A High Crime or Misdemeanor If Ever There Was One

Federal law says that a public official (such as the President) who, directly or indirectly, corruptly demands, seeks, receives, accepts, or agrees to receive or accept anything of value (such as the announcement of a criminal investigation into a prospective political opponent) in return for beingĀ influenced in the performance of any official act (such as inviting a foreign leader to the White House or delivering military aid to that foreign leader’s country) is guilty of bribery.

The Constitution says the President, Vice President and all civil officers of the United States shall be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of treason, bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanors.

Our president directly, indirectly and secretly demanded something of value to his political campaign in return for performing official actions. That’s one solid reason he should be impeached and removed from office.

It makes no difference that the foreign criminal investigation was never announced and never took place. It makes no difference that the military aid was ultimately delivered (after the president’s corruption was revealed). The president made it clear to his subordinates and his lawyer that he wanted to bribe the president of Ukraine. Attempted bribery, even if discovered in time to be interfered with, counts as bribery.

There are other reasons he should be removed from office, including the fact that a grand jury would have indicted him for obstruction of justice if the Department of Justice had chosen to prosecute, and the fact that he is knowingly receiving “emoluments” (i.e. cash) from foreign governments while in office, something the Constitution forbids. But bribery is the offense the Democrats are investigating and publicizing at the moment.

Representative Adam Schiff, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, summarized today’s testimony by Ambassador Gordon Sondland in thirteen minutes. It’s worth watching.