October 3, 2019

"The memorandum of Trump’s call with Zelensky appears remarkably different in speed and content from the full transcripts of calls between President Trump and foreign leaders..."

"The transcript of a 24-minute call with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, in which both the participants spoke English, included roughly 3,200 words, or about 133 words per minute. A 53-minute call with then-Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, in which both Trump and the Mexican president spoke through interpreters, included roughly 5,500 words, or about 102 words per minute. The White House summary of Trump’s 30-minute call with Zelensky — which included interpreters because Zelensky spoke Ukrainian while Trump spoke English — includes fewer than 2,000 words, or roughly 65 words per minute. That suggests that the rough transcript of the Zelensky call includes about half the number of words that would be expected if the call had proceeded at the same or similar pace as the previous calls."

From "Odd markings, ellipses fuel doubts about the rough transcript of Trump’s Ukraine call" (WaPo).

This attack on the transcript makes me think of something Trump said in his press conference yesterday (which I listened to, in full, twice as we drove 1,000 miles yesterday and overnight):
I thought that I would finish off the first term without the threat of people making false claims, but this one turned out to be incredible. All because they didn’t know that I had a transcript done by very, very talented people — word for word, comma for comma. Done by people that do it for a living. We had an exact transcript. And when we produced that transcript, they died.
When we produced that transcript, they died. That is, they were set to plunge into impeachment based on the whistleblower's complaint, and then Trump surprised them with the transcript. Now, they have to go forward on the transcript... unless they can delegitimatize the transcript. So, we're hearing of "odd markings," and there's a dispute about the meaning of ellipsis marks: Are there omitted words or is this the standard way to indicate an incompleted sentence, a shift midthought?

If the words per minute rate with the Ukrainian president was so much slower than with the Mexican president, it's some evidence that we're not getting all the words, but there are obviously other explanations: There might be an easier, more fluent relationship with Mexico; the Mexican president may be a much faster talker than the Ukrainian newcomer" the Spanish/English translators might work faster than the translators on the Zelensky call. What language was that? According to Wikipedia:
According to [Zelensky's wife] she and her husband grew up in an overtly and predominantly Russian-speaking environment and had no relatives who spoke Ukrainian, except for ones who used Surzhyk, a sociolect of Ukrainian and Russian.... She... told the BBC that she and her husband can freely communicate in Ukrainian, especially when he is not "influenced by stress and psychological pressure," but that her husband was still "trying to deepen his knowledge" of the Ukrainian language.
Certainly, speaking with the U.S. President would be "influenced by stress and psychological pressure," so if he were speaking Ukrainian, he might indeed have experienced some difficulty that would affect his words per minute.

I'm enjoying the minutiae of interpreting this tiny evidence about words and punctuation. It's right in my zone, the kind of thing I'm very comfortable uploading into my head and musing about. But I think I'm not typical and suspect that most Americans — unless they're hellbent on getting Trump — will view this dispute as hopelessly into the the weeds. Trump probably sees that and will call everybody out into the sunlight where we don't have to worry about that fussy nonsense which is all the Dems have after they "died" when he surprised them with the transcript.

By the way, here's the poster for "Rzhevsky Versus Napoleon," a 2012 Russian comedy movie (which, per Wikipedia, was a sequel to "Hitler goes Kaput!"). That's Volodymyr Zelensky in the role of Napoleon:



ADDED: I published this post without understanding what "odd markings" referred to. That is, even I, with an interest in picayune evidence and specifically wanting to know what were the "odd markings," wrote a post and was done with it without getting to the part that explained "odd markings." This makes me think that precious few people will get this far, but I did go back and track down the answer:
The record of the presidential call with Zelensky, which is labeled “MEMORANDUM OF TELEPHONE CONVERSATION,” was marked as having been produced by note-takers in the White House Situation Room, as is standard for calls with foreign leaders. The record, however, is unusual for lacking a tracking number that would normally indicate it had been circulated to senior subject experts and the national security adviser’s office for review and edits. Instead of a “package” number, the memo released by the White House carries a stamp saying: “PkgNumberShort.”

The document additionally carries classification markings that Situation Room staffers do not normally add when they create a word-for-word transcript, current and former officials said.

“I thought to myself, ‘This didn’t go through the normal process,’ ” said one former government official who was among several who handled these records and found the document released by the White House curious....

100 comments:

Marcus Bressler said...

Supposedly there was a translator involved. If so, and his speaking is not shown on the transcript (why would it be?), that would explain the time delay.

THEOLDMAN

BADuBois said...

Now our vigilant press is interpreting periods and ellipses.

"Democracy Dies In Typos"

daskol said...

