A day after the first open impeachment hearings, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has accused the president of bribery in his dealings with Ukraine.
“The devastating testimony corroborated evidence of bribery,” Pelosi said. In an exchange with CBS News’ Nancy Cordes, the House speaker said, “I am saying that what the President has admitted to and says ‘it’s perfect’ — I said it’s perfectly wrong. It’s bribery.”
Pelosi also defined the president’s bribe: “The bribe is to grant or withhold military assistance in return for a public statement of a fake investigation into the elections. That’s bribery.”
Bribery, she noted, is “in the Constitution attached to the impeachment proceeding.”
On Wednesday, testimony from a career diplomat at the first public hearings of the impeachment inquiry opened new questions about what the president knew about the campaign to pressure Ukraine and when he knew it.
Bill Taylor, the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, relayed an account by a member of his staff, who said he overheard the president asking about “the investigations” one day after the now-infamous July 25 call between Mr. Trump and Volodymyr Zelensky, then the newly elected president of Ukraine.
Taylor testified that the staffer recently told him about a phone call he overheard between Mr. Trump and U.S. Ambassador to the EU Gordon Sondland in July, one day after Mr. Trump urged the Ukrainian president to “look into” the Bidens.
Taylor said his staffer heard the president ask Sondland about “the investigations.” The staffer then asked Sondland how the president felt about Ukraine. Sondland replied that Mr. Trump “cares more about the investigations of Biden, which Giuliani was pressing for.”
The staffer in question is David Holmes, a political officer at the embassy in Kiev, according to three sources familiar with the matter. Holmes will appear behind closed doors on Friday, coinciding with the next public hearing, featuring testimony from former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch.