Foreign governments have settled on a new strategy to sideline American officials they don’t like: peddling conspiratorial dirt on those officials to portray them as enemies of President Donald Trump.
The impeachment inquiry has revealed the success of that strategy in Ukraine, where ethically dubious officials teamed up with Trump’s personal attorney to remove a U.S. ambassador. A Hungarian government-backed campaign against a top National Security Council official was less successful, though not for a lack of effort. And according to senior U.S. officials, the same strategy succeeded in scuttling a nominee to be America’s top diplomat in Albania.

Apparently all they have to do is shout “This nominee is an anti-Trump Soros stooge!” and that’s almost enough.

Escalating her case for impeachment, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday accused President Trump of committing bribery by seeking to use U.S. military aid as leverage to persuade the Ukrainian government to conduct investigations that could politically benefit Trump.
The shift toward bribery as an impeachable offense, one of only two crimes specifically cited in the Constitution, comes after nearly two months of debate over whether Trump’s conduct amounted to a “quid pro quo” — a lawyerly Latin term describing an exchange of things of value.
Wednesday’s public testimony from two senior diplomats, Pelosi (D-Calif.) said, “corroborated evidence of bribery uncovered in the inquiry and that the president abused power and violated his oath by threatening to withhold military aid and a White House meeting in exchange for an investigation into his political rival.”

Makes sense — most people don’t know what a quid pro quo is, and there are legitimate and illegitimate ones. But there’s no legitimate bribery.

* Kara Scannell and Gloria Borger report that the Trump Organization is seeking an unusually high $500 million to sell its DC hotel. If you have business before the Trump administration, this would be a good opportunity to grease the wheels.

* Angela Kendall-Taylor explains why we need the deep state.