The House Judiciary Committee’s new report accompanying articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump accuses him of committing the crimes of bribery and honest services fraud, though neither is mentioned in the articles of impeachment.
The report, released Monday ahead of Wednesday’s anticipated vote on impeachment, accuses Trump of violating 18 U.S.C. § 201 — federal criminal bribery — because he “demanded” an announcement of investigations, which the report describes as a thing of “value.” In return, the report alleges, the president was influenced in his performance of official acts. (The report disagrees with recent Supreme Court precedent that a “meeting” is not an “official act.”) In addition, the report rejects that there was “any public purpose” associated with Trump’s request for investigations.
Moreover, the Judiciary Committee report adds a new, previously undebated crime — namely, honest services fraud: “In addition to committing the crime of bribery, President Trump knowingly and willfully orchestrated a scheme to defraud the American people of his honest services as President of the United States. In doing so, he betrayed his position of trust and the duty he owed the citizenry to be an honest fiduciary of their trust,” the report declares.
The two crimes appear to have been included in the report to address Republican criticisms that President Trump has not been accused of violating any law, making him the first president to be impeached without a crime alleged.
However, the articles of impeachment do not refer to either crime. The absence of “bribery” was noteworthy, as the Democrats had suggested for weeks that they planned to impeach the president on that basis.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He earned an A.B. in Social Studies and Environmental Science and Public Policy from Harvard College, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.