The following is a record of a conversation I had this afternoon with a White House official about the telephone call yesterday morning between President Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. The official who listened to the entirety of the phone call was visibly shaken by what had transpired and seemed keen to inform a trusted colleague within the U.S. national security apparatus about the call. After my call with this official I [redacted] returned to my office, and wrote up my best recollection of what I had heard.
The official described the call as “crazy,” “frightening” and “completely lacking in substance related to national security.” The official asserted that the President used the call to persuade Ukrainian authorities to investigate his political rivals, chiefly former Vice President Biden and his son, Hunter. The official stated that there was already a conversation underway with White House lawyers about how to handle the discussion because, in the official’s view, the President had clearly committed a criminal act by urging a foreign power to investigate a U.S. person for the purposes of advancing his own reelection bid in 2020.

The partial transcript released by the White House corroborates most of this; we have to wait for more firsthand accounts to be sure of just how panicked White House officials were over the call.

House Republicans have been struggling mightily to recruit candidates in key battleground districts, given the likelihood of serving in the minority, possibly with a new Democratic president.
But the Democratic impeachment drive is delivering a much-needed jolt to their efforts to retake the chamber.
Once-wary potential candidates are preparing to come off the sidelines, according to party recruiters, and the GOP’s small-dollar donor base is stepping up to help the party compete against Democrats who are practically awash in money, according to nearly a dozen interviews with Republican Party officials and some prospective contenders themselves.

Just like they thought some fearmongering about immigrant caravans would bring them to victory in 2018.

* John Hudson and Karoun Demirjian report that the same Republicans who were appalled at Hillary Clinton using a private email system are weirdly unconcerned with Trump’s appointees using private communication tools to conduct U.S. foreign policy.

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