Andy McCarthy: 'There's a flaw in Schiff's theory' of bribery by Trump

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Former New York federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy claimed Wednesday House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff's "theory" President Trump committed an impeachable act of bribery has a flaw.

During a break in testimony from U.S. Ambassador to the E.U. Gordon Sondland, McCarthy told Fox News' Bill Hemmer there is a difference between the technical definition of bribery and bribery that reaches the level of an impeachable offense.

"I think what developed today -- even though it's not all that apparent yet -- is that there's a flaw in Adam Schiff's theory of this idea that if you can make out an offense under the federal bribery statute as opposed what the Framers had in mind when they put bribery in the Constitution [where therein] you have an impeachable offense," he said.

"The flaw is what came out today is that there's bribery and then there's 'bribery'. What Sondland said was he knew that one of the official acts that was at stake and that the president [Trump] ... was stalling on was giving [Ukrainian President Volodymyr] Zelensky the visit to the White House. The other one that he said he had to deduce over time was whether the defense aid ... was going to be given to the Ukrainians or not if they didn't promise to have these investigations."

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McCarthy claimed Schiff's theory asserts that denying a foreign leader a visit to the White House is an "official act" of the chief executive and that such a move "technical[ly]" violates the bribery statute. However, he stated that such an action would not rise to the Founders' definition of an impeachable offense.

He said that for most of Sondland's hearing, Schiff and the Democrats' hired counsel, Daniel Goldman, tried very hard to prove U.S. defense aid to Kiev was at risk because they didn't think the denial of a White House visit could pass for an impeachable offense.

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"The reason I think they're doing that is they know, as well as everybody knows, that nobody is impeaching a president of the United States over denying a visit to the White House," he said. "If making out a technical violation of the bribery statute is not enough to trigger impeachment, that begs the question then: what is enough?"

The otherwise serious impeachment hearing also enjoyed a bit of comic relief Wednesday morning, as Goldman had Sondland recall a salty phone call with Trump while he was in Ukraine this past July.

While discussing the details of the call, which was previously described by State Department official David Holmes, Sondland spoke about his assurance to Trump that Zelensky "loves" him.

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"[Holmes] also testified that you confirmed to President Trump that you were in Ukraine at the time and that President Zelensky, quote, 'loves your ass,' unquote," Goldman stated. "Do you recall saying that?"

"Yeah, sounds like something I would say," Sondland responded, drawing laughs from those in attendance. "That's how President Trump and I communicate. A lot of four-letter words. In this case, three-letter."

Sondland later explained that this was his way of letting Trump know that Zelensky was very amicable in a recent meeting between Sondland and the Ukrainian leader.