Connecticut legislators U.S. Senator Chris Murphy and U.S. Congressman Jim Himes, both Democrats, commented following the release of a transcript of a July 25, 2019, phone call between President Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Murphy, a member of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, released the following statement:

“This transcript is devastating. Within moments of President Zelensky discussing the need for U.S. security aid, Trump asks him to investigate his political opponents. Throughout the call, Trump tells the Ukrainian president to coordinate with his reelection campaign. These are demands that a President of the United States simply cannot make of a foreign leader, and the transcript further underscores the urgent need to get a full, complete accounting of Trump’s abuse of his office,” said Murphy.

Yesterday, Murphy called on the U.S. House of Representatives to begin an impeachment inquiry into the president’s efforts to press a foreign nation into the service of his reelection campaign. Earlier this month, Murphy traveled to Ukraine, Serbia, Kosovo and Germany where he spoke directly with Zelesnky about this issue, his office said. Last month, Murphy blasted the administration’s decision to withhold this aid. In May, following reports that Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal attorney, was traveling to Ukraine, Murphy sent a letter to U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Jim Risch to submit an official congressional inquiry to the Trump administration about why a private citizen was traveling to Ukraine to work with a foreign government in a Trump campaign reelection effort. On Friday, he renewed that request.

Himes, who represents Connecticut’s Fourth District, which includes Wilton, released the following:

“The telephone conversation between President Trump and President Zelenskyy of Ukraine is a shocking glimpse into the mind of a President who is either unwilling or unable to distinguish between presidential action and political attack.

“As we suspected, President Trump did, in fact, request that a foreign government investigate his political opponent. The President says, ‘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. Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution so if you ·can look into it... It sounds horrible to me.’

“There is no other way to parse this call than to understand that President Trump is seeking direct aid from a foreign country to discredit and smear former Vice President Biden. This goes beyond poor judgment or an ethical lapse on the President’s part. This is premeditated, criminal behavior. It appears in the conversation after a discussion of military aid, and reeks of a proposed quid pro quo. There are reports of other conversations that took place containing similar requests that we should unearth given the nature of this conversation.

“In addition, this transcript makes it clear that President Trump uses both his personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, and Attorney General William Barr interchangeably in these matters. Not only is this a completely inappropriate muddling of the personal and political, but it directly involves the Justice Department in this ongoing scandal.

“The American people deserve to see the evidence and information that relates to this and other potential criminal behavior by the President and this administration. The foundation of our democracy is built on the idea of checks and balances so, during this impeachment inquiry, Congress must have the power to hold this President accountable without obstruction.”