The ellipse is the perfect punctuation mark for our times. It's a beautiful punctuation mark, and people will love it much more than dashes.

Owen said...

Makes me wonder if the whole thing was a Trump Trap: scripted to draw the Impeachers from cover onto prepared ground.

But we'll never know that, I'd guess.

readering said...

This post destined to have short shelf life.

narayanan said...

At least this is an attempt at straight-forward-journalism >>>
###we can do the math###
or have people who can do it
(numbers can lie and liars can figure)

by Sticking to material facts (leave out speculation or indicate that clearly)

narciso said...

From the other day:
http://www.margaretball.com/?m=1

Dave Begley said...

Speaking of odd markings, remind me again what the big capital letter C meant to Hillary in the documents she was circulating and she claimed not to know what it meant.

The Fake News does a deep dive on what they want, but when it comes to fake documents used to make George W. Bush into a liar, coward and a semi-draft dodger, they ignore the facts.

jim said...

Except the transcript as released shows Trump using the blocked aid to pressure the Ukrainian to dig up what Trump wants to hear on Biden.

Oh yeah, in your world that never happened, and so what.

daskol said...

Ugh, the ellipsis. I hate the ellipse.

Ambrose said...

This was inevitable. Shows how desperate the Democrats are becoming. They have to impeach - and so need to find and maintain some plausible reason.

William said...

Off topic: Does anyone know if any of Zelinsky's movies are available on Netflix or Amazon. That poster looks intriguing. Maybe metoo hasn't hit the Ukraine, and there's some nudity involved.

Karen of Texas said...

Didn't go through the normal process... Hmmm. No $hit, Sherlock. Perhaps, is it possible, could it be that the need for speed of release that Trump decided as a counterattack forestalled the "normal" process of what? Weeks while the memorandum would normally wind its way through the official Byzantine marking up process? And please, get the names of those current and former officials and of that former government official. How about a follow up? What might cause the transcript to not have a package number? What might cause staffers to add those not normal classification markings?

God, this is exhausting. And irritating af...

JPS said...

So basically the WaPo are Ukraine Call Truthers?

Mike said...

I don't have first hand knowledge of this, but I believe Russian and Ukrainian are very similar languages. If you know one it's a lower bar to learn the other.

Karen of Texas said...

Didn't go through the normal process... Hmmm. No $hit, Sherlock. Perhaps, is it possible, could it be that the need for speed of release that Trump decided as a counterattack forestalled the "normal" process of what? Weeks while the memorandum would normally wind its way through the official Byzantine marking up process? And please, get the names of those current and former officials and of that former government official. How about a follow up? What might cause the transcript to not have a package number? What might cause staffers to add those not normal classification markings?

God, this is exhausting. And irritating af...

William said...

I wonder why our press doesn't investigate Hunter Biden's business dealings with the assiduity and zeal with which they go after wpm and router markings on the Trump transcript? It's very puzzling.

Can Of Cheese for Hunter said...

Can't they simply insert Schitt's fake quotes?

Beasts of England said...

They’ve got him now!! Trump should go ahead and resign before someone coins ...gate.

Bill Peschel said...

"Back and to the left. ... Back and to the left."

Freder Frederson said...

I thought that I would finish off the first term without the threat of people making false claims, but this one turned out to be incredible. All because they didn’t know that I had a transcript done by very, very talented people — word for word, comma for comma. Done by people that do it for a living. We had an exact transcript. And when we produced that transcript, they died.

This is a big whopping lie. It doesn't even rise to the level of bullshit. The "transcript" was not a transcript, it was notes of the call, and they said so when the White House released it. To turn around now and say that it was a word for word transcript (presumably because the press mischaracterized it as a "transcript") is outrageous beyond belief.

There might indeed be a transcript, but it has not yet been released.

n.n said...

The ellipsis is a good marker to indicate a pause.

WaPo is trying to force a Watergate progression, perhaps to relive old glories, but the President resists their entreaties, which persist to soil the political environment.

chuckR said...

We sacrificed a goat and read the entrails. Based on those results, we can confidently report that .......

iowan2 said...

So?

Presidents can plot and plan all they want. Corruption starts when actions start.

Sebastian said...

"I'm enjoying the minutiae of interpreting this tiny evidence about words and punctuation."

The coup proceeds, the system burns, might as well enjoy minutiae.

So, Althouse, are you still not supporting one side over the other?

Michael K said...

WaPoo is trying their best to make this contraption fly.

Brian said...

I think they are trying to set the narrative that there is a "gap" in the transcript so they can bring John Dean and Carl Bernstein back on TV to talk about the 18-minute Nixon tape gap....

Definitely in the weeds though.

