- The Washington Times
Tuesday, November 19, 2019

A Republican lawmaker on Tuesday highlighted the complete absence of witness testimony about bribery at the House impeachment inquiry against President Trump.

Under questioning by Rep. John Ratcliffe, Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman and State Department aide Jennifer Willaims, who voiced concerns about Mr. Trump acting inappropriately, refused to describe his actions in Ukraine as “bribery.”

“The problem is in an impeachment inquiry that the speaker of the House says is all about bribery, where bribery is the impeachable offense, not one witness has used the word bribery to describe President Trump’s conduct, not one of them,” said Mr. Ratcliffe, Texas Republican.

House Democrats recently shifted their justification for impeachment to accusations of bribery. They argue Mr. Trump orchestrated a bribe by withholding $391 million of military aid until Ukraine agreed to investigate corruption involving political rival Joseph R. Biden and his son Hunter.

Col. Vindman and Ms. Williams said they did not know why the military aid was put on hold for about two months ending in September.

However, they raised concerns that Mr. Trump’s policy in Ukraine was politically motivated rather than focused on national security.

Mr. Ratcliffe put the focus on the absence of testimony about bribery in the extensive impeachment proceedings.

“Six weeks of witness interviews in this impeachment inquiry, hundreds of hours of testimony, thousands of questions asked, thousands of answers given [and] the number of times witnesses have used the word bribery or bribe to describe the president Trump’s conduct in the last six weeks of this inquiry is zero,” he said.

He noted that the only time the word bribery is used in more than 3,500 pages of witness interview transcripts was in describing the alleged conduct of the Bidens.

Mr. Trump requested an investigation of the Bidens’ ties to Ukraine natural gas company Burisma Holdings, which has been accused of corruption.

The company hired Hunter Biden for a $50,000-per-month job on the board of directors while his father, then vice president for President Barack Obama, was spearheading White House policy in that graft-riddled country.

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