A Democratic member of one of the committees leading the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump and Ukraine said Thursday that instead of using the term “quid pro quo,” Democrats should consider describing the allegations against the President as “bribery” because the term is more accurate.
Rep. Stephen Lynch of Massachusetts, a member of the House Oversight Committee, told CNN’s Alisyn Camerota on “New Day” the way Democrats describe the impeachment investigation is critical. His comments come as Democrats prepare to hold public hearings next week, when they will make their most direct case yet to the American people that President Donald Trump should be impeached.
“It does have a very important implication here. And that is how we describe the offenses in the articles of impeachment is critical,” he said when asked if he thought not using the term quid pro quo would help Democrats lay out their case against the President.
“I think that’s – that’s a good option. And I know there are some constitutional scholars out there that are suggesting that we do that very thing,” he said. “So, yeah, this could be more appropriately and more accurately described as bribery.”
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The question of whether a quid pro quo – a Latin phrase that means “something for something” – took place is at the center of the inquiry. It is connected to Trump’s July phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. According to a White House transcript of the call, Trump asked for a “favor” – help from Ukraine to investigate 2020 front-runner former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden.
Trump has repeatedly denied any quid pro quo took place. There is no evidence of any wrongdoing by either Biden.
“I think that we have to make the case to the American people, you know, fact by fact, and lay it out in a coherent way so that people actually understand what the Articles of Impeachment might pursue,” Lynch said. “So we’ve got to make that case to the American people. And I think that if we did it poorly, if we did not persuade them, if there were some obfuscation on the part of the Republicans to take down the hearing … and people saw it as a partisan adventure rather than a legitimate proceeding, it might help the President.”