It wasn't like Trump was alone on the call. There were a LOT of people listening in and making the transcript. Do they expect all of them to be in on some sort of conspiracy?

Trump really screwed them by releasing the transcript didn't he? They were expecting to have to go to court and force him to release it.

Thomas W said...

So we're comparing with a sample of two other calls. Unless those are the only two other transcripts released what is typical? Or did the post pick the two calls with the highest English only and highest translated rate to compare?

Given the media lately it wouldn't surprise me if the choice of other calls was made to cast doubt on the Ukraine transcript.

Paul Zrimsek said...

The Real Transcript will someday take its place in the National Archives alongside the long form of Obama's birth certificate.

Freder Frederson said...

And if you don't believe me, do you believe the <a href="https://www.wsj.com/articles/white-house-to-release-transcript-of-trumps-ukraine-call-as-impeachment-efforts-begin-11569403803>WSJ?</a>:

"The five-page document, which the White House and President Trump have referred to as a transcript, isn’t verbatim and was based on voice-recognition software along with the “notes and recollections” of White House Situation Room and National Security Council officials, a senior administration official said. The call, which included translators, lasted about 30 minutes."

Jon said...

Where is Rose Mary Woods when we need her?

johns said...

This is a perfect example of where the Dems' impeachment circus is going. The only outrage they have with which to impeach Trump is this phone call. How long can the media produce headlines to shock the public? We are already in the third week, and it is still limited to "what Trump said on a phone call." This will slowly die from lack of oxygen. I'm sure that right now Schiff's staff are combing DC for any new allegations they can throw into the hearings. I bet there will be a doozy any day now

Amadeus 48 said...


1. Anti-Trump is really flailing here. What are they going to do next, produce the "real" transcript? Trump will probably counter by producing Obama's Kenyan birth certificate--from the files of the CIA.

2. After three years of this nonsense, where breathless scoop followed by breathless scoop turned out to be nothing, why would anyone give any credence to anything published by WaPoop, NYT, CNN, MSNBC, any of the major networks, or ESPN? It is a total waste of time. Their sources are making it up. Yet, some of us are afflicted by Gell-Mann amnesia and think that there must be something here or they wouldn't publish it. DON'T BE A SUCKER. The news media are anti-Trump propaganda from top to bottom and from the inside out.

3. The CIA has been worthless for years and has now become dangerous. They used to specialize in toppling regimes overseas. Now they are trying to topple the legitimately elected POTUS. If they were any good at what they do, they wouldn't have missed the impending collapse of the Soviet Union. Their incompetence has been exposed for over 30 years.

4. Two minutes spent on parsing a story like this is three minutes wasted, if you see what I mean.

Be careful, Althouse. Like you, I am not a particular fan of Trump, but this is getting dangerous. This process is headed to a bad place.

deepelemblues said...

You'd think someone in the Democratic Party would have had the sense to say, "people, the tactics we used for Russia didnt work, the tactics we used for Kavanaugh didnt work, using both for Ukraine... probably isnt going to work."

This is what they have been reduced to. Mueller is gonna reveal the damning evidence he has up his sleeve! Sitting on an allegation and polishing it up for weeks will end Kavanaugh! There is obviously damning information being kept out of the transcript! Sitting on the 'whistleblower' allegation for weeks and polishing it up will work!

Sigh.

Hagar said...

I notice AA used an ellipsis in her own comments in this post. Intentional?

That "an experienced CIA officer" would turn to Adam Schiff's committee for advice on how to fill out an "intelligence community" whistleblower form is not believable, and I consider this further evidence that this "concerned citizen" is a fabrication.

Hagar said...

Sociolect
In sociolinguistics, a sociolect is a form of language or a set of lexical items used by a socioeconomic class, a profession, an age group or other social group.
Wikipedia

Pianoman said...

@AA: "I'm enjoying the minutiae of interpreting this tiny evidence about words and punctuation. It's right in my zone, the kind of thing I'm very comfortable uploading into my head and musing about. But I think I'm not typical and suspect that most Americans — unless they're hellbent on getting Trump — will view this dispute as hopelessly into the the weeds."

Spot on, Professor. As a "Most American", I see this whole thing as a Hail Mary pass on the part of the Dems because Russia Russia Russia failed. So now they're going to parse words, and split hairs, and dissect ellipses, and act like lawyers ... because it's all they've got left.

The RussiaGate thing was something Americans COULD get their minds around. Foreign involvement in elections, tampering with ballot machines, Cold War influence in American politics, etc ... that's all stuff that we can understand. Who doesn't want to protect our elections? But THIS stuff? Definitely "into the weeds".

I can't wait to see what the House comes up with that qualifies as "High Crimes And Misdemeanors". And I hope that Yertle McConnell Turtle is preparing his artillery pieces to savage the House leadership for their crazy obsession with impeachment.

