WH accidentally sent Ukraine talking points to Democrats

Administration asked lawmakers to send points back

By Jim Acosta and Veronica Stracqualursi, CNN
Copyright 2019 CNN

President Donald Trump

(CNN) - The White House accidentally emailed House Democrats a list of talking points Wednesday that were intended for Trump administration allies in response to the Ukraine scandal -- and then asked Democrats to send them back.

The mishap adds another surreal layer to Wednesday's swirl of events. A White House transcript of a July phone call between President Donald Trump and Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky reveals Trump's efforts to pressure his Ukrainian counterpart to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter, further ratcheting up talk among Democrats to conduct an impeachment investigation.

"The transcript clearly shows there was no quid pro quo or anything else inappropriate about the conversation between President Trump and President (Volodymr) Zelenskyy," one of the talking points says. Although the transcript doesn't explicitly tie military aid to his expressed desire for an investigation into Biden, he does tell Zelensky, "I would like you to do us a favor."

The White House's talking points also include that Trump's phone call was "entirely proper" and that the "real scandal" is that leaks about Trump's phone call with a foreign leader had led to "false accusations" and "forced the President to release the transcript."

Democratic Reps. Anthony Brown and Bill Pascrell, whose offices received the email, both shared the talking points on Twitter.

The White House transcript released Wednesday shows that Trump repeatedly pushed for Zelensky to investigate Biden, and his son, Hunter, during a July 25 phone call. The President also asked the Ukrainian leader to work with his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, and US Attorney General William Barr on the issue, the call memo shows. There has been no evidence of wrongdoing by either Joe or Hunter Biden.

Raising more questions about the President's intentions, The Washington Post first reported on Monday that Trump had directed his acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney to freeze nearly $400 million of US military and security aid to Ukraine in the days before he spoke with Zelensky. Trump admitted that he did delay aid to Ukraine, but claimed that it was unrelated to Biden.

Ahead of the transcript release, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced Tuesday a formal impeachment inquiry into the President -- a dramatic and historic move as Trump faced outrage over the reports that he pressured a foreign leader in an effort to target a political rival.

CNN's Daniel Dale contributed to this report.

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