The July 25 Trump-Zelensky Phone Call is Clear Cut Collusion
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RESOLUTION: The July 25 Trump-Zelensky Phone Call is Clear Cut Collusion
The JULY 25 TRUMP-ZELENSKY PHONE CALL was a short phone call between the POTUS and Volodymyr Zelensky ostensibly to congratulate the new President of Ukraine on his assumption of office. The White House transcript of that phone call can be read here:
CLEAR CUT [adjective] is "straightforward, obvious, simple, or basic."
COLLUSION [noun] is secret agreement for an illegal purpose; conspiracy.
BURDEN of PROOF is shared
PRO must establish that Trump made a secret and illegal offer.
CON must establish that Trump did not make a secret and illegal offer.
PRO is requesting sincere and friendly engagement on this subject.
No trolls or kritiks, please.
- RULES --
1. Forfeit=auto loss
2. Sources may be merely linked in debate as long as citations are listed in comments
3. No new args in R3
4. For all relevant terms, individuals should use commonplace understandings that fit within the rational context of this resolution and debate
(a) ProhibitionIt shall be unlawful for-(1) a foreign national, directly or indirectly, to make-(A) a contribution or donation of money or other thing of value, or to make an express or implied promise to make a contribution or donation, in connection with a Federal, State, or local election;(B) a contribution or donation to a committee of a political party; or(C) an expenditure, independent expenditure, or disbursement for an electioneering communication
b. Contributions and donations by foreign nationals in connection with elections. A foreign national shall not, directly or indirectly, make a contribution or a donation of money or other thing of value, or expressly or impliedly promise to make a contribution or a donation, in connection with any Federal, State, or local election.
The Act defines a contribution to include “any gift, subscription, loan, advance, or deposit of money or anything of value made by any person for the purpose of influencing any election for Federal office.” “Anything of value” includes all “in-kind contributions,” such as “the provision of any goods or services without charge or at a charge that is less than the usual and normal charge for such goods or services.” The Act also defines “contribution ”to include the “payment by any person of compensation for the personal services of another person which are rendered to a political committee without charge for any purpose.”
Courts have consistently upheld the provisions of the Act prohibiting foreign national contributions on the ground that the government has a clear, compelling interest in limiting the influence of foreign nationals over the activities and processes that are integral to democratic self-government, which include making political contributions and express advocacy expenditures. See Bluman v. FEC, 800 F. Supp. 2d 281, 288-89 (D.D.C.2011), aff’d 565 U.S. 1104 (2012) (“It is fundamental to the definition of our national political community that foreign citizens do not have a constitutional right to participate in, and thus may be excluded from, activities of democratic self-government. It follows, therefore, that the United States has a compelling interest for purposes of First Amendment analysis in limiting the participation of foreign citizens in activities of American democratic self-government, and in thereby preventing foreign influence over the U.S. political process.”); United States v. Singh, 924 F.3d 1030, 1040-44 (9th Cir. 2019)
THE PRESIDENT: The other thing, 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. Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution so if you can look into it... It sounds horrible to me.
President Zelenskyy: I wanted to tell you about the prosecutor. First of all, I understand and I'm knowledgeable about the situation. Since we have won the absolute majority in our Parliament, the next prosecutor general will be 100% my person, my candidate, who will be approved, by the parliament and will start as a new prosecutor in September. He or she will look into the situation, specifically to the company that you mentioned in this issue.
- Both Ukrainian and White House documents confirm that the illegal agreement took place.
- The President of the United States (much later) confirmed his solicitation of investigation and Zelensky's agreement.
- After the USSR's dissolution, Ukraine held about one third of the Soviet nuclear arsenal, the 3rd largest in the world at the time. In exchange surrendering its nuclear weapons, Ukraine received security assurances from the Budapest Memorandum.
The Russian Federation, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America reaffirm their commitment to seek immediate United Nations Security Council action to provide assistance to Ukraine, as a non-nuclear-weapon State party to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, if Ukraine should become a victim of an act of aggression or an object of a threat of aggression in which nuclear weapons are used.
- In compliance with our treaties and in response to the Russia Federations illegal invasion of the Crimea and the Donbas region, Congress mandated $400 million dollars in military aid for 2019. In spite of Trump administration promises to Congress to comply with this mandate, Trump quietly ordered that this aid be put on hold at least a week before the July 25 call. The President has not yet offered a legal explanation for his failure to comply. Once Zelensky agreed to perform Trump's personal favor, the money was released.
