Has Trump committed a bribery or not?
We have been hearing a lot about Trump committing a bribery with his Ukraine call, to the point that Fox News are saying that bribery is “the new quid pro quo”. Alexandria-Ocasio Cortez has just said that: "We’re kind of knee-deep here in impeachment inquiry and so at this point, I think we’re beyond the question as to whether Trump has committed a crime or whether he’s violated the Constitution,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “He’s clearly engaged in extortion and bribery.”
Fox News: Is bribery the new quid pro quo? and WSJ: Adam Schiff Founding Father
Trump’s act shares no similarities with a slush fund (Nixon), with the president discussing with co-conspirators about removing cash from the WH in order to pay witnesses to alter their testimonies. Ambassador Sondland also offers exculpatory evidence for Trump, and is clear that there was no quid pro quo. If there was no quid pro quo, there is no bribery.
Schiff is trying to redefine bribery: “Well, bribery, first of all, as the Founders understood bribery, it was not as we understand it in law 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.”
However, the Founders really understood bribery as “involving the offer or acceptance of a quid pro quo”. According to Blackstone, the English law expert of the day, bribery is "when a judge, or other person concerned in the administration of justice, takes any undue reward to influence his behavior in his office.” There is no bribery without a quid pro quo. There was no quo because Ukraine never started the investigation
CNN: Pelosi’s move is significant
Trump’s actions are worse and bigger than what forced Nixon from the office. President Trump abused his presidential powers, which we could hear from impeachment witnesses. The word bribery is in the Constitution, so it is an impeachable offence.
It is probable that Dems used the word “bribery” as more compelling than quid pro quo. The Constitution mentions the concept of bribery, but does not define it. However, this quote from Jacob’s Law Dictionary bears an uncanny resemblance to what President Trump stands accused of: “In the reign of King James I, The Earl of M., Lord Treasurer of England, being impeached by the Commons, for refusing to hear Petitions referred to him by the King, till he had received great Bribes, etc., was by Sentence of the Lords deprived of all his offices, and disabled to hold any for the future”. If proven, President withheld military aid because Ukraine was not starting its investigation into Bidens.