Today, Ambassador Gordon Sondland testified that there was a “quid pro quo” attached to President Trump’s offer for the Ukrainian President to visit the White House.
In other words, if the Ukrainians wanted a White House visit, they would need to announce they were opening investigations into Burisma and the actions committed by Joe and Hunter Biden.
After this came out, Chairman Adam Schiff immediately called a recess and ran out to find the nearest news camera.
There, Schiff declared that Amb. Sondland’s testimony proves that the President of the United States violated Federal Bribery laws by placing conditions on an “official act.” Schiff even posted it to his Twitter page, doubling down on the argument that the case is closed and Trump is guilty of bribery.
Sondland confirms that the Ukraine scheme was a quid pro quo: the conditioning of official acts, a WH meeting and military aid, for something of great value to the president.
It goes right to the heart of the issue of bribery, and other potential high crimes and misdemeanors. pic.twitter.com/FGOiviza85
— Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) November 20, 2019
There is just one small problem here. Adam Schiff’s argument is flat out false. He is either deliberately lying to the American people or woefully ignorant of what the law actually says.
In 2016, the Supreme Court ruled in McDonnell v. United States that “setting up a meeting, talking to another official, or organizing an event—without more—does not fit that definition of ‘official act.'”
Period. Full stop.
Amb. Sondland testified that there were strings attached to the offered White House meeting with the Ukrainian President. But the Supreme Court has already ruled that the offer to set up a meeting or organize an event does not qualify as an “official act” under the bribery statutes.
When asked if he had any evidence of a quid pro quo regarding the military aid, Sondland responded that he presumed there were strings attached to that too. Of course, when Sondland asked Trump directly if there were strings attached, President Trump said “no.” Amb. Sondland conveniently left that conversation out of his opening statement. He claimed he cut the evidence proving Trump’s innocence for brevity…
Democrats claim they have a smoking gun, but again, all they have discovered is yet another non-crime.
Here is an example. Earlier this year, President Trump was set to meet with Taliban leaders to try to negotiate an end to the war in Afghanistan. The day before the meeting, the Taliban launched a suicide bombing in Afghanistan. Trump immediately cancelled the meeting because of this. The meeting he proposed with the Taliban was conditional. If they kept killing innocent people and targeting Americans, then the offer was off the table. Trump has also refused to meet with the Iranians unless certain preconditions are met. Conditions were also applied to the meeting between Trump and Kim Jung Un. Conditional meetings are normal in government.
And the Supreme Court has ruled it is not criminal. No matter what Adam Schiff claims, it is impossible for the President of the United States to add conditions to a proposed White House meeting and violate the Federal bribery statutes.