Darrell said...

Remember folks--the recollections of someone who didn't even hear the conversation first hand are better than any evidence Trump can produce. Ans remember that Deep State traitors can not possibly tamper with numbers or lie about how perfect the numbering/tracking system is. And most importantly, believe the MSM that has been caught in 37 fake news lies in the past month and a half. That was then. This is now.

Big Mike said...

ORCON (originator controlled release) and FORN (no release to non-US citizens) are pretty strong handling caveats, but one can be fairly far down the food chain and still have the ability to classify documents with those handling caveats, provided they follow guidelines. Certainly a confidential discussion between the President of the United States and a foreign head of state would receive a NOFORN caveat.

Yancey Ward said...

Trump is baiting them again, and they are just too stupid to know it. The notes themselves will be released once the media and the Democrats are at the end of the limb. Then the media will climb another tree and wander out onto the limb of "the transcribers' notes have odd markings and ellipses". Trump isn't a genius, but Trump's enemies are morons which is all the advantage he needs.

hombre said...

Maybe it appears “remarkably different” because it was different; different subject matter, different people. “Remarkably” seems a remarkable value judgment in a sample of only three.

rehajm said...

Yesterday the media were all experts in the language of diplomacy, of Trump code words and 'reading between the lines' to translate what Trumps says vs what he means.

Today the media are experts in punctuation and language cadence, and authorities on appropriate speaking time limits for multiple languages and acceptable allowances for translation, and the acceptable variation of same.

God they're stupid.

Mattman26 said...

"Sociolect" is kind of a fun word.

I guess the get-Trumpers will always be able to claim the transcript/memorandum/whatever is suspect.

This may pose a conundrum: Claim that the transcript is bogus? Or claim that the transcript, even if correct, still constitutes a crime against humanity (or whatever they're claiming)? Why bother doctoring the transcript if it still shows grave wrongdoing? Makes my head hurt.

Sydney said...

What do you suppose will happen to our country if they succeed in impeaching the president on these trumped up charges and flim-flam evidence? For the first time, I fear for the future.

M said...

It imost likely lacks a tracking number because it was released long before it would usually have started the process of being “circulated to senior subject experts and the national security adviser’s office for review and edits”.

ALL non military government generally works at the pace of your local DMV. The worker bees are mad that Trump released this before they got their clammy little hands on it. Trump yet again shows how irrelevant most civil serpents are.

mccullough said...



Zelensky says he never felt pressured by Trump.

So getting into the weeds is pointless. But the Transcript Truthers will persist.

Wait until Americans find out that the Ukranian Jim Carrey Or Jerry Lewis is now that country’s president.

jaydub said...

Remember how the pundits, press, intelligence community and opposition party parsed every word Obama uttered, investigated his every move, leaked every conversation, and always questioned his motives? Me too.

Remember how the pundits, press, intelligence community and opposition party went nuts over Obama's open mic comments to the Russian president regarding telling Putin he would have more flexibility after the 2012 election? Me too.

Remember how the pundits, press and opposition party slandered Justices Sotomayor and Kagan during their confirmation hearings based on decades old, unsubstantiated, uncorroborated and specious accusations of sexual improprieties? Me too.

Remember how after Obama was impeached and removed from office based on phoney charges there were riots, widespread civil disobedience, jury nullifications, tax strikes, and general pandemonium? Oh, wait. That was Trump not Obama.



rhhardin said...

Transcripts are edited heavily because normal speech is dysfluent, with restarts, abandonments, interruptions, all over the place. One of the mysteries of language is how hard these are to notice, unless you're trying to do a transcriptions that captures every sound. That will take an enormous number of replayings to get right, so unnoticed are they.

Leland said...

PkgNumberShort

Seems like a Word Field Code, which means it is normally auto populated by metadata.

I guess the notion is Trump has subverted WH document controllers? If he brought them to heel and they'll do his bidding; that's amazing. I've never seen document controllers bend to anybody's will.

hstad said...

Sure, go into excruciating detail on the "Transcript" but avoid Adam Schiff lying to the MSM about prior contact, before he/she filed complaint, with the "Whistle-blower" - LOL. This entire process is collapsing on top of the Democrats.

hombre said...

Are we to pretend now that Trump has anyone loyal enough to doctor the transcript without leaking to the media?

gadfly said...

Has a full word-for-word transcript of the July 25th call been published? I don't think so - so Trump lies one more time! All we have is the White House summary which clearly shows Trump's words and his attempt to get Ukrainian help by exchanging U.S. military aid for false information about Joe Biden.

