As the Senate impeachment trial for Donald Trump began on Thursday, the president broke a several-hour silence on Twitter to claim: “I JUST GOT IMPEACHED FOR MAKING A PERFECT PHONE CALL!”
That is false. For one, the House of Representatives impeached the president in December of last year, so it didn’t “just” happen.
Additionally, the July 25, 2019 phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky could be described in multiple ways, but “perfect” is not one of them. Trump asked Zelensky to “do us a favor” — in other words, investigate his political rival Joe Biden, Biden’s son Hunter, and a debunked conspiracy theory about Ukrainian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election — while his associates held up military aid and a visit to the White House as incentives for Zelensky to comply.
Because of Trump’s asks during that phone call, the two articles of impeachment against him claim that he “abused the powers of the presidency by ignoring and injuring national security and other vital national interests to obtain an improper personal political benefit.”
The articles declare that Trump “also betrayed the nation by abusing his office to enlist a foreign power in corrupting democratic elections” and “engaged in ‘unprecedented, categorical and indiscriminate defiance’ that harmed the House’s constitutional rights.”
So, yeah, not a “perfect” call. Trump’s tweet obviously sent social media into a tailspin. Here’s a smattering of the commentary: