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Nancy Pelosi suggests Donald Trump could face bribery charge

​Nancy Pelosi
Nancy Pelosi holds her weekly news conference in Washington on Thursday
WASHINGTON: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi sharpened the focus of Democrats’ impeachment case against President Donald Trump on Thursday, accusing the president of committing bribery when he withheld vital military assistance from Ukraine at the same time he was seeking its commitment to publicly investigate his political rivals.

The speaker’s explicit allegation of bribery, a misdeed identified in the Constitution as an impeachable offence, was significant. Even as Pelosi said that no final decision had been made on whether to impeach Trump, it suggested that Democrats were moving toward a more specific set of charges that could be codified in articles of impeachment in the coming weeks.

“The devastating testimony corroborated evidence of bribery uncovered in the inquiry, and that the president abused his 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 — a clear attempt by the president to give himself an advantage in the 2020 election,” Pelosi told reporters at her weekly news conference in the Capitol.

The remarks came as impeachment investigators closed in on two potentially significant breakthroughs that could help build their case.

A second witness emerged to corroborate a key episode revealed during public impeachment testimony on Wednesday that further tied Trump to the pressure campaign on Ukraine.

The account of a telephone call in which the president discussed his interest in having Ukraine begin investigations will help bolster Democrats’ case against Trump.

Later Thursday, a high-ranking career official appeared poised to become the first witness to cooperate with the inquiry from the White House Office of Management and Budget, which played a key role in holding up the delivery of $391 million in security assistance at the center of the inquiry.

A lawyer for the official, Mark Sandy, said that he would appear for a deposition on Saturday if subpoenaed, despite orders from the White House not to.
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