Note that Trump omitted that he deliberately restricted the published content of the the call while essentially declassifying its entire content.

If once is not enough, today he publicly, through the press and not involving a whistleblower, asked China to investigate Biden. “China should start an investigation into the Bidens . . . .” That adds yet another item for the impeachment document.

Jersey Fled said...

Strange that the words per minute in the Trump conversations revel so much, but the download speeds as relate to the supposed Russian hacking of the DNC revel so little.

narciso said...

The kurt volker deposition is another nothingburger.

roesch/voltaire said...

He let slip that there is a word for word somewhere, but the public has not seen it. And now he adds more fuel to the fire of his asking for help in investigating Biden. Bonfires of vanity anyone?

JaimeRoberto said...

If I'm reading that poster right, the movie also stars Jean Claude van Damm.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Why are there less words per minute in the Ukrainian call and more in the Mexican call?

This is a really stupid point to dwell on. LOTS OF REASONS.

Here are some reasons (some serious and some just as stupid as the question)

Mexican people talk really fast. Ever overheard a conversation in a supermarket. FAST talkers.

Eastern European words are longer and have way more consonants to pronounce.

Maybe the Mexican speakers are more glib. Maybe the Ukrainian speakers are just forking slower speakers and take time to think between questions and answer.

Maybe they breathed between words. Or were eating goulash or something.

Probably the Mexican speakers already know some English and are more fluent so they don't have to do the mental gymnastics to translate.

Who speaks Ukrainian anyway!>!>!?

Francisco D said...

The "transcript" was not a transcript, it was notes of the call, and they said so when the White House released it. To turn around now and say that it was a word for word transcript (presumably because the press mischaracterized it as a "transcript") is outrageous beyond belief.

Freder,

For a variety of reasons Presidents do not tape their calls with foreign leaders. If they did, who would want to talk on the record? This is not something Trump started. It probably goes back 40 years.

They have four (usually) CIA analysts take notes and then write up a summary that all agree on. It is NOT a word-for-word transcript and everyone involved in the process or knowledgable knows that. There is no deception here, just ignorance on the part of the MSM/DNC complex.

Dr Weevil said...

Another factor to consider is that some languages are wordier than others, even when expressing the very same meaning. If you translated some clearly-expressed non-metaphorical English prose into Spanish and Ukrainian, the Spanish version would naturally have at least 10% more words than the Ukrainian, for two reasons: 1. Ukrainian has no definite article, so any 'a' or 'an' or 'the' in the English would survive as 'el' or 'la' or 'las' or 'una' or whatever in Spanish, and be omitted in the Ukrainian version. (Yes, English and Spanish differ in where an article is or not needed, but both have lots of them, and Ukrainian has none.) Russian also lakes articles: hence the stereotypical humorous Russian accent of a Mr. Chekhov or Boris and Natasha omits articles. (Googled example: "BORIS: Now, here is plan...(whispering)Pogarogapogadogapogarogapogadoga... NATASHA: I can't hear word you say, darlink! Speak up!") 2. Ukrainian, like Latin and German, and unlike English and Spanish, still has noun cases. If you have a locative case, 'at Rome' or 'in Kiev' or 'on the ground' is one word; if not, you have to add a preposition and maybe an article. If you have a genitive case or a reasonable substitute like English apostrophe-S, 'Ivan's house' or 'John's house' is two words; if not, you have to say 'casa de Juan'. And so on. To sum up, Spanish naturally uses a lot more words than Ukrainian to transmit the same amount of information. (More syllables? Maybe not! That's a whole 'nother question.)

FullMoon said...

This is great.
"Sources familiar with the matter and speaking off the record because they fear for their safety, say Trump and Zelensky spent several minutes laughing about how Trump was going to "fuck with Schiff and Pelosi" by making this call

Zelensky, a professional comedian apparently was in on it and had many weakly humorous unflattering things to say about the American democratic party in general and Mr. Schiff in particular and their "bullshit".

Trump took Zelensky's cue and repeated the vulgarity in a recent tweet".

The missing part of the transcript contains evidence of comedic collusion"

Ann Althouse said...

"If I'm reading that poster right, the movie also stars Jean Claude van Damm."

He plays himself, presumably in a cameo role. Wikipedia says he did the role for nothing — just expenses paid.

Ann Althouse said...

I think we need to explore the Trump/Jean Claude van Damme connection!

I'm seeing this, describing a scene in 1997:

"We hadn't been airborne long when Trump decided to watch a movie. He'd brought along 'Michael,' a recent release, but twenty minutes after popping it into the VCR he got bored and switched to an old favorite, a Jean Claude Van Damme slugfest called 'Bloodsport,' which he pronounced 'an incredible, fantastic movie.' By assigning to his son the task of fast-forwarding through all the plot exposition—Trump's goal being 'to get this two-hour movie down to forty-five minutes'—he eliminated any lulls between the nose hammering, kidney tenderizing, and shin whacking."

