‘[A]ttempted bribery is not in the Constitution.’
That’s Laura Ingraham, possessed of a J.D. from the University of Virginia (undergrad: Dartmouth), putting disproportionate weight, in this case, on an adjective. For the word bribery is, itself, surely in the founding document. In the clause describing impeachment, no less.
Federal prosecutors and legal educators were quick to weigh in after the Fox News host advanced the argument on her program Thursday. They stressed that, typically, the outcome of a bribery scheme is not a pivotal criterion in its classification as a crime (the U.S. legal code’s bribery statute is explicit that success is not a determinant of criminality) and that, metaphorically, would-be bank robbers are not sent merrily on their way when caught in the act rather than in its aftermath:
But that’s not to say Ingraham’s presentation went entirely unappreciated in the eyes of these otherwise critical observers:
Ingraham had displayed a cat image as part of an argument that Democrats believe themselves to, in the feline manner, have nine lives, with just one such life on the line in the current bid to impeach President Donald Trump over withheld military aid to Ukraine and the dangling of a White House visit for a new and eager Ukrainian president if he would announce an investigation into the dealings of former Vice President Joe Biden and his son in that former Soviet republic, ideally in front of a CNN camera.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, shown stage-right in the cat graphic, had in a Thursday news conference sought to more closely associate the word bribery than the phrase quid pro quo with Trump and allies’ interactions with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and his administration.