Adam Schiff Slams Donald Trump Ukraine Call After Release of Transcript: 'A Classic Mob Shakedown'

Jonathan Vankin

On Wednesday, the White House released a partial transcript of a July 25 phone call between Donald Trump and Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky, a transcript that reveals Trump acting like a "Mafia boss" carrying out a "classic mob shakedown," according to Adam Schiff, who is one of the leading figures in the impeachment inquiry into Trump's conduct, as chair of the House Intelligence Committee. Schiff made the comments in a public statement Wednesday, as well as on his own Twitter account.

Schiff characterized Trump as telling Zelensky, "Nice country you got there. It would be a shame if something happened to her."

In the WhiteHouse.gov transcript, which was compiled not from an audio recording but from notes and recollections of staff members, Trump says that "the United States has been very, very good to Ukraine."

But Trump then adds, "I wouldn't say that it's reciprocal."

Zelensky then speaks, telling Trump that his country wants to purchase a new shipment of "Javelins from the United States for defense purposes."

The "Javelin" is a U.S.-made, portable anti-tank missile system. The Javelin missile system has proven so effective in combat that selling the missiles to other countries has become a subject of political controversy.

But as soon as Zelensky asks to buy the Javelins, according to the transcript, Trump responds by telling the Ukraine president, "I would like you to do us a favor, though."

"This is how a mafia boss talks," Schiff said in his statement on Wednesday, as seen in the video below. "'What have you done for us? We've done so much for you, but there isn't much reciprocity.'"

A reporter asked for Schiff's response to the White House claim that the transcript shows "no quid pro quo," meaning that Trump did not link the "favor" to delivery of military aid for Ukraine. Schiff reasoned that Trump had asked for the "favor" and "would not let it go" immediately after Zelensky requested to purchase the Javelin missile systems, as quoted via Twitter by Vox.com reporter Aaron Rupar.

Ukraine is in urgent need of the military aid as it continues to defend against Russian incursions into eastern Ukraine, in a bloody war that has killed about 13,000 since fighting broke out in 2014.

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