Congressional leaders react to Trump’s phone call with Ukraine leader
The release of a transcript of President Trump’s phone call with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky divided Congressional leaders right down party lines — with Sen. Lindsey Graham saying it would be “insane” for it to lead to impeachment.
Graham, a longtime Trump ally, said the transcript of the 30-minute phone call on July 25 — released Wednesday — shows no criminality.
“From my point of view, to impeach any president over a phone call like this would be insane,” Graham told reporters shortly after the five-page transcript was made public. “From the quid pro quo aspect of the phone call, there’s nothing there.”
The Republican from South Carolina also tweeted, “Wow. Impeachment over this? What a nothing (non-quid pro quo) burger. Democrats have lost their minds when it comes to President @realDonaldTrump.”
Meanwhile, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi doubled down on the Democrats’ decision on Tuesday to launch an official impeachment inquiry into the president.
“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 told reporters Wednesday.
Moments later, from the Senate floor, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called for the release of the “complete, unredacted whistleblower complaint without further delay.”
House Judiciary Chairman Rep. Jerry Nadler tweeted that Attorney General William Barr should recuse himself.
“The President dragged the Attorney General into this mess,” Nadler wrote. “At a minimum, AG Barr must recuse himself until we get to the bottom of this matter. #UkraineTranscript”
In the call, Trump repeatedly asked Zelensky to get in touch with Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani and Barr in urging the Ukrainian leader to investigate Joe Biden and his son, Hunter.
Rep. Adam Schiff, the House Intelligence Committee chairman who sent Barr a letter Tuesday demanding the release of the whistleblower complaint by Oct. 1, tweeted that the transcript “reads like a classic mob shakedown.”
Rep. John Ratcliffe, who last month withdrew as Trump’s pick as the next director of national intelligence, voiced his support for the president.
“The transcript conclusively determines, despite Democratic promises to the contrary, that there was no quid pro quo. No mention of military aid. No violation of the law,” Ratcliffe said in a statement. “In their desire to undo the 2016 election and destroy President Trump, Democrats have today unequivocally and irreparably harmed our national security and compromised an important ally. Instead of forming an impeachment line, Democrats should consider forming an apology line.”
The record of the phone call is a “memorandum of a telephone conversation” — and not a verbatim transcript of the conversation, according to a disclaimer.
Pelosi launches ‘official impeachment inquiry’ into Trump
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