THE WHITE HOUSE released a summary of a 30-minute phone call between President DONALD TRUMP and Ukraine President VOLODYMYR ZELENSKY in which the following was said:
— TRUMP: “The United States has been very, very good to Ukraine. I wouldn’t say that it’s reciprocal necessarily because things are happening that are not good but the United States has been very, very good to Ukraine.”
— AN INTERESTING SEQUENCE … ZELENSKY: “We are ready to continue to cooperate for the next steps. Specifically we are almost ready to buy more Javelins from the United States for defense purposes.”
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. There are a lot of things that went on … I think you’re surrounding yourself with some of the same people. I would like to have the Attorney General call you or your people and I would like you to get to the bottom of it.”
— ON RUDY … ZELENSKY: “I will personally tell you that one of my assistants spoke with Mr. Giuliani just recently and we are hoping very much that Mr. Giuliani will be able to travel to Ukraine and. we will meet once he comes to Ukraine.”
— THE ASK … 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. The former ambassador from the United States, the woman, was bad news and the people she was dealing with in the Ukraine were bad news so I just want to let you know that.
“THE OTHER THING. 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.”
HELPFUL LINKS … Searchable summary … NATASHA BERTRAND: “How to read Trump’s wild phone call with Ukraine’s president”
SPEAKER NANCY PELOSI: “The release of the notes of the call by the White House confirms that the president engaged in behavior that undermines the integrity of our elections, the dignity of the office he holds and our national security. The president has tried to make lawlessness a virtue in America and now is exporting it abroad.
“I respect the responsibility of the president to engage with foreign leaders as part of his job. It is not part of his job to use taxpayer money to shake down other countries for the benefit of his campaign. Either the president does not know the weight of his words or he does not care about ethics or his constitutional responsibilities.
“The transcript and the Justice Department’s acting in a rogue fashion in being complicit in the president’s lawlessness confirm the need for an impeachment inquiry. Clearly, the Congress must act.”
HMM … WHITE HOUSE TALKING POINTS were sent to some House Democrats for some reason. The White House later tried to recall the message through Outlook. The talking points
DOJ WEIGHS IN — via Caitlin Oprysko: “In a statement Wednesday, the Justice Department said that it was unaware of Trump saying he would involve Barr in the matter until ‘several weeks after the call took place,’ when it learned of the whistleblower complaint.
“‘The president has not spoken with the attorney general about having Ukraine investigate anything relating to former Vice President Biden or his son. The president has not asked the attorney general to contact Ukraine – on this or any other matter,’ spokeswoman Kerri Kupec said in a statement. ‘The attorney general has not communicated with Ukraine – on this or any other subject. Nor has the attorney general discussed this matter, or anything relating to Ukraine, with Rudy Giuliani.’” POLITICO
— THE PROBLEM FOR BARR: As WaPo’s Greg Miller noted, the DOJ instructed the Office of the Director of National Intelligence not to share the whistleblower’s complaint with Congress. And yet, as the record of the call shows, Trump offers to connect his attorney general with the president of Ukraine to discuss Biden — an episode that was reportedly part of the whistleblower’s complaint.
— PER NANCY COOK: “Officials who were pushing for release of the transcript include: POTUS, A.G. Bill Barr, White House Counsel Pat Cipollone, legislative affairs director Eric Ueland. Officials worried about the release of the call record include Pompeo, Mnuchin and NSC officials who were worried about the precedent it would set regarding confidential conversations with other foreign leaders. Barr in particular had been pushing for release of the transcript since last week– he was the drumbeat behind the scenes to get that thing out, a former administration official said.”
THE NYT’S CUT … MAGGIE HABERMAN, MIKE SHEAR and KATIE BENNER: “[M]r. Trump’s suggestion that American law enforcement be directly involved and in contact with Ukraine’s government marks the first evidence that the president personally sought to harness the power of the United States government to further a politically motivated investigation.” NYT
A FEW THINGS WE PICKED UP ON THIS MORNING … Rudy Giuliani is going to be called on to testify on Capitol Hill. It’s a near certainty. … The release of the notes from this call has absolutely solidified the House Democratic leadership’s impeachment position. A few Democratic leadership aides said a narrowly tailored impeachment resolution just on the transcript would pass at this point.
