On September 24 of this year, in response to growing concerns from a whistleblower complaint alleging President Donald Trump had said something alarming to Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky, the White House formally released a memorandum outlining a conversation between the two that took place in the summer.
Since that time, we’ve learned that several other State Department and national security aides had the same worries this whistleblower had at the time: that the call had demonstrated Trump was asking for investigations to be opened up in Kyiv in order to benefit himself politically.
It’s been 60 days since that transcript was released, and in that time Trump has stated to the press and in interviews that all one has to do is “read the transcript” (in spite of the fact that the memo is not actually a verbatim account of the two leaders’ conversation). On Twitter alone, according to the Trump Twitter Archive search, Trump has tweeted out at least 21 times “read the transcript” (or some variation of that) to the public in general or a specific person his ire is being directed at since it’s release.
Trump has even suggested he would read the transcript (which again, is a memo) on live television in order to alleviate concerns about his conversation. The thing is, the memo, if Trump wants us to read it as fact, shows demonstrative proof of his misdeeds.
Consider the crux of Trump’s argument: In being outed as desiring Zelensky to investigate Joe and Hunter Biden, the White House and other defenders of the president have said that he was merely trying to ensure that Zelensky was “the real deal” before military aid would be given to him. In other words, Trump was merely trying to find out if the Ukraine president was going to follow through on finding out if Burisma (the company Hunter Biden was a board member of) did something corrupt.
But here’s an idea: let’s take Trump’s advice. Let’s re-read the transcript (memo) once again, and see if that’s what happened.
Spoiler alert: it’s not what happened.
A simple search of the document reveals that the word “corrupt” or variations of it don’t turn up once. Not a single time. Nor does the word “Burisma” make an appearance.
Know what does turn up? The word “Biden.”
Think about what that means for a second. If Trump was interested in rooting out corruption in Ukraine, why would he make mention of only one or two individuals, two Americans, who if an investigation gets started or even announced by Zelensky, would benefit him in a big way?
The argument that Trump was seeking to get Ukraine to focus on ending corruption before he gave away military funds is wrong for another reason: those necessary assurances were already vetted by the Pentagon, several weeks before Trump had his phone conversation with Zelensky. The U.S. government knew Zelensky was “the real deal” long before Trump ordered the aid held back.
Here’s the bottom line: Trump’s argument to “read the transcript” over and over again appeals to a very few select number of individuals — namely, his supporters, many of whom have probably not read the transcript/memo.
If they had read it, they’d know their president was misleading them about what was included inside. From there, it’s up to them to decide whether to continue backing him up or not.
But anyone who has read the memo, who has a shred of decency within them, understand that it’s one of the biggest pieces of evidence against Trump in this entire impeachment ordeal.