And while the definition of bribery under the Impeachment Clause is not reliant on federal statutory law, there, too, the solicitation and disney plush offering of a bribe is bribery. As a federal appeals court explained, the statute "is violated even though the official offered a bribe is not corrupted, or the object of the bribe could not be attained, or it could make no difference if after the act were done it turned out that there had been actually no occasion to seek to influence any official conduct. " In other words, as many criminal law experts pointed out when Fox News commentator Laura Ingraham suggested that attempted bribery did not rise to the level of impeachability, the modern crime of bribery includes attempted bribery. If the Journal's argument were correct that the Impeachment Clause carves out efforts by a public official to obtain a bribe, the consequences would be absurd. Under the view of Trump's defenders, it would apparently be fine for Trump to have asked Zelensky to wire $1 million in cash to Trump's personal bank account in exchange for Trump releasing U.
If indeed, as the evidence now suggests, Trump was pursuing his personal interests in seeking a Ukrainian investigation of his political opponents, rather than the interests of the United States, then he committed the kind of bribery that the 12v ride on Founders made impeachable. Disclosure: The authors work for Protect Democracy, which has represented Lawfare editors Benjamin Wittes, Jack Goldsmith, Scott Anderson and Susan Hennessey on a number of separate matters. Department of Justice, as a Trial Attorney with the Civil Division, Federal Programs Branch and Counsel to the Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Division. More Articles Justin Florence is the Legal Director of Protect Democracy, a non profit, non partisan organization dedicated to strengthening and defending our democratic laws, norms, and institutions. He previously served in the Office of the White House Counsel as Special Assistant to the President and Associate Counsel to the President.
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