Please Let Trump’s “Fireside Chat” Happen

Andrew Harrer/ZUMA

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President Donald Trump has tweeted seven times in the past month that Americans should “READ THE TRANSCRIPT!

It’s an odd demand considering many people did, in fact, read the White House’s reconstruction of his now-infamous July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, and it was widely viewed as highly damaging for the president. The document also featured several curious ellipses, which a top Ukraine expert with firsthand knowledge of the conversation told investigators this week marked the omission of key details related to Trump’s demands for an investigation into his political enemies. According to the New York Timesthat revelation didn’t “fundamentally change lawmakers’ understanding of the call,” but it does further undermine Trump’s insistence that the document somehow exonerates him.

Still, “read the transcript” has emerged as Trump’s go-to, shorthand defense, a kind of catchall rejoinder against impeachment. Now, with allegations of multiple quid pro quos piling up, “read the transcript” appears ready for primetime. Trump told the Washington Examiner on Thursday:

“This is over a phone call that is a good call. At some point, I’m going to sit down, perhaps as a fireside chat on live television, and I will read the transcript of the call because people have to hear it.

“When you read it, it’s a straight call.”

In the same interview, Trump floated the idea of selling t-shirts emblazoned with the line. 

I personally endorse the roaring, fireside chat. I just ask that Trump wears the t-shirt when he does it.

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REAL QUICK, REAL URGENT

Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

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