“For present purposes, it suffices to note that the text of the memo offers not a whiff of support for the president’s claims about what he did. That text unambiguously reflects conduct intolerable in a president in a number of different respects. And it does so in five brief, easy-to-understand pages, in which Trump clearly seeks to recruit a foreign head of state to violate the civil liberties of American citizens and uncover dirt on a potential political opponent in the 2020 presidential election. For everyone who breathed a sigh of relief that the Mueller report did not establish presidential ‘collusion’ with Russia in 2016, the White House itself has announced with this release that the president himself has already engaged in such collusion with Ukraine for the next election cycle—and what’s more, he is putting the powers of the American presidency to that purpose.”—Scott R. Anderson, et al. “Self-Impeaching: On the Trump-Zelensky Conversation.” Lawfare. September 25, 2019.
This Lawfare blog post does a pretty good job of covering the implications of the Trump-Zelensky transcript. It’s important to realize that the call itself was just part of what happened. For example, there’s the cover-up. The transcript of the call was transferred to a system for classified information to reduce the number of people that could see it. It also implies further involvement by Rudy Giuliani and Bob Barr that is probably criminal as well. Interesting times.