President Trump’s giant, handwritten talking points about the Ukraine scandal were photographed Wednesday as he spoke to reporters on the White House lawn, providing a glimpse into the mind of a man who has to remind himself to say “no quid pro quo” and still doesn’t know how to spell the name of Ukraine’s president.
“I want nothing,” begins the note, which is not the first of Trump’s scribblings to be made public by a prying photographer. “I want nothing. I want no quid pro quo. Tell Zellensky (sic) to do the right thing. This is the final word from the Pres of the U.S.”
The first four sentences of Trump’s note are his transcription of a portion of the testimony given Wednesday by Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union. Trump read the notes on the White House lawn Wednesday and said that portion of Sondland’s testimony should end the impeachment proceedings immediately. “That means it’s all over,” Trump said.
It’s not over, though, because Trump saying to Sondland once that he wanted “no quid pro quo” does not erase all the other evidence that he did. The sentence “Tell Zelensky to do the right thing” is itself a suggestion that Ukraine investigate the Bidens and a 2016 election conspiracy theory. As Sondland testified, when he asked Trump what “do the right thing” meant, Trump said, “I want him to do what he ran on.” The implication is clear: Zelensky should launch the investigations Trump wanted, but he should do it on his own.