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What happened to quid pro quo?

As political observers noticed this week, the Democrats have a new messaging strategy in their impeachment inquiry of President Trump: accuse him of “bribery” in his dealings with Ukraine.

The shift came after focus groups in battleground states by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee showed that voters were less receptive to the Latin legal term “quid pro quo” (which means this for that) than to charges of “bribery.” The latter, according to sources familiar with the focus group results, is likelier to persuade swing voters, said National Review.

As the Washington Post points out, House Intelligence Committee member Rep. Jim Himes (D-Conn.) was the first to announce Democrats’ intentions to retire “quid pro quo” during an appearance on “Meet the Press” last week where he said “it’s probably best not to use Latin words” when describing the administration’s negotiations with Ukrainian officials.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi subsequently began accusing Trump of “bribery” during a press conference on Thursday. “Talking Latin around here: E pluribus unum — from many, one. Quid pro quo — bribery. And that is in the Constitution, attached to the impeachment proceedings,” she said.

As Pelosi noted, a likely reason why Democrats have replaced quid pro quo with “bribery” is that the latter is one of only two crimes cited in the Constitution as an impeachable offense. Article II of the Constitution states that the president “shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.”

However, the Post also noted that even Hines recognizes that while “bribery” may be a politically useful term for Democrats, it may be imprecise to describe the allegations.

“Abuse of power is not necessarily a concept that most Americans run around thinking about,” he said. “In this case, the abuse of power was some combination of bribery and extortion.”

It is also unclear what Democrats argue is the alleged bribe in question since Democrats do not have any witnesses with direct knowledge of Trump’s state of mind during his dealings with Ukraine and foreign aid is regularly conditioned upon specific actions by other countries, including combatting corruption.

Republicans were quick to point out that the change in messaging underscores that Democrats do not have a compelling legal case against President Trump and are, instead, relying on emotional appeals.

“They’re trying a different narrative to see if that works,” said House Intelligence Republican Brad Wenstrup (Ohio). “‘Quid pro quo’ was squashed. If it wasn’t, they would still be saying it, right? And, so, now they’ll try a different term.”

Further bolstering the argument that Democrats do not intend on making a serious legal argument, as former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy has argued, is the fact that Democrats can accuse the president of bribery without having to prove he actually broke the law.

“This is not a bribery prosecution in a judicial court. This is impeachment, in which there is no burden to prove a quid pro quo beyond a reasonable doubt. The House is not required to establish a felony offense, such as extortion or bribery.”

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12 Comments
  • demsaredisgusting says:

    when this show trial BS is over and Trump isnt impeached, there should be consequences that the democrats have to face, And Im not talking Consequences like voters loosing faith in the party i mean real, legal ramifications… they cannot just keep on coming up with fake made up reasons to spend more and more tax payer money on these stupid go no where investigations.Especially when they are doing it all for purly partisan political reasons. We ALL know its only to try and advance their chances at willing the Presidency and the Senate in 2020. They should be punished some how in some significant way as to make every politician from here on out really think long and hard before tying to pull a stunt like this ever again. These things like Impeachment are there for a reason, not just to try and get rid of a sitting POTUS because you dont like the way he talks or you want to win an election you know you have no chance of winning fairly!

  • Carl says:

    This scam is just a waste of tax payer money and time. Why don’t the democrats work to help better America instead of causing trouble and dividing the people. Any one who believes in what the democrats are doing are just plan stupid.

  • Sharon says:

    President Trump has NOT been the one to abuse his power. THAT would be the Communist democrats in the HOUSE of REPRESENTATIVES!! Time for them to not only lose their seats in Congress for failure to DO THEIR JOB, but ALSO PAY BACK THE AMERICAN CITIZENS FOR THE MONEY THEY STOLE THESE PAST 3 YEARS AND COUNTING TO KEEP UP THESE CRIMES! Currently, the communist democrats in the House are rejecting the will of the people in electing a President and are drooling in anticipation of Impeaching a duly elected President and VP because it’s the only way Pelosi will EVER sit in the White House which is her fervent wish. She has gone on tours to promote the idea that SHE is the Executive Branch instead of the Legislative Branch. She and her cronies have violated the Logan Act by undermining the President’s word abroad. All at taxpayer expense!! She needs to be removed from the House and sent home for good. Let her live in the mess she helped create back home. We need to get back to where we used to be and have it be a cabinet member that steps up if both President and VP are incapacitated or impeached. Having it be the House Speaker is a clear conflict of interest! Especially when you have a situation like we have today.

  • CF
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