A Republican defense of U.S.President Donald Trump is to read the transcript of his controversial July 2019 call.
Trump had called newly elected Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky with, among other things, a request to investigate corruption. The specific alleged corruption that interested President Trump concerned Democratic candidate and rival Joe Biden.
There is no audio recording of this call, the standard approach to the phone calls of all presidents. What the public record shows, though, is a call record, also called a readout or memorandum record, assembled by those who were authorized to listen in on the President’s conversation. Listeners composed it from memory and notes they took. The result was then circulated among the listeners to elicit suggested changes or additions.
This readout is not a transcript. A transcript is a word-for-word copy of the original conversation. What the White House has and released is a rough reconstruction of part of the Trump-Zelensky call.
So proclaiming “Read the transcript!” is baying at the moon.