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Is the White House ‘Transcript’ of Trump’s Ukraine Call Really ‘Fully Declassified and Unredacted?’

September 25, 2019, 4:14 PM UTC

The White House on Wednesday released a transcript of a phone call between President Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that has led the House of Representatives to open a formal impeachment inquiry against the president.

The call took place just one day after former special counsel Robert Mueller testified before Congress about Russian interference in the 2016 election.

In the July 25 phone call, Trump told Zelensky to work with the U.S. attorney general to investigate Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son, Hunter. Trump told the Ukrainian president the U.S. “has been very good to Ukraine. I wouldn’t say that it’s reciprocal necessarily.”

The president asked Zelensky to work with his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, and U.S. Attorney General William Barr on the matter.

“There’s a lot of talk about Biden’s son, that Biden stopped the prosecution, and a lot of people want to find out about that so whatever you can do with the Attorney General would be great,” Trump said on the call. “Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution so if you can look into it … It sounds horrible to me.”

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam B. Schiff expressed concern ahead of the document’s release that it would not provide a detailed enough account of the call between Trump and Zelensky.

“We certainly know we can’t rely on the White House to be forthcoming,” Schiff said in an interview with CNN.

The transcript, released by the Justice Department, is not a verbatim or complete transcript, but rather a written record of notes taken by National Security Council (NSC) staff who were also on the call.

NSC note-takers are usually Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) officers whose notes are intended as the primary record of such calls.

Journalists pointed out the document was only 2,000 words for a 30-minute call, leaving some to wonder what was left off the official record.

According to the transcript, Trump also urged Zelensky to find out what happened with “this whole situation with Ukraine” with regards to Crowdstrike, an American cybersecurity company that found two groups connected to the Russian government were behind a hack of the Democratic National Committee in 2016.

For some Democrats, the partial transcript of the call would not be enough, and they are asking for the full whistleblower complaint regarding the president’s actions.

More must-read stories from Fortune:

—How impeachment momentum massively shifted among Democrats
—More than 160 House Democrats now support impeachment proceedings
—Trump to release full transcript of Ukraine call
—’No one is above the law.’ Nancy Pelosi announces formal impeachment inquiry
Biden backs Trump impeachment inquiry if he obstructs Congress

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