ABC News legal analyst and "Mediaite" founder Dan Abrams said Wednesday in response to the release of President Trump's phone call with the Ukrainian president that it is "unambiguously" "worse than people expected."
During a conversation with ABC White House correspondent Jon Karl, Abrams said Trump was "crossing into the potential legal issues" with the statements in the released transcript.
"I think one of the critical things is, what has the President said about it up until this point?" Abrams said. "The President had initially talked about the possibility that this was a discussion about trying to root out corruption in Ukraine, trying to ensure that the money was going to the right places, et cetera. There’s almost nothing about that in this transcript."
"This transcript is largely about the personal agenda of the president," he explained. "I mean, when you read through it, the majority of what the president is talking about is with regard to personal agenda items: CrowdStrike, Hunter Biden and Joe Biden, the ambassador... talk to my attorney general, etc."
"The most important point though is the Biden piece, right? You can say that the Hillary Clinton piece is inappropriate, shouldn’t have done it, but when you’re talking about trying to get information about your potential 2020 rival, you’re now crossing into the potential legal issues. You’re now talking about the possibility of influencing an election, and that’s different than just looking back."
"The reason you have a special counsel or an independent counsel is because you don't want the president's appointee judging the president on something this important," he said. "And now here you are seeing the attorney general, or at least the Department of Justice making a determination."
"This is worse than I think people expected," Abrams concluded. "When we were on with Chris Christie earlier this morning, the suggestion was they’re telling us this isn’t going to be that big of a deal… Maybe he asked him a litle bit about Joe Biden, but this is unambiguous."