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Jeffrey Toobin Shocked By White House Document: 'Quid Pro Quo Is Not In Code'

The CNN legal analyst is incredulous that Trump's released notes from his phone call with Zelensky are as damning as they are. "The quid pro quo is explicit" in these notes.
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CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin is all of us.

We are incredulous about how bad the released Memorandum of Conversation between Trump and Ukraine's president Zelensky really, really is. Truly, if this is the released version, the one he thought would exonerate him and make him look innocent, can you just imagine how bad the original, unedited, actual conversation was? We don't have anything but past history to indicate that the Memo of Conversation was manipulated or altered to change or omit significant items, but hey. History, man. It's powerful. Does anyone think this guy suddenly developed ethics?

For any Republican feigning confusion or attempting diversion about the critical matter at hand, Toobin has the answer for you. It just so happens, a "quid pro quo" does not have to have occurred on the phone call for the president to have broken the law and shredded whatever was left of our foreign policy integrity and security. Simply asking a foreign power to investigate one's own political rival is a crime. BUT...it DID happen, that little quid pro quo thing.

Here's Kate Bolduan reading from the memo notes of the conversation, and Toobin's reaction.

BOLDUAN: "I will have to say we do a lot for Ukraine, we spend a lot of effort, we spend a lot of effort and a lot of time, much more than the European countries are doing and they should be helping more. I wouldn't say it is reciprocal necessarily because things are happening that are not good, but the United States has been very, very good to Ukraine." What is your take here?

TOOBIN: First of all, let's be clear that quid pro quo is not necessary for this phone call to be wildly inappropriate and potentially impeachable.

BOLDUAN: Okay.

TOOBIN: The very notion of asking a foreign leader for dirt on a political opponent, independent of the issue of quid pro quo is troubling to many, many people. But there is also enormous evidence that there was a quid pro quo. If you read this transcript in its entirety, you know, I have been speaking English since I was a little boy. I know all of the words in English.


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BOLDUAN: You know lots of words.

TOOBIN: When someone says, "i want you to do me a favor," that means, I want you to do me a favor. That means I want you to DO something for me. What he is asking for is political -- is dirt on Joe Biden. That's what he is asking for. as Kaitlan pointed out earlier, he raises that at the precise moment after Zelensky raises the issue of we need money for our defense. Money, favor. Quid pro quo.

[...]

BOLDUAN: If the ask happens, and what the ask was does not occur, right? If he asked Ukraine, Ukraine doesn't investigate, doesn't provide the thing of value, then, in return, is that still a problem?

TOOBIN: It is a bit -- remember, this call is only July. This is happening in real-time. The problem for Donald Trump is that he got caught ... And Donald Trump's problem is that he got caught, and THAT'S why this is stopping.

BOLDUAN: Okay.

TOOBIN: If he hadn't gotten caught, who knows what would have happened?

Who knows, indeed? After all, as someone notes in the above clip, Trump had a cute little meeting scheduled with Ukraine's President Zelensky TODAY. Does anyone really wonder what the content of that discussion would have entailed? Whether there would be accurate notes taken, if any at all?

Jeffrey Toobin and Kaitlan Collins don't. Earlier in the morning, the two were on Poppy Harlow's show discussing the phone call.

COLLINS: He brings it up here and says, quote, the server, they say Ukraine has it.You see starting early on, on page 3 after essentially they've gotten through the greetings, that the president is bringing up Hillary Clinton, her e-mails, the DNC, the election interference and the conspiracy theory he has promoted that the DNC was hiding something not over the Russians interfering in the election.

TOOBIN: Kaitlan is clearly right that a lot of times the president speaks in code. This is not in code. This is explicit. I mean this is not...something you have to -- you know, "I would like you to do a favor." The favor is investigate Democrats. That's the favor. It is not, "Help the national interest." It is not, "Help our geopolitical situation." It has nothing to do with that. The only thing he wants from the president of Ukraine is dirt on Democrats....That's all....The only request here....It is not in code. It is explicit.

Jeffrey Toobin does indeed know all the words. So do we, and they're not all fit for broadcasting on TV.

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