Republican Texas Rep. John Ratcliffe said during Tuesday’s impeachment hearing that the use of the accusation of “bribery” has only recently been leveled against President Donald Trump.
Ratcliffe said it was House Speaker Nancy Pelosi who started to refer to the president’s alleged bribery because it was more comprehensible to Americans than “quid pro quo.”
The basis of impeachment is a result of the concern among House Democrats who confirm their belief that the impeachment hearings will not produce a sizable shift in public opinion — because the lines may have hardened into an even split between those supporting and those opposing the process.
Ratcliffe noted the absence of the accusation. “No witness has used the word bribery to describe President Trump’s conduct. None of them. These aren’t all of the deposition transcripts. These are just the ten that have been released. Six weeks of witness interviews in this impeachment inquiry, hundreds of hours of testimony … The number of times witnesses have used the word bribery or bribe to describe President Trump’s conduct in the last six weeks of this inquiry is zero.” (RELATED: Ratcliffe: Trump Shouldn’t Be Above The Law But He ‘Damn Sure Shouldn’t Be Below It’)
Ratcliffe noted that the word bribery does appear once in the testimony — but not in relation to Trump. “In fact, in these 3,500 pages of sworn testimony in just these ten transcripts released thus far, the word bribery appears in these 3,500 pages exactly one time. Ironically is it appears in a description of not President Trump’s alleged conduct, it appears in a description of [former] Vice President Biden’s alleged conduct … ”
Ratcliffe asked, “Why do we go from quid pro quo to extortion and now bribery?” He suggested that Republican California Rep. Devin Nunes knew why and had said that a poll revealed that bribery “would be the most damning accusation … ” (RELATED: Ocasio-Cortez Says Impeaching Trump Is About Saving The Democratic Party From Disaster)
The congressman condemned the fact that White House lawyers are not allowed to participate in the impeachment hearings. He added, “But what’s even worse is trying to defend yourself against an accusation that keeps changing in the middle of the preceding. If Democrats accuse the president of a high crime or impeachable offense, he ought to know which one it is. When speaker Pelosi says this is all about bribery, she’s promised us evidence of bribery that would be compelling and overwhelming and, instead, it’s invisible.”
Last week, Ratcliffe criticized House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff for singling out Republicans for asking leading questions of witnesses at the impeachment hearings.