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Adam Schiff says the Ukraine transcript shows a 'classic mafia-like shakedown'

House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) is breaking out the mafia comparisons over President Trump's Ukraine call.

Schiff spoke Wednesday after the release of the memorandum of Trump's phone conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, during which he pushes for an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden.

The rough transcript, Schiff said, was actually "far more damning than I or many others had imagined," with the Democrat expressing surprise that the White House thought it would help Trump's case.

"What those notes reflect is a classic mafia-like shakedown of a foreign leader," Schiff said.

Schiff noted that Trump on the call brought up wanting a "favor" from Ukraine after Zelensky brings up military aid. He was initially referring to an investigation into the 2016 Democratic National Committee hack, later bringing up wanting an investigation into his potential 2020 opponent.

"The president communicates to his Ukrainian counterpart that the United States had done a lot for Ukraine," Schiff said. "'We've done an awful lot for Ukraine' ... but there's not much reciprocity here.' This is how a mafia boss talks."

Trump has argued his call was appropriate and that he was not pressuring Zelensky to investigate Biden in exchange for military aid. But Schiff said he doesn't believe it matters whether there was an explicit quid pro quo, arguing "Ukraine knew what it needed to do if it wanted to get military assistance." Brendan Morrow