Seth Abramson @SethAbramson @Newsweek columnist. Analyses @BBC. NYT bestselling author of Proof of Conspiracy (bit.ly/2kP6FkZ). Next: Citizen Journalist (Macmillan). Professor. Attorney. Sep. 22, 2019 3 min read

*No*, Ukraine attempted—took knowing steps toward—bribing Trump by offering him valuable political research and aid in exchange for a change in U.S. foreign policy. Trump induced and solicited the bribe and other parties, like Rudy Giuliani, conspired in it. But that's *not* all.

1/ No one is claiming "Trump bribed Ukraine"—that's not how the federal statute works. Trump *did* induce and solicit a bribe, and *did* conspire with Ukrainians (as did Giuliani) to effectuate Ukraine's bribe of Trump. But most criminal cases can be brought in *several* ways.

2/ Trump illegally solicited foreign campaign donations from Ukraine, in addition to being (apparently) guilty of conspiracy to commit bribery and aiding and abetting bribery. He also obstructed justice by keeping the Acting DNI from reporting out to Congress. But that's not all.

3/ Trump also apparently witness tampered by paying $140 million to Ukraine's president to keep him compliant at a time Trump knew a federal legal proceeding and investigation was occurring as to his crimes (the whistleblower complaint Trump was obstructing). But that's not all.

4/ Trump's acts also constituted "high crimes or misdemeanors" (confusingly, a historical, constitutional, and political standard, not a criminal one) by engaging in Abuse of Power and violations of his Oath of Office. Claiming only one of these things is true is a *grave* error.

5/ As a longtime criminal defense attorney, I know Trump's defense attorneys would *love it* if Democrats were *stupid* enough to allow them to focus their research, energies, and rhetoric in just one direction by *only* asserting a *single* valid "theory of the case"—a bad move.

6/ Moreover, if the only theory of the case Democrats advance is a non-criminal one (Abuse of Power and violation of the Oath of Office) many Americans will say, maybe even understandably, "Oh, so this is a political matter voters get to decide on in November 2020?" But it's not.

7/ Even with a president—even though it's *hard*, as it's *always* harder to hold the rich and powerful accountable—federal investigators must accept that criminal statutes must be upheld no matter *who* the defendant is and what *other* (non-criminal) theories of the case exist.

8/ Impeachment is a political process and Dems hold the House, so putting *conviction* aside, any claim that using a non-criminal theory of the case makes it easier to impeach Trump as a *political* matter is silly—particularly as voters *most* understand *criminal* allegations.

9/ Trump is not getting convicted post-impeachment either way, as the DC GOP is now irreparably corrupted—it's full of (small-t) traitors. So trying to please the GOP with a "theory of the case" is like an abused party asking not to be hit yet again. It's fruitless and misguided.

10/ When prosecutors are going after poor people in cases no one will ever read about, their inclination and training is to throw the entire kitchen at them. It is *only* in high-profile cases with rich and powerful defendants that they say, "OK, now let's proceed *slow* here..."

11/ Dems should announce that the impeachment threshold has been reached on 15+ counts—which it has—but that investigations will continue, so all allegations can be made at once. Then impeach pre-election and seek conviction with a new—hopefully Democratic and uncorrupted—Senate.

12/ But at all stages of the proceeding, including the impeachment inquiry phase we're in now, Democrats must loudly and forcefully and clearly and repeatedly and without equivocation make *all* allegations against Trump that can be accurately made, not some boutique subset. /end


You can follow @SethAbramson.



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