BEHIND THE SCENES … House Democratic Caucus Chairman HAKEEM JEFFRIES of New York showed lawmakers the Seth Meyers sizzle reel of RUDY GIULIANI’S cable interviews at the closed party meeting this morning. Lawmakers laughed. A source told us Jeffries’ goal was to show Giuliani’s behavior, and remind the caucus that he was conducting the president’s government business, despite not holding a government post.
BEFORE THE TRANSCRIPT WAS RELEASED … THE PRESIDENT TWEETS at 9:17 a.m.: “Will the Democrats apologize after seeing what was said on the call with the Ukrainian President? They should, a perfect call – got them by surprise!”
… NOT SO FAST — @RepJerryNadler: “The President dragged the Attorney General into this mess. At a minimum, AG Barr must recuse himself until we get to the bottom of this matter.”
Good Wednesday afternoon.
NEW … HOUSE MINORITY WHIP STEVE SCALISE raised more than $1 million for members of his whip team at the Capitol Hill Club on Tuesday.
WHAT CHINA IS UP TO — “China Taps Its Private Sector to Boost Its Military, Raising Alarms,” by WSJ’s Kate O’Keeffe and Jeremy Page in Beijing: “Beijing is increasingly tapping private Chinese firms to acquire foreign technology for its military, according to officials and a new report, in a strategy that is prompting calls by leaders in Washington to retool U.S. national security policy.
“Chinese President Xi Jinping is pressing these companies to bid for defense contracts as part of a ‘military-civil fusion’ drive to upgrade an arms industry long dominated by a handful of inefficient state-run contractors and research institutes. The initiative, highlighted in a new report by nonprofit C4ADS, is alarming U.S. officials, who fear it is a central plank in Beijing’s attempt to build a world-class military capable of challenging the U.S. in Asia and beyond. C4ADS does data-driven analysis on security issues and is known for its work detailing how North Korea evades sanctions.” WSJ
2020 WATCH — THE NEW NORMAL? … “Warren passes Biden in new nationwide poll,” by Quint Forgey: “Twenty-seven percent of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents polled by Quinnipiac University said they favor Warren, according to a new poll released Wednesday morning. Twenty-five percent said they prefer former Vice President Joe Biden.
“Although Warren’s edge falls within the survey’s margin of error, Biden’s formidable lead over the rest of the field has crumbled since the last Quinnipiac national poll in August, which showed him with 32 percent support and Warren with 19 percent support. The latest survey reinforces other recent public polling showing Warren and Biden separating from their fellow contenders in the Democratic presidential race. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders ranked third in Tuesday’s poll, achieving 16 percent support, followed by Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind., with 7 percent, and California Sen. Kamala Harris at 3 percent.” POLITICO
JOSH GERSTEIN: “Appeals judge delays trial that triggered order for Trump’s testimony”: “A looming legal showdown over a judge’s order requiring President Donald Trump to give videotaped testimony in a suit brought by anti-Trump protesters has been delayed after an appellate judge postponed the trial in the case, which had been scheduled to go to jury selection in New York on Thursday.
“Acting on an appeal filed Tuesday by Trump’s attorneys, New York Supreme Court Appellate Division Justice Dianne Renwick put off the trial so that the dispute over Trump’s testimony could be resolved. A written order detailing Renwick’s ruling did not explain her rationale but said that both the order for Trump to give a videotaped deposition and the start of the trial itself were stayed pending further action by the “full bench” of the state court appellate panel on which she sits.” POLITICO
CLIMATE FILES — “New U.N. climate report: Massive change already here for world’s oceans and frozen regions,” by WaPo’s Chris Mooney and Brady Dennis: “Climate change is already having staggering effects on oceans and ice-filled regions that encompass 80 percent of the Earth, and future damage from rising seas and melting glaciers is now all but certain, according to a sobering new report from the United Nations.