MayBee said...

I have a feeling this transcript is different than normal in much the way were told it was never acceptable for the president to speak alone with the FBI Director.

Ann Althouse said...

More from the link in my 1:01 comment:

"When a beefy bad guy who was about to squish a normal-sized good guy received a crippling blow to the scrotum, I laughed. 'Admit it, you're laughing!' Trump shouted. 'You want to write that Donald Trump was loving this ridiculous Jean Claude Van Damme movie, but are you willing to put in there that you were loving it, too?'"

Freder Frederson said...

They have four (usually) CIA analysts take notes and then write up a summary that all agree on. It is NOT a word-for-word transcript and everyone involved in the process or knowledgable knows that. There is no deception here, just ignorance on the part of the MSM/DNC complex.

My point exactly.

Do I need to point out once again what the president claimed?

"All because they didn’t know that I had a transcript done by very, very talented people — word for word, comma for comma."

Mike Sylwester said...

Democracy Dies in Darkness!

chuck said...

The Democrats opening with the Nixon gambit, Rose Mary Woods to e4. I predict that they will not be able to control the center.

Bruce Hayden said...

“That "an experienced CIA officer" would turn to Adam Schiff's committee for advice on how to fill out an "intelligence community" whistleblower form is not believable, and I consider this further evidence that this "concerned citizen" is a fabrication.“

As has been pointed out elsewhere, the complaint doesn’t look like a real whistleblower complaint, because it looks like it was written by lawyers. Lawyers very likely working on Pencil Neck’s staff. It very much looks like an attempted setup by Schiff. Except that Trump got inside his OODA loop. And I expect that most military strategists would not counsel forging ahead in such a situation, but instead regrouping. Schiff and the Democrats are apparently forging ahead, with surprise lost, and their plans exposed.

Yancey Ward said...

Freder, you are dumber than your usual 85 IQ.

All Trump is doing is describing the actual process used on such phone calls- the only thing he can be accused of is believing it really is "word for word, comma for comma"- it may or it may not be, and we will never actually know since even the transcribers couldn't tell you if you questioned them for hours under oath. With four note takers who do this as a major part of their jobs, I would imagine that the transcript probably doesn't differ from the actual conversation by more than 5 or 10%. It almost certainly captures the subjects and verbs of every single topic discussed.

And what is my evidence- it perfectly captured the way Trump actually talks- including all the changes of direction and odd train of thought idiosyncrasies. You can't do that unless you took really notes of the conversation itself, and I think when we see the notes it will completely confirm that the notetakers didn't miss anything, and didn't leave anything out. If they had, it would have been leaked by now.

Bushman of the Kohlrabi said...

Sorry Dems.

The transcript is from an anonymously leaked conversation provided as hearsay to a whistleblower that can't be identified and must be protected. It can't be questioned and must be accepted.



wildswan said...

Probably the final archival form of a Presidential-call translation is checked for accuracy and perhaps altered in minor ways for clarity. But it seems that the President released the earliest version of the call, not the archival form. And he is being criticized because this early version lacks marks showing that it had been through many hands whereas if he had given the Dems the later version then they would have said it was edited. In fact, I bet that the Dems were counting on Trump releasing this call only after a struggle in court; and then when the Dems got the archival transcript, someone would circulate rumors of an earlier transcript with different wording as evidence of "editing"; and then Dems would produce an earlier transcript which would prove slight translation edits had been made; and then the Dems would say these slight changes pointed toward other more sinister edits, implying that evil minions and varlets wiped or changed important parts while Trump delayed in court.

But Trump quickly released the earliest version and BLAM. But the Dems could not spin on a dime and change or drop their attack because they've got stupid people like Schiff and Nadler and AOC running the impeachment. So now Pelosi and the 2018 House Dems are being dragged by the impeachment car with Mad Maxine at the wheel. When will she hear their screams?

Yancey Ward said...

Wildswan at 1:47 PM,

Yes, that was probably a plan.

Hagar said...

"Whistleblower" is about a "concerned citizen" speaking up from the inside.
This attack comes from the outside.

Bruce Hayden said...

Do I need to point out once again what the president claimed?

"All because they didn’t know that I had a transcript done by very, very talented people — word for word, comma for comma."


