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 publicly investigate his political rivals.
The speaker’s explicit allegation of bribery, a misdeed identified in the Constitution as an impeachable offense, was significant. Even as Pelosi said that no final decision had been made on whether to impeach Trump, it suggested that Democrats are increasingly working to put a name to the president’s alleged wrongdoing, and moving toward a more specific set of charges that could be codified in articles of impeachment in the coming weeks.
“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,” Pelosi told reporters.
Democrats have begun using the term “bribery” more freely in recent days to describe what a string of diplomats and career Trump administration officials have said was a highly unusual and inappropriate effort by Trump and a small group around him to extract a public promise from Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden.
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