Trump bribed Ukraine and committed acts that 'make what Nixon did look almost small', Pelosi says

'The bribe is to grant or withhold military assistance in return for a public statement of a fake investigation into the elections — that's bribery'

Chris Riotta
New York
Thursday 14 November 2019 20:04 GMT
Nancy Pelosi says Donald Trump's actions make Richard Nixon's 'look almost small'

Nancy Pelosi has said an investigation into Donald Trump's phone call with Ukraine found evidence of “bribery” — an impeachable act — that was corroborated by two key impeachment witnesses in public testimonies this week.

Speaking at her weekly press conference on Capitol Hill, the House speaker told reporters on Thursday that Mr Trump’s alleged wrongdoings “make what Nixon did look almost small,” referring to the impeachment of former President Richard Nixon.

“The devastating testimony corroborated evidence of bribery uncovered in the inquiry and that the president abused power,” Ms Pelosi said, “and violated his oath by threatening to withhold military aid and a White House meeting in exchange for an investigation into a political rival.”

She added: “The bribe is to grant or withhold military assistance in return for a public statement of a fake investigation into the elections — that's bribery.”

Ms Pelosi appeared to be instating some new messaging by referring to Mr Trump’s apparent demands for political investigations as “bribery” rather than “quid pro quo”, a term that has been used by Democrats to describe the president’s dealings with Ukraine.

She added: “Well, you know we’re talking Latin around here: e pluribus unum, from anyone, quid pro quo, bribery — and that is in the Constitution — attached to the impeachment proceeding."

The House speaker provided updates on the Democrat-led impeachment inquiry into Mr Trump the day after career diplomat William Taylor and State Department official George Kent delivered joint-testimony to the House Intelligence Committee, which is spearheading the investigation along with two other subcommittees.

The officials described an “irregular channel” for US-Ukraine relations involving Mr Trump’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, who has been accused of trying to cook up “political dirt” in the country on one of the president’s political rivals, Joe Biden.

The impeachment inquiry was launched in the House after a whistleblower filed a complaint about a 25 July phone call between Mr Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. A memorandum of the phone call released by the White House showed Mr Trump asking his Ukrainian counterpart for a “favour”, and impeachment witnesses have noted a verbatim transcript of the call was moved to a secure server storing highly-classified intelligence.

Republicans on Capitol Hill have since called for the identity of the whistleblower to be exposed, and for that anonymous official — who is reportedly protected under federal law — to testify before House investigators.

Ms Pelosi slammed those calls on Thursday, telling reporters “nobody should have the right to endanger whistleblowers” and that “any retribution or harm coming to the whistleblower undermines our ability to have truth about power."

The US Constitution specifically cites bribery as an impeachable act under section 4, Article II, which reads: “The President, Vice President and all civil officers of the United States, shall be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of, treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanours."

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