This, I think well illustrates one of the differences between right and left here. Bill Clinton famously split legal hairs on the definitions of “is” and “sexual relations”. He did this to show that he wasn’t really lying when he swore that he hadn’t had sexual relations with Lewinsky. Sure, she had given him multiple blowjobs, and he had inserted his cigar where it didn’t belong. But he hadn’t actually had sexual intercourse with her, and hence his claim that he hadn’t had sexual relations with her, in his lawyer’s mind. This isn’t limited solely to the Clintons, though they do do it a lot. Nor with just Dem politicians though it seems much more tolerated with them than that with their Republican brethren. Politicians are mostly inveterate liars and this is one of their favorite ways to get away with it - by lawyerly close parsing of what they said to show that they didn’t technically say what everyone heard them say. And this is part of why everyone hates politicians, and lawyers are not much better loved.

Trump is the opposite - he may not be technically accurate all te time, and there is often a bit of hyperbole and bragado in his speech. He was called a liar for claiming that Trump Towers had bee wiretapped. And technically, literally, it hadn’t been, since it had not been done by placing electrical taps on the tip and ring wires from each telephone. But he was figuratively correct - the FBI had electronically intercepted a number of calls to and from Trump Towers.

That is what is going on here - Freder, the Dems, etc, are playing this literally false game where Trump is most often figuratively correct, but may have embellished things a bit in what he said. Ultimately I expect that when all of the Freders and Schiffs are worked up enough over this, Trump will release the (probably) four simultaneous transcriptions, and the Dems are going to, again, be left sputtering, this time over the misplacement of the commas. Etc. And he will lead much of the country in laughing at them.

daskol said...

The laughing at them part is the best part. Trump the crazy mofo is having fun with this, and it's actually pretty infectious: lots of people are laughing at Schiff for failing to change course when Trump dropped the call notes, and at Pelosi for letting Team TDS lead her into this impeachment process that is going to batter the hell out of her and possibly cost her majority in the House.

Freder Frederson said...

He was called a liar for claiming that Trump Towers had bee wiretapped.

No, he claimed he had been wiretapped. Which was and still is a lie. Trump Tower has many tenants, including Saudi Arabia, which owns an entire floor. I would be amazed if the building has not been wiretapped numerous time.

Bruce Hayden said...

“In fact, I bet that the Dems were counting on Trump releasing this call only after a struggle in court; and then when the Dems got the archival transcript, someone would circulate rumors of an earlier transcript with different wording as evidence of "editing"; and then Dems would produce an earlier transcript which would prove slight translation edits had been made; and then the Dems would say these slight changes pointed toward other more sinister edits, implying that evil minions and varlets wiped or changed important parts while Trump delayed in court. ”

If you want to see this sort of thing playing out right now, look at the criminal case against Gen Flynn. The defense is demanding the original 302s memorializing McCabe’s perjury trap of Flynn in the White House. 302s are often admissible as evidence, if prepared promptly, while the conversation was fresh in the minds of those preparing. (This is why Comey had a secure laptop in a FBI car ready for him when he left the WH after meeting with Trump). Instead of providing the original 302s, the prosecutors only provided the defense with the versions modified weeks later and personally approved by DD McCade, who had set up the perjury trap in the first place. It’s not like they can’t provide the originals, and all the changes - they can because the system that controls 302s tracks this thoroughly. They just won’t, very likely because the originals weren’t as incriminating, and maybe a bit exonerating. Likely a clear Brady violation, but so what? - the Mueller prosecutors were famous for getting away with this sort of thing.

Jim at said...

Except the transcript as released shows Trump using the blocked aid to pressure the Ukrainian to dig up what Trump wants to hear on Biden.

No. It doesn't.

Stop lying.

Matt said...

FFS... The Mexican president was bilingual. He'd need his translator much less. Even if he waited for the translator to finish, he'd still be formulating a response earlier.

It took less than a minute to learn that he was bilingual. (He even briefly attended school in Maine specifically to improve his English.) Our media sucks.

Francisco D said...

No, he claimed he had been wiretapped. Which was and still is a lie. Trump Tower has many tenants, including Saudi Arabia, which owns an entire floor. I would be amazed if the building has not been wiretapped numerous time.

Freder isn't just a liar, he is a purveyor of Tonypandy.

Look it up.

Ken B said...

So far then, nothing. Complaints by unnamed people who do not have a base of reference that something must be different. Bupkis. Why for example would an unredacted transcript be circulated to non participants for correction? But the complaint is there is no sign it was circulated for correction! And soon.

Ken B said...

Since we are parsing, a point of grammar. The word transcript predates recorded sound. It is not correct then to insist a recording exist in order to call something a transcript. A transcription made live is as much a transcript as one made from a tape. This was made live by four independent and trained experts. It is properly described as a transcript of the call.

Hardin made a good point above, about transcribing speech. Worth scrolling back to read.

Ken B said...

