Democrats seeking the party’s nomination for president in 2020 swiftly renewed their condemnation of President Trump on Wednesday, saying that the remarks he made to the president of Ukraine during a July phone call constituted an impeachable offense.
At least two candidates used the same phrase: Both Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and the former housing secretary Julián Castro, who have been calling for Mr. Trump’s impeachment for months, labeled the reconstruction of the phone call a “smoking gun.”
“If this is the version of events the president’s team thinks is most favorable, he is in very deep jeopardy,” Ms. Warren said. “We need to see the full whistle-blower complaint and the administration needs to follow the law. Now.”
The call between Mr. Trump and President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine has been at the center of accusations that Mr. Trump pressured a foreign leader to open a potential corruption investigation tied to a political rival, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., who is seeking to challenge Mr. Trump in 2020.
According to the reconstructed transcript, which the White House released on Wednesday morning, Mr. Trump urged Mr. Zelensky to contact Attorney General William P. Barr about opening an investigation connected to Mr. Biden, saying “whatever you can do with the attorney general would be great.”
The news of the call — which was first revealed by a whistle-blower who works in the intelligence community — have prompted House Democrats to say they would formally open an impeachment inquiry. And on Wednesday, after reviewing the contents of the reconstructed transcript, several Democratic candidates renewed their calls for Mr. Trump to be impeached.
“Congress should cancel recess and begin impeachment proceedings immediately,” Mr. Castro said.
Senator Kamala Harris’s campaign highlighted an exchange during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in May between Ms. Harris and Mr. Barr, in which she asked the attorney general whether Mr. Trump had ever asked him to open an investigation into anyone else. After much hesitation, Mr. Barr said he did not know.
In May, Senator Kamala Harris asked Attorney General William P. Barr whether President Trump or any member of his administration had ever suggested that he “open an investigation of anyone.”CreditCreditAndrew Harnik/Associated Press
Ms. Harris, of California, posted a screen shot of the reconstructed transcript on Twitter, writing, “They admit it: Trump pressured the Ukrainian president to work with the U.S. Attorney General to investigate a political opponent. He must be impeached.”Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey said in a statement that the document released Wednesday amounted to “apparent proof that Trump had pressured a foreign nation to meddle in our democracy again.”
“History will remember those who put politics aside at this time of crisis and treated it like the moral moment that it is,” he said.
Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, who has said she supports the impeachment inquiry, said that the record of the call was “deeply disturbing,” adding that Mr. Trump had “violated the public’s trust.”
Several other Democratic candidates for president, including Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, renewed their calls for an impeachment inquiry to begin. “Donald Trump is the most corrupt president in the modern history of this country,” Mr. Sanders tweeted, echoing a line he uses frequently on the campaign trail.
Mr. Biden said on Tuesday that if Mr. Trump continued to stonewall attempts by Congress to investigate his conduct, he would “leave Congress no choice but to initiate impeachment.”
Tom Steyer, the former hedge fund manager who pledged to spend millions of dollars on a campaign to impeach Mr. Trump before entering the presidential race, was blunt on Wednesday. “There it is,” Mr. Steyer said. “He did it. Donald Trump is a traitor.”
Sept. 25, 2019
Sept. 25, 2019
Sept. 24, 2019
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