The College Republicans have weekly meetings where we debate about issues that come up in politics. On Sept 25, President Trump released the full transcript of his phone call with recently elected Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. That happened hours before our club meeting on wednesday and so, as a club, we looked over it. This is what we came up with: President Trump made a mistake, his actions are inappropriate, but they are not impeachable, and lastly, the Democrats are making a huge miscalculation pursuing impeachment.
Some context people should be aware of — this phone call between President Trump and President Zelensky took place on July 29, 2019. On August 12, a whistleblower mailed a letter to Republican and Democratic Congressional Representatives stating the President was conducting suspicious and potentially illegal behavior. On September 23 the information was released to the public. The following day, Sept 24, Nancy Pelosi announced Democrats would start an impeachment inquiry in the House of Representatives. Then lastly, Sept 25 the White House released the full and unclassified transcript.
It’s interesting to note Democrats announced an impeachment inquiry before the transcript was released. This shows the Democrats were willing to bet on uncertain information for their case of impeachment against Trump, because at this point there was no evidence that was 100% solid. Nancy Pelosi accused President Trump of “violating the constitution in seeking the help of a foreign leader to damage a political opponent” but is this a valid critique?
Here’s where the transcript hurts Trump’s case. Trump asked the Ukrainian Government to work with his private lawyer, Mr. Giuliani and the US Attorney General to “look into” Joe Biden’s and his son, Hunter Biden’s actions in Ukraine. This has both the effect of Trump getting his private lawyer involved in a government matter and also to enlist the justice department in pursuing a political agenda for the President.
However on the other hand, this is where the transcript benefits Trump’s case. Trump, in the entire call, never explicitly makes a ‘quid pro quo’ to the Ukrainians. This basically means that Trump never said, “If you don’t do me this favor of looking into the Bidens, then we will withhold US aid that we promised to give to the Ukrainian government.” Many top democrats were hoping that when this transcript was released, that it would reveal Trump to do such a thing, however Trump only ever asks Zelensky if he could, “do us a favor.”
The fact is, Democrats have been pushing impeachment on President Trump ever since he was elected, whether it was him colluding with the Russians, obstructing Justice, or simply because he’s a white supremacist. In every case it always turned out to be a witch hunt that was wrong. President Trump is betting that this situation will actually help him win in 2020, arguing that he’s “been totally transparent, there was no quid pro quo” and that “People should be investigating the Bidens’ corruption.” Since the democrats have announced the Impeachment Inquiry, Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign has raised 15 million dollars at the time of me writing this, and his support among Republicans has increased from 88% to 91%.