News & Politics

Trump Authorizes Release of Transcript of Phone Call with Ukrainian President

U.S President Donald Trump smiles during a news conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the G-7 summit in Biarritz, France, Sunday, Aug. 25, 2019, where they announced that the U.S. and Japan have agreed in principle on a new trade agreement. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

On Tuesday afternoon, President Trump announced on Twitter that he has “authorized the release tomorrow of the complete, fully declassified and unredacted transcript of my phone conversation with President Zelensky of Ukraine.” This came less than two hours before House Democrats are set to meet to discuss launching an impeachment investigation. Trump seems extremely confident that releasing the transcript will vindicate him. “You will see it was a very friendly and totally appropriate call,” he tweeted. “No pressure and, unlike Joe Biden and his son, NO quid pro quo! This is nothing more than a continuation of the Greatest and most Destructive Witch Hunt of all time!”

If Trump is correct, and it seems likely that if he’s willing to release the unredacted transcript that he is, this latest impeachment call by the Democrats stands to backfire dramatically on them. Support for impeachment in the Democratic Party has increased over what amounts to hearsay. That said, if the transcript truly is exculpatory, it’s unlikely Democrats will admit that it is. Many Democrats still believe Trump colluded with Russia despite the definitive findings to the contrary in the Mueller report. This Ukraine story might be the point of no return for them. To go back now might devastate their base before the 2020 election. Also, with the renewed attention Trump has given to the Biden-Ukraine controversy, impeaching Trump might be their only way to protect Biden, who admitted to a quid pro quo on camera.

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Matt Margolis is the author of Trumping Obama: How President Trump Saved Us From Barack Obama’s Legacy and the bestselling book The Worst President in History: The Legacy of Barack Obama. You can follow Matt on Twitter @MattMargolis