- For Trump the quid was opposition research on Vice President Biden, the quo was $400 million. Although some of Trump's lawyers in the Justice Dept. and elsewhere have already argued that the investigation was not a "thing of value," Trump's own withholding place the value at $400 million.
In the days following the phone call, I learned from multiple U.S. officials that senior White House officials had intervened to "lock down" all records of the phone call, especially the official word-for-word transcript of the call that was produced — as is customary — by the White House Situation Room. This set of actions underscored to me that White House officials understood the gravity of what had transpired in the call.
- White House officials told me that they were "directed" by White House lawyers to remove the electronic transcript from the computer system in which such transcripts are typically stored for coordination, finalization, and distribution to Cabinet-level officials.
- Instead, the transcript was loaded into a separate electronic system that is otherwise used to store and handle classified information of an especially sensitive nature. One White House official described this act as an abuse of this electronic system because the call did not contain anything remotely sensitive from a national security perspective.
- The Inspector General of the Intelligence Community Michael Atkinson substantiated the whistleblower's findings and found the complaint to be credible, of urgent concern, and forwarded the complaint to acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire. Although Maguire was required by law to forward any credible and urgent complaint to Congress within 7 days, the DNI held on to the complaint for more than a month until the House Intelligence Committee subpoenaed Maguire.
- Although admitting to the exchange now, as recently as August, Trump was denying any quid pro quo:
Sen. Ron Johnson said that Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, had described to him a quid pro quo involving a commitment by Kyiv to probe matters related to U.S. elections and the status of nearly $400 million in U.S. aid to Ukraine that the president had ordered to be held up in July.Alarmed by that information, Mr. Johnson, who supports aid to Ukraine and is the chairman of a Senate subcommittee with jurisdiction over the region, said he raised the issue with Mr. Trump the next day, Aug. 31, in a phone call, days before the senator was to meet with Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky. In the call, Mr. Trump flatly rejected the notion that he directed aides to make military aid to Ukraine contingent on a new probe by Kyiv, Mr. Johnson said.
“He said, ‘Expletive deleted—No way. I would never do that. Who told you that?”
The president in this document is asking his counterpart to deliver the goods on a possible electoral opponent. And he is doing it himself. There is no plausible deniability. If this is not collusion in precisely the sense that collusion’s absence was purportedly so exculpatory in the Russia context, it’s hard to imagine what collusion would look like. And unlike the conduct described in Volume I of the Mueller report, the president is no longer a private citizen. Now, he is actually corruptly wielding the powers of his office in order to achieve this abusive end. This represents a dramatic escalation in severity.
The last time he was accused of collaborating with a foreign power to influence an election, he denied it and traveled the country practically chanting, “No collusion!” This time, he is saying, in effect, so what if I did? President Trump’s appeal to a foreign power for dirt on former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. is an astonishing breach of the norms governing the American presidency.
The other thing, 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. Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution so if you can look into it... It sounds horrible to me.
I wanted to tell you about the prosecutor. First of all, I understand and I'm knowledgeable about the situation. Since we have won the absolute majority in our Parliament, the next prosecutor general will be 100% my person, my candidate, who will be approved, by the parliament and will start as a new prosecutor in September. He or she will look into the situation, specifically to the company that you mentioned in this issue.
The prosecutor general, Ruslan Ryaboshapka, who took office in August, said he intended to review 15 cases in all, including high-profile investigations of wealthy Ukrainians, among them the owner of the natural gas company Burisma Holdings, where Mr. Biden’s son Hunter served on the board until earlier this year.
The White House had begun restricting access to information after initial leaks of Mr. Trump’s calls with the leaders of Mexico and Australia. But the conversation with Mr. Lavrov and Sergey I. Kislyak, then the Russian ambassador to the United States, prompted tighter restrictions.
Mr. Trump did not discuss the delay in the military assistance on the July 25 call with Mr. Zelensky, according to people familiar with the conversation. A Ukrainian official said Mr. Zelensky’s government did not learn of the delay until about one month after the call.
- Either Trump said:
THE PRESIDENT: ....There's a lot of talk about Biden's son, that Biden stopped the prosecution.... so if you can look into it... It sounds horrible to me.
- If Trump said it, then he requested the a foreign power make a contribution to the Trump 2020 presidential campaign- a contribution in the form of valuable opposition candidate research. Whether Ukraine's investigation might prove honest or might manufacture news to Joe Biden's discredit is entirely beside the point of law. There are no circumstances where it is legal for a candidate to make that ask about another candidate or campaign. Just the ask, "can you look into it" is pure felony, clear and evident.
