Gotta watch to the end of the clip below for the best lines. (It’s already cued up to where he starts talking about Ukraine.) He’s asked repeatedly if he’ll release the transcript of his call in July with Ukraine’s president and says he might, stressing that it was a “nice call.” Byron York reported over the weekend that even some of Trump’s own aides want him to release it, believing that the truth is the only way to douse the wildfire of Democratic suspicion:
The officials think release of the transcript would show definitively that Trump did nothing illegal. The president’s adversaries, determined to use the issue to demand his impeachment, might still argue that he acted inappropriately, but release of the president’s precise words, the officials believe, would make it more difficult for critics to claim that Trump did something wrong.
The officials also believe the public should know the circumstances of the whistleblower complaint. The complaint is hearsay because the author did not have direct knowledge of the substance of the complaint but rather heard it from someone else. Being hearsay does not totally invalidate a complaint, but some officials believe it weakens the alleged whistleblower’s case.
The argument against releasing the transcript is that foreign leaders would stop being candid in their calls with Trump if they thought their words might be revealed to the world under political pressure. That risk may be priced in already, though: Remember that an unknown leaker shared transcripts of his chats with two world leaders early in his presidency, and Trump himself has been accused of sharing information that was supposed to remain confidential. Plus, if it’s true that Trump did nothing wrong in his chat with Zelensky, it’d be to Ukraine’s benefit to have that fact made clear as soon as possible. Otherwise every diplomatic interaction between the two countries until next November will be hyperscrutinized, with Zelensky at risk of being accused by Democrats of “doing Trump’s bidding” every time he cooperates with the White House. Out: “Trump is colluding with Russia!” In: “Trump is colluding with Ukraine!”
I continue to think he’ll withhold the transcript in the belief that Democrats can’t impeach him without hard evidence of wrongdoing. Granted, they could impeach him for simply withholding the document, but they probably won’t. They haven’t tried to impeach him for withholding other evidence, have they? White House officials are all but openly contemptuous of Pelosi’s timidity at this point:
White House lawyers have sought ways at every turn to block documents or witnesses from congressional investigators under the direction of the president, who decries the probe as unfair and mocks Nadler, according to current and former administration officials. The calculation, according to White House officials, is that there will not be much of a price to pay for obstinance from the general public. Democrats, after all, have been unable to move public sentiment in favor of impeaching Trump.
Two White House officials said they are also not worried about defying or mocking Nadler because Pelosi has made it clear she is not interested in impeachment and the House Democratic Caucus is split about what to do to counter Trump…
“Why would we help them try to embarrass the president?” one person familiar with the effort said.
That’s the same question that’ll be asked with respect to the transcript. And since, per Trump’s own admission, he did mention Biden to Zelensky, the transcript is destined to provide Democrats with *some* ammo for impeachment. Why would Trump help them? He’s better off holding on to it and hoping it doesn’t leak.
Anyway, his “fake news” talking points are about to get extra zesty as this plays out. This is just a taste of what’s to come.