WASHINGTON – It would always be difficult for Democrats to present their impeachment case against President Trump using his rhetoric alone, even when he gets caught on camera asking Ukraine and China to help him against Joe Biden.
But the text messages which House Democrats released late Thursday – from envoy Kurt Volker – provide the potentially tangible evidence that the president of the United States was using the power of his office to extract aid for reelection from another country.
Politician calls them "the smoking texts" and it's hard to disagree.
Here is the exchange that received the most attention:
Ukrainian embassy official Bill Taylor on September 9: "Like I said on the phone, I think it's crazy to withhold security assistance for help in a political campaign."
US Ambassador to the EU Gordon Sondland (a main donor Trump): "Bill, I believe you are incorrect about President Trump's intentions. The President has been absolutely clear and without any counterpart. The President is trying to assess whether Ukraine will actually embrace the transparency and reforms that President Zelensky has promised. during his campaign, I suggest we stop by the text. "
Note that Sondland's response came almost five hours later. (Did he get a hint that text matching was problematic?)
But even if you think Sondland's response provides a defense that there was no counterpart, it is important to see all the text messages that came before this final exchange.
Volker's text for Sondland on July 19 (six days before Trump's call with Zelensky):
"Good. I had breakfast with Rudy (Giuliani) this morning – calling (Zelensky's advisor) Yermak on Monday. It must have helped. Most importantly, Zelensky says he will help with the investigation – and solve specific problems. of staff – if any are any ".
Taylor's exchange with Sondland on July 21 (four days before the call):
Taylor: "Gordon, one thing Kurt and I talked about yesterday was Sasha Danyliuk's point that President Zelensky is sensitive to the fact that Ukraine is taken seriously, not just as an instrument in Washington's domestic reelection policy. "
Sondland's Answer: "Absolutely, but we need to start the conversation and build the relationship, regardless of the pretext. I'm worried about the alternative."
Volker's text with Yermak on the morning of Trump's connection with Zelensky:
"Good lunch – thank you. I heard about the White House – assuming President Z convinces Trump that he will investigate / 'understand what happened' in 2016, we will set the date for the visit to Washington. Good luck! Until tomorrow – kurt. "
Sondland exchange with Volker on 17 August on a proposal for a Ukrainian declaration on the 2016 elections and the Burisma
Sondland: "Do we still want Ze to give us an unambiguous outline with 2016 and Boresma?"
Volker: "That's the clear message so far …"
A clear message indeed.
Tweet of the day
Time to focus more on these ellipses
Given these exchanges, it is now worth asking whether these ellipses in Trump's July 25 call transcript memo are much more significant than we thought.
"I would like you to do us a favor because our country has gone through a lot and Ukraine knows a lot about it. I would like you to find out what happened to this whole situation with Ukraine, they say: Crowd … I think you have one of your riches, your people … The server, they say Ukraine has.
"The other thing, there's a lot of talk about Biden's son, that Biden has stopped the prosecution, and a lot of people want to find out about it, so everything you can do with the Attorney General is great. Biden bragged about stopping the prosecution." so if you can investigate … It looks awful to me. "
Perhaps the biggest mystery left is whether they are more words from that July 25 conversation we don't know.
Vision 2020: Bernie is eager for debate by his wife
Yesterday, Bernie Sanders's wife, Jane, released a statement about your healthsaying "he is ready to go back there and is looking forward to the October debate".
"Bernie is standing," she said in the statement. "Yesterday, he spent most of the day talking to staff about policies, telling jokes to nurses and doctors and talking to his family over the phone."
She added: "Your doctors are pleased with your progress and there is no need for further procedures. We expect Bernie to be discharged and to be on a plane back to Burlington before the end of the weekend. It will take a few days. but he is ready to go back there and is looking forward to the October debate. "
What Jane Sanders did not say: what caused the emergency cardiac procedure in the first place.
There was no real statement from Sanders' doctors either.
On the campaign trail today
Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren, Julian Castro and Cory Booker attend a SEIU presidential forum in Los Angeles… Jill Biden supports her husband in Iowa… Amy Klobuchar is also in Hawkeye state… Pete Buttigieg gives a talk at NAACP in Indianapolis… And Tom Steyer is in South Carolina.
NBC Merger Dispatches
Pete Buttigieg suggested that Vice President Mike Pence could be involved in the president's controversy with Ukraine. While campaigning in his hometown of South Bend, Indiana, Buttigieg said, "Well, certainly credible allegations to suggest that the vice president was in the midst of this abuse of power. And that's one of the things Congress needs to investigate. There is no doubt that such abuse does not occur to just one person, especially when you come to understand how it was covered up, "according to Priscilla Thompson of NBC.
Kamala Harris held her second "Dude Gotta Go" event in Reno, Nevada, where "for a College Dems-sponsored event, most of the room was older white with a few students behind," NBC's Deepa Shivaram notes. Harris said there is a "rather tight" argument for President Trump's impeachment: "What we are seeing here on TV these past few days is the confession of a crime and the attempt to cover up a crime by putting these things in the middle." another computer – right? And conscience of guilty sister, and conscience of guilt. That is why, on this road to impeachment, I am warned to you, I think it will not be long, because it is a very tight case. as a very tight affair. "
Data Download: The day's number is… $ 15.2 million
$ 15.2 million.
That's how much Joe Biden raised in the third quarter of fundraising, according to his campaign.
The result is a fall from last quarter and puts it well below at least two lesser candidates, including Bernie Sanders, who raised more than $ 10 million * more * than Biden in the same period.
This is where the fundraising numbers we know, compared to each candidate's fundraising in the second quarter.
- Sanders: $ 25.3 million (up from $ 18 million in Q2)
- Buttigieg: $ 19.1 million (below $ 24.9 million)
- Biden: $ 15.2 million (below $ 22 million)
- Harris: $ 11.6 million (below $ 11.8 million)
- Yang: $ 10 million (over $ 2.8 million)
- Booker: $ 6.0 million (up from $ 4.5 million)
- Williamson: $ 3 million (over $ 1.5 million)
- Bennet: $ 2.1 million (below $ 2.8 million)
Don't miss it the cocoon yesterday, when we checked the Louisiana governor race.
ICYMI: News Clips You Shouldn't Miss
Here's Josh Lederman's look at all we know about these text messages between US diplomats about Ukraine.
An IRS whistleblower say At least one political nominee in the Treasury Department was told to try to interfere with the president's annual audit or vice president's tax returns.
To remove Trump, Republican lawmakers would have to break with him. Life it has not been easy for those who have.
Bernie Sanders Campaign say he is looking forward to the October debate after his hospitalization.
Trump Agenda: In plain sight
Jonathan Allen looks what Trump may be trying to do by publicly repeating his requests for foreign leaders to investigate Joe Biden.
Joni Ernst is breaking with Trump to defend the whistleblower of Ukraine.
Where did Does the whole CrowdStrike conspiracy theory really come from?
Rick Perry can be directed out the door
The leader of Hong Kong invoked emergency powers to ban masks during protests.
2020: Back to Immigration and Health Care
Same story: Kentucky radio waves are being dominated by immigration and health care issues at the ramp-up for the governor's race.
What impact does Tulsi Gabbard have in the debate phase?
Joe Lieberman's son is in the special elections for the Georgian Senate.
. (tagsToTranslate) US Policy