- If Trump did not say can you look into Biden but inserted that misinformation into an official NSC SCG memorandum then Trump is guilty of obstruction of justice and tampering with evidence because that document and in fact all documents, recordings, notes, and memos regarding the July 25 call are under Congressional subpoena in the pursuit of impeachment inquiry.
- If the memo is false in any important aspect but the dozen or so NSC policy staff and Situation Room Duty Officers and the American translators and the Chief of Staff's office and the Secretary of State and Vice President Pence's National Security adviser and the NSC directors for Europe and Ukraine have, all of these capable listeners who have sworn an oath that they may undertake no purpose of evasion in their duty to the US, failed twelve weeks after receiving the transcription to report said falsehood.... well, than collusion is proven by crime and conspiracy of an only slighter different character.
- "Nowhere in this conversation was it suggested that this is because of the 2020 election."
- The law does not require the perpetrator to state which election the perpetrator intends to subvert- so long as the act is "in connection with a Federal, State, or local election." Trump is the leading Republican candidate, Biden is the leading Democratic candidate. The connection is quite evident. We don't need to wait for Trump to say out loud why he is committing the crime.
"Nowhere is it even implied that this is intended to give Trump a winning edge in the election."
- The perpetrator's intent is not exculpatory. The law is violated whatever the perpetrator's intent by violation.
"This appears to be both presidents' pursuit of justice."
- A man cannot pursue what he does not comprehend. PRO is aware of no evidence suggesting Trump comprehends the concept of justice.
- Zelensky's purpose is clear but irrelevant to Trump's culpability.
- Even if Trump's only purpose and intent was to investigate potential crimes of Joe and Hunter Biden,
- The president has no sovereign right to investigate criminal acts in the Ukraine.
- The president has not directed his own Justice Dept. to investigate the Bidens. The correct channels for requesting an international investigation are through the FBI who then works through Interpol. The president consciously ignored the correct criminal procedures, contaminating any potential case.
- The president's conflict of interest is manifest. To quote Donald Trump himself:
"But you know, the saddest thing is, because I am the President of the United States, I am not supposed to be involved with the Justice Department. I’m not supposed to be involved with the FBI. I’m not supposed to be doing the kind of things I would love to be doing and I am very frustrated by it. I look at what’s happening with the Justice Department, why aren’t they going after Hillary Clinton with her emails and with her dossier, and the kind of money… I don’t know, is it possible that they paid $12.4 million for the dossier…which is total phony, fake, fraud and how is it used? It’s very discouraging to me. I’ll be honest, I’m very unhappy with it, that the Justice Department isn’t going…maybe they are but you know as President, and I think you understand this, as a President you’re not supposed to be involved in that process." 
Trump has been here before- he clearly knows that he is in violation of the law.
- Irrelevant to thesis. Trump's crimes are in no way mitigated by the legitimacy of the illegal contribution outside of US jurisdiction. Even if bribery is legal in another country, it is still illegal for a US official to request a bribe.
Trump has been moving phone calls to a classified server frequently to avoid information leaks, not to hide any illegal actions.
- PRO challenges CON to prove that Trump's classified server does not conceal criminal evidence.
- PRO can't because Trump's vault is by definition a secret vault- a secret vault where the transcript was kept hidden from Jul 26 and Sep 25- 60 days.
- The Trump-Zelensky phone call discussed no state secrets of any kind and merited no top secret classification. The fact that Trump declassified the document without the need to redact sensitive information is sufficient evidence of this. Therefore, the deliberate over-classification of the document demonstrates criminal cover-up- use of the Nation's security apparatus to conceal evidence of a crime. The fact that dozens participated in the concealment of the crime demonstrates conspiracy. The first whistleblower complaint states:
"In the days following the phone call, I learned from multiple U.S. officials that senior White House officials had intervened to “lock down” all records of the phone call, especially the official word-for-word transcript of the call that was produced-as is customary-by the White House Situation Room. This set of actions underscored to me that White House officials understood the gravity of what had transpired in the call.
- White House officials told me that they were “directed” by White House lawyers to remove the electronic transcript from the computer system in which such transcripts are typically stored for coordination, finalization, and distribution to Cabinet-level officials.
- Instead, the transcript was loaded into a separate electronic system that is otherwise used to store and handle classified information of an especially sensitive nature. One White House official described this act as an abuse of this electronic system because the call did not contain anything remotely sensitive from a national security perspective."
- Inspector General of the Intelligence Community Michael Atkinson found the complaint to be credible.
