Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); }

U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday released a rough transcript of a July 25 call he had with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, held shortly after Trump froze nearly US$400-million in military aid destined for Ukraine.

Evan Vucci/The Associated Press

U.S. President Donald Trump sought to enlist the help of a foreign government and the U.S. Justice Department to tarnish one of his chief political rivals ahead of next year’s election, a rough transcript of a conversation between the President and his Ukrainian counterpart reveals.

The transcript was released by the White House on Wednesday amid accusations Mr. Trump had abused his office in a bid to help his re-election campaign. They provided fuel to an impeachment inquiry launched Tuesday by congressional Democrats, the first move in a battle to oust the President from office ahead of next year’s election.

The Trump administration on Wednesday also acquiesced to the congressional demand that it turn over a copy of the complaint by the whistle-blower who first sounded the alarm on the President’s dealings with Ukraine. The document was not released to the public.

Story continues below advertisement

In the July 25 telephone call, Mr. Trump asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to launch an investigation of former vice-president Joe Biden, a leading contender for the Democratic presidential nomination, and his son Hunter Biden. Mr. Trump told Mr. Zelensky that Attorney-General Bill Barr and Rudy Giuliani, the President’s personal lawyer, would be in touch to help co-ordinate the investigation.

The call occurred days after Mr. Trump froze nearly US$400-million in military aid to Ukraine, which is battling Russian-backed insurgents. The President did not allow the aid to go through until the scandal over his conversation with Mr. Zelensky first came to light earlier this month.

On Wednesday, the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives passed a motion condemning Mr. Trump for refusing to give up the whistle-blower’s document earlier this month when legislators first asked for it.

The acting director of national intelligence, Joseph Maguire, is expected to testify before a legislative committee Thursday. The whistle-blower has tentatively agreed to testify before Congress, CNN reported.

In a news conference at the United Nations General Assembly, the President tried to deflect from his dealings with Mr. Zelensky. He accused Hunter Biden of corruption but provided no evidence, then derided Democratic senators for pushing the Ukrainian government last spring to continue investigating Mr. Trump’s 2016 campaign chair, Paul Manafort, over his work for former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych.

The President said he had not pressed Mr. Zelensky on starting an investigation, even though the transcript shows Mr. Trump had done so.

“No push, no pressure, no nothing,” he said. “It’s all a hoax, folks. It’s all a big hoax.”

Story continues below advertisement

Mr. Barr’s office denied that he had discussed investigating Mr. Biden with Mr. Trump, Mr. Giuliani or the Ukrainian government.

A Justice Department spokeswoman said Mr. Trump has not spoken with the Attorney-General about having Ukraine investigate Mr. Biden or his son. “The Attorney General has not communicated with Ukraine – on this or any other subject,” Kerri Kupec wrote in an e-mail.

In the telephone call, the transcript showed, Mr. Trump first reminded Mr. Zelensky that the U.S. had been giving his country large amounts of aid, and complained such a relationship was not “reciprocal.” Then, he told Mr. Zelensky he wanted something from him.

“I would like you to do us a favour though, because our country has been through a lot and Ukraine knows a lot about it,” Mr. Trump said.

The President asked for Kiev to launch an investigation involving a Democratic National Committee computer server that he said might be in Ukraine. Then, he turned his attention to Mr. Biden.

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced on Tuesday an impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, following reports that he pressured Ukraine to investigate his political opponent. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Reuters

“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,” Mr. Trump told Mr. Zelensky. “Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution so if you can look into it, it sounds horrible to me.”

Story continues below advertisement

Mr. Trump was referring to claims that Joe Biden got Ukraine to fire its top prosecutor, Viktor Shokin, in 2016 while Mr. Shokin was investigating Burisma Group, an oil and gas company on whose board Hunter Biden sat. The Obama administration and other Western countries in 2016 called for Mr. Shokin to be fired because they believed he was not doing enough to prosecute corruption.

Mr. Zelensky told Mr. Trump that he would appoint a new chief prosecutor who would “look into the situation.”

The transcript of the telephone call was based on notes taken by Situation Room duty officers and National Security Council policy staff.

The transcript looked certain to stoke the impeachment efforts.

“This is unequivocally an abuse of his office,” said Jennifer Rodgers, a former U.S. federal prosecutor who teaches law at Columbia University. “This is a President using the power of his office, the taxpayer resources allocated to his office, to get something of value to him.”

