Politics: Did Trump Commit ‘Bribery’? Pelosi’s Impeachment Accusation, Explained - - PressFrom - US
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Politics Did Trump Commit ‘Bribery’? Pelosi’s Impeachment Accusation, Explained

18:50  17 november  2019
18:50  17 november  2019 Source:   nytimes.com

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Pelosi ’ s Impeachment Accusation , Explained . Her declaration reflected a shift by Trump ’s critics from talking about the Ukraine affair using more abstract concepts like “quid pro quo” or “abuse of power.”

Pelosi ’ s Impeachment Accusation , Explained . Her declaration reflected a shift by Trump ’s critics from talking about the Ukraine affair using What does bribery mean for impeachment purposes? The Constitution invokes the concept of “ bribery ” without explaining what the term encompasses.

WASHINGTON — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi this week explicitly accused President Trump of “bribery,” suggesting after hearings in the impeachment investigation opened that he is guilty of one of the few specific offenses listed in the Constitution as a basis for impeaching and removing a president.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi this week explicitly accused President Trump of “bribery.”© Erin Schaff/The New York Times House Speaker Nancy Pelosi this week explicitly accused President Trump of “bribery.”

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“The devastating testimony corroborated evidence of bribery uncovered in the inquiry, and that the president abused his power and violated his oath by threatening to withhold military aid and a White House meeting in exchange for an investigation into his political rival — a clear attempt by the president to give himself an advantage in the 2020 election,” Ms. Pelosi told reporters at her weekly news conference in the Capitol.

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WASHINGTON — Speaker Nancy Pelosi sharpened the focus of Democrats’ impeachment case against President Trump on Thursday, accusing the president of committing bribery when he withheld vital military assistance from Ukraine at the same time he was seeking its commitment to

Nancy Pelosi and House Democrats are refining their impeachment case against President Trump to a simple allegation: bribery . “Quid pro quo: Bribery ,” Pelosi said about Trump ’ s July 25 phone call in which he asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky for a favor.

Here is a closer look at the concept of bribery and how the emerging evidence about Mr. Trump may line up with it.

What does bribery mean in criminal law?

Federal and state laws offer various definitions of bribery aimed at criminalizing acts that corrupt the integrity of government by intermingling official actions with private payments or personal favors. For example, Section 201 of Chapter 18 of the United States Code, defines bribery as the gift, offer, promise or solicitation of a thing of value in order to influence a public official to perform or omit an official act.

For impeachment purposes, however, the concept of bribery is not necessarily limited to those narrow terms. After all, Congress had not yet enacted the federal bribery statute in 1787, when the Founders wrote into the Constitution that a president could be impeached for “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.”

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That's bribery ," Pelosi , the top Democrat in Congress, told a news conference the day after the first public hearing in the impeachment inquiry she Pelosi ' s comments could offer a preview of articles of impeachment Democrats might put forward. At her news conference, she also said Trump 's

The impeachment inquiry, explained . Congress is considering impeaching the president. A president can be impeached if they are judged to have committed "treason, bribery , or The Trump administration also stands accused of obstruction of justice for resisting congressional subpoenas for

Congress can remove a president for any action that a simple House majority and a two-thirds majority of the Senate vote on — even if it violated no ordinary criminal statute.

What does bribery mean for impeachment purposes?

The Constitution invokes the concept of “bribery” without explaining what the term encompasses. Scholars say that silence is likely because the meaning of the term was well understood from English common law and parliamentary practice.

The Founders intended for the concept of bribery, for impeachment purposes, to broadly cover any “corrupt abuse of power to obtain personal benefit,” three lawyers for the nonprofit group Protect Democracy wrote on the website Lawfare. They recently compiled a survey of early American and English writings and precedents about bribery, as well as discussion in more contemporary scholarly works on impeachment.

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House Democrats are refining the language of their impeachment case against the president.

Pelosi explicitly accusing President Trump of bribery and what she heard in the first televised MARY BRUCE: Speaker Nancy Pelosi , tonight, declaring President Trump committed bribery , a SPEAKER NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): The bride is to grant or withhold military assistance in return for a

How does the Ukraine affair fit this concept?

At the heart of the issue is what motivated Mr. Trump and his proxies to pressure President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine to not just open, but publicly announce, investigations that could benefit Mr. Trump politically. Ms. Pelosi mentioned inquiries that Mr. Trump sought into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son.

