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WATCH: Pelosi Says Trump Engaged In Bribery — Then Looks Into Camera, And Defines ‘Exculpatory’ To Him

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, speaking to reporters on Thursday about the first public impeachment inquiry hearings that took place the day before, said that President Donald Trump’s actions with regards to Ukraine were akin to bribery, a shift from the messaging that Democrats have so far pushed in discussing the issue.

Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Depositions from acting Ambassador Bill Taylor and State Department diplomat George Kent “corroborated evidence of bribery,” in Pelosi’s mind. When asked to elaborate on the charge, Pelosi said that prior terminology — calling Trump’s actions demanding an investigation from Ukraine into his political rivals in exchange for a public meeting and military aid a quid pro quo — was essentially the same thing.

“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,” Pelosi said, per reporting from Axios.

The Speaker reminded reporters that bribery is a rationale for impeaching a president — but reiterated that a decision to impeach has not yet been made by House Democrats.

“That’s what the inquiry is about. And when the committees decide that, they will decide what the articles are. But 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 said.

Pelosi also said that the president has had ample opportunity to respond to allegations made against him, and continues to have the chance to do so. In her comments, she took a dig at Trump, using a word she apparently felt the need to define to him, looking straight into the camera while doing so.

“If the president has anything that’s exculpatory — Mr. President, that means you have anything that shows your innocence — then he should make that known, and that’s part of the inquiry,” Pelosi said. “So far, we haven’t seen that, but we welcome it.”



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