With the public impeachment hearings set to start tomorrow, “Schifty” Adam Schiff now seems to be shifting focus away from “quid pro quo” evidence of Trump pressuring Zelensky in the Ukraine transcript (since there wasn’t any) to charges of “bribery, including high crimes and misdemeanors.”
Bribery is listed as one of the impeachable offenses in the Constitution (along with treason and acts of omission.)
So, Schiff seems to be arguing – without evidence – that Trump somehow bribed the Ukrainian president to dig up dirt on Biden (whose dealings with the Ukraine are suspicious, no matter how you look at it).
This "bribery" charge is what Schiff seems to think is the Democrats' best shot at getting Trump out of office, yet he also recognizes that his definition of bribery is "broader" than most today think.
In an interview with NPR, Schiff claimed that bribery had a different meaning back when the Constitution was written than it does today, explaining,
“It connoted the breach of the public trust in a way where you're offering official acts for some personal or political reason, not in the nation's interest...It doesn't have to be cash. It can be something of value."
Apparently, this is what Democrats consider to be their strongest chance at impeaching Trump - some vague definition of an entirely baseless "bribery" offense.
Still doesn't change the fact that there was no "quid pro quo."
Are the Dems trying to distract Americans from the fact that they've STILL turned up zero evidence to impeach Trump since the impeachment circus began?
Is Schiff panicking here?
For more, here's the MSNBC report on this (the Schiff NPR interview starts at 4:23):
NPR has more to say:
With the House set to begin public impeachment inquiry hearings against President Trump on Wednesday, the man tasked with leading the Democrats' investigation says he already sees several potential impeachable offenses Trump has committed, including bribery.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., told Morning Edition host Steve Inskeep during an interview at the Capitol on Tuesday that he thinks there's a clear argument to be made that Trump committed "bribery" and "high crimes and misdemeanors" — both explicitly outlined in the Constitution as impeachable offenses — when pressuring the Ukrainian government to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden's son in exchange for long-promised military aid.
"Bribery, first of all, as the founders understood bribery, it was not as we understand it in law today. It was much broader," Schiff said. "It connoted the breach of the public trust in a way where you're offering official acts for some personal or political reason, not in the nation's interest."
To prove bribery, Schiff said, you have to show that the president was "soliciting something of value," which Schiff thinks multiple witnesses before his committee have testified to in private.
Now, some of those who have provided the most damning testimony to corroborate that will testify this week: acting Ambassador to Ukraine William Taylor and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State George Kent on Wednesday, followed by ousted former Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch on Friday.
"The basic allegations against the president are that he sought foreign interference in a U.S. election, that he conditioned official acts on the performance of these political favors," Schiff said. "And those official acts include a White House meeting that the president of Ukraine desperately sought with President Trump, as well as hundreds of millions of dollars in taxpayer-funded military assistance for a country that is at war with Russia and a country that the United States has a deep national security interest in making sure it can defend itself."
The Hill added:
"On the basis of what the witnesses have had to say so far, there are any number of potentially impeachable offenses: including bribery, including high crimes and misdemeanors," Schiff said in the interview. "The basic allegations against the president are that he sought foreign interference in a U.S. election, that he conditioned official acts on the performance of these political favors."
In the interview, Schiff said bribery, one of the offenses the Constitution outlines as impeachable, had a different meaning at the time the Constitution was written than how it is commonly understood today.
“It was much broader. It connoted the breach of the public trust in a way where you're offering official acts for some personal or political reason, not in the nation's interest,” Schiff said. “Here you have the president of the United States seeking help from Ukraine in his reelection campaign in the form of two investigations that he thought were politically advantageous, including one of his primary rival.”
“It doesn't have to be cash. It can be something of value,” Schiff added, saying that conditioning foreign aid on political favors could be considered bribery even in the modern context.