The Trump administration released a document memorializing his conversation with Ukraine’s president. The memo, produced by government note-takers in the White House Situation Room, reads like a transcript. It records the president pressuring his Ukrainian counterpart to work with Trump consigliere Rudy Giuliani and Attorney General William Barr to dig up dirt on Joe Biden. When the Ukrainian president brings up his desire to obtain a U.S. weapons system, Trump responds, “I would like you to do us a favor though….”
The reaction from Trump’s Democratic 2020 rivals has been unvarnished, with several calling the document proof of high crimes and misdemeanors and one candidate, impeachment crusader Tom Steyer, even calling it evidence of treason.
Elizabeth Warren, who has been leading the impeachment charge since the release of the Mueller Report, detailing the president’s previous efforts to encourage foreign election interference, calls the memorandum a “smoking gun” that places the president in “very deep jeopardy.”
This "transcript" itself is a smoking gun. If this is the version of events the president's team thinks is most favorable, he is in very deep jeopardy. We need to see the full whistleblower complaint and the administration needs to follow the law. Now. https://t.co/b56nLZZpRi
— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) September 25, 2019
Former prosecutor Kamala Harris, who highlights Attorney General Barr’s role in this misfeasance, argues that the document serves as an admission of guilt for Trump, adding: “He must be impeached.”
They admit it: Trump pressured the Ukrainian president to work with the U.S. Attorney General to investigate a political opponent. He must be impeached. pic.twitter.com/JCjTbaQI8w
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) September 25, 2019
Julián Castro, was the first candidate to use the “smoking gun” description. He insists Congress has seen all it needs to see and should “begin impeachment proceedings immediately.”
This is the smoking gun.
Donald Trump pressured a foreign government to work with his Justice Department to investigate a political opponent.
Cory Booker released a statement saying that the memo was proof of the president’s corruption, saying the call revealed that the president had “disrespected our Constitution” and “subverted the rule of law.”
— Cory Booker (@CoryBooker) September 25, 2019
Billionaire candidate Tom Steyer, who preceded his presidential run by building the Need to Impeach movement, pulled no punches, tweeting that Trump revealed himself as a “traitor.”
There it is. He did it. Donald Trump is a traitor. https://t.co/KcJrK0eQLy
— Tom Steyer (@TomSteyer) September 25, 2019
Always more measured, Amy Klobuchar tweeted that Trump’s behavior was “shameful” and that “our country deserves better.”
This memo (#notatranscript) is clear: the President is abusing his power and trying to make secret deals with foreign leaders for his own political gain. It’s shameful. Our country deserves better.
— Amy Klobuchar (@amyklobuchar) September 25, 2019
The senator also released a statement backing the House’s initiation of a formal impeachment inquiry. “I called for and support that proceeding,” she said. “The President has violated the public’s trust. We have a responsibility to the American people to hold the President accountable and protect the United States and our constitution.”
Bernie Sanders left the calls for impeachment to others, using his tweet on the subject to cast Trump in a harsher light than even Richard Nixon:
Donald Trump is the most corrupt president in the modern history of this country.
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) September 25, 2019