“The warming climate is already killing coral reefs, supercharging monster storms, and fueling deadly marine heat waves and record losses of sea ice. And Wednesday’s report on the world’s oceans, glaciers, polar regions and ice sheets finds that such effects foreshadow a more catastrophic future as long as greenhouse gas emissions remain unchecked.” WaPo … The report
THIS IS CONCERNING — “Three Suicides in One Navy Ship’s Crew Point to a Growing Problem,” by NYT’s Dave Philipps: “The three recent cases occurred off base at separate locations. Aviation Ordnanceman First Class Vincent Forline was found dead on Sept. 14, his death ruled a suicide, according to a Navy spokeswoman. Chief Electronics Technician-Nuclear James Shelton and Airman Ethan Stuart died of self-inflicted gunshot wounds on Sept. 19, the Navy said.
“The spate of deaths is an unusually visible spike in a persistent problem that has been stalking the Navy — and the American military as a whole — for a decade. The suicide rate in the Navy, which once ran well below national averages, has worsened rapidly in recent years, more than doubling since 2006. The annual rate is now 20.1 suicide deaths per 100,000 service members, according to Defense Department figures.” NYT
VAPING CRACKDOWN UPDATE — “Juul CEO steps down, company promises to follow Trump ban,” by Sarah Owermohle: “The nation’s largest e-cigarette maker also said it will suspend all broadcast, print and digital product advertising in the United States. … Juul CEO Kevin Burns will immediately be replaced by longtime Altria executive K.C. Crosthwaite. …
“Juul said it will refrain from lobbying the Trump administration as FDA moves to formally roll out the flavor ban the president announced this month. The company said it will fully support and comply with the policy, which is expected in the coming weeks.” POLITICO
VALLEY TALK — “YouTube CEO: Politicians can break our content rules,” by Steven Overly: “YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki said today that content by politicians would stay up on the video-sharing website even if it violates the company’s standards, echoing a position staked out by Facebook this week.
“‘When you have a political officer that is making information this is really important for their constituents to see, or for other global leaders to see, that is content that we would leave up because we think it’s important for other people to see,’ Wojcicki told an audience at The Atlantic Festival this morning. Wojcicki said the news media is likely to cover controversial content regardless of whether it’s taken down, giving context to understand it. YouTube is owned by Google.” POLITICO
PLAYBOOK METRO SECTION — “Arlington Cemetery wants to change the rules on who can be buried there,” by WaPo’s Michael Ruane: “Arlington National Cemetery is proposing new rules that would eliminate burial and inurnment eligibility for service members who die on active duty but not in combat, ending a custom that goes back to the cemetery’s founding in 1864.
“It is one of a series of tough new proposals, requested by the government, that seek to address Arlington’s fast dwindling space, according to statements issued Wednesday by the cemetery and the Army. If approved, the new rules would end, among other things, the non-combat, active duty death eligibility that dates back to the Civil War, when burial was reserved for those killed in action or who died on active duty, according to the cemetery’s website.” WaPo
AFTERNOON LISTEN — ANNA sat down with CINDY MCCAIN to talk about the value of civility, her struggle to be taken seriously as a woman in Washington, and the side of her that you probably don’t know — ranging from her time as special education teacher working with the children of migrant farmworkers, to the critical role Jill and Joe Biden played at the start of John and Cindy’s relationship. POLITICO … Subscribe on Apple Podcasts or Spotify
TRANSITION — Marsha Espinosa will be chief of staff for Rep. Linda Sánchez (D-Calif.). She previously was a partner at Swann Street Strategies.
BONUS BIRTHDAYS: Barbara Walters is 9-0 … Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce, is 55
Article originally published on POLITICO Magazine