House Speaker Nancy Pelosi may have revealed during an interview over the weekend that she knew the contents of President Donald Trump’s July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky before the president made the transcript public.
However, her spokesperson says it’s all a misunderstanding.
During a segment on CBS News “60 Minutes” on Sunday, Pelosi told host Scott Pelley that Trump had called her early last week to discuss the phone conversation.
“He told me it was perfect,” Pelosi said. “There was nothing in the call. But I know what was in the call. I mean, it was in the public domain.”
But it wasn’t in the public domain. Trump did not release the call transcript until Sept. 25, four days after initial reports about the call broke.
“He told me it was perfect… there was nothing wrong.” Speaker Pelosi recalls her conversation with POTUS about the phone call that launched the impeachment inquiry. “Well, no, it is wrong,” she tells Scott Pelley. https://t.co/K9JZrApHZ7 pic.twitter.com/CwsgcxfsIT
— 60 Minutes (@60Minutes) September 30, 2019
The Wall Street Journal was first to report on the president’s call with Zelensky, with the headline, “Trump Repeatedly Pressed Ukraine President to Investigate Biden’s Son.”
The lede paragraph of the story read, “President Trump in a July phone call repeatedly pressured the president of Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden’s son, according to people familiar with the matter, urging Volodymyr Zelensky about eight times to work with Rudy Giuliani on a probe that could hamper Mr. Trump’s potential 2020 opponent.”
The Washington Post and most other mainstream media outlets ran with this reporting as a matter of fact.
House Republican Conference Chair Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming called out Pelosi on Twitter for her apparent admission that she knew what was said in the call before the official transcript was released.
“@SpeakerPelosi said on 60 Minutes last night she knew the details of the classified Ukraine call before White House released transcript,” Cheney tweeted. “This is starting to seem like a political set up. So, Madame Speaker, ‘what did you know and when did you know it?’”
.@SpeakerPelosi said on 60 Minutes last night she knew the details of the classified Ukraine call before White House released transcript. This is starting to seem like a political set up. So, Madame Speaker, “what did you know and when did you know it?” pic.twitter.com/g5tlL5hBsX
— Liz Cheney (@Liz_Cheney) September 30, 2019
But Pelosi’s spokesperson told Fox News that the speaker was referring to media coverage when she said the call was in public domain.
Pelosi was not made aware of the whistleblower complaint or the transcript before they were released, the spokesperson added.
However, an Aug. 28 tweet by House Intelligence Committee Chair Rep. Adam Schiff of California strengthens the case that Pelosi had knowledge of the call before the transcript and complaint came out.
In it, Schiff, who Pelosi has named point man on the impeachment inquiry, essentially communicated the heart of the whistleblower’s complaint.
“Trump is withholding vital military aid to Ukraine, while his personal lawyer seeks help from the Ukraine government to investigate his political opponent,” he wrote.
Here are some basic facts we’ve learned since Pelosi announced the impeachment inquiry that counter the whole Pelosi-Schiff allegation of wrongdoing.
First, Trump had directed military aid to Ukraine to be delayed before his phone call with Zelensky — and Ukraine did not learn until about the delay until a month after the call. This means that if Trump was seeking some sort of implied quid pro quo for an investigation of Biden, he was not very effective at communicating it.
Second, Zelensky told reporters at the UN last week that he was not pressured by Trump to investigate Biden and his son Hunter’s alleged wrongdoing.
Third, Ukraine has not opened an investigation on the Bidens.
Finally, Trump released the aid nearly two weeks before The Wall Street Journal story broke, at the request of GOP Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio and other lawmakers, so no quid pro quo prompted the release.
On Friday, Pelosi appeared to let her true feelings about the possibility of impeaching Trump show during an interview on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”
“First let me say there is no cause of any joy,” Pelosi said. “This is a time for our country. An impeachment of a president are as serious as our congressional responsibilities can be apart from declaring war or something.”
Shortly thereafter, the speaker added, “I’m very excited,” and then immediately corrected herself, “I’m very concerned about some of the president’s comments about the whistleblower.”
Pelosi and the Democrats have been trying to take down Trump since his upset win over Hillary Clinton in November 2016.
The intelligence community’s inspector general has already said the whistleblower has a bias against Trump and supports one of his potential 2020 Democratic opponents for the presidency.
As time passes, the Ukrainian call “scandal” appears more and more to be just the latest iteration of the deep state working hand in glove with congressional Democrats to try to remove the duly elected president of the United States.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.