REP. JOHN RATCLIFFE: The problem is in an impeachment inquiry that the Speaker of the House says is all about bribery, where bribery is the impeachable offense, no witness has used the word ‘bribery’ to describe President Trump’s conduct. None of them. These aren’t all of the deposition transcripts, these are just the ten that have been released. Six weeks of witness interviews in this impeachment inquiry, hundreds of hours of testimony, thousands of questions asked, thousands of answers given. The number of times that witnesses have been asked any question about whether or not President Trump’s conduct constituted bribery before Ambassador Yovanovitch was asked by my colleague, Congressman Stewart, last Thursday is zero. The number of times witnesses have used the word ‘bribery’ or ‘bribe’ to describe President Trump’s conduct in the last six weeks of this inquiry is zero. In fact, in these 3,500 pages of sworn deposition testimony in just these ten transcripts released thus far, the word ‘bribery’ appears in these 3,500 pages exactly one time. And ironically, it appears not in a description of President Trump’s alleged conduct, it appears in a description of Vice President Biden’s alleged conduct. This is important because as early as next week, my Democratic colleagues are going to say we need to vote on the evidence from this impeachment inquiry, on the impeachment of the President for bribery and they’re going to send a report to the Judiciary Committee. And because there’s more Democrats than Republicans, it’s likely going to pass. When that happens, the American people need to be clear that when the Democrats, what they are describing as bribery, not a single witness is describing as bribery.
We’ve heard many times in the course of this proceeding that the facts of the President are not in dispute, but the American people are asking, “If the facts are the same, why do the crimes that the President is being accused of keep changing? Why do we go from quid pro quo to extortion now to bribery?” Chairman Nunes told you the answer. The answer is polling. The Washington Times asked Americans, “What would be the most damning accusation?” It didn’t come back quid pro quo, it didn’t come back extortion, it came back bribery, so this case is all about bribery. It’s bad enough that the Democrats have forbidden White House lawyers from participating in this proceeding. It’s hard enough to defend yourself without your lawyers present, but what’s even worse is trying to defend yourself against an accusation that keeps changing in the middle of the proceeding. If Democrats accuse the President of a high crime or impeachable offense, he at least ought to know which one it is. And when Speaker Pelosi says this is all about bribery, she’s promised us evidence of bribery that would be compelling and overwhelming and instead, it’s invisible.