Saturday, November 9, 2019

What did Donald Trump do today?

He promised to try to confuse the Ukraine issue even more.

The reason that Trump is facing impeachment over his attempts to extort Ukraine for political interference on his behalf in the 2020 election is that he got caught—mostly by himself. By releasing a partial summary of the July 25th phone call in which he personally pressured the Ukrainian president to gin up an "investigation" of Joe Biden's son, Trump confirmed all the accusations made by the whistleblower. (He did this over the objections of his own staff, who had taken extreme measures to hide the summary on a secret, classified server.)

Now, apparently having realized his mistake, Trump said today that he would release a second "transcript" from an April 21 call with Ukraine's President Zelensky in which—presumably—he doesn't attempt any extortion. The call took place shortly after Zelensky's election, and such calls are usually just formalities and congratulations.

Trump has claimed that Democrats have been "clamoring" for this April transcript. This isn't true, although there are many other potentially incriminating documents that Democrats have demanded that he hasn't released—including an actual, verbatim transcript of the July 25th call. As incriminating as the partial summary memo of the July call is, witnesses have testified that it was edited to protect Trump.

So what?

  • Proving you didn't commit crimes on April 21st doesn't change what you've already admitted to doing on July 25th.