- PRO finds not one official denial of any whistle-blower specific. Nobody denies that the president said "investigate Biden". Nobody denies that his legal team collected everybody's copy of the transcript and hid it in a secret server. Nobody is denying collusion.
If Zelensky and Ukraine were unaware that any assistance was withheld, it cannot be considered leverage
Trump: ....would like you to do us a favor though.... There's a lot of talk about Biden... find out about that
Zelensky: ....we will take care of that and will work on the investigation of the case 
"At least four national security officials were so alarmed by the Trump administration’s attempts to pressure Ukraine for political purposes that they raised concerns with a White House lawyer both before and immediately after President Trump’s July 25 call with that country’s president"
If Trump said it, then he requested the a foreign power make a contribution to the Trump 2020 presidential campaign.
If Trump did not say can you look into Biden but inserted that misinformation into an official NSC SCG memorandum then Trump is guilty of obstruction of justice and tampering with evidence...
If the memo is false ... collusion is proven by crime and conspiracy of an only slighter different character.
A man cannot be pursue what he does not comprehend. PRO is aware of no evidence suggesting Trump comprehends the concept of justice.
PRO challenges CON to prove that Trump's classified server does not conceal criminal evidence.
Therefore, the deliberate over-classification of the document demonstrates criminal cover-up
There is no possibility that Zelensky had failed to notice that the hundreds of millions of dollars that Congress handed Trump in February had not yet arrived in July or that arms ordered last year had still not been shipped. Nor was Zelensky confused about who controlled the QUID.
The 2020 Democratic candidate with whom the CIA whistleblower had a "professional tie" is Joe Biden, according to intelligence officers and former White House officials.
- Donald Trump is a candidate running for office. Anything given to a candidate beyond personal income, certain bank loans, and small gifts counts as a campaign contribution: no party is required to state the purpose of the "thing of value" much less state explicitly that the "thing of value" is campaign related.
- The laws governing illegal campaign contributions would not be worth much if conspirators could avoid prosecution by simply omitting any mention of the campaign.
- We know that the contribution is campaign related because the thing of value is opposition research against Trump's leading opponent.
- There were other politically connected Americans sitting on the Board of Directors of Burisma Holdings at the same time as Hunter Biden including Biden's law partner Devon Archer and former US Ambassador Cofer Black , George W. Bush's Coordinator for Counter-terrorism and . Black, a pro-Trump Republican has performed the same function for Bursima and received the same salary. Yet Trump makes no mention of these American figures doing the same thing as Hunter Biden.
- Since Archer & Black have the same jobs at Burisma and are therefore committing the same hypothesized yet unstated crime, why did Trump not request an investigation into all 3 Americans?
- If the ask was not political, why did Trump only mention his campaign rival's name multiple times during the request?
- VOTERS should apply this test: If Hunter Biden were not Joe Biden's son, just another well-connected investment banker on Burisma's board like Archer & Black, would Trump have made that investigation one of his two "favors" requested during his phone call to Ukraine?
- Trump targeted Hunter Biden (and just Biden) because trashing Hunter Biden is campaign gold. By agreeing to investigate Hunter in exchange for the release of hundreds of millions of dollars of foreign aid, Zelensky provided Trump with opposition research worth millions to Trump's campaign.
- CON responds with a classic Trumpian evasion- because the document does not claim to be verbatim, it can't be construed as evidence against Trump and also Trump can't be held accountable for the accuracy of the transcript. We should note here that the reason the White House stopped recording conversations and started the transcript memo system was because Richard Nixon taped so many criminal acts. But there is no reason why the American people as represented by Congress should accept a lawyer's dodge as a substitute for the truth from our President when he speaks of acts committed on our behalf and in our name.
- Trump asking Zelensky to investigate Biden is crime.
- witnesses by the dozen,
- the transcript, and
- the President himself all agree that Trump did that crime.
- The transcript serves as official testimony by the President against the President.
- The transcript's contents are not contradicted by anybody. .
- The fact that not every word may have been precisely captured or recollected is not exculpatory. A witness may remember that the murderer was wearing a hot pink tutu when in fact the dress was salmon- that does not make the witness's testimony less damning.
- Justice is "the ideal of fairness, impartiality, etc., especially with regard to the punishment of wrongdoing."
- 3 examples from many should illustrate:
- After the Central Park Five were exonerated by DNA evidence, the true rapist's confession,and a $41 million dollar apology by the NYC police for forcing confessions from the black youths, Trump, who's 1989 full page ads in NY papers demanding the death penalty ("they should be forced to suffer") are acknowledged to have helped sway the false verdict, refused to acknowledge their innocence or regret his demands for the public execution of innocent kids. John McCain withdrew his endorsement for Trump the next day citing Trump's "outrageous statements."
