Legal and political experts were stunned Wednesday after the White House released a reconstructed, partial transcript of Donald Trump's July 25 phone call with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky. The transcript suggests that Trump is responding to Zelensky's request to buy missile systems from the United States by asking the Ukraine president to do him "a favor," according to the memorandum of the call posted online by the White House.
The transcript, which was reconstructed from written notes taken on the call rather than from an audio recording, is only five pages long. But the call itself lasted approximately 30 minutes, as The Inquisitr reported. A note attached to the memo itself states that the transcript is "not verbatim" and based instead on "notes and recollections" of staff members present during the call.
The "favor" requested by Trump is actually two favors, as the transcript revealed and reported by The Washington Post. First, Trump asks Zelensky to find a Democratic National Committee computer server that he has previously claimed was missing. In the transcript, Trump appears to believe that Ukraine is in possession of the supposed server.
Trump then asks Zelensky to "look into" Democratic 2020 front-runner Joe Biden, telling the Ukraine president to contact Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani and U.S. Attorney General William Barr to assist with the requested investigation of Biden, referring to Giuliani as "a very respected man."
That the White House would release the seemingly incriminating transcript was met with disbelief by experts. ABC News correspondent Jonathan Karl described the transcript as "even more damning than anticipated" in a Wednesday morning interview shortly after the release of the five-page transcript, as quoted by the news site Raw Story.
Also in the ABC News broadcast, legal expert Dan Abrams, founder of the legal news site Law & Crime, said that the evidence — that Trump used his position for personal, political gain — contained in the transcript was "worse than I think people expected."
Abrams also referred to the evidence of Trump's wrongdoing in the transcript as "unambiguous."
The call with Zelensky was placed one day after congressional testimony by special counsel Robert Mueller, in which Mueller confirmed that the 2016 Trump campaign "welcomed" Russian assistance and engaged in collusion by passing internal polling data to a suspected Russian intelligence operative, as The Inquisitr has reported.
In the transcript of the phone call, Trump slams Mueller, calling his testimony to Congress "an incompetent performance," as quoted by The Washington Post.
The transcript also raises questions of whether Barr will recuse himself from any future decisions involving the Ukraine issue because, in the call, Trump directly asks Zelensky to talk to Barr to "get to the bottom" of the alleged Biden activities in Ukraine, according to The Post.