President Donald Trump and his defenders in conservative media have been insisting that the transcript of the phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is enough to exonerate him from accusations of high crimes and misdemeanors. Though there are a number of problems with even this contention, Washington Examiner’s Hugo Gurdon is taking it a step further and telling an outright lie about what the document says in the first place.
Appearing Monday on Fox Business’ Mornings with Maria, Gurdon said the original whistleblower complaint contained “factual errors” about Trump’s conversation with Zelensky, such as that “President Trump asked for the DNC server, which he didn't.”
In fact, Trump clearly did inquire about the Democratic National Committee’s hacked email server from 2016, which, per one of his favorite conspiracy theories, supposedly might somehow be located in Ukraine. The document itself shows that after Zelensky inquired about purchasing missile systems from the United States, Trump replied that he would like Ukraine to do “a favor … The server, they say Ukraine has it.” (Trump also discussed Zelensky cooperating with both Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani and Attorney General William Barr about investigating Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son Hunter, which has become the central part of this scandal and the impeachment inquiry.)
Furthermore, as Media Matters previously documented, the “transcript” is not exactly a transcript — its title is “Memorandum of Telephone Conversation,” and it was “not a verbatim transcript” but instead a memo made by officials who had listened in. And as Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman has reportedly testified, the document omitted key words and phrases from the call.
And a final point, worth repeating: Not only is there no evidence that Ukraine was involved in the DNC email hack in 2016, but the server doesn’t even exist as a single physical object. The DNC emails were constructed across multiple cloud-based servers, and the security firm CrowdStrike turned over forensic replicas of those virtual disk images to the FBI. But viewers tuning into Fox News — including its purported “news”-side coverage — wouldn’t learn this. Instead, they would see more and more broadcasts in which this particular conspiracy theory is taken seriously.