Is it more likely that Mr. Trump was earnestly concerned about protecting American interests by pressing for the investigations? Or was he instead looking for personal gain and, in the case of the Bidens, cynically seeking to engineer a basis to be able to call his political rival “corrupt” on the 2020 campaign trail?

If the latter, one way of thinking about the matter is that Mr. Trump solicited a bribe: He was seeking a personal favor from Mr. Zelensky that would benefit him as a condition for performing two official acts — scheduling a White House visit that Mr. Zelensky coveted and releasing military aid that Congress had appropriated.

Why does it matter if this is “bribery” specifically?

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WASHINGTON — Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced on Tuesday that the House would initiate a formal impeachment inquiry against President Trump , charging him with betraying his oath of office and the nation’ s security by seeking to enlist a foreign power to tarnish a rival for his own political gain.

Pelosi calls Trump ’ s actions ‘ bribery ’ as Democrats sharpen case for impeachment . Escalating her case for impeachment , House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday accused President Trump of committing bribery by seeking to use U. S . military aid as leverage to persuade the Ukrainian

Primarily for political messaging. Critics of Mr. Trump have generally been talking about the scandal in terms of more abstract concepts like “abuse of power” and the Latin phrase “quid pro quo,” which means exchanging one thing for another.

Those phrases can be difficult to understand and raise the question of whether they amount to an impeachable offense. Ms. Pelosi’s sharpened rhetoric was part of a shift in which Democrats and other critics of Mr. Trump have sought to talk about their allegations using a more plain-English term — and one that is explicitly impeachable.

What about extortion?

Some analysts have cited extortion as another framework for thinking about Mr. Trump’s pressure campaign on Ukraine. One version of this offense is when a public official unlawfully obtains something of value, like an illegal fee, from another person by threatening to take or withhold some official action in a way that would harm the victim.

Last month, when Mick Mulvaney, Mr. Trump’s acting chief of staff, gave a news conference in which he appeared to admit that the arrangement was a “quid pro quo” — which he later walked back — he also told reporters to “get over it” because it is routine for the United States government to hold up foreign aid to get a recipient country to change some policy.

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It's bribery ," Pelosi said. Democrats are looking into whether the Republican president abused his power by withholding 1 million in U.S. security Pelosi ' s comments could offer a preview of articles of impeachment Democrats might put forward. At her news conference, she also said Trump 's

● Pelosi calls Trump ’ s actions ‘ bribery ’ as Democrats sharpen case for impeachment . ● Trump attacks ambassador even as she describes feeling threatened by him. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said President Trump ’ s tweet attacking Yovanovitch was the “wrong thing” to do , adding

As a description of using foreign aid as a lever in foreign policy, Mr. Mulvaney was correct. But the question boils down to whether Mr. Trump was seeking to coerce Ukrainian officials into actions to benefit the United States or to benefit himself.

Does it matter whether an attempted bribe succeeded?

Not legally.

Mr. Trump’s defenders have repeatedly argued that Mr. Trump committed no impeachable offense because he ultimately released the military aid to Ukraine in September, even though Mr. Zelensky had not announced any investigations.

Critics note that Mr. Trump released aid to Ukraine only after the White House learned that a whistle-blower had filed a complaint attempting to tell lawmakers that Mr. Trump was using his official powers to coerce Ukraine into helping his re-election campaign, and amid increasing and bipartisan pressure from Congress for the security assistance to be released.

In any case, while the impeachment process is not a court of criminal law, if it were, arguing that the scheme failed would be no defense: The federal statute specifically designates even an attempt to solicit a bribe as a crime.

Jonathan Chait of New York magazine has colorfully labeled this the “Sideshow Bob” defense, after a character in “The Simpsons” whose plot to kill Bart Simpson was foiled. In a 1994 episode, the imprisoned Sideshow Bob denounced his conviction for attempted murder: “Convicted of a crime I didn’t even commit. Hah! Attempted murder? Now honestly, what is that? Do they give a Nobel Prize for attempted chemistry? Do they?”

Was it a bribe? Democrats trade 'quid quo pro' for 'bribery' in Trump impeachment messaging .
Democrats are pounding the word 'bribery' in the ongoing impeachment inquiry to describe Donald Trump’s dealings with Ukraine's Volodymyr Zelensky."If the president abused his power and invited foreign interference in our elections, if he sought to condition, coerce, extort, or bribe an ally ... it will be up to us to decide whether those acts are compatible with the office of the presidency," Schiff, the Democratic chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said in his opening remarks.

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