MSNBC Guest Outlines 'Five Potentially Impeachable Offenses' From Trump's Ukraine Call Transcript

While President Donald Trump and his supporters have argued that the reconstructed transcript of his Ukraine phone call shows no wrongdoing, one MSNBC guest said there are at least five impeachable offenses highlighted in the document.

Benjamin Wittes, a senior fellow in Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution, appeared on MSNBC's Morning Joe on Thursday to discuss Trump's controversial phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

"There are Republicans, there are Trump pundits going on television to say there is nothing to see here—literally nothing. With a legal eye, is there nothing to see here?" co-host Mike Brzezinski asked.

"In one sentence, five potentially impeachable offenses within that document or at least things that Congress would want to think about in that context," Wittes told the panel of guests. He went on to list Trump's alleged misconduct.

Wittes argued that in the conversation, Trump threatened to misuse congressionally-appropriated funds to extort a foreign leader into interfering in the U.S. electoral process by digging up dirt on former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter.

"I would say that there is something to see here," Wittes concluded.

The White House released a rough transcript of Trump's call with Zelensky, which took place on July 25. The conversation was the focus of a whistleblower complaint filed by an official in the intelligence community who was troubled by Trump's "promise" to the foreign leader.

declassified transcript trump ukraine phone call
The declassified phone transcript, released by the White House, of a conversation between US President Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy from July 25, 2019, is seen in this photo illustration in Washington, D.C. on September 25, 2019. The White House released a call transcript Wednesday confirming Donald Trump asked his Ukrainian counterpart to probe his political rival Joe Biden just one day after Democrats seized on the explosive allegation to launch an impeachment process. Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP/Getty Images

The document released by the Trump administration does show that there was no explicit "quid pro quo" between Trump and Zelensky for dirt on Biden. But it's also not exactly the total exoneration that Trump and his allies say it is.

Trump does tell Zelensky twice that the United States has been "very, very good to Ukraine" before asking the foreign leader to "do us a favor." Then, the president encouraged Zelensky to open an investigation into Biden and his son even though Ukraine's top prosecutor said earlier this year there was no evidence of wrongdoing from the Bidens.

"There's a lot of talk about Biden's son, that Biden stopped the prosecution, and a lot of people want to find out about that so whatever you can do with the Attorney General would be great. ... It sounds horrible to me," the document reads.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who on Tuesday launched a formal impeachment inquiry, said in a statement on Wednesday that the rough transcript of the Ukraine phone call "proves that Trump "has tried to make lawlessness a virtue in America and now is exporting it abroad."