Defenders of President Donald Trump say that the notes on the phone call released by the White House show that he did nothing wrong in asking the president of Ukraine for a “favor.” There was no explicit suggestion in the call that the American president was asking for dirt on a political opponent in return for support for Ukraine, they say. Some legal experts contacted by Politico.com read more into it.
- Laurence Tribe, professor of constitutional law at Harvard, said the readout “clearly establishes high crimes and misdemeanors.”
- Miriam Baer, a professor at Brooklyn Law School, said: “As has often been the case during the Trump administration, the readout provokes far more questions than it answers.”
- Laurie Levenson, a professor at Loyola Law School, said: “It is not a smoking gun but the call certainly raises concerns.”
- David Alan Sklansky, professor at Stanford Law School, asked, “If this isn’t impeachable, then what is?”
- Writing on Twitter,Wall Street Journal columnist Kimberley Strassel dismissed it as an “internal attempt” to oust the president.
- In a press conference yesterday afternoon, Trump described the call as “so innocent” and “nice.”
At least for now, few have seen the report on a whistleblower’s complaint about President Donald Trump’s conversation with the president of Ukraine. However, according to a report last night in The New York Times, two concerns were raised by Michael Atkinson, the inspector general for the intelligence committee and a Trump appointee. The concerns were:
- That the request to Poland’s president to investigate a political rival could be viewed as soliciting a campaign contribution in violation of campaign law.
- That the president’s words might have exposed him to “serious national security and counterintelligence risks.”
Atkinson referred the matter to the Justice Department, deeming it “urgent,” but the department closed it without charges.