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Pelosi calls Trump's actions bribery? as Democrats sharpen impeachment cases

Pelosi's move to cite a specific constitutional crime and move away from using the legitimate Latin term "quid pro quo" to describe the president's actions, as a second official at the US Embassy in Kiev was revealed to have eavesdropped Trump discusses political "investigations" in a telephone conversation on July 26 with Gordon Sundland, US ambassador to the European Union, who serves as a key link between the White House and the newly formed government of Ukraine.

This phone call, which Trump says he does not remember, is expected to play a key role in upcoming impeachment proceedings as Democrats seek to directly link Trump to what they accuse of being a "bribery scheme" "Worthy of removal from office. The Embassy in Ukraine's David Holmes, who claims he heard Trump discuss "investigations" with Sondland, is scheduled to give a closed-door testimony in a parliamentary impeachment study on Friday.

Democrats took hold of Holmes's allegation ̵

1; which was revealed Wednesday during testimony by William B. Taylor, the acting US ambassador to Ukraine – as evidence of Trump's culpability in imminent crimes.

Pelosi said on Thursday that the testimony of Taylor and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State George Kent highlighted how Trump abused his power. Both top diplomats testified that it is inappropriate for Trump and his allies to press for investigations against former Vice President Joe Biden, the 2020 presidential candidate and debunked theory of Ukraine's interference in the 2016 elections.

testimonies corroborate evidence of bribery uncovered in investigation, and that president abuses power and violates oath by threatening to withhold military aid and meeting at White House in exchange for investigation of his political rival "Said Pelosi at his weekly press conference.

In response, the White House and congressional Republicans emphasize the lack of first-hand diplomats' knowledge of Trump's actions toward Ukraine.

GOP lawmakers say Kent and Taylor never spoke directly to Trump – and therefore cannot say with confidence that he tried to

"Understand what was discovered" The Democrats Case Was Underpinned second-hand information, "House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.)

told reporters Thursday, Trump continued to complain about the impeachment procedure.

“[Искрението за импечмент] is such a bad precedent and so bad for our country! ", He writes on Twitter.

On Friday, the impeachment hearings will continue with public and private testimony.

Marie Jovanovich, a former ambassador to Ukraine recalled earlier this year by Trump, is scheduled to appear

Jovanovic said in a statement on October 11 that she was the target of a smear campaign to organize her removal, involving Trump's personal lawyer Rudolf W. Giuliani and Ukrainian officials suspected in promoting corruption, according to transcript. [19659002] While Jovanovic's testimony may help Democrats build a broad case that Trump and Julian used conspiracy theories and shady arrangements to develop their personal and political interests in Ukraine, Holmes' personal testimony is expected to be more critical

In his testimony Wednesday, Taylor quoted an embassy official as saying that after he heard Trump ask about "investigations" by phone call with Sondland, he heard Sondland speak to the President so that "Ukrainians are ready to move on." The aide also said that Sondland later described Trump as more interested in "investigations Biden, who Giuliani insisted," than the policy of Ukraine, testified Taylor. Taylor did not name the staff member, but several people familiar with the situation confirmed that it was Holmes.

Surya Jayanti, an employee of the US Foreign Office based in the US Embassy in Kiev, also eavesdropped on a telephone conversation described by Taylor, according to a person familiar with the matter who spoke on Thursday on condition of anonymity to discuss the issue involved in the impeachment procedure. It is unclear whether Democrats will seek a testimonial from Jayanti.

The July 26 call came a day after Trump insisted on Biden's investigations and the debunked conspiracy theory of Ukrainian election interference during a conversation with Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky.

While Republicans have struggled to rally around Trump's consistent defense of weeks of incriminating disclosures, on Thursday they tried to undermine witness testimony, dismissing it as "rumors."

Rep. Douglas A. Collins (R-Ga.), Who is not a member of the House Intelligence Committee, took to Twitter during the hearing for a bit of a boost. He published a scene from the 1986 movie Ferris Buehler's Day, in which the hero explains the absence of the main character in the class: "My best friend's brother's girlfriend's friend heard from this guy who knows this a kid who goes with the girl who saw Ferris go through 31 tastes last night. "

" A vivid look at Ambassador Taylor's testimony in Schiff's impeachment process, "Collins writes.

However, the strategy can be risky. Witnesses, who know firsthand about some of the president's actions, are set to make public statements next week, including Sundland, while others are currently blocked by the White House.

But unlike these other OMB employees, Sandy is a career officer, not one appointed by the president. He has worked for the agency outside and for more than a decade under the presidents of both parties, rising to the ranks of his current role as a deputy assistant for national security programs.

Sandy could give an idea of ​​the process by which Trump's whites withheld $ 400 million in military and security assistance to Ukraine in the summer. So far, none of Trump's advocates has given a clear explanation for why the aid was suspended, only to be released after a whistleblower was reported by Congress.

In a message to Trump and a response to the GOP Criticism, Pelosi said, "If the president has something exciting – Mr. President, that means you have something that shows your innocence – then he should make it known . "

Embracing Pelosi from the term bribery – the only one of the two crimes specifically cited in the Constitution – comes after a nearly two-month debate over whether Trump's behavior is a "quid pro quo," a Latin term for exchanging valuable things.

The bribe, Pelosi suggests, amounts to a translation of a quid pro quo that might be more accessible to Americans: "Speaking Latin here: E pluribus unum – by many, one . Quid pro quo – bribery. And this is in the Constitution annexed to the impeachment procedure. "

Article II of the Constitution states that the President and other civilian federal employees" shall be removed from office for restraint and condemnation of treason, bribery or the like. other high crimes and crimes. "

Several Democrats stopped using the term" quid pro quo ", instead describing" bribery "as a more direct summary of Trump's alleged behavior.

The change came after the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. key battlefields in the House in recent weeks, testing impeachment messages, including questions asked by participants about whether "quid pro quo," "blackmail," or "bribery" is a more convincing account of Trump's behavior. people familiar with the results they spread Democrats said this week, focus groups found bribery the most appalling.

Rep. Jim Himes (D-Conn.), House Intelligence Committee member, began efforts to withdraw "quid pro quo" from Democrat's speech during a Sunday appearance on NBC's Meet the Press, where he said "it's probably best not to use Latin words" to explain Trump's actions.

On Thursday, he told reporters that "bribery" was a useful, if not entirely accurate, way to summarize the allegations.

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

GOP lawmakers said. that changing the message would bring a little change in public perception of the impeachment effort.

"They are trying to differentiate a story to see if it works," said Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-Ohio), member of the House Intelligence Committee. "Quid pro quo was shattered. If it wasn't, I would still so to speak, right? So, now they are going to try a different term. " But Sundland told MPs that he had never spoken to Trump about using military aid and a meeting of the head of state with Ukraine to promise to investigate. requests. , a significant discrepancy, which he will be encouraged to clarify next week.

Both sides seek to sharpen their messages ahead of next week's critical testimony, including in an open hearing Wednesday with Sondland's participation. Trump's donor and diplomat previously modified his private testimony to confirm that he had told Ukrainian officials they needed to announce political investigations in order to receive frozen military assistance and a meeting with Trump.

Sundland told at least four Trump officials that the president personally managed the entire operation and his alleged telephone conversation on July 26 with the president could become a key piece of incriminating evidence establishing Trump's personal interest in organizing Ukrainian investigations against Biden and his son Hunter.

Paul Sone, Erica Werner, John Wagner, Rachael Bade and Josh Dawsey contributed to this report.

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