While Democrats are now accusing President Donald Trump of bribery, the thirty-five hundred pages of sworn deposition testimony released so far reveal only one mention of the word “bribery” – and it’s used to describe the alleged conduct of former Vice President Joe Biden, Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-Texas) said Tuesday.
During Tuesday’s House Intelligence Committee impeachment inquiry, Rep. Ratcliffe noted how Democrats’ charge against Trump has morphed, from “quid pro quo” to “extortion” to, currently, “bribery”:
“For the longest time, this was all about ‘quid pro quo,’ according to the whistleblower complaint. But, after witness after witness began saying that there was no quid pro quo, or even that quid pro quo was not even possible, we saw a shift from the Democrats. They briefly started to refer to the president’s conduct on the July 24th call as extortion. And, now, it’s shifted again last week, to bribery.”
Democrat witnesses Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman and Vice President Mike Pence’s aide, Jennifer Williams, testified to Rep. Ratcliffe that they have never used the term “bribery” or “bribe” in their previous testimony regarding Pres. Trump’s conduct.
Ratcliffe, then, produced the thirty-five hundred printed pages of testimony from the ten transcripts of the closed-door hearings that have been released, noting that they do not contain even a single reference to Pres. Trump committing bribery:
“The problem is, in an impeachment inquiry that the speaker of the House says is all about bribery – where bribery is the impeachable offense – 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, thousands of questions asked, thousands of answers given.
“The number of times that witnesses have been asked any question about whether or not President Trump’s conduct constituted bribery – before Ambassador Yovanovitch was asked by my colleague Congressman Stewart last Thursday – is zero.
“The number of times witnesses have used the word ‘bribery’ or ‘bribe’ to describe the president’s conduct in the last six weeks of this inquiry is zero.”
Ironically, the only time word “bribery” is used, it’s used to describe the behavior former Vice President Joe Biden, Rep. Ratcliffe explains:
“In fact, in these thirty-five hundred pages of sworn deposition testimony and just these ten transcripts released thus far, the word ‘bribery’ appears, in these thirty-five hundred pages exactly one time.
“And, ironically, it appears, not in the description of President Trump’s alleged conduct – it appears in the description of Vice President Biden’s alleged conduct.”
The American people need to be aware of these facts, because the Democrat-controlled Judiciary Committee is likely to approve articles of impeachment against Pres. Trump based on the charge of bribery – even though not a single witness has characterized it as such – Ratcliffe said:
“This is important because, as early as next week, my Democratic colleagues are going to say, ‘We need to vote on the evidence from this impeachment inquiry, on the impeachment of the president for bribery.’ And, they’re going to send a report to the Judiciary Committee and, because there’s more Democrats than Republicans, it’s going to likely pass.
“And, when that happens, the American people need to be clear that the Democrats, what they are describing as bribery, not a single witness is describing as bribery.”