Democrats say that the existence of a quid pro quo on Ukraine aid is not required for President Trump to have committed an impeachable offense — because enlisting a foreign government to aid in your campaign is already a crime.
That said, Democrats do believe that acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney’s admission of an apparent quid pro quo tying the release of foreign security aid to Ukraine to an investigation into the 2016 election was significant and further evidence advancing the impeachment probe.
But it isn’t essential for the impeachment inquiry to move forward.
“The reality is, as much as there's a lot of focus on a quid pro quo, I just want to remind everyone, you do not need a quid pro quo. The United States asking a foreign leader to interfere in an American presidential election is illegal, un-American, unpatriotic and in it of itself constitutes grounds for impeachment,” said Rep. David Cicilline, a Rhode Island Democrat.
Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, an Illinois Democrat on the Oversight Committee, agreed.
“I thought that was a big, almost admission, of a quid pro quo — not that you need a quid pro quo for a crime to have been committed in this instance,” Krishnamoorthi said of Mulvaney’s comments. “But the fact that he said that openly is either a brazen admission or they just don’t know the law. They just don’t know how to operate government.”