'A classic mob shakedown': Lawmakers react to summary of Trump's Ukraine call

Image: Elizabeth Warren, U.S. Senator and Democratic presidential hopeful,
Elizabeth Warren, U.S. Senator and Democratic presidential hopeful, speaks at the Polk County Democrat's Steak Fry in Des Moines, Iowa on Sept. 21, 2019. Copyright Elijah Nouvelage Reuters
By Dareh Gregorian with NBC News Politics
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Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a leading Democratic presidential candidate, called the memo "a smoking gun."


The newly-released summary of President Donald Trump's now-infamous July call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy swept through Washington and the 2020 trail on Wednesday, bolstering Democrats' calls for impeachment and eliciting defensive outrage from some Republicans.

Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif, tweeted that "The transcript of the call reads like a classic mob shakedown: - We do a lot for Ukraine - There's not much reciprocity - I have a favor to ask - Investigate my opponent - My people will be in touch Nice country you got there. It would be a shame if something happened to her."

A description of the call, released earlier on Wednesday morning, shows Trump asking the Ukrainian leader to "look into" why an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden's son, Hunter Biden, ended. The transcript came a day after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced a formal impeachment inquiry in response to reports that Trump tried to pressure the Ukrainian leader to investigate Biden's son.

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a leading Democratic presidential candidate, tweeted, "This "transcript" itself is a smoking gun. If this is the version of events the president's team thinks is most favorable, he is in very deep jeopardy. We need to see the full whistleblower complaint and the administration needs to follow the law. Now."

The July call was thrust into the spotlight following a whistleblower complaint by a member of the U.S. intelligence community that New York Times and other outlets said was tied to the call. The complaint has been the subject of a weeks-long standoff between Congress and the White House. NBC News has not confirmed that Ukraine is at the center of the whistleblower issue.

Congressional Republicans were far less critical of the president.

"Wow. Impeachment over this? What a nothing (non-quid pro quo) burger," Trump ally and Senate Judiciary head Lindsey Graham tweeted shortly after summary was made public, adding that Democrats have "lost their minds."

Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa also brushed off Wednesday's news.

"I've read the transcript in its entirety," he said in a statement. "It shows that there was no quid pro quo. The Ukrainian President admitted problems with corruption in the country and agreed that the issue at hand warranted looking into further."

Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah, however, sounded a note of concern, telling NBC News that he found the call summary "troubling in the extreme, deeply troubling."

Asked if he supported the impeachment proceedings, the former Republican presidential nominee said he wouldn't give advice to Pelosi, but noted that the Senate was continuing to look into the whistleblower complaint.

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