On the morning when Donald Trump released a “transcript” absolutely riddled with attempts to extort an ally into doing political favors from manufacturing dirt on a political opponent to fleshing out a Pizzagate-related conspiracy theory, the White House followed up by sending out its talking points for defending Trump’s statements. But someone at the White House pressed the wrong button. Rather than routing these talking points to Republican senators, someone at the White House sent the day’s instructions to the Democratic side of the aisle. Every Democratic representative ended up with a copy, including one sent straight to Nancy Pelosi’s office.
And to make things absolutely perfect, the White House then sent out a “recall” asking that Democrats give their talking points back. No one should take this as a sign that everyone at the White House is currently running in circles, screaming, randomly pulling levers, and desperately searching for the nearest exit. But it would be a good time to make sure there’s a safety cap over that big red button.
What are those talking points? Well, Trump never uses the word “promise.” Zelensky mentions Giuliani first. And Trump doesn’t actually say “Biden” eight times. And … really, that’s pretty much it. The rest of the document is just a series of claims about the “deep state.” There are no other points.
The talking points do claim that Trump never mentions military aid as part of his discussion with Zelensky, so there’s “no quid pro quo.” Except …
Zelensky: I would also like to thank you for your great support in the area of defense. We are ready to continue to cooperate for the next steps, specifically we are almost ready to buy more Javelins from the United· States for defense purposes.
Trump : I would like you to do us a favor though …
Quid? Meet, Pro Quo.