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Truthout - December 11, 2019

"And now, this. This tepid thing, this half a loaf, this overweening desire not to make anyone angry or uncomfortable,especially conservative Democrats— some of whom arealready plotting to underminethe impeachment vote anyway. This is par for the course: Speaker Pelosi has been in a defensive crouch for almost 40 years now, ever since Ronald Reagan became president and the 60s-era Democratic coalition flew apart at the seams. In approving only these two soft articles, Pelosi reverted to form: When in doubt, move to the right."

When the House Democratic leadership announced on Tuesday morning that only two articles of impeachment will be charged against Donald Trump — abuse of power and obstruction of Congress — I was ready to start flipping tables and punching holes in the drywall.

After everything that has transpired in the three years since that wad of pub cheese first darkened the White House doorstep, after all the investigations, after entire mountain ranges of evidence have been gathered against him, these two articles are the best the Democrats can manage?

“Bribery.” Say it with me, Democrats: Bry. Buh. Ree. Easy word, easy concept, and hey look, it’s listed right there in the founding documents as a pointedly impeachable offense. Article II, Section IV, big as life: “The President, Vice President and all Civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.”

That is precisely what Trump did when he withheld military aid and a state visit from Ukraine. He dangled items of value in front of Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky in exchange for dirt on a political rival. Trump did this for one reason: to help win the 2020 presidential election, period, end of file. He should be impeached for it, specifically.

The framers of the Constitution did not include the crime of “Bribery” in Article II because they tripped over it on their way to the spittoon. They included it because bribery of an elected official is a menace to the country. In this case, bribery by an elected official to affect the outcome of an election is a menace to democracy itself.

Democrats spent the first several weeks of the impeachment investigation repeatedly describing a “quid pro quo” between Trump and Ukraine. Eventually, and wisely, they switched gears and began using more specific and accurate words like “bribery” and “extortion.” On Tuesday, when the rubber met the road, “bribery” was gone, replaced by an “abuse of power” charge that is almost laughable when you consider how much power the legislative branch has willfully ceded to the executive branch over the last five decades. ...
Read full commentary at Truthout