White House accidentally sends anti-impeachment talking points to Democrats

Christopher Wilson
Senior Writer

The White House accidentally sent its anti-impeachment talking points intended for allies in Congress to House Democrats.

On Wednesday morning, the White House emailed its media strategy for defending President Trump against the charge that he tried to bribe or coerce Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate the son of former Vice President Joe Biden in a phone call on July 25. Along with House Republicans who will likely be asked about the impeachment inquiry every time they speak to the media, the president’s team also sent them to some of the Democrats investigating him, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. According to copies of the emails obtained by Yahoo News, about 40 minutes after sending the talking points out, the White House attempted to recall them.

Photo illustration: Yahoo News; photos: AP, via Twitter

The talking points urge allies to reiterate that Trump made no promises to Zelensky and that he didn’t bring up his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, until his Ukrainian counterpart brought him up.

The White House memo summarizing the conversation, released to the public a few hours before, shows that Trump sought Zelensky’s cooperation as a “favor,” but does not contain a specific offer of a quid pro quo. At the time, much-needed American military aid for Ukraine had been held up for unexplained reasons, reportedly at the request of the White House.

The completeness of the memo cannot be independently verified. The White House referred to it as a transcript, but the document itself states it is “not a verbatim transcript of a discussion” but rather “the notes and recollections of Situation Room Duty Officers and [National Security Council] policy staff assigned to listen and memorialize the conversation in written form as the conversation takes place.” Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., told MSNBC that the White House had called Republicans in Congress to look over the memo and go over talking points before its release.

Congress has called for the White House to release the details of a complaint by an unnamed whistleblower in the intelligence community, related to Trump’s dealings with Ukraine, that is the basis of the impeachment investigation announced by Pelosi Tuesday.

Hunter Walker contributed to this story.

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