WASHINGTON – The transcript of President Donald Trump’s July 25 phone conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky “reads like a classic mob shakedown,” the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee tweeted Wednesday.
The transcript of the call reads like a classic mob shakedown:
– We do a lot for Ukraine
– There’s not much reciprocity
– I have a favor to ask
– Investigate my opponent
– My people will be in touch
Nice country you got there.
It would be a shame if something happened to her.
— Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) September 25, 2019
Schiff (D-Calif.) and the chairs of five other House committees are investigating potential wrongdoing by Trump and members of his administration.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced on Tuesday evening that the lower chamber will launch a formal impeachment inquiry. It is unclear how that will deviate from the “impeachment investigation” the committees of jurisdiction have embarked on and there is no guarantee that articles of impeachment will be drafted.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said he backs Pelosi’s decision.
“I strongly support Speaker Pelosi’s decision,” Schumer (D-N.Y.) said in a floor speech on Wednesday morning.
He added: “If we don’t reckon with President Trump’s persistent transgressions, the very foundation of this great republic is at risk. The president kept pushing and pushing and pushing the constitutional envelope. Finally, the president’s conduct made an impeachment inquiry unavoidable.”
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) slammed Pelosi’s decision in a tweet Wednesday morning prior to the weekly House Republican leadership news conference.
Even before the evening of November 8th, 2016 the word “impeachment” had already become a rallying cry for the left.
— Kevin McCarthy (@GOPLeader) September 25, 2019
Pelosi’s announcement came after a reported conversation with Trump in which she urged him to transmit to Congress the whistleblower complaint about Trump’s phone call; the complaint was transmitted to Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire in August.
Maguire is scheduled to testify in open session before Schiff’s committee on Thursday.
Later today the House is expected to vote on a non-binding resolution that calls on Trump to turn over the whistleblower complaint to Congress. The Senate unanimously passed a similar resolution on Tuesday.
The White House reportedly is planning to transmit the complaint to Congress by the end of the week.
Trump declassified the phone transcript on Wednesday morning. It shows that he pressured Zelensky to investigate the business dealings of former Vice President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter, who sat on the board of a Ukrainian gas company.
The transcript does not substantiate reports that allege Trump threatened to withhold $400 million in aid to Ukraine if Zelensky did not agree to the investigation. Trump has acknowledged that the aid was delayed but that there was no quid pro quo. The funds were released to Ukraine on Sep. 11.