Francisco D
He is selling a town in Wales?

rhhardin said...

I can copy 50wpm morse code but not 60wpm, doing an experiment with an .mp3 player. The limit may be an artifact of the .mp3 format though (hard to see how there could be that much difference for that little speed increas).

Limit presidential calls to morse code like the old days. Barry Goldwater knew morse.

Kevin said...

Shorter WAPO: Oh Fuck ... this can't be right!

That's the ellipsis that really matters.

Hagar said...

If they do not have the "whistleblower" testimony on C-Span, he does not exist.

Francisco D said...

He is selling a town in Wales?

Tonypandy alludes to a totally made up "massacre" used to debase Winston Churchill.

The term comes from Josephine Tey The Daughter of Time. She uses her fictional detective to debunk Tudor propaganda that cast Richard III as an evil, murdering hunchback. It uses original writing from the 15th and 16th Century. It was written in the early 50's and caused many historians to revise their thinking.

What the Media/Democrats are doing to Trump today is no different than what Henry VII did to Richard III.

Mary Beth said...

They are both funny men. Maybe there was a lot of time out for laughing.

tim in vermont said...

"Except the transcript as released shows Trump using the blocked aid to pressure the Ukrainian to dig up what Trump wants to hear on Biden.”

Even the troll bots know they have nothing. That is pathetic.


"She uses her fictional detective to debunk Tudor propaganda that cast Richard III as an evil, murdering hunchback. “

You do know that they found Richard III’s body buried under a car park, and he was a hunchback, right?

tim in vermont said...

George Bernard Shaw could have transcribed the convo in shorthand with accents! He wrote all of his plays in shorthand. He had a little Henry Higgins in him.

tim in vermont said...

"No, he claimed he had been wiretapped. Which was and still is a lie.”

Yes, it was a lie. They didn’t “wiretap” Trump Tower, they wiretapped the circuits on which he was speaking and leaked transcriptions of his conversations to the WaPo and New York Times.

Nowadays they used optical taps and high capacity probes back at the NOC for this kind of thing. They can record dozens of calls at the same time on the same server, or could when I retired, I am sure now they may just record every single conversation and slog through them later if they become interested. Nobody climbs telephone poles with alligator clips anymore.

Francisco D said...

You do know that they found Richard III’s body buried under a car park, and he was a hunchback, right?

Do you have a link? It may depend on the use of the term "hunchback."

My understanding is that he had one shoulder lower than the other, but definitely not a hunchback. He was an excellent swordsman and military campaigner with plenty of time in the saddle - hard to do with a hunched back.

Michael K said...

I would be amazed if the building has not been wiretapped numerous time.

Poor Freder is constantly amazed.

Michael K said...

Trump will release the (probably) four simultaneous transcriptions, and the Dems are going to, again, be left sputtering, this time over the misplacement of the commas. Etc. And he will lead much of the country in laughing at them.?

It's what he does and, like Charlie Brown, they always fall for it. I think that a month or less before the election, when , finally, all the Democrats have is his tax returns, he'll release them. When MadCow got a 1995 leaked return, she waved it around until she saw that he had paid $25 million in income tax.

tim in vermont said...

"Richard III was portrayed as deformed by some Tudor historians and indeed the skeleton's spine is badly curved, a condition known as scoliosis.”

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-leicestershire-21063882

Interestingly, there is a Welsh poet who describes his death at the hand of some local lord as having his skull peeled by a sword or an ax, I don’t remember, which matches with what they found. He also had a sword rammed up his... like they did Qadaffy with an AK 47, either that or they used Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize.

Big Mike said...

Correction to my comment at 11:38. The caveat is NOFORN -- no foreign dissemination.

Drago said...

Freder: "No, he claimed he had been wiretapped. Which was and still is a lie. Trump Tower has many tenants, including Saudi Arabia, which owns an entire floor. I would be amazed if the building has not been wiretapped numerous time."

LOL

What a stew of non sequitors on top of mendaciously mendacious mendacity!

Bruce Hayden said...

“ORCON (originator controlled release) and [NO]FORN (no release to non-US citizens) are pretty strong handling caveats, but one can be fairly far down the food chain and still have the ability to classify documents with those handling caveats, provided they follow guidelines. Certainly a confidential discussion between the President of the United States and a foreign head of state would receive a NOFORN caveat.”

Not having worked in this area, what is the effect of ORCON marking on a transcript of a Presidential phone conversation? He would seem to be the originator, wouldn’t he?

Ralph L said...

The caveat is NOFORN -- no foreign dissemination.

NO FOReign Nationals was what I was told in the 80's, meaning you were right the first time.

MB said...

Bidengate is the key to impeaching Trump.