U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Thursday that President Donald Trump already has admitted to actions that amount to bribery in the Ukraine scandal at the heart of a Democratic-led impeachment inquiry.
“The bribe is to grant or withhold military assistance in return for a public statement of a fake investigation into the elections. That’s bribery,” Pelosi, the top Democrat in Congress, said at a news conference.
“What the president has admitted to and says it’s perfect, I say it’s perfectly wrong. It’s bribery.
Democrats are looking into whether Trump abused his power by withholding $391 million in U.S. security aid to Ukraine as leverage to pressure Kiev to conduct an investigation that would benefit him politically. The money, approved by the U.S. Congress to help a U.S. ally combat Russia-backed separatists in the eastern part of the country, was later provided to Ukraine.
Trump has denied any wrongdoing.
Pelosi made her comments a day after the Democratic-controlled House held its first public hearing in the impeachment inquiry she announced in September. Another central figure – former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch – is due to testify on Friday. – READ MORE