When House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) did his “parody” reading in September of the phone call between President Trump and Ukrainian President Zelensky, he just flat out made up things that weren’t said in the transcript. But outside of one or two exceptions, the mainstream media didn’t rush to fact check Schiff.
The more important story for them at the time was the “Republican reaction” because of course it was.
Fast forward a few months later and here we are discussing the articles of impeachment, which House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) announced last week. During the course of this week’s debate, Trump took to the Twitter machine to accuse Democratic Reps. Veronica Escobar (TX) and Sheila Jackson Lee (TX) of “purposely misquot[ing]” what he said to Zelensky during the July phone call:
Dems Veronica Escobar and Jackson Lee purposely misquoted my call. I said I want you to do us (our Country!) a favor, not me a favor. They know that but decided to LIE in order to make a fraudulent point! Very sad.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 12, 2019
Because everything is stupid, Escobar responded back to him during the hearing by suggesting there is no difference between “me” and “us” as it relates to the conversation he had with Zelensky:
Later in the hearing, she hit back again, calling it irrelevant whether Trump asked Ukraine to do a favor for him or for the United States, because the “favor” only helped him, personally.
We’ll get back to that ridiculous “point” in a minute.
But first, let’s note for the record how CNN actually went into “facts first” mode for a change in a small piece they wrote acknowledging that Escobar and Jackson Lee did indeed “misquote” Trump (although “misquote” is really being charitable here):
Facts First: Trump is correct that the call was misquoted during today’s debate over the articles of impeachment in the House Judiciary committee.
In the declassified memo of the July 25 phone call between Trump and President Zelensky, the President says, “I would like you to do us a favor though because our country has been through a lot.”
During the debate over impeachment articles, Rep. Escobar, using an analogy to stress the alleged problem in Trump’s phone call with Zelensky, said “I want you to do me a favor though.” This quote replaces the word “us” found in the memo on the call, with the word “me.”
Rep. Jackson, when quoting the memo of the call, said that the quote was “I would like you to do a favor though” — removing “us” from the quote.
Just for reference, here’s the portion of the transcript where the “favor” was mentioned:
Trump: I would like you to do us a favor though because our country has been through a lot and Ukraine knows a lot about it. I would like you to find out what happened with this whole situation with Ukraine, they say Crowdstrike… I guess you have one of your wealthy people… The server, they say Ukraine has it. There are a lot of things that went on, the whole situation. I think you’re surrounding yourself with some of the same people. I would like to have the Attorney General call you or your people and I would like you to get to the bottom of it.
Escobar’s and Jackson Lee’s changing and omission of key words from the call transcript was absolutely deliberate (much in the same way Schiff’s parody reading was), because investigating election interference is very much in the national interest, which Democrats pretended to believe for three years until Trump asked the Ukrainian president to look into it for “us”, which had the potential to implicate Hillary Clinton and the DNC.
Though it’s nice that CNN paused for a second to commit actual journalism by way of their fact check, they left out the “why” of how the word “us” matters in this discussion. I’m happy to provide the context that they conveniently left out.
(Hat tip: Bronson Stocking at Townhall)