Adam Schiff, Democratic chair of the House intelligence committee, described the call as “a classic, Mafia-like shakedown of a foreign leader.”

Story continues below advertisement

Mr. Trump’s defenders, however, argued that the call was above-board because it did not contain any explicit threats to cut off military spending.

Can Trump be impeached? How would that work?

The U.S. Constitution gives broad powers to

Congress to remove the president from

office for “Treason, Bribery, or other high

Crimes and Misdemeanors.”

First, the House of Representatives

has to craft one or more “articles of

impeachment.” These are effectively the

official accusations of wrongdoing against

the president.

If the House, where Democrats hold 235

seats, votes by a simple majority (218) to

pass an article of impeachment, the president

is then “impeached,” which roughly means

he is formally accused.

Democrats

235

Total

435

The process moves on to a trial in the

Senate. A group of congressmen act as the

prosecution, the president and his lawyers

can mount a defence and the chief justice of

the Supreme Court presides. At the end of it,

the Senate must vote on each article of

impeachment. It takes a two-thirds majority

to convict the president and

remove him from office. Democrats

currently hold 47 seats (including two

inedpendents).

Democrats

47

Total

100

THE GLOBE AND MAIL

Can Trump be impeached? How would that work?

The U.S. Constitution gives broad powers to Congress

to remove the president from office for “Treason,

Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.”

First, the House of Representatives

has to craft one or more “articles of impeachment.”

These are effectively the official accusations of

wrongdoing against the president.

If the House, where Democrats hold 235 seats,

votes by a simple majority (218) to pass an article of

impeachment, the president is then “impeached,”

which roughly means he is formally accused.

Democrats

235

Total

435

The process moves on to a trial in the Senate. A

group of congressmen act as the prosecution, the

president and his lawyers can mount a defence and

the chief justice of the Supreme Court presides. At

the end of it, the Senate must vote on each article of

impeachment. It takes a two-thirds majority to

convict the president and remove him from office.

Democrats currently hold 47 seats (including two

inedpendents).

Democrats

47

Total

100

THE GLOBE AND MAIL

Can Trump be impeached? How would that work?

If the House, where Democrats hold 235

seats, votes by a simple majority (218)

to pass an article of impeachment, the

president is then “impeached,”

which roughly means

he is formally accused.

The U.S. Constitution gives broad powers

to Congress to remove the president from

office for “Treason, Bribery, or other high

Crimes and Misdemeanors.”

Democrats

235

Total

435

First, the House of Representatives

has to craft one or more “articles of

impeachment.” These are effectively the

official accusations of wrongdoing against

the president.

The process moves on to a trial in the

Senate. A group of congressmen act as

the prosecution, the president and his

lawyers can mount a defence and the

chief justice of the Supreme Court pre-

sides. At the end of it, the Senate

must vote on each article of

impeachment. It takes a two-thirds ma-

jority to convict the president and

remove him from office. Democrats cur-

rently hold 47 seats (including two ined-

pendents).

Democrats

47

Total

100

THE GLOBE AND MAIL

“What a nothing (non-quid pro quo) burger,” South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham tweeted. He also argued that there are unanswered questions about Mr. Biden’s involvement in the firing of Mr. Shokin: “The prosecutor, maybe he deserved to be fired, maybe he was corrupt, I don’t know – but an obvious conflict of interest.”

Mr. Zelensky, for his part, told reporters at a UN meeting with Mr. Trump Wednesday that “nobody pushed ... me” during the phone call.

After months of prevarication on impeachment, the Democratic caucus has coalesced around the idea in the past three days. But it is unclear when it might draft articles of impeachment, essentially an indictment. If the House passes one or more of these, Mr. Trump would face a trial in the Republican-controlled Senate. A two-thirds majority of senators would be required to remove him from office.

The Republican Party has mostly lined up behind the President, but even some Republicans expressed dismay at Mr. Trump’s actions.

“It remains troubling in the extreme,” Utah Senator Mitt Romney said after reading the transcript. “It’s deeply troubling."

Story continues below advertisement

With a report from Reuters

Our Morning Update and Evening Update newsletters are written by Globe editors, giving you a concise summary of the day’s most important headlines. Sign up today.

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies