There is little doubt who is leading the United States right now. It’s not the beleaguered president facing near-certain impeachment, who has become noteworthy only for his ability to induce chaos and inevitably arrive at a position on the world stage most useful to Russia.

It sure is not the Republican congressional leadership. In the case of the Senate, it has lost the resolve to advise and consent and the will to legislate, and in the case of the House, it is reduced to lying about House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Adam Schiff. (“House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) accused [Schiff] of lying when he said Wednesday that he does not know the identity of the whistleblower,” The Post reports. “Pressed for evidence to back up his claim, McCarthy did not directly answer the question but instead repeatedly accused Schiff of lying.”) Both House and Senate Republicans have resorted to bad-faith arguments and out-and-out fabrication.

No, the adult in the country keeping her party and the majority of Americans on course is House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). In her weekly news conference, she laid out the road map for impeachment.

She left no doubt what the central article of impeachment will be:

Pelosi used the word “bribery” Thursday to describe Trump’s actions toward Ukraine, going further than she previously has done in outlining House Democrats’ accusations against the president.
Wednesday’s testimony by acting ambassador to Ukraine William B. Taylor Jr. and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State George Kent corroborated “evidence of bribery” and supported allegations that Trump violated his oath of office, Pelosi said.

Why “bribery”? For one thing, we avoid quibbling about what is a “high crime” in the Constitution. “Bribery” is listed specifically and has a broad meaning. Lawfare blog helps us through the reasoning:

Even if Trump’s actions do not satisfy the modern criminal standard for bribery, the argument from Trump’s defenders is misplaced—because the federal statute isn’t the relevant statement of the law in the context of impeachment. ...
In short, the Founders’ conception of bribery—and thus the scope of that term in the Constitution—cannot be understood with reference to modern federal statutes and the interpretation of those statutes by modern courts. As [Laurence] Tribe and [Joshua] Matz explain, “[T]he Framers were concerned with abuse of power, corruption, and injury to the nation. At no point did any delegate link the ultimate safeguard against presidential betrayal to intricacies of a criminal code.”
So what did the Founders understand “bribery” to refer to when they included that term in the Constitution as one of two specific impeachable offenses? There is every reason to believe that the drafters of the Constitution had in mind a scope that easily encompasses Trump’s conduct.

In essence, “bribery” not only sounds clear and serious; it is precisely the right description of what occurred here, most clearly in the July 25 phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, when “Trump made clear to Zelensky that he was asking him for a ‘favor’ — not a favor to benefit the United States as a whole or the public interest, but a favor that would accrue to the personal benefit of Trump by harming his political rival.” Using his office to obtain private gain (political dirt on a rival) is the “sort of corrupt use of public office to obtain a private benefit [that] fits squarely within the definition of bribery when the Constitution was written.”

Moreover, use of the “bribery” framework leads naturally to the obstruction of Congress insofar as Trump’s refusal to provide documents and the most critical witnesses prevents Congress from obtaining some, but not all, of the firsthand evidence of Trump’s control of the Ukraine extortion plot. "That is such a fraudulent proposition put forward by the Republicans,” Pelosi said, concerning the claim that Democrats lack evidence of Trump seeking political help from Ukraine. “We are not here to be manipulated by the obstruction of justice of the administration.” (Moreover, we see in the rough transcript the president plainly raising Burisma and the Bidens.)

Pelosi has been masterful in sending the impeachment inquiry to Schiff and in keeping the focus on Trump’s most egregious offenses. We are unlikely to see two-thirds of the Senate vote to remove Trump. However, Pelosi has helped construct an argument for any fair-minded person that Trump has violated his oath and deserves removal.

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