| November 14, 2019 12:05 PM
President Trump tried to bribe Ukrainian government officials into investigating a political rival, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday.
“The bribe is to grant or withhold military assistance in return for a public statement of a fake investigation into the election,” the California Democrat said. “That’s bribery.”
Pelosi insisted Democrats have not yet decided whether to impeach Trump, but she said the first public hearing held on Wednesday showed “a narrative about the president threatening to grant or withhold military assistance to Ukraine, which is in our national interest to do so because they were fighting Russians.”
Diplomats William Taylor and George Kent testified Wednesday that they were concerned with Trump’s decision to withhold millions of dollars in security aid while at the same time seeking Ukraine’s help investigating allegations of election interference by the Democrats in 2016 and corruption allegations regarding former Vice President Joe Biden.
The hearing, Pelosi said, showed “a clear attempt by the president to give himself the advantage in the 2020 election and in doing so, jeopardize our national security and jeopardize the integrity of our election system and violating the oath of office.”
Democrats in recent days have abandoned using “quid pro quo,” which lawmakers had been using to describe their accusation against the president.
The president has denied any “quid pro quo” and points to a July 25 rough transcript of his phone call with Ukraine’s president, in which he brings up the need to investigate Biden and the Democrats but does mention the security aid.
Trump has called the call “perfect,” but Pelosi disagreed.
“What I am saying is what the president has admitted to, that he said is perfect, I say is perfectly wrong,” Pelosi told reporters. “It’s bribery.”