White House hit for removing key passage in transcript of call between Biden, French president

The White House omitted a portion of a phone call between President Joe Biden and his French counterpart Emmanual Macron in which the latter made a passionate plea that the United States and NATO have a “moral obligation” to get Afghan allies out of the country before they fall into the hands of Taliban militants.

According to The Guardian, a readout of the phone call between Biden and Macron discussing the debacle in Afghanistan, where thousands of Americans remain trapped and unable to reach the airport at Kabul, is different than a readout released by the French government in that the latter contained the passage.

Macron’s administration released its version of the readout on Friday, a day after a phone call between the two leaders, “and indicates that Macron emphasized ensuring the safe evacuation of Afghan citizens who assisted American and European troops over the past 20 years at great risk to themselves and their families,” the outlet reported.

After noting that the countries have a “moral responsibility” to evacuate those allies, Macron reportedly told the U.S. president: “We cannot abandon them.”

The Élysée said the French leader “underlined the absolute need to ensure rapid and concrete coordination among allies on the ground to continue the evacuations.”

But the version of the call released by the White House did not contain the segment where Macron talked of their shared “moral responsibility” to Afghan allies.

“They lauded the tireless efforts of their personnel working closely together in Kabul on the evacuation of their citizens, the brave Afghans who have stood by us and our NATO partners, and other vulnerable Afghan nationals,” said the White House in describing the contents of the phone call.

“They underscored the importance of continued close coordination among allies and democratic partners on Afghanistan, including through multilateral fora, on the provision of humanitarian assistance and support for refugees,” the short description said.

The Guardian said its reporter asked the White House about the discrepancy but was merely referred back to the readout that was released.

Several people on social media responded by noting that former President Donald Trump was impeached over a phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky after reports surfaced that his administration omitted portions of the call from a transcript.

“We told you where this go. We warned you,” conservative columnist Stephen L. Miller tweeted.

“‘Perfect phone call,'” another user tweeted, a play on the former president’s description of his call with Zelensky.

“That’s impeachable. Those are the rules,” another user said.

“Is this impeachable? His party claimed that it was a few months back,” said another.

At the time, Trump tweeted that those accusing him of a “quid pro quo” — of threatening to withhold nearly $400 million in military aid to Ukraine unless Zelensky agreed to investigate Joe and Hunter Biden — were being dishonest.

He pointed to several instances where accusing officials either contradicted previous statements about his suspect July 2019 call with the Ukrainian leader or had simply fabricated their claims.

Then-U.S. Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman was the official who filed a complaint about the phone call, alleging the quid pro quo. Democrats used the allegation to impeach Trump the first of an unprecedented two times.

Jon Dougherty

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