Wednesday, October 2, 2019

What Really Happened During Trump’s July 25th Call to Zelenskyy?

The following is based upon the summary of the call approved and released by the White House with Trump’s approval on September 24..  You can read the full summary as released by the White House here:  

Let’s walk through what Trump said in the call step by step.

1.  Trump begins by congratulating Zelelnskyy on his election 
President Trump: Congratulations on a great victory. We all watched from the United States and you did a terrific job. The way you came from behind, somebody who wasn't given much of a chance, and you ended up winning easily. It's a fantastic achievement. Congratulations.

[Zelelnskyy won 73% of the vote to become Ukraine’s 6thPresident in April, 2019.   See:

2.  Zelenskyy compliments Trump by saying that he learned from Trump and that he used a lot of Trump’s skills and knowledge.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky: You are absolutely right Mr. President. We did win big and we worked hard for this. We worked a lot but I would like to confess to you that I had an opportunity to learn from you. We used quite a few of your skills and knowledge and were able to use it as an example for our elections 

3. Trump reminds Zelenskyy that the U.S. does a lot for Ukraine, much more than the European countries. He says the U.S. has been “very very good to Ukraine.”
Trump: Well it is very nice of you to say that. I will say that we do a lot for Ukraine. We spend a lot of effort and a lot of time. Much more than the European countries are doing and they should be helping you more than they are. Germany does almost nothing for you. All they do is talk 

4. Zelenskyy agrees and says all the Europeans and says Europeans are not doing as much as they need to be doing.
Zelensky: Yes you are absolutely right. Not only 100%, but actually 1000% and I can tell you the following; I did talk to Angela Merkel and I did meet with her I also met and talked with Macron and I told them that they are not doing quite as much as they need to be doing on the issues with the sanctions

5. Zelensky tells Trump that Ukraine is very grateful for the help the U.S. has provided it in defense and that they want to buy more Javelins from the U.S.

[Javelins are anti-tank missiles.  Ukraine had obtained these missiles from the U.S. going back to at least 2018.  See:
Ukraine had asked to buy more missiles in August 2019.  See:]

Additionally, Zelensky is aware that Trump had put a hold on $391 in military aid to Ukraine about a week before the telephone call.  and here:

6.  After they have both agreed that U.S. aid is important to Ukraine, Trump immediately makes a request for a favor.  Trump is saying in effect, “We agree that you need the U.S. and that you want to buy more Javelins and I know that you know I’m holding up nearly $400 million in aid.  Now, before I agree to give you more aid, I need a favor.”  This is the “quid pro quo.”  Quid Pro Quo is “a favor or advantage granted or expected in return for something.”  See:

Trump: I would like you to do us a favor though because our country has been through a lot and Ukraine knows a lot about it. I would like you to find out what happened with this whole situation with Ukraine, they say CrowdStrike ... I guess you have one of your wealthy people... The server, they say Ukraine has it

[Trump mentions CrowdStrike.  The New York Times notes“Mr. Trump appeared to be referencing an unfounded conspiracy theory that Ukrainians, not Russians, were behind the D.N.C. hacking, and the Ukrainians framed the Russian government to make it look like that country was working with Mr. Trump’s presidential campaign. Rudolph W. Giuliani, Mr. Trump’s personal attorney, has been among those pushing this theory.”  Part of this conspiracy theory is that CrowdStrike, a cybersecurity firm that investigated the DNC hacking has hidden a server in the Ukraine that contains information that could prove that the conspiracy theory is right.  See:]

7.  Zelenskyy assures Trump that Ukraine very much wants to cooperate and links this discussion to the earlier discussion of U.S. help to Ukraine.
Zelensky: Yes it is very important for me and everything that you just mentioned earlier. For me as a President, it is very important and we are open for any future cooperation… I just wanted to assure you once again that you have nobody but friends around us… I also plan to surround myself with great people and in addition to that investigation, I guarantee as the President of Ukraine that all the investigations will be done openly and candidly. That I can assure you.

8.  Trump brings up Joe Biden and his son and another conspiracy theory that Joe Biden forced Ukraine to fire a prosecutor because the prosecutor was investigating Biden’s son for corruption. He asks Zlensky to talk to Giuliani and Barr about the Biden issue.

Trump: Good because I heard you had a prosecutor who was very good and he was shut down and that's really unfair… A lot of people are talking about that, the way they shut your very good prosecutor down and you had some very bad people involved. Mr. Giuliani is a highly respected man. He was the mayor of New York City, a great mayor, and I would like him to call you. I will ask him to call you along with the Attorney General. Rudy very much knows what's happening and he is a very capable guy. If you could speak to him that would be great…There's a lot of talk about Biden's son, that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that so whatever you can do with the Attorney General would be great. Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution so if you can look into it...It sounds horrible to me

9.  Zelenskyy that Ukraine will work on the investigation and asks for any additional information 
Trump can provide.

Zelensky: I wanted to tell you about the prosecutor. First of all I understand arid I'm knowledgeable about the situation. Since we have won the absolute majority in our Parliament; the next prosecutor general will be 100% my person, my candidate, who will be approved, by the parliament and will start as a new prosecutor in September. He or she will look into the situation, specifically to the company that you mentioned in this issue. The issue of the investigation of the case is actually the issue of making sure to restore the honesty so we will take care of that and will work on the investigation of the case. On top of that, I would kindly ask you if you have any additional information that you can provide to us it would be very helpful for the investigation

10.  Trump says he will have Giuliani and Barr give Zelenskyy a call about the Biden issue.

Trump:… I will have Mr. Giuliani give you a call and I am also going to have Attorney General Barr call and we will get to the bottom of it. 

11.  Zelensky tells Trump he stayed at the Trump hotel in New York on a previous visit and brings up a visit to the U.S. and specifically Washington DC.

Zelensky: I would like to tell you that I also have quite a few Ukrainian friends that live in the United States. Actually last time I traveled to the United States, I stated in New York near Central Park and I stayed at the Trump Tower. I will talk to them and I hope to see them again in the future. I also wanted to thank you for your invitation to visit the United States, specifically Washington DC. On the other hand, I also wanted to ensure you that we will be very serious about the case and will work on the investigation. 

12.  Trump says again that he will have Giuliani and Barr call. He invites Zelensky to call about arranging a visit to Washington.

Trump: Good. Well., thank you very much and I appreciate that. I will tell Rudy and Attorney General Barr to call. Thank you. Whenever you would like to come to the White House, feel free to call

13.  Zelensky thanks Trump and invites him to visit Ukraine.

Zelensky: Thank you very much. I would be very happy to come and would be happy to meet with you personally and get to know you better. I am looking forward to our meeting and I would also like to invite you to visit Ukraine 

14.  Trump says they can work out visits and ends the call the way it began with a congratulations.

Trump: Okay, we can work that out. I look forward to seeing you in Washington and maybe in Poland
Zelensky: Thank you very much Mr. President.
Trump: Congratulations on a fantastic job you've done

 Question:  Did Trump ask a foreign country to open an investigation against a potential opponent in return for American aid?  Is that an impeachable offense?  You decide.

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