Wall Street Journal columnist and editorial board member Kim Strassel posted a 10-part thread on Twitter yesterday to comment on White House transcript of the Trump/Zelensky phone call (embedded below). Here are her comments via the Thread Reader app:
1) Having read DOJ’s Trump-Ukraine release, here’s the real story: This is another internal attempt to take out a president, on the basis of another non-smoking-gun.
2) As to call transcript itself: Trump’s actual “favor” is that Ukraine look backward, to what happened in the 2016 election. This is a legitimate ask, since election meddling looks to have come from both Russia and Ukraine.
3) (Indeed, this is a big enough issue that we find out this morning that U.S. Attorney John Durham is looking at what role the Ukraine played in the FBI investigation.)
4) It is actually Zelensky who brings up Rudy Giuliani—saying they can’t wait to “meet him.” And it is Zelensky who references “that investigation,” as he goes on to promise that “all investigations will be done openly and candidly.”
5) Trump says “good” and expresses worries that a “good” prosecutor was “shut down.” Mentions “Biden’s son” and that Biden bragged he “stopped the prosecution.” Ends that bit with “It sounds horrible to me.”
6) Trump’s several references to Giuliani are mostly to say what a great guy he is. He says he will have Giuliani and AG Barr call. He asks Zelensky to speak/work with both.
7) And, never mind, because: DOJ in statement says the President has not spoken to AG about investigating Biden and has not asked the AG to contact the Ukraine. Also, Barr has not communicated with Ukraine—“on this or any subject.”
8) Meanwhile, the IG back in August referred this to DOJ as potential violation of campaign finance law, based on whistleblower complaint. Criminal Division evaluated and determined no violation: “All relevant components of the Department agreed with this legal conclusion.”
9) Whistleblower? Look at this nugget, referenced in the OLC opinion. The IG’s review found “some indicia of an arguable political bias on the part of the Complainant in favor of a rival political candidate.”
10) Media got all this so wrong. And Democrats look all the more partisan and radical to have moved toward impeachment.
I am particularly interested in this comment in 10: “Media got all this so wrong.” Consistent with Kim’s comment in 1, it is as though the purpose of the media “whistleblower” coverage that preceded release of the transcript yesterday had no purpose other than to cater to the impeachment hysteria that has driven the Dems since the 2016 election “to take out [Trump].”
Prominent among the media to have got this all so wrong is the Wall Street Journal itself in the triple bylined page-one story by Alan Cullison, Rebecca Ballhaus, and Dustin Volz under the headline “Trump Repeatedly Pressed Ukraine President to Investigate Biden’s Son.” The story opened with the lede: “President Trump in a July phone call repeatedly pressured the president of Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden’s son, according to people familiar with the matter, urging Volodymyr Zelensky about eight times to work with Rudy Giuliani on a probe that could hamper Mr. Trump’s potential 2020 opponent.”
Who were these “people familiar with the matter”? Let us congratulate them on getting the date of the call right.
NOTE: At InstaPundit, Stephen Green documents the persistence of the media malfeasance.