- On January 23, 2016, at a campaign rally in Iowa, Donald Trump said, “I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose any voters,” folding his fingers into the shape of a gun.
- This week, Trump withdrew the tinyUS peacekeeping force protecting our Kurdish allies of 30 years during our wars in Iraq and against ISIS. The Turkish Armed Forces have now invaded northeastern Syria with the express mission of "demographic correction," an obvious euphemism for the genocide of our friends there. Although the benefits of the invasion for the autocracies of Turkey, Syria, and particularly Russia are evident, Trump has not defined an American benefit from invasion and even pretends to oppose the invasion he initiated. Public executions of elected Kurdish officials are underway and already hundreds of ISIS detainees are now free..
- PRO affirms without fear of credible contradiction that Donald Trump does not comprehend the meaning of justice.
- CON asserted that the classified server does not conceal any illegal activity but CON is not privy to the server's contents and so cannot support the assertion. We have the WB's statement which suggest that illegal activity is there concealed and the Intelligence community's own Inspector General has certified this accusation as credible. If CON wants VOTERS to accept that Trump's secret vault veils no skeletons then the burden of proving the server's contents is definitely on CON. PRO prefers to wait and see.
- CON countered that Trump was using the classified server to avoid information leaks but this is itself an abuse of the classification system.
"the President may classify and declassify any document he desires at any time. This is not a crime."
- Sometimes it is a crime. In fact, the same executive order that conversation.com cites as empowering executive classification, Executive Order 12356, limits the president's power to classify in a number of ways including:
Sec. 1.6 (a) In no case shall information be classified in order to conceal violations of law, inefficiency, or administrative error; to prevent embarrassment to a person, organization, or agency; to restrain competition; or to prevent or delay the release of information that does not require protection in the interest of national security.
- The president may not use the classification system for the purpose of preventing embarrassing leaks.
- The president should expect to enjoy less privacy privilege than any ordinary American while on the job.
- Obviously, there are certain secrets in the realms of espionage of military planning that the State must conceal but the president has no right to hide his protocol blunders and ignorance of policy from public judgement.
- CON is defending the concealment of information (the phone call's contents) available to Ukrainian citizens.
- VOTERS should consider whether an American president is justified in concealing any data from US citizens that is available to foreign citizens.
- PRO contends that any such imbalance places US citizens at a disadvantage, contrary to the president's job.
- The crime that makes it collusion is the solicitation: investigate Biden.
- Collusion does not require proof of quid pro quo.
- Nevertheless, quid pro quo is evident. Wikipedia defines quid pro quo as an exchange "in which one transfer is contingent upon the other; a favour for a favour."
Z: ...ready to buy more Javelins from the United States for defense purposesT: ....would like you to do us a favor though.... There's a lot of talk about Biden... find out about thatZ: ....we will take care of that and will work on the investigation of the case
- Now VOTERS must decide: do these word count as a favor for a favor?
- Irrelevant to the question of Trump's collusion.
- Trump's transcript confirms and amplifies the WB's accusation.
- A 2nd WB and at least 4 other NSC officials have reinforced WB's credibility.
- The WB's identity is a secret and CON's source is deemed of "mixed" reliability
- US law forbids "soliciting, accepting, or receiving information in connection with an election from a foreign national."
- All witnesses to the July 25 call agree that Trump solicited an investigation in connection to the 2020 election.
- All evidence agrees that Trump concealed evidence of that crime by over-classification.
- Most witnesses conspired to maintain that secret by failing to report Trump's crime to relevant authorities.
On to the conclusion.
First, I would like to bring up a few points you made.
You said the following:
“Donald Trump is a candidate running for office. Anything given to a candidate beyond personal income, certain bank loans, and small gifts counts as a campaign contribution.”
You also claimed:
We know that the contribution is campaign related because the thing of value is opposition research against Trump's leading opponent.
If Hunter Biden were not Joe Biden's son, just another well-connected investment banker on Burisma's board like Archer & Black, would Trump have made that investigation one of his two "favors" requested during his phone call to Ukraine?
The president may not use the classification system for the purpose of preventing embarrassing leaks.
- Provide specific references to instances of poor conduct which occurred in the debate
- Demonstrate how this poor conduct was either excessive, unfair, or in violation of mutually agreed upon rules of conduct pertaining to the text of the debate
- Compare each debater's conduct from the debate