference from a foreign
country in the 2020 U.S. election.” Meanwhile, a few weeks later, Trump released
the $391 million in aid to Ukraine. There have been many Trump scandals What’s different about this … is it’s so
simple. President Trump directly asked a foreign leader
to investigate his political opponent. And influence the 2020 election. Then his staff tried to cover it up. It’s a simple phone call. But it could show that Trump is abusing the
office of the president, in an effort to hold onto power. And it could end his Presidency